Friday, May 25, 2012

Unwritten Books

There is a story among the numerous stories of Neil Gaiman’s epic comic book series ‘The Sandman’, called ‘The Hunt’, where a grandfather, an emigree from an unknown country in America, tells a story to his rather Michael Jackson-loving Americanised granddaughter about a boy in the forest a long, long time ago.

The boy, during his hunt, meets an old peddling woman with her bagful of fanciful wares, among which is a locket with a picture of a beautiful, golden-haired girl. The boy falls in love with the girl in the picture. Conveniently, the old woman dies and the boy gets the fantastical wares to sell, and decides to go on and find the girl.

A little while later, a very tall, and very thin man approaches him. He says he’s a librarian and wants the book the boy has among his wares. He’d pay for it of course. But, the boy does not need the gold. The only thing he needs is to meet the girl in the locket.

A lot of things happen soon after. Without going into the details, we can safely say that he, after much trials, fullfils his dream to meet the golden-haired girl, and seeing her asleep in her luxurious chamber, he realises that she’s not for him.

But, what about the librarian? Finally, the boy agrees to give the book to the librarian. He was a hunter, after all. He did not know how to read. But, who was this librarian and what was this particular book that he was so obsessed about?

It turned out the book was ‘The Merry Comedie of the Redemption of Doctor Faustus’ by Christopher Marlowe (the book perhaps he’d have written if he was not killed), and the librarian was Lucien, the keeper of books at the palace of the Dream King Lord Morpheus. In his library are the books which its authors conceived and planned to write some day, but could not, for one reason or the other. All those books, never written, never to be read by a living soul, are with Lucien, and he guards the secrets of these books zealously.

Tail piece: Just wondering; perhaps there would be an entire shelf of books in Lucien’s library, never written by me.

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