Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Aesop the Gardener

     You wretched, worthless, ugly little monster, who nibbles away my tender seedlings and gobbles my scarcely-emerged sprouts, you who work your way into every corner of my house in your aimless and repulsive haste, hide under my blankets and swim in my drinking glass; you wriggling little beast, snapping at me with your pincers, I beg you--what on earth are you good for? What purpose do you serve? What contribution do you make? Is there any creature under the sun more worthless than you?
     "I'm not useless, sir; I have accomplished something immeasurably useful during my lifetime."
     And what exactly have you accomplished, Mr. Earwig?
     "I had lots of children."

Cat in the Garden
     You willed an orderly lawn into shape out of arid wasteland, and bushes up out of bare twigs; you raised a housecat on your lap from a stray and spitting kitten. And now your tomcat glides like a serpent through the high grass and underbrush, its golden eyes shining, joyful tremors running through its glossy coat.
     "Me? I am a wild beast in the forest primeval."

     I've long since held an affection for sparrows because they are merry and poor, because they are gray as old rags, disheveled as tramps, carefree as children; chatty, satisfied with life and somehow entirely democratic; for this and other reasons I have always regarded them with affection as they eke out their little lives.
     Begone, you worthless thing, beat it, you miserable sparrow, get lost, you wretched creature! Where is my cat, where is my cane, where is my gun? You mean to tell me, you little bandit, that you took the first cherry off my little tree?

A Statesmanlike Act
     The begonia in the flowerpot wasn't long for this world; in spite of all efforts on its behalf it was rotting underneath and withered on top, so much so that it was terrible to see. The gardener even threw it into the darkest corner of the cellar in a fit of pique. Then he forgot about it altogether, having more important things on his mind than a ruined begonia.
     When he was looking for an empty flowerpot in the cellar fourteen days later, he found the begonia resurrected, once so tall, now thirsty as hell and terribly desperate to live.
     "How our gardener understands his affairs," the other flowers whispered. "What worldly wisdom!"

     You're staring, right? Look how much I've grown since spring! Look at the foliage I've got! How I smell and bloom!

     Brrr! Into the earth at once! Must dig into the good, moist soil! Hey, a man picked me up! How disgustingly hot and dry he is! I can't take it, my stomach's coming up! Ughhh!

Child in the Garden
     He is tearing off flower buds and sticking them in the gravel paths.
     "Hey, what are you doing, you little garden-wrecker?"
     "Plantin' flowers."

     I stab you and for all that you still brag what marvelous thorns I have?

     I know, comrade rye: there is a conspiracy against me. When they mow the meadow it is only to wipe me out. They send the hail down on me; they try to burn me with the sun; they hire the moles and locusts to come after me. But I stand my ground. I know why they're after me. Oh, I could tell you a thing or two!

LN, 8 August 1926

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