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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 3. March 19 1968


page 8


Photo by Robert W. Joiner

Photo by Robert W. Joiner

He was on trial-so, at least, I was told. Although it did not look much more like (don't mistake me, I am not speaking of bureaucracy) a downright execution. The room was small and cosy, a fire burning in the hearth. They sat around the walls - unimaginable creatures, with grotesque, giggling countenances — it seemed to him that they were making ready to gobble him up — for of that they were, judging by appearances, altogether capable.

At the end of the room is the tiniest of men, perched on a chair behind an enormous desk. The defendant — so to speak — stands there, with all these weird monsters leering at him, and the tiny man addresses him. "Well, come on now, state your case! What have you to say for yourself? What's your story? Your case, please!" But he shouts this in such a booming voice, that our "defendant" looks around him, uncertain whether it is that little fellow who has said it, or whether some giant, who, hidden in the room (under the desk, perhaps, or behind the door), has until now escaped his notice.

And does he state his case? Not at all. Not a bit of it. He just stands there, open mouthed; for all I know he is altogether ready to state his case, but not a word does he utter.

For the midget judge suddenly roars: "I am afraid we just don't understand— Don't understand!" And once again, but this time in a scarcely audible and much more probable voice: "Don't understand!" At this point the monsters begin, with one accord, to laugh and laugh, tottering forward off their chairs. He shudders, he is petrified; but instead of him, it is the tiny one that, after scrambling over the enormous desk, they devour, — and after that, unbelievable: each other! Until the monstrous beings have completely consumed themselves, and the room is empty. Both the fire and the lights have for some reason gone out, and this shabby sitting-room is now in semi-darkness.

He sheds—as he stands, still on the same spot exactly —a bitter tear. And leaves the room, shutting the door thereof behind him—leaves, sadder, wiser, and free; his heart far harder than when he entered.