Our mate Pewter is back with a whimsical little fable about Ottaviani, the organ grinder's monkey. May you all be blessed with the presents of a pair of red shoes for Christmas, and beautiful presents galore trimmed in gold and ermine and the finest lace the grate nuns in habits can produce for their Lord.
A fable from the Pewside #8...
Once upon a time in a land far away there lived a venerable organ grinder. Every day, with his wonderful mobile organ and surrounded by his troupe of brilliant, colour-clothed monkeys he played beautiful melodies to all who listened. Many were those whose spirits were uplifted and whose lives were enriched by the music and skill of this organ grinder.
However, times changed. Those for whom his music alone was once sufficient became distracted by other entertainments and drifted away. Seeing this the wise old musician began to play a different melody, one that appealed more to his listeners, and which included them in his tunes. People came back, singing and dancing with the organ grinder in the joy and delight of his song.
But not all were pleased at this return to universal happiness. The monkeys were no longer the centre of their master's charisma. They resented the change. Ottaviani, the cleverest and most agile of the troupe devised a plan to reverse the monkeys' fortunes. To attract attention to themselves, the monkeys would wear even brighter clothes, taller hats, and longer redder silk coverings to display their active swishing tails. To inspire awe and reverence from the spectators they would talk in a language peculiar to themselves.
For a time Ottaviani's plan worked. Some people began to take more notice of the monkeys' activities; they heeded the subtle message that what the monkeys did was more important to people's welfare than the organ grinder and his music. Others more aware of this deception of appearance over substance tried to listen to the organ grinder, but disillusioned by Ottaviani's schemes they eventually walked away and heard no more. Nevertheless a small number of people, the remnant, a mere 5% of those who once gathered in large numbers to listen and participate, paused to look and hear.
Ottaviani, using all his skill, convinced these remnant followers that they alone were the true recipients of proper music, and that the monkeys held for them the truth of universal happiness. As time went by, and the influence of the monkeys grew, the organ grinder became less important. Unable to change matters, he began to fade into insignificance. The monkeys gathered strength and numbers from other monkeys who saw that their way of life was good.
And then one day Ottaviani, always active and planning, had another idea. The organ grinder was becoming old and frail but the organ despite being centuries old was still in excellent condition. Ottaviani himself could turn the handle and make the music. The organ grinder must go to be replaced by Ottaviani or one of his special friends. That way the influence of the monkeys could be maintained and continued for ever in a manner they approved of.
And so it came to pass. Ottaviani's plans met with little resistance. With full support from the other monkeys, Ottaviani seized the music maker from its owner to begin his own tunes. The few people who continued to listen were of no importance except to feed the monkeys when they got hungry from their play. However, most other people had long gone their own way to nurture the music in their own hearts.
Today Ottaviani is dead but his chosen appointee continues to churn out organ tunes. He — and only a male can be a monkey — plays music to please his fellow monkeys. As for the people who once enjoyed the music that was so much a part of their lives ... they are not listening!
Pewter submitted to Catholica on 20Dec2012
What are your thoughts on this commentary by Pewter?