November 6, 2019

Okay so brace yourself. Talking mythical creatures, adages and modern literary vocabulary are all gonna come together in this descriptive fable.



The river Cyrus cleaved its azure way through the Earth, sundering the soil into two kingdoms that flourished on either side of its banks. To its east stood the majestic spires and the symphony of order that was home to more than thousands of Anubi.To its west stood in stark contrast, the kingdom of the sphinx- a dissonant medley of diversity and directions. While the kingdom of the Anubis gleamed like a well-ordered tessellation, a bizarre outlay of jarring colors would pop out from pastel-hued furrows to meet the eye of anyone who would observe the haven of the Sphinx. 

And seated in his tall tower, this bizarreness of his kingdom is exactly what worried the prince of the Sphinx. When he lifted his eyes to look beyond the seams of his land and past the gushing mantel of the river, he would see how the scenery changed ever so abruptly and condensed from an exploding chaos to one of structure and wealth. Yes, not only where there frequent rifts between the diverse population of his kingdom, but there was also a rolling mass of poverty interspersed with the richness. But the kingdom of Anubis bathed in gold, for wealth and success is what the harmonious efforts of the Anubi had brought to its kingdom. Indeed, the kingdom of the sphinx – though ruled by the ancestral house of Sphinx housed almost every sort of creature from manticores to elven bards. But the kingdom of the Anubis was home to the Anubi and the Anubi alone.

Deciding to learn the secret behind the order and success of the Anubi, the prince of the Sphinx set out to the neighboring kingdom

There, the king of the Anubis himself arrived to greet the prince with every bit of pompous hospitality and sent an envoy of ministers, soldiers, and artists to escort the prince on a guided tour around the kingdom. 

So the prince traversed that day, the length and breadth of the land and saw with wonder, its beauty and success. The pride of being an Anubis swelled in the little heart of every young Anubis. Every citizen was schooled in the art of discipline and perfection. Worship houses professed the declaration of God and the codes of the king which every citizen strictly abided by. And so, the day had melted into dusk. 

Tired and Fascinated, the prince, along with his envoy, headed back to the palace. There, he was taken to the dining hall by the graceful queen who had the grandeur of an Anubis in her posture and the grace of a sphinx in her gait. Together, they walked down to the feast, conversing about the kingdom and such matters. 

Just when they were about to turn right into another corridor, a high- pitched screech erupted from within the wall. The prince turned back in fright for this was the first fragment of fear and chaos he had descried in this peaceful kingdom. And what a screech it was! A voice so tormented and so foreign to the deep intonation of the Anubis!

“What- what was that?” the prince asked the queen, a slight tremor covering within his voice. The queen opened her mouth to answer, but just then the king himself appeared from around the corner.

“What are you waiting here for? The feast awaits you?” he coaxed.

At that moment, the screech sounded again. The prince shuddered. “What is that wail your majesty?” he inquired.

At this, the king’s amicable features morphed into solemness. “That,” he explained darkly, “ is criminals. Rebels and the like who infect the society and try to destroy its order. We have extremely strict laws against the lot.”

And so, they left that ominous corridor and soon came to the ornate dining hall two floors above, decked in the reassuring coolness of silver and jade. The dinner proceeded with warmth and delight. When the courses were finally over, the prince asked to see the prisoners saying it was admirable how well the king could catch the criminals in his kingdom and curtail them from infiltrating his land. But the king rejected the plea reasoning that it wasn’t safe. And so the feast ended well.

That night, a knock sounded on the prince’s door. As he opened it, he was surprised to see the curved figure of the queen in a dark robe.

“Why, my lady, is there something I can do?” he asked.

“You had asked to see the prisoners at dinner,” she whispered, “ I can take you there. But you have to be extremely quiet about this.”

The prince assented and the duo wound their way to the dungeons.

The dungeon doors opened and the two, flanked by two of the queen’s confidentials, descended the stairs to the prison. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, the prison swam into focus. The prince almost let out a cry at what he saw. But stifling his scream he panted as a shadow settled dawned on his face.

There in front of him were citizens enough to fill half the kingdom. Some of them were peacocks, some centaurs, some sphinxes, and some, other stranger creatures. Most of them were either part Anubis or mostly Anubis. Some of them were an entirely foreign species. 

Noticing his horror, the queen told him, “I used to be one of them too. A sphinx. But the king force converts all those who aren’t Anubi into Anubi so that his kingdom would have perfect harmony and uniformity. To strengthen the oneness of his land, he turns those who are different into his own species through surgeries. Over time though, we start getting used to being Anubi,” she said. With this, she turned and walked out of the dungeon. The prince, completely shocked, silently followed her heels. The guards locked the gates behind them and vowing secrecy, the prince went back to his room.

The next day, he bade farewell to the king, and thanking him for his hospitality, he started back to his own kingdom, secretly relieved to leave this dystopian utopia.

Even as he entered his land, the neatness he had seen the previous day in his neighboring kingdom broke into a liberal arena of a diversified society. But now, this sight didn’t upset him so much. True, there were things he still wanted to change here. But for now, he was happy that his own father – the king of the Sphinx- hadn’t resorted to such cruel means. Maybe there was lesser order, more mistakes, and diversity, but there was also enough space for emotional outbursts and choice. Whereas, behind the perfect kingdom of Anubis lay a whole realm of oppressed population. 
But although he hadn’t gotten a solution to his problem yet, the one thing he had learned from his journey was that the solution to the issues in his homeland could come only from analyzing his own home and learning its strengths, weaknesses, and values. Imitating another’s technique or pining for their strengths could never work. Because every story has two sides to it; of which only one it chooses to show.


Image credits: Photo by Jaanus Jagomägi on Unsplash

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