- The other side of truth:
(Aesop-fable nr 530)
The shadows on the walls of the dark room move in a rhythmic, macabre dance and the glow of the potter’s fire paints orange and red streaks on Prometheus’* face. Sweat pearls on his forehead and slowly drips down his high cheekbones and sharp chin to plop softly on the flagstones. The drops are tinted red in the fiery glow, reminding him of suffering and the creation of new life. The creative process is always associated with pain and blood. Life and blood are linked experiences.
His strong hands have been kneading the cold, grey clay for hours. Shaping and molding it to resemble the dream image that has haunted his mind for months on end. The curves and planes need to be perfect as nothing else would suffice. He has had to start over three times before, because the end result would not suffer comparison with the ideal of the dream. Then he would angrily throw the clay against the opposite wall, watching as it slid down to become a formless heap.
He wasn’t able to envision starting over again. His mood ebbed and flowed as mistakes and successes followed each other mindlessly. She had to be perfect. Not solely because of his inherent perfectionism, but also because that which she symbolized expected perfection. He knew that it would take all his talent as a master potter and that it would define the rest of his life.
*Prometheus: god of fire
The process would be a long one and there would be no return once started. He must see it through or suffer the consequences.
He stands up and wipes the sweat from his brow. His back muscles spasm and he has virtually no feeling left in his fingers, but the dream will not leave him alone.
He is caught up in the maelstrom of creativity and is driven to go and sit before the lump of clay yet again. A slight frown mars his features as he critically appraises his work, seeking a starting point, planning the next step. His thoughts scatter like autumn leaves blown before a chilly wind and he has to close his eyes to refocus. He is tired…dead tired.
Dolus ** watches Prometheus from a shadowy corner of the room. His eyes shine unearthly red in the glow of the fire. His luxurious black fringe falls untidily onto the wide forehead. The broad shoulders hang in the misshapen brown apprentice jacket. In his leather shoes his feet appear gigantic. His hands nervously tug on his jacket or angrily wipe the fringe out of his eyes.
He has always seemed invisible in a crowd, blending into the shadows or part of the décor. His features are quite common, nothing special. He knows that he will never be known as a handsome man, not like his master. Jealousy brings a bitter taste to his mouth and he has to swallow hard against the bile rising in his throat.
He has worked as an apprentice for Prometheus for eight months. In this time he has only been allowed to create the simplest vases and plates. Furthermore, he has had to satisfy his master’s every whim. Eight months of drudgery in which he has been nothing more than a slave.
**Dolus: thief or cheat
Dolus cannot help but wonder when, if ever, he will be allowed to work on a statue. A statue like the one his master has been working on. Dolus can already see that it will be a masterpiece and that the gods will stand in awe of Prometheus’ talent. It is sure to create a stir in the kingdom.
Green- eyed envy whispers to Dolus that his work will be as good, if not better than his master’s. He looks down at his hands, filled with a vision of the planes and curves that he would be able to create. In his mind’s eye his statue stands next to Prometheus’ before the gods and his creation is applauded thunderously.
Prometheus’ loud voice shatters Dolus’ dream into tiny, prismatic pieces. By the look on his master’s face, Dolus is aware that he has been calling him for quite a while now. A visible dark cloud that not even the glow of the fire can relieve hangs above Prometheus’ forehead. Dolus hurries to his master’s side, wondering in how much trouble he can expect to be. Fortunately Prometheus is too tired to engage in an argument with Dolus and only vents his frustration with a weary sigh.
“You can cover it for the evening, Dolus. Remember to wet the cover. We don’t need dry pieces of clay that have to be redone or kneaded again by tomorrow morning. Dampen the fire. I am going to bed. It was a long day.”
Prometheus tiredly rises and works all the kinks out of his shoulders and back. He turns and walks slowly down the dark corridor to his sleeping quarters.
Dolus works at a fast pace in order to accomplish the commands given by Prometheus. He cannot resist standing before the statue and allowing himself to daydream. She will be breathtaking, that’s for sure. Heavenly perfection! Crestfallen he covers her and wonders yet again when his time in the spotlight will come.
In his room, Prometheus does not even bother to light a candle, just pulls his dirty overcoat over his head, kicks his sandals away and falls down on the bed. Within moments he is fast asleep and unaware of the rest of the world.
The dream starts, as always, with a heavy mist hanging low over the lake. Willow trees and reeds are barely visible and the world is as quiet as the proverbial graveyard. Everything seems breathless and waiting in silent awe.
In the dream he recognizes that he has just come from a meeting with Zeus. His subconscious mind knows that this is reality. One of the minutes on the agenda involves the fact that humanity needed something to curtail their conduct and actions. Immorality and lawlessness was rife on earth and something had to be done. Since the meeting he has been searching for a solution. Could it be possible that the solution would reveal itself now? Stranger things have happened in the kingdom of the gods. Here you should expect the unexpected, even in the illusion of dreams.
He stands under a gigantic old oak tree, looking out over the lake. He realizes that he has been holding his breath in anticipation of finding a true solution. Gradually, he becomes aware of a rippling on the lake’s surface. Rainbow colored bubbles pop and ripple concentrically outwards. He is spellbound by the process and can only hazard a guess at what will follow. When the ripples tenderly touch the moss covered bank, a golden head appears, followed by the most beautiful female features Prometheus has ever seen on earth or in the kingdom of the gods. Awestruck he memorizes every plane, contour and curve of her face, burning it into his mind.
Perfect shoulders and sculpted arms break the water’s surface into millions of diamond droplets refracting the light into a myriad colors. The gown draped over her left shoulder is of such a dazzling white that Prometheus has to shade his eyes from the glare. Her middle is accentuated by a braided gold belt, decorated with sparkling amethysts. Small, fine hands and feet peek out from under the seams of her gown. Perfect pearls decorate every curl and wave of her thick hair.
Prometheus is so enraptured with the idyllic vision that he cannot fully describe the way in which she moves. It seems as if she has always been standing next to him beneath the tangled branches of the oak. Words become unnecessary inhibitors, because he can hear her speaking clearly in his mind. She does not expect him to answer or to contribute in any way to the conversation. Her word is sovereign. He learns that she is named Veritas* and that she is the only true solution to the immorality on earth. She embodies everything that humanity needs; truth, purity, morality, integrity and beauty. In her presence lies cannot exist, they are blown away like chaff on the winter winds.
Prometheus realizes that he has to create this statue of truth, give her the gift of life and release her on earth.