The Curmudgeon


Sunday, June 20, 2021

The Father of Teeth

Text for today: Carnassials ccxlix-cclxiii

Fortunately, however, it was by no means around this time that the Father of Teeth went striding among sun-scorched rocks and dawdling along desolate crags, and watching the horizon sink its black and crooked fangs into the gaudy sky. His appreciation was interrupted by a series of minor earthquakes, which made fine grit hiss like halitosis and caused small stones to rattle like loosened molars. Following the vibrations to their source, the Father of Teeth came upon a titanic figure fettered to the rocks, with a poisonous snake above. As the Father of Teeth approached, the snake dropped venom on the titanic figure's brow, which caused him to convulse and the rocks to shudder with his agony.

"Who are you?" the titanic figure demanded of the Father of Teeth.
"I felt a grinding in the ground, and followed it," said the Father of Teeth. "The earth does not usually tremble at my passing, however unconscionable my feet."
"You have not been sent to deliver me from my punishment?" asked the titanic figure.
"I have not," said the Father of Teeth. "What was your crime?"
"Letting a few monkeys play with fire," said the titanic figure. The snake dripped its venom, and agony convulsed him and the rocks shuddered again.

"For stealing from the gods," continued the titanic figure, "I was bound even as you now see me, and every day an eagle would come and devour my liver, which would forever regenerate itself to be eaten anew on the morrow." Indeed, just beneath the lowest of his seventeen sets of ribs the titanic figure bore a ragged scar: clearly the result of many and repeated woundings.

"But the eagle has been absent for some time, which led me to hope that the gods might realise at last that I acted for the best, from a spirit of compassion and the furtherance of progress, and hence that they might be disposed to reconcile."
"I fear you can hardly have kept up with current events," said the Father of Teeth; "those gods who bound you have been extinct for millennia, and the birds for several decades, and the coming of winter is so feared by your pet monkeys that the use of fire is subject to an impressive array of priestly prohibitions." And the snake dripped its venom again.


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