A night’s tale. August 25, 2010Posted by ourfriendben in Uncategorized, wit and wisdom.
Tags: love tokens, romance, Scheherazade, The Arabian Nights
Silence Dogood here. Today, I’m going to channel Scheherazade and tell you a story. It’s truly worthy of inclusion in The Arabian Nights: full of adventure, mystery, and romance. I think of it as the thousand and second night’s tale.
My story begins in the year 1732, when an English gentleman set out on a journey. Not just any journey, but a long, arduous journey to far Arabia, as the lands in that region were then known. Who can say what called him there? Perhaps he followed the famed Spice Road. Perhaps he longed to see harems and bazaars, swift, beautiful Arabian stallions and awkward, homely camels that resembled the sandswept terrain that only they could traverse. Perhaps he dreamed of joining a caravan to a distant oasis under the endless stars. Perhaps he wished to find Aladdin’s lamp and claim three wishes of his own.
We will never know what the Englishman hoped to find, but we do know that he found something he never sought: a tie that bound him for the rest of his life. It might have been blood brotherhood with a mighty prince, who showed him the wonders of his palaces and took him hunting on those sleek, fleet-footed steeds. It might have been that, against all odds, he encountered a beautiful maiden and they fell in love. We cannot know this part of the story, except to know that two souls found unlikely mates.
What we do know is that, in time, they parted. The Englishman returned to his homeland, perhaps eventually to take ship to find a new life in the New World. But before he left, the pair made tokens of remembrance. Each had a coin from their native land, a large, heavy silver coin that happened to be the same size. So they had a jeweler in the bazaar cut each coin in half and solder the two opposite halves together with two silver bars, then attach a loop at the top and string the twinned pendants on silver chains. For the rest of their lives, the pair would wear the half-English, half-Arabian tokens over their hearts.
The details of my tale are entirely my invention, but the story itself is true. I, Silence Dogood, own one of the twinned tokens, purchased at an antiques store in scenic New Hope, PA. One of the reasons I love antiques stores is that, besides enjoying the many interesting and intriguing objects, I sense their stories crowding in around me: the love and care that went into their crafting, the lives and personalities of their many owners, the sad circumstances that led them at last to be abandoned in these shops. But few objects could speak as eloquently of love and loyalty across cultures and times as this pendant. Every time I look at it, I wonder if a distant hand is holding the matching pendant, another mind imagining the fate of the missing halves…
‘Til next time,