Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Diary of a Madman

The year 2000, 43rd of April.
This day—is a day of the greatest solemnity! Spain has a king. He has been found. I am that king. Only this very day did I learn of it. I confess, it came to me suddenly in a flash of lightning. I don’t understand how I could have thought and imagined that I was a titular councilor. How could such a wild notion enter my head? It’s a good thing no one thought of putting me in an insane asylum. Now everything is laid open before me. Now I see everything as on the palm of my hand. And before, I don’t understand, before everything around me was in some sort of fog. And all this happens, I think, because people imagine that the human brain is in the head. Not at all: it is brought by a wind from the direction of the Caspian Sea. First off, I announced to Mavra who I am. When she heard that the king of Spain was standing before her, she clasped her hands and nearly died of fright. The stupid woman had never seen a king of Spain before. However, I endeavored to calm her down and assured her in gracious words of my benevolence and that I was not at all angry that she sometimes polished my boots poorly. They’re benighted folk. It’s impossible to tell them about lofty matters. She got frightened, because she’s convinced that all kings of Spain are like Philip II. But I explained to her that there was no resemblance between me and Philip II, and that I didn’t have a single Capuchin…I didn’t go to the office…To hell with it! No, friends, you won’t lure me there now; I’m not going to copy your vile papers!

--The Diary of a Madman, Nikolai Gogol (1835)