Wednesday, 4 February 2015

"The Great Green Bubbling Liquid"

It was a young chap with deep brown curls, probably only thirteen or fourteen years of age, who appeared in the doorway. As he entered the dimly lit workshop, he blinked slowly--his large brown eyes to focusing on an elderly man bent studiously over his workbench.  "What are you going to blow up today, Uncle?" Questioned the lad in an unmistakable London accent.  
"Hmmm, blow up?" absently replied Uncle, revealing an equally strong English accent. 
"Yes sir, like the time you blew your eye brows clear off your face.  I do say, they are growing in rather nicely."  
"Now sonny," replied the weathered man, turning slightly to reveal perfectly round reading spectacles perched atop an awkwardly large nose.  
"I do say," replied the chap spotting the most mysterious looking vial of deep green bubbling liquid, "What in all of London are you going to destroy now, Uncle?"  
Ignoring the comment, Uncle paused, straightened slightly, and feebly sat down on a rickety old wooden chair.  Gazing wistfully into the young boys face he quietly cleared his voice and began.  "Sit down my boy, and your uncle shall give you a lesson that a good many scientist (and perhaps just as many clergy men) ought to hear.  What does this vial contain, you ask?   I shall tell you." Gazing at the small vial thoughtfully, he continued almost reverently, "This small vial contains evidence of one of the most powerful substances in all the world." 
"And you invented it!" broke in the boy joyously.  "Uncle, we shall be rich and you shall be famous!" 
"No, no, my son,"chuckled the scientist "I have not invented anything.  I merely found the formula, in here" he said picking up a small leather-bound book and holding it up for the lad to see. 
"Is it magic?" whispered the boy curiously. 
"Magic! roared the elderly gent, "My dear, who do you have me to be?  A witch?"  No, no it is not magic.  
"An ancient science text of some sort then?" followed the chap. 
"A science text, hmm, I suppose it could be called that, though promoting science is hardly its purpose.  Then too, it does not follow the laws of science in much of what it says, it is rather, supernatural -- but certainly not magical" 
"Now, enough questions, my dearest nephew, if you would hold your tongue but for a few moments I should tell you, enlighten you, of the affects of this precious substance." 
"Oh please do Uncle, I shall sit here, still as an owl, until you are through." chirped the youth as he climbed atop the work bench. 
Clearing his throat thoughtfully, the elderly sage began.  "This liquid, this substance that I am studying, has by many a learned man and many a studied scientist been mistaken as poison.  At glance it has incredible similarities, but never has man been so gravely mistaken, yea for many, fatally so." Truthfully, it has an affect on man that, in many cases, feigns madness.  It affects men in a host of different avenues, it has been known to drive men away from their homes, wandering aimlessly.  Some, under the influence, have built ridiculous creations.  Others have conceived solely because of this stout substance.  Still others, it has caused to be hated, to appear gullible, foolish, and quite frankly, stupid.  On the contrary, to some it has given extraordinary abilities of strength, leadership, even inflammability, knowledge and wisdom,  Many have died under the influence of this potential deadly substance, yet others have saved their lives by drinking of it."

"Oh, uncle, what a strange poison -- or  whatever you call it.  Have you drank from the vial?" Then sheepishly he added, "I do say, it seems to have affected you for the worse". 
"Oh yes, dear chap.  I drink deeply of it regularly.  I must.  I has become a sort of addiction for me.  To give up this would be to give up life itself.  Purpose would not mean purpose and Life would not mean life.  Oh yes, I have drunk and I will do so until the very day I die.  You see, my text says that for those who have drunk and then have stopped to drink, it would have been better had they never started; but of course, it is far far better to drink than to abstain."  
"Uncle," broke in the puzzled lad, "why have you called me to your workshop today?  It wasn't to try this experiment, was it?" 
"Sonny, I would never force you try it.  The substance would not let me. It would have absolutely no affect on you.  But it is here if you would like to try it, and I strongly recommend that you do." 
Pensively, the boy replied, "Dearest Uncle, though I fear the unknown, I think I would like to, but how can I try something that I do not even know its name?  What do you call this special formula?" 
Drawing in a deep breath the man thoughtfully contested, "The Ancient Greeks of centuries ago called it 'pístis' which in their tongue literally means 'to persuade or be persuaded' but in our day most English folk just call it "faith". 
Together, the boy and uncle kneeled upon the dusty workshop floor, and with the large weathered hand of the elder upon the shoulder of the younger, they drank.  First the man, and then the boy.  The boy did not merely wet his lips or sip as he would his afternoon tea.  Rather, in one great greedy gulp he drank, being sure not to spill a single drop.  
Triumphantly setting down the vial, he looked up beaming. He looked up past the tear-stained face of his uncle, even past the cob-wedded rafters.  He had tasted pístis and now he would live by it.

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