A Musical Joke©
Arion was the most celebrated musician in his time and he served Periander, the despot of Corinth. After serving him for long he took leave for a certain period. First he sailed for Sicily and went though Italy where his musical gifts earned him great wealth. Then it was time for him to return to the court of his master. He took the same Corinthian vessel on his way back. During his long voyage the crew seeing all those wealth in his possession planned to kill him and divide the money among themselves. That night however Arion saw in a dream a dolphin and it said to him, “ Your life is in a danger. Let us play a musical joke on the villains who are steering your course to a watery grave.” Next morning the crew approached the musician and said, “Kill yourself if you want a burial ashore. Or we will throw you overboard.” Poor Arion of Methymna! He was terrified of water. Much more was his terror to be carried around as a carrion in a ship. So he agreed to take his chances with a watery grave. “Before I jump to my death let me at least sing a farewell song to you. Thereafter you may do what you will.” He put on his costume and gave a song to them. Then he leapt into the sea. The ship with the villainous crew sailed onwards to Corinth.
Arion struggled to keep afloat and at last he felt drowsy and he would have perished but a dolphin appeared out of nowhere and it said, “Sing a song so I may be cheered along”. Arion sang a song as he had never sang before. After he finished the dolphin observed, “ That song you sang for the crew was delectable but infinitely sad. How come you now sing a song of such cheer?” Arion eyed the approaching coastline and he could see the familiar features of Corinth and said, “Out there I sang to the band of thieves as though my life was pouring out of me, syllable by syllable. Literally. But you made me sing as though life was being poured on me.”
Arion after landing ashore went to Periander who didn’t believe his story. He called the captain of the ship to the palace and asked what befell Arion. The villain replied that he left the singer safe and sound at Tarentum in Italy. At that point Arion appeared before them and the Captain could not believe his eyes. The Despot said, “ You and your crew are worthy of death. I shall spare you if you can sing for your life. Lives of your crew depend on you.”
Poor Captain, he just croaked. Periander had them killed for their villainy.
Since then sailors would rather sing shanty than solo. (ack:Herodotus-The Histories)
Archive for January, 2009
A Musical Joke©
Here I have sketched the opening sequence. Jean Vigo didn’t live to see the film as it is available now. When you study frame by frame you are able to appreciate more of the art than merely a story. The plot is very simple and yet Jean Vigo was able to create a masterpiece with his innovative approach to the medium. Later a movement would arise by a group of film makers who looked to Jean Vigo as their inspiration. New Wave is history now but L‘Atalante, as a film has lost none of its power to move us.
Opening shots describe the wedding of Jean, the ‘boss’ of the barge L’atalante to a girl from the village Corbeil on the Seine. His mate Papa Jules(Michael Simon, in an unforgettable role) and the kid are introduced right in the beginning.
MR.LAZYBONES AND THE WISHING TREE ©
Mr. Lazybones went in search of work. “A new town is coming up beyond this river,”he heard the people say. ‘But I thought economy was in bad shape?”
“I too heard but never trust rumors,” said one as he passed by. He moved on. When he crossed the river there was quite a crowd. They were all excited. Lazybones smiled to see everyone happily jostling one another. Watching them he brightened up. He had enough time to try his hand in some diversion before he settled down for good. He knew it was his last chance. He heard a fellow grumbling,”A reg’lar scrimmage! Can’t believe my eyes!”
“I always wanted to try my hand at scrimmage.” Said he.
He would have made a dash past every other but a man blocked his path. He sat in front of a table and he gave such a look Mr. Lazybones thought rugby was not as he thought it ought to be. The burly man in a dirty overalls, “Have you got your pass?”
Mr.Lazybones looked here and there. “What are you looking at?” The man with dirty overalls asked him.
“ But where is the ball?” He replied. He said,”You mean football?” He leant towards him and said,” Work is what you find here!” Lazybones instantly knew he was a hard taskmaster.” I thought of a forward pass. Intead I find work. Impossible!”
He was about to leave but the man said, “ Why did you come here in the first place?” Mr.Lazybones said he was greatly mistaken. “Watching the crowd was fun. Following a rumor also also up my alley.” Mr. Lazybones grumbled,”But I’ve had no idea it shall lead to this. So soon!”
Thus Mr.Lazybones turned away. He went into the plains. He walked for sometime. The sun was very hot. He wished for some shade. Surprise! Surprise! A tree grew up instantly. It went on growing till it reached the clouds. “Ah I shall sleep for a while.” Mr.Lazybones yawned and he stretched himself. He could not sleep. So he said, ”I wish this tree would fan me while I sleep. What is the use of a tree which cannot be of use to man?”
Luckily it was a wishing tree. The tree began swaying at his command. Murmur of leaves was like a lullaby and he could not help smiling. It brought back memories of good old days when he was put to sleep in a cradle. Every night. He would have said to the tree, ”You are like my mother.” But he was too sleepy and he slept off.
Mr. Lazybones got up with a terrific headache. He was annoyed. He looked around. He saw the cause for his headache. A coconut had fallen on his head. He said to the tree rather angrily. “You may rock me to sleep but do not let coconut fall on that account! My head is all too tender. ” The tree went on swaying.
Mr.Lazybones would have gone back to his sleep but again another coconut fell. This time it fell with a thud on his shoulders. He sat up rubbing his bruised shoulder. “Didn’t I tell you..?”
The tree said, ”I am a wishing tree. There is one who asks for my favour.” Angrily Mr.Lazybones looked around.
One man lay a little away from him. He looked as if he had settled himself comfortably well. But he was sheepish to make his request,”Say fellow, you have two coconuts. Be good enough to pass one. I am thirsty!” Rubbing his bruise Mr.Lazybones asked,”Who are you?” The newcomer still lay stretched out. “It is a bother getting up. Please bring one over.” Mr.Lazybones remained still where he sat. “Can’t you do a favor?” He queried. Mr.Lazybones was still angry. “Who do you think you are?”
He introduced himself,” Mr. Good-For-Nothing. That is my name.”
Mr.Lazybones hated to keep his anger for long. He was about to toss one over. “ Please,”said Mr.Good-For-Nothing, ”While you are at it save me the bother of cutting it open.” He was so angry that he almost choked. Mr.Good-for-nothing said casually, ”Why get angry? You are close to the wishing tree. You ask it to open. And it is done.”
Mr.Lazybones realized that he had found his match. And he did not like it one bit.