From the 'Taur's Mouth (part 5)

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Posted by Lucius Appaloosius on October 15, 2003 at 21:57:44:

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In Reply to: From the 'Taur's Mouth (part 4) posted by Lucius Appaloosius on October 12, 2003 at 20:47:00:

Since I had not availed myself of the opportunity to put an epigraph at the *beginning* of this narrative, let me insert it at the end - a 'tailpiece', as one might call it.

I am of two minds (as are many of us,it seems) which to choose to sum up this life; therefore, I will print both, and leave you to decide..............


A bookish blockhead, ignorantly read,
With loads of learned lumber in his head,
With his own tongue still edifies his ears;
And always *listening to himself* appears...

------Alexander Pope, the 'Dunciad'

The cow, the old cow, she is dead;
It sleeps well, the horned head;
We poor lads, 'tis our turn now
To hear such tunes as killed the cow......

A.E. Housman, 'Terence, This is Stupid Stuff'


So now you know how and when I arrived in this world. How has life been since?

I wish I could say it has been fascinating: full of daring escapades, moments of transcendent beauty, deeds of true nobility and the like. To tell the truth, it's been rather dull, not to mention lonely.

As Bill was so fearful of the consequences of letting a centaur loose in a human world, I remained, for nearly thirty years, a prisoner of his imagination. It was, in all fairness, a quite roomy prison, with plenty of fields and forests in which to gallop; but solitary confinement, even in Paradise, is the worst of torments to any social creature, especially a centaur.

My attempts to impose myself upon this 'real' world concentrated chiefly upon Bill's talent for drawing. I persuaded him to start portraying me in various media and poses, that I might at least have some concrete, albeit second-hand, form in this universe.

So, he began creating and multiplying my image: in pencil, ink, paint, printwork, carving, clay and cast metal; as if , by combining all these, I might be conjured up in the flesh at last. He even attempted to provide a companion for me: a trim, beautiful dapple-grey filly named 'Cecilia'.

But, for all this, I remained unsatisfied; for Bill, still wary of the world's disapproval, kept these images to himself. Even Cecilia was little comfort: fetching though she might be, she was but the shadow of a shadow, with no real person inside her.

Bill, as I have mentioned, was something of a technophobe; in addition, a perverse pride kept him from indulging in role-playing games. Therefore, I never met any other centaurs, even in the most primitive forms of D&D - let alone MUCKs, MUDs, MUSHes or any other society. Fantasy literature was, for him, something to be read surreptitiously, lest anyone find out.

Such was the dread secrecy in which I lived, as circumscribed as any of your 'black project' abductees, that Bill never even dared breathe the word 'Centaur'; and could scarcely write it, unless shrouded in the decencies of Latin.

So many here have written of the trials and ordeals of humans who suddenly find themselves with four legs and hooves; is their plight any more, or less, agonizing than that of a centaur trapped in a *human* body?

Still, as the dealers in truisms say, it is a long lane that has no turning; just as it is never darker than before the dawn, nor any wind so ill that it blows no-one some good. For out of tragedy, there may come some hope.

A death in his family (the afore-mentioned brother, who had possibly prepared Bill's mind for my arrival; and, in his latter years, had somewhat softened his attitude to my presence) was the event which finally persuaded my 'guardian' to purchase a computer; the better to communicate with his remaining brother half a world away.

So it was one day, that with Bill's fingers, I cautiously typed out 'centaur' on the search engine. The reaction that followed need not be described, as so many here have experienced it. In a word: I was no longer alone.

---L. A.

What the hay: I might as well finish this message with another epigraph......

It is not the end; it is not even the beginning of the end. It is, perhaps, the end of the beginning........

------Winston Churchill

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