He lived in the top story of a very tall house on an even higher hill
far above a little village which appeared as dry and dusty as his own
world was lush and green. He would spend long hours looking out his
window, trying to imagine the lives of the people, which was very
difficult as he had never once left the house, let alone descended the
hill to feel that foreign soil beneath his feet. For all he knew they
were not even aware of his existence, while they were his only
distraction from the complete solitude in which he dwelled.
He did something—what, exactly, he was not sure, as walking from room
to room constituted the main of his activities—that allowed him to eat
regularly. Being provided for in this manner, he found life to be
lacking in the necessary frictions, so he looked for things to cause him
trouble and then fought with them for however many hours a day that he
could before he fell asleep or, as he called it, evaporated. But still,
between the gazing and the fighting, he felt something was missing. A
need, an emptiness remained. So, being of the practical sort, he simply
filled himself with whatever was at hand, being careful not to be too
careful with what he chose so that he would be well-rounded in his
fullness. But what of the need? Or, for that matter, the responsibility
that goes with such a blessed state? He decided that he must share his
new-found satiation with the villagers.
Thus began his habit of taking out the things he had placed in himself
and carrying them down the hill to the market where he would spread them
on the ground and speak. Or, as he called it, Teach the Gloriness of
Fullness, often in parable, seldom understood, his favorite being one he
assumed he had learned in his assumed youth about a fisherman whose
reputation for bungling had spread so far and wide that it had become a
matter of pride for the man. One day the other fishermen saw him up on
the cliffs, eating gull droppings and pebbles, both hands going at once,
now and then making wild gestures in the direction of the sky. When
asked what he was trying to do, he had called back, To become as stupid
as the sun! I’m already better than the rest of you!
He felt there was great wisdom in this story and that if he repeated it
often enough someone would surely approach and explain it to him. But
no, whenever he entered the market the people would look up from their
dealings and, upon seeing who it was, gather up their wares and walk
away, muttering under their breaths and being very generous with their
evil looks which, due to the rather dry and wizened appearance of these
people, were quite evil indeed. He would reflect on this, silently
praising them for their enviable consistency of behavior, and begin
spreading his taken-out-things in front of himself, doing a little dance
every time he came to a particularly pleasing one.
One day, after yet another impassioned rendition of the fisherman
parable with its usual results, equally impassioned, he realized that if
he were ever to make contact with these people—let alone be informed
of the meaning of his favorite story—he would have to try something
new. So he packed up his things and trudged back up the hill where he
set about thinking of a plan.
Several days later he rose with the sun, took out what he had placed in
himself and marched down to the market. Only this time, instead of
repeating the parable of the fisherman, he watched the people walking
away and then, before they had gone too far, called out, A visitor! A
visitor has come! The people slowly halted their exodus and turned
around, for it was a very small village and visitors were rare indeed.
Lured by the prospect of a new customer, a few stepped forward, hoping
to be the ones to claim the coins in his pockets.
When a small crowd had formed, he quickly began gathering his collection
of taken-out things and molded them into a sizable mound which he set
about climbing, for he had something to say, something of undeniable
importance for all, of that he was sure. He climbed and climbed and
struggled and sweated and cursed in his effort to reach the top before
the people discovered the extreme lack of visitors and left. Surely they
will listen this time! he panted to himself as he wiped the sweat from
his eyes. Surely they will understand everything I have ever said this
time! Glancing behind himself he could see there were still a few people
watching him. He must hurry!
And when at last he stood, alone and free at the top, shading the sun
from his eyes and preparing to speak, he had just enough time to notice
one very old woman looking at him very intently before he sank.