Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Candy Striped Castle

In the elongated shadow of the mangled artifice that housed the Ministry of Defense, a lace-work mist shrouded another building both beautiful and delectable to the onlooker's eye. This building contained no corners. It's highest spire was more than one-hundred feet high and there were many spires, some hidden from differing angles. Every tower was striped with a different color. Every color seemed to be produced by a natural source, the color of a certain iris or the dappled green of an unripened pear or the yellow of dried grass. When a ray of sunlight was able to pierce the shadow of the mangled Ministry of Defense, one might see, if but for a second, the undulating magnificence of this other building. Most of the time, however, this building was hidden in deep shadow and perhaps still is.

Some of us have wondered, hearing about this building hidden in shadow, just when it was built and by who. Some speculate, and it has become the legend, that the castle was built by a guild of spirited artisans commissioned by a benevolent emperor who wanted to make a gift to his people. This emperor, some say was called Emeraldo, was raised by teachers living in surrounding caves. These teachers believed that the material world contained a key to understanding a hidden message which would act as a guide or map of an equally hidden source of benevolence. The world of mankind is constantly tricked by shadows into believing that power is only attainable through force and dominion.

The young Emperor, who was more like a sage, realized over time that he did not want to have power over people, that this did not suit him, that it was off putting and uncomfortable. For a number of years he stood looking at himself in a long mirror. At first he saw a young man, handsome and intelligent looking, growing stronger and then he saw something behind this as if something existed through him that was not part of his physical body. This other presence made itself more known and eventually he was unable to see his physical body and gave up on looking the mirror. He had become familiar with this other presence, this inner hermit whose lamp was showing him the way to conduct his life. The hermit told him it was a great responsibility to teach others and that a monument to the natural world would prove a powerful symbol that others might see and wake as if from a dream into knowing world. This castle was not erected by slaves but by his students, young artisans who gave up on ordinary life and devoted themselves to the life of the inner hermit.

Plans were drawn up and it was decided this building should emulate the natural world in every way outside and in to such a degree that anyone encountering the building might take it for a naturally occurring event rather than some building and by no means a fortress. When it was completed, people came from all around in pilgrimage and some stayed to become part of the work inside and then one year a war broke out in a neighboring community over the purchase of animals. This war grew in intensity until some of the neighboring leaders felt they needed to build a Ministry of Defense to house their ideas of war. These leaders felt that this was all important to keep order in their world.

The second building was erected on a hill above the candy striped castle long after the benevolent emperor ceased to exist.

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