The Electronic Portfolio of

Artifact – Gateway (Re-Purposing an Argument)

5 March 2012

Once upon a time…

there was an Emperor from a far away land who ruled His people with excessive arrogance and pomposity, never passing up an opportunity to display His superior stature to His subjects. Coming from a long line of Emperors before Him, it was all he knew; The Emperor was the highest, most heralded figure in all the land, just as His great, great, great grandfather was all those eons ago during the Nineteen Years’ Skirmish of South Shirdenhiregarten.

The Emperor seamlessly followed in the footsteps of the ruby-clad slippers of His forefathers. Not only was such a life outlook all He knew, but the castle in which His family ensconced itself throughout the centuries was festooned with their paintings and tomes of their personal accords, opinions, and advice. The family crest was emblazoned on everything The Emperor owned from His flowing robes and bath robes even to the suede case that contained the alabaster toe nail clipper with which his servants groomed him every Wednesday. He recited the family credo every morning when He awoke, before every address to the public (which were far and few between, mind you), as well as every evening before feasting on olived leg of leopard, The Emperor’s favorite meal and a recipe passed down from generation to generation, upon His mastodon tusk throne. The motto (the non-abridged scrolls were rumored to be over thrice poppyseed acre furlongs in all) went a little something like this:

E for excellence and emeralds

M for His majesty

P for power, o preponderant power

E once again for good measure, for eternal everlasting

R for resplendent reverence

O for ostentatious opulence

R for refulgence

That is the way The Emperor lives, that is the way The Emperor is.

            The Emperor would never dare venture out of the example set by His past elders. He took from them His temperament, outlook, and politics. If The Emperor’s monarchy was not just that and actually featured “parties,” as they are hypothetically proffered by treasonous philosophers, it can be reasonably surmised that he would have adopted such identifications transmitted by his family, too.

Ruling His kingdom as any other Emperor would, telling this peasant he cannot dig a well there and that peon she cannot trade her rhubarbs with neighboring provinces hither, and signing this decree and that while polishing His sapphire scepter with His unicorn hair silk handkerchief, nothing really ever crossed His sacred cerebellum. He was an Emperor, from a valorous line of Emperors before Him, whose job it was to rule. Why should He think more deeply into it? As a mere scribe I dare not journey into such blasphemous territory; yet, for the sake of this historical tale, the question has relevance.

During the biweekly Emperor Extravaganza day, laborers of the kingdom were granted the evening off to gather at the town square in admiration of The Emperor. His Most Highness, His chin protruding past the highest turret of the castle, paraded around upon His lavish float as the people were required to gently toss magenta daffodils (the favorite of His most Excellency) at His procession of pageantry. It was a great surprise indeed when the lions pulling his chassis stopped suddenly: a small boy had wandered out of the masses, curiously staring at The Emperor. Shifting His crown back atop His holy head after being discombobulated from the sudden brake, The Emperor looked down upon the small subject with squinted, beady eyes, nostrils flaring.

“Guards! Please remove this hindrance from my sight at once,” His highness bellowed.

As the royal guards approached the little boy, he flipped up into the air the small, tattered kite he was holding in his dirty, calloused palm. A dainty breeze caught the kite, and it gingerly floated down onto The Emperor’s lap.

“Would you like to go down to Andovershire glen and fly kites with me?” the small child inquired to The Emperor.

The Emperor, visibly bamboozled by such an inquiry, retorted, “No, I would most certainly not.”

“Why not?” the little boy asked politely. “Don’t you like flying kites? It’s a perfect kite-flying day out.”

Staring into the little boy’s bright blue eyes and kind face, The Emperor started to stammer, struggling to articulate why it was He couldn’t do things with His fellow citizens.

“My father and I are going fishing later too, would you like to come along? I heard there’s a giant purple platypus in the lake. I’m going to catch him.”

The eyes of the kingdom were upon The Emperor. They all knew quite well what was unfolding before Him. No one had ever had the effrontery to emerge from the masses and question His position over them, and ask Him to consider things a different way, that they were all members of the same community, and could coexist happily and equally with one another. The little boy was too young to be aware of such social grace.

A great debate was unfolding in The Emperor’s head. He could not figure out how to explain to the boy that He ruled him and his family and friends. It was His job to tell the boy’s family what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, just as His family had done for generations. If The Emperor started flying kites with the proletariat philistines, how in the world would they still respect Him?

“Why am I even contemplating flying kites at all?” The Emperor contemplated. “There is no kite flying for Emperors.” However the thought would not leave Him.

“Because…it’s just how things work- there is no time for such…it is my job to-” The Emperor stopped suddenly, the entire citadel anticipating His next words.

“You know what, I’d love to fly kites with you today on this most glorious summer evening,” the Emperor declared, sending the crowd into jovial uproar.

The Emperor hopped down off his caravan without the assistance of his servants, picked up the boy in his arms and placed his crown upon the boy’s head, which rested upon his shoulders. They proceeded with their fellow townspeople down the winding path through the hills, above which fireflies were lazily floating under the wispy, pastel clouds caressing the setting sun.

Truly ‘twas a historic day in our fair kingdom. The centuries old practices of the Emperors were finally reexamined. It took the naivety of a small, curious boy to inform the Emperor that other viewpoints are indeed out there, that other ways to carry oneself in relation to one’s counterparts do exist. He responded more humanly than any of his subjects ever fathomed possible. From that day henceforth the Emperor decided to cease his excessive hubris and vanity in order to better carry out his duty as a leader; that of which, to serve his people. Now if you will please forgive me, I desperately want to drop my quipping quill and join the rest of the town’s revelry down in the meadow.


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