Messer Marco Polo
"Thus far," said Malachi of the Long Glen, "the story of Marco Polo."
"That is a warm story, Malachi of the Glen, a warm and colored story, and great
life to it, and Golden Bells is as alive to me as herself there by the fire, and I can
see Marco Polo as plain as I can see my cousin Randall, and he playing with
dogs. . ."
"If they weren't real and live and warm, what would a story be, Brian Oge, but a
jumble of dead words? A house with nobody in it, the poorest thing in the world."
"But Marco Polo came back to Venice, Malachi, and fought in the sea-wars."
"There's more to tell, Brian Oge. But sometimes I wonder shouldn't the best part
of the story be kept to yourself. The people aren't as wise as they used to be,
brown lad. The end of a story now is a bit of kissing and courting and the kettle
boiling to be making tea.
"But the older ones were wiser, Brian Donn. They knew that the rhythm of life is
long and swinging, and that time doesn't stop short as a clock. Sure, what is a
kiss from the finest of women but a pleasant thing, like a long putt sunk, or the
first salmon of the year caught like a trout, or the ball through the goal before the
whistle blows? And there's many a well-filled belly over a hungry soul.
"But a story is how destiny is interwoven, the fine and gallant and the tragic
points of life. And you mustn't look at them with the eyes of the body, but you
must feel with the antennae of your being. Now, if you were to look at the Lord
Jesus with physical eyes, what would it be but a kindly, crazy man and He
coming to a hard and bitter end? Look at it simply, and what was the story of
Troy but a dirty row over a woman?
"But often times the stories with endings that grocer's daughters do not be liking
are the stories that are worth while. And the worth while stories do be lasting.
Never clip a story half-ways because Widow Robinson doesn't like to have her
mind disturbed, and she warming her breadth at the fire. The Widow Robinson
may have a white coin to buy a book with, and think you're the grand author
entirely and you pleasing her. But Lord God, who gave you the stories, know you
for a louse.
"I call to your mind the stories of great English writer -- the plays of the Prince of
Denmark, and the poor blind king on the cliff, and the Scottish chieftain and his
terrible wife. The Widow Robinson will not like those stories, and she will be
keeping her white coin . . .But those stories will endure forever. . .