“I’ll get it!” Simplia said, jumping up from her footstool. “Who could it be?”
“More magical friends with ideas, I hope!” said Sagacia.
Simplia opened the door and saw no one. “Maybe it’s the ‘little man who wasn’t there.’”
“Nope,” said the Mailmouse. “Sorry to disappoint you. Watch where you’re stepping!”
Simplia looked down and there he was, like a recurring character in some network sitcom — little USPS baseball cap, little USPS mail pouch.
“Oh!” she exclaimed. “You’re just in time. We were bundling up a packet of mail to go out.” From behind her, Sagacia passed forward a hastily stuffed envelope addressed “To Margaret @ Match dot com.”
The mouse dropped his jaw, raised an eyebrow, and gave her an expression that said, “What’re you, nuts?”
“Do I look like the mailmule?” he said. “Where, among my personal effects, is that sucker going to get tucked away? As if I could even carry it. No, ladies, I did not show up for your personal convenience; I’m here because I’m doing my job. Delivering mail. Here’s one for Vasilisa the Wise.”
“She’s not here right now,” said Sagacia. “My friend and I have been given authority to take her mail and messages.”
“You’ll get it to her then?” asked the mouse.
“Um…sure,” the Simpletons affirmed.
“Uh, yeah, promise!” they said.
With that, the mouse dug deep and pulled out another impossibly tiny envelope addressed “To Vasilisa the Brave — personal and confidential.”
“I can trust you characters to keep this personal and confidential correspondence personal and confidential?”
Both of them snapped to attention and saluted.
“Scout’s honor,” they said.
As soon as the mouse was gone a hush fell over the Fairy Tale Lobby, and all eyes were on the Simpletons.
“You gonna open that, or what?” someone asked.
The Simpletons looked over at each other. They looked down at the letter. They looked across the room at their magical friends.
“Well,” Simplia began, “we promised Vasilisa the Wise, Brave and Beautiful that we would make sure all her mail got read and replied to…”
“But,” Sagacia continued, “in the flurry of the moment, we just promised that ill-tempered little mailmouse that we would not open this letter marked ‘personal and confidential.’”
“We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t,” Simplia observed.
And there they stood, each Simpleton holding a corner of the envelope, their brains aching with effort of trying to sort out this quandary. They had made conflicting promises. Of course, prurient interest nudged them in the direction of opening the missive. It might contain juicy gossip! Which is why they both leaned toward absolutely NOT opening it, because they knew their motive for doing so would be disingenuous. On the other hand…What if it were a time sensitive message? What if Vasilisa’s correspondent really NEEDED to know whether or not she had received and read the message?
Slowly, activity resumed in the Fairy Tale Lobby. The espresso machine hissed, the kettle whistled, cups and saucers clattered, keyboards clicked, and conversations resumed. But the Simpletons were rooted to the spot, wondering what to do about this sealed envelope they held.
Since this blog post is being written from an omniscient point of view, it is not out of order for the writer to apprise the reader of the content of the missive. To wit:
Yo, Vasilisa –
How goes it, kiddo? Me? I’m doing okay. Except for a case of terminal lovesickness. Vasilisa, I finally met the woman of my dreams. I was hunting in the Black Forest, when I stumbled upon a fountain where three of the most gorgeous babes I’ve ever seen were dancing and singing and … oh! They were lovely. Especially the one dressed in green sequins — Melusina. And guess what? I didn’t have to make the first move. I didn’t have to think of a snappy pickup line. SHE came on to ME.
Yesterday, I asked her to marry me and she said… She said “yes,” only it was a “yes, but.” She said she’d marry me if I promised not to look at her on Saturday. That’s random. But not impossible. I can bask in her company for the other six days of the week. I mean, we all need some “me” time, don’t we? And it works out pretty conveniently with hockey season and basketball.
So, you were always the wise one when we were kids at school. You tell me. What harm can possibly come of promising not to look at my wife on Saturdays? You know, I bet after we’ve been together for awhile, these Big Important Conditions will lose their importance and not even matter any more.
What say you?
Your old pal Ray, who is
Languishing in Luxembourg
The Simpletons stand there still, caught in a stop-motion frame that won’t change until they have figured out how to balance the conflicting promises they’ve made. Meanwhile, Languishing in Luxembourg teeters on the brink of what might be a terrible mistake.
We have faith in Magical Friends. Faith that they will put forth examples of promises made, promises kept or broken. Most helpful to Simplia and Sagacia would be a story involving conflicting promises such as the ones they’ve made.
Til then, they remain impaled, figuratively (thank heaven!), on the horns of a dilemma.
Julius Hübner ‘Die schöne Melusine’ 1844