There was once an artist and a poet.
The artist was renowned throughout the land for his sublime skill with the brush, his superb eye for colour, his ability to define the truth of nature with each stroke, bringing the canvas to life in a glorious cacophony of colour. People looked on in awe as he painted, watching the scene come alive as each moment passed. When he put the brush down, there was a hushed silence and many watchers shed a tear at the beauty of his creation.
The poet was also held in the highest esteem. He could captivate an audience with his magical use of words, his lilting rhythms, his passion that created a vivid tapestry in the mind’s eyes of his enthralled listeners. He transported them to wondrous places far beyond the imagination. And when he spoke the last word of the last verse, his audience were silent in their admiration of what they had heard, overcome with the emotion of his words.
Then one day it came to pass that the artist, now grey and of rheumy eye, realised he could no longer paint the vibrant beauty of all that he saw around him. He was distraught at his loss and resigned to die as his very reason for being was lost to him.
The poet too, after these many years, now old and grey succumbed to deafness, no longer able to hear his own voice, so felt no longer able to speak in his rich lilting rhythms to create the wonderful soundscapes and journeys of the imagination his words had done. He too was distraught at his loss and resigned to die as his very reason for being was lost to him.
And it happened that the artist and the poet were in the same town, sitting side by side by the oldest tree, neither aware of who the other was.
A small boy saw them there and with the innocence of a child spoke to them. He spoke first to the artist: “Why do you look so sad?” The artist, hearing the child’s voice but not seeing him, reached out a hand and asked, “Who is that?” The boy replied, “I am but a boy but I know you are sad. Tell me why.” The artist turned his head toward the sound of the boy’s voice and said, “I was a great artist but now my sight is gone and I can no longer paint the beauty of all that there is around me.” The boy then asked him, “What are you doing here?” to which the artist replied, “I am waiting to die as I have no reason to continue living.”
This puzzled the boy. He turned to the poet and asked him, “I am but a boy but I know you are sad. Tell me why.” The poet did not respond because he could not hear the boy speak. The boy tapped the poet on the arm and he looked towards him and the boy repeated his question. The poet could see the boy’s lips move but for him, no sound came out. Yet he discovered he could understand the boy’s words. With huge effort, he spoke although the words were no more than a rasping whisper to the artist and the boy for the poet could not hear his own voice: “I was a great poet but now my hearing is gone and I can no longer hear my voice, I am unable to use the magic of my words to create wonderful worlds of the imagination.” The boy then asked, “What are you doing here?”, to which the poet replied, “I am waiting to die as I have no reason to continue living.”
The boy thought about this for a moment and then a wonderful idea came to him. To the artist he said, “The poet can still see and he has discovered his voice again although he can no longer hear the words he speaks, but you can. His words can describe the wonders of nature that is all around us. Let him use his words and you can paint the images he puts in your mind’s eye.”
And so it was that the artist and the poet worked together as one; the poet speaking aloud, describing the beauty that was all about, and the artist, painting by touch the wondrous scenes from his imagination.
The crowds stood in rapt delight at the poet's words as they were transformed into wondrous images on the artist’s canvas. And the boy stood amongst the throng and smiled.
I’m not sure what to call the style of this story. I suppose fable is the best choice. There is a moral too I think. It was just an idea that came to me and the style, and story just happened. I would welcome your thoughts.