Thursday, April 29, 2010
A singular man
Here's a tale to take your mind off bigots and the election.
Mind you, we all have prejudices..
Anyway, in Romania in the time of Ceausescu, there lived a man who didn't like the regime. Actually, lots of men didn't like the regime, but they toed the line.
This particular man, whose name was Tiberius ( and they have Trajan as well), decided he would "drop out" of the stranglehold that the regime had on it's people.
So he went off to live in the woods not far from a place called Apold. It was pretty chilly in the winter but he dug himself a cave and was fine.
The only problem was that he needed to feed himself, so he hunted a bit, stole a bit and general kept himself out of people's way.
The regime, of course, didn't like this show of individuality one bit, so they sent a few people out to throw him in jail.
Unfortunately ( or fortunately if you were Tiberius), they couldn't lay hands on him. They found the entrance to the cave all right, but when they went inside they started to be impeded by booby traps and disappearing floors into bottomless pits.
Tiberius had dug all these himself, and every time one of his pursuers disappeared there was maniacal laughter ahead of the pack.
The baddies eventually gave up, swearing to return.
Of course, reporting failure on something to the regime at the time wasn't a good idea, so there was a degree of fudge, delay and obfuscation which meant it was some months before anything further happened. Think Falstaff's description of his defence in Henry IV part 2.
They returned in force, with machinery and weapons, and tried for days to capture Tiberius, and always just in front of them was that maniacal laugh.
Eventually, they lost all patience and brought up artillery and explosives. They spent days laying charges, and finally pushed the plunger.
Tiberius had gone round disconnecting things.
By now, of course, he had become a hero, so the regime started at one end of the woods and cave and systematically blew half the mountainside to bits. Still they heard the laughter.
Finally, they poured hundreds of tons of concret and boulders into the caves, working all the way round like a hunter with a ferret after rabbits. Even as they poured, they heard the laugh.
When the work was all done there was silence. After a couple of days of no sound, they packed up their equipment and went away.
And Tiberius watched them from the top of the Church tower in Apold...