Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Fable of the Wild Boar, by Paul Mathers

Once upon a time, there was a family of means by way of inheritance and generations of social fermentation.  This finally occasioned Father's appointment to a prestigious ambassadorship by good Queen Victoria, and the family moved to a lush countryside mansion in an exotic, exciting, friendly and lively distant nation.

The house was filled with every luxury, convenience and entertainment.  The children, four in total, wanted for nothing.  The kitchen was fully stocked with a world class chef on-hand and on-call around the clock.  There was a resplendent garden, vast, full of worlds of different flora which could be studied for years without exhaustion or repetition. There was a menagerie on the property containing animals from around the world all readily observable in reconstructions of their natural habitat.  There was a library so large that it seemed impossible to name a text or subject not contained therein.  There was an observatory with one of the world's more powerful telescopes of the day.  There was a stage which, given the prestige of the ambassador's position, constantly brought top-tier actors, musicians and speakers who were in or traveling through the area, all of whom were honored to perform at that venue.

The only problem was the wild boar.   Life was endless delight save for the wild boar that roamed the premises.

Everyone decided early on that it had nothing to do with quality of character, the order in which the boar picked them off.  While Geoffrey was decidedly a wicked little monster of a boy, Mother was the first to be gored by a tusk to the carotid artery and stomped to death.  In her case it was in a hallway of the mansion at night as she was checking on the little ones before bed.  Geoffrey was trying to kill finches with his slingshot near the aviary when the boar rounded a shrub and charged the young man.

Nicholas was next to go, in the kitchen, as providence would have it, as he was asking Chef for a bit of ham as an afternoon snack.  Chef tried to fight the beast off with a cleaver, but the weight of the beast on the poor child's chest proved too much.

It was days before someone finally found Father's remains in the wine cellar.  Which left the twins - Charlotte and Jane.  Charlotte was taken around the time the leaves were changing as she was planting lily bulbs in the garden.  The people of the estate had long given up reading metaphors and omens.

Chef, Nursemaid, Evans the Butler, and Jane were the remaining inhabitants aside from the boar.  The morning after Charlotte's funeral, Evans knocked on the door of the library where Jane was reading just after breakfast.

Evans changed his demeanor from subordinate into the position of an elder, "If you don't mind, I would like to ask the same question I asked both of your late parents.  It would be such a simple thing to open the front gates of the estate, place a large, freshly baked and aromatic pecan pie across the street to lure the boar off of the premises and then close the gate behind it."

"I don't see why we should do that.  The boar was here before we were.  It has as much of a right to be here as we."

"In which case, do you have any intention of leaving the estate?"

"By no means.  I love the library, the zoological gardens, the meals and the observatory.  I couldn't imagine leaving those things behind."

"You do understand that you could have all of those joys without having the boar."

"I think we have already exhausted that line of conversation, Evans."

"Aren't you concerned that the wild boar might kill each of us one by one?"

"Oh, it will.  I'm sure of it.  Sooner or later.  It is a wild boar, after all.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd like to get back to my book."


  1. Whoa. That's good Paul. That's real good. And even though I possibly might not be interpreting it as you meant it yet it speaks loud to me.

  2. Thanks! Interpret it as you interpret it. I had like eight interpretations in mind when I wrote it.

  3. That makes me feel better actually - knowing you had eight interpretations in mind.