28 May The Song
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"The Song"Written by
Estimated reading time — 3 minutes
Come, Traveler. You are weary. Rest a while here, it’s perfectly fine. Take a load off your feet and get something to eat; you look like you could use a good meal. You are a wanderer, far from home, am I right? How did I know? Well, everyone who comes through here is like you. Why else would you come to a place like this, except if you were on the road, lost, seeking… something. But what is it you seek?
My name? My name doesn’t matter. I’m just a simple old woman who enjoys giving travelers such as yourself some comfort. But if you insist, you may call me Lydia. And while you rest, Traveler, let me tell you a story. I’ve seen much of the world, as you yourself hope to one day, and I’ve collected some good ones.
Do you know of those the Greeks called the Sirens? Those three enchantresses, gifted and cursed with the voices of angels. Their singing would consume a man entirely, and drive him to his own destruction. Few know their song, of course, for anyone who hears it is doomed never to tell if its beauty, at least in this world. The ultimate mystery–a sound that is lethal! How can one discover what such a song sounds like? Even the dread Gorgon’s gaze may be dared through a mirror, but a sound is either heard or not, and to hear it is to hear no more forever. But I know it.
What about Odysseus? Yes, he did listen to the song and survive. But he was never able to reproduce it. No mortal could. And as he entered old age, his mind forgot its details. He never passed it along. In fact, Jason and his bold crew also escaped the clutches of the song, but only because the music of Orpheus overwhelmed it. He alone, of anyone before or since, had a skill in music to rival those three. But none of his crew heard the notes coming from above.
Where was I? Oh, right. Many of the great bards of old have claimed to know the song. They have said it was about knowledge, about power, about beauty. One of your more recent poets claimed the Sirens sang of weakness, and that only the sailor to whom they sang could rescue them. And they were all wrong. And they were all right.
See, one cannot know the words to the song. One cannot know them, because there are none. The song of the siren is a tune. A melody. The oldest–
I can’t tell you how I know, that would spoil the surprise! I can tell you that what I say is true. You’ll just have to trust me for now. I’ll explain later. My, my, you are a curious one. That’s why you came here, though? Why you came to this place, this dismal corner of the world? To learn, to seek knowledge? To see the things that stare at you from the darkness, to know what goes bump in the night? Well, I can tell you. But you’ll have to listen to me first. Just come along, and I will give you the knowledge you seek.
The song is nothing but a melody. The oldest, saddest, sweetest melody ever heard on this earth. It works into your head, takes your desires, your hopes, whatever you most long for, and uses them to draw you in. It promises redemption to the guilty conscience, love to the lonely heart… and knowledge to the hungry mind.
The minds of mortals are wonderful things. They are powerful enough to take this tune and thoroughly convince themselves they are hearing words, and that those words happen to fulfill even those desires they cannot admit to themselves. And yet, at the same time, they are feeble enough to be sucked in by their wants, to lose sight of all else, including their own impending destruction. But can you really blame them? Can you really blame yourself?
No, I still can’t tell you how I know; all in good time. But I have so many other stories to tell. Just keep walking with me. Follow me, and I will fill your head with such wondrous tales, your thirst for truth, for knowledge, will finally be satisfied. Just a little farther. So come along, Traveler, just one… more… step…
Credit To – Tiberius