"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced" - James Baldwin
Friday 17 April 2020
A Grim Fairy Tale
upon a time, there was a leader whose name was Bullington Bertie. He
lived at the centre of a forest, surrounded by members of his court.
As a jolly jape he led them on hunting parties to kill partridges and
even greater amusement, they searched the wood for paupers. These
they hounded by ripping up money in front of their hovels. If any of
the poor did not share the swine-pink skin of Bullington Bertie, he
called them ‘picaninnies with watermelon smiles’. The women who
modestly covered their faces with wimples he taunted and called
day a simple man arrived in the forest with his many disciples. This
man’s name was Jeremiah the Just. His followers carried banners and
gonfalons sewn with FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW.
Bertie was incensed at the arrival of this rabble, but he didn’t
feel threatened because he had planted his spies as Jeremiah’s
‘counsellors’. Most important among them was Lord Kneel of
Gilbride and Sir Stammer of Suthringa.
of Bullington’s men who looked as if they might be swayed to join
Jeremiah were handed proclamations on vellum that had been scribed in advance. A soothsayer had predicted Jeremiah’s arrival
and the power of his message. Bullington’s lawyers had decided that
anyone who chose to follow Jeremiah would be accused of heresy.
Bullington’s followers were fearful of being charged and racked and so rallied
around their leader.
years later, a terrible plague swept through the land and people were
confined to their homes while Bullington Bertie and his entourage
retreated deeper into the forest to carry on with their emerald and
desperation, the people of the kingdom beat drums and called out to
Bullington Bertie to give alms and coin to those caring for the sick
and dying. The people prayed and wept that he would give comfort, but
he cared nothing for anyone who was not like him and his people
continued to sicken and die.
Travellers arriving from foreign shores were not placed in quarantine
as the law prescribed. Bullington’s advisor, Sir Cum, had told him
the poor were costing too much and needed to die like cattle,
preferably in their own hovels. Of course, if members of the court
became ill, there would be the doctors and apothecaries to keep them
don’t despair, dear readers. This fairy tale will have a happy
ending. It is because the pen is in your hands, and you will write