As the Shah of Blah sat, gently sending out gusts of malodorous air from his rear end, his eyes rested on the three travelling companions sitting in front of him. Of all the people in the crowd, it is these three who attracted his attention. Looking at them, he smiled, fang-like canines peeping out from between his lips. Horrifying as he looked and smelled, he was a fascinating character, and the crowd was spellbound by him.
There they sat, the wandering Gypsy, Bismillah and Esmerelda. An unlikely trio if there ever was one. It was a mystery as to how such an unlikely band of fellow travellers had come together, but they had.
They were quite different in character and in looks. Shall we describe them before me move on? Maybe yes. It is as important to gain a first glimmer of understanding of the people who listen to a story, as it is to understand the people who are in the story. We shall not talk of the Shah Of Blah at this point. More and more of his character shall be revealed as his Fables progress.
We shall start with the wandering Gypsy. He was nicknamed The Gypsy by an old friend of his. He had known her for many years, and were good friends. There was nothing romantic between them, and we have no idea why we feel it is important to stress this point. Anyhow, he was pf medium height; strongly built, if a bit stocky, brown skin and eyes. His thick shock of black hair was starting to grey. He had travelled the world, and had seen many ports, and as he entered the autumn of his life, he wanted to explore more and more. Yes, now as he travelled the ports, cities, villages, mountains and rivers of the world, his gaze started to turn inward as much as it did outward. The inward journey presented itself with as many perils and rewards as did the outward journey. He was The Wanderer
The second of the three, was Bismillah. He was still burning a bit from being left out of the introduction to the Shah of Blah, and it took us some effort to mollify him, and to assure him that his role in bringing the trio to the Shah Of Blah would not be forgotten. He was the antithesis to the Gypsy. He seemed almost wizened in appearance, and his eyes had a cunning look to them. Always ready to laugh at social convention, he delighted in making fun of all that was pompous in the world, making sly jokes, playing tricks and watching others squirm. He had a way of listening quietly, almost invisible, looking sleepy and innocent before bursting on the unsuspecting victim with a remark of withering sarcasm and black humour. Bismillah liked to think of himself as the Wicked One
Finally, we come to Esmerelda, she of the green hair and the green eyes. She was sometimes referred to as The Old One. She was, it seems old indeed and had come from an ancient time. Yet, she looked no more than one in the prime of youth. She was sinuous, alluring in look. Yet, shadows lurked behind those seductive green eyes. She could spin a web, a web that could catch you like a little fly. Yet, this was not a fly that would fly in the temporal world. She could weave a web around your thoughts, your dreams, twist them around you until you were not sure of what was real and what was not. What is real, she once asked, and what is the dream? Her eyes were almost closed as she said this, and she stretched herself with languor. There were depths to Esmerelda, The Old One, it seemed.
A strange crew indeed, and yet they found themselves wandering together. They seemed to accept each other. They seemed to understand each other.
The Shah of Blah sat there quietly, looking at them. He stretched, his joints creaking, and he said.
“What would you like to hear? A story, perhaps? A fable? Or, an adventure? Let us start on a journey together, and walk down the pathway of dreams, of reflections, of talk.”
“What lies in my mind? Do you know? Do I? What lies behind the locked door? I have not seen it, and neither have you? It is as much of a mystery to me, as it may be to you. The story shall begin, and shall take us down paths mysterious, winding rivers, and into the skies. Let the wind take us, the river cool us, and let us feel the earth beneath our feet.”
“Let us feel the heat of the desert, the icy cold winds of winter, climb mountains, and rejoice in the life that we have been given.”
Standing up, The Shah Of Blah bellowed, “Shall we start to unlock the doors of my mind? Shall we find out what lies behind the closed doors?”