by antonio enriquez
The other tale is of the kingdom of Madungi, a city on a mountain top. He begins:
“The mountain is far, far away from the village of Mandih. There, there very far away...You walk and walk, walk for several days, and finally there you’ll find yourself, having grown very tired, your soles bruised, you sweating, shirt drenched, wet on the small of your back and armpits ... walking for days and days to the Kingdom of Madungi there. In that kingdom lived the blue-eyed, white people in houses bigger than palaces. That kingdom is enchanted, many strange things happening in that kingdom, we are told, and it has four sides, not the houses, but the kingdom itself; it has four sides ... A stranger who happens to find himself in the enchanted kingdom of Madungi becomes enthralled with the city’s great beauty and splendor. On the meadow surrounding the palace are flowers of gold, the leaves of surrounding orchard so green and soft they break on your fingers when you touch them, test them if they’re real, and the trees have trunks so smooth they shine in the faintest light. But not one of the trees in spite of their freshness grow taller than the shortest tower of the palace. Wherever you’re in the kingdom the palace is always in your sight, never leaves you as you never leave it. The stranger cannot help himself but go around looking at the beautiful sights and going farther and farther, farther from where he began, where his first step lifted, looking for more beautiful sights. Finally, satisfied, as any man will be with earthly things though how beautiful and grand they are, he, the stranger, decides to return to the place he started from and be on his way home. But he cannot find it, the place he has begun his journey admiring the beauty of the kingdom of Madungi. Because, you see, the four sides of the kingdom are equal, precise in size and quality, they are all the same, it is like looking at the reflection in a mirror, in which an object is as true to its real self as the reflection in the mirror....Really, the four sides are identical in whatever view you look at them, precise and equal, not a flaw or excellence in one to distinguish it from the other! The flowers are blooming gold, the leaves are fresh and green, the tree-trunks are radiant, and the palace looks all the same wherever you place yourself, left or right, front or back, the meadow and garden, each of the square sides are evenly balanced and identical. From wherever you are standing, Sir-Professor, any of the four sides, yes, the identical sides, any of the four sides of the kingdom will look the same to you. Ò, o.So, at last, he realizes, he comes to the inevitable conclusion, that all the splendor and beauty is just an illusion, a chimera, there to deceive and fancy him, to make him look foolish, an idiot, using its beauty and splendor to enchant him in its falsehood, its fantasy....”
Suddenly, he stops. Is this the end of his tale? Out of respect, concern, that we may chafe him by indiscreetly questioning him, though he has stopped, we do not say anything, our tongues are tight and bound. Also stop our recording. Quietly, we leave the old man to his memories, fresh and old, alternately, continuous and abrupt, in time and space ... in the chasm of his daydream.