Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Spectacles

The Spectacles
‘Grandpa,’ said Nawiti, ‘it’s time for you to tuck me up in bed and tell me a story.’
‘Once upon a time, a long time ago,’ I began, ‘there was a great leader of the people called Supersata.’
‘What made him great?’ asked Nawiti, suspiciously.
‘His spectacles,’ I said. ‘He had very powerful spectacles.’
‘You mean he had great vision,’ said Nawiti.
‘On the contrary,’ I explained, ‘his vision was terrible. That was why he needed such powerful spectacles.’
‘So how did these spectacles make him such a great leader?’
‘Because he was able to see the plight of the people. He could see their problems, and could see what to do about them. He would just stand in front of the people, thousands of them, and say I know you are hungry and I will give you food. I know you are poor and I will put money in your pockets.’
‘Then I don’t see anything very marvelous about his spectacles,’ snorted Nawiti. ‘He was just seeing obvious things which were right in front of him.’
‘The most marvelous thing about the spectacles,’ I said, ‘was that they also worked the other way round. When the people looked at him, they looked through his spectacles, and they saw themselves. They saw an ordinary Man of the People.’
‘Hmm,’ said Nawiti, still not convinced. ‘Did his magic spectacles enable him to see what was causing all this starvation and poverty?’
‘Oh yes,’ I said, ‘they were very good at that. He saw that the evil King Nyamasoya and his nasty friends were stealing all the money from the treasury, and the judges were all wearing their silly wigs back to front, and pretending they couldn’t see anything. Vote for me, Supersata would say, and I will lock them all up, and you will be rich and happy!’
‘So did they vote for him?’
‘Oh yes. They all voted for him, chased away the evil King Nyamasoya, and carried Supersata to the palace.’
‘And did he become a good king?’
‘That evening, when all the crowds had gone, he put on his Superman suit and stood on the palace balcony and spoke to the stars, saying I am King Superman, Man of the People, appointed by the people to sweep corruption from this land, get back the stolen money, sack the corrupt judges, and jail the thieves, all with immediate effect, if not sooner! And so saying, and believing himself to be Superman, he threw himself into the air, in order to begin his mighty works.’
‘Could he really fly?’ asked Nawiti.
‘There must have been a bit of a problem with his Superman suit,’ I admitted. ‘No sooner had he launched himself into the air than his whole body suddenly became unusually susceptible to the Force of Gravity, and he plummeted down onto the flagstones below.’
‘Oh dear,’ said Nawiti, ‘was he hurt?’
‘Not really,’ I said, ‘but his pride and self-confidence were dreadfully wounded. And even worse, he landed on his spectacles, which were completely broken into a hundred pieces. Now the previously far-seeing king couldn’t even see his own hand in front of him.’
‘So what did he do?’
‘The problem was soon solved. One of the palace lackeys came running up to him with a beautiful pair of gold-rimmed spectacles, saying Do not worry, O King, take these spectacles, we always keep a spare pair at the palace.
‘So the next morning he dressed up in his Superman Suit, put on his new spectacles, and went to look at himself in the mirror. And what a marvelous sight he saw! His cloak was now made of gold cloth, and a crown was on his head. Better still, he was now a large and powerful king. Very good! he said to himself, What lovely big spectacles! Now I have a much bigger opinion of myself!
Then the lackey came running in, saying Your Most Mighty Excellent Excellency King Superman, thousands of your faithful subjects are here at the palace waiting to hear your words of infinite and all-knowing wisdom!
Then the king went to the balcony where the multitude stretched into the far distance, all crying together We appointed you as our leader, now arrest Nyamasoya who emptied the treasury! Arrest the Chief Judge who murdered Justice!
But Superman looked at the mob with aristocratic disdain, as the sun glinted angrily on his new gold spectacles. I was not appointed by you! he shouted. A king is appointed by All Mighty God. I do not do your bidding, but listen instead to the advice from My Almighty God, who speaks only to me. And do not accuse anybody of a crime unless you have firm evidence! Which one of you ever personally saw Nyamasoya filling his wallet at the treasury? Which one of you saw the bullet fly from the gun that killed Justice? Where is your evidence? If you have any such evidence, go to the police immediately, and they will investigate your involvement in the crime!’
‘Oh dear,’ said Nawiti sadly. ‘What did the people do when they heard all that?’
‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘That’s the end of the story.’
‘But how do you think the people solved the problem?’ Nawiti asked irritably.
‘Well,’ I gulped, ‘I suppose the people had to choose a new leader, and then carry him to the palace.’
‘That wouldn’t have worked!’ Nawiti declared.
‘Why not?’ I asked.
‘Because,’ replied Nawiti slowly, ‘once the new leader reached the palace, he would just put on the same pair of gold-rimmed spectacles!’


  1. ha ha ha ... they shall not last longer

  2. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha you are quite funny and creative mwe