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HAPPY ENDINGS – Chapter Five

Classical Literature

HAPPY ENDINGS – Chapter Five

“Young couple in a rural tavern” by Giacomo Francesco Cipper


By André Bastos Gurgel, OAB

In a moment the inn was plunged into darkness, and countless black-clad spirits rushed in. For those who don’t know, Belfagor was one of the most powerful fallen angels and a character in a novel by Machiavelli. At the end of this work, the demon realized why love was the best supplier of souls for Hell. Just think of the thousands of crimes of passion that take place every year around the world! Belfagor looked at Cupid and said:

– Calm yourself, Cupid. My army of demons and I are here to assist you. Lower your weapons, senseless mortals! You can do nothing against my infernal host.

But then Belfagor noticed Rama. The arch-demon was taken aback:

– It can’t be true! What are you doing here, Rama?

– Yes, Balfagor, it is I, the great Rama. And I’m here to put an end to this nasty child who’s caused so much pain to gods and men!
– Cupid is our best supplier — Balfagor responded — and I won’t let anyone harm him. If you insist on touching a single feather of his wings, there will be an epic battle right here. I’ve always wanted to test my powers against yours, Rama! Hell was starting to look a lot like a civil service office on a Friday afternoon! A good war will break the
monotony and sweep away boredom!

Rama was about to recite the mantras that would give him celestial weapons, which according to the Hindu epics could destroy mankind, when the innkeeper got between the warring parties and said:

– Pax! Pax! I have the solution for all your troubles, my friends! I have discovered the reason for all our troubles tonight!

– What is it? – asked Don Giovanni — I have heard of a deus ex machina, but an innkeeper ex machina, I swear it’s the first time!

– There is something similar in the Mahabharata, but Vyasadeva never was an innkeeper! – remarked Rama.

– Please don’t mock me, my friends. What I’m about to say will surely prevent a hecatomb, and that is…that none of this is happening!

Romeo laughed out loud:

– I beg your pardon, innkeeper? You mean to say that we are in some sort of parallel universe? I always thought people in your trade never drank alcohol, but it looks as if I’ve found an exception…

– Spare me your irony, Romeo, I beg you! – answered the inkeeper – Now, to answer your question, we aren’t in a parallel universe, but in a dream!

– A dream? – all the characters bawled in chorus.

– That’s right! The author of this tale can’t have more than half a glass of wine before going to bed, but he drank a full glass yesterday. Before doing so, he had read a bit of Shakespeare, Machiavelli and Homer, studied Sanskrit and listened to arias from Don Giovanni and Lucia di Lammermoor. That’s why you are all here. Your happy endings were only a product of his subconscious mind. Actually, you all died in the end or, by way of some tragedy, were forever separated from your lovers.

The innkeeper then approached each character, starting with Romeo:

– You, Romeo, never actually married Juliet, nor fathered any children. The letter from Friar Lawrence never reached you. In the final scene of the play, you were standing next to Juliet’s body without realizing that she was only in a deep sleep. Certain that you had lost her forever, you drank poison. When she woke up and realized her beloved Romeo was dead, she exclaimed “Sword, here is thy sheath!” and killed herself! Your names were immortalized! Everyone in the future will know who Romeo and Juliet were.

Romeo smiled. He knew his creator had found a way to immortalize his name.

Then the innkeeper spoke to Paris:

– My dear Paris, did you really think a wimp like you would escape death in the Trojan War? You were fatally wounded and the only person that could save you was your ex-wife, the nymph Oenone. Because you had hurt her feelings by abandoning her, she refused to heal your wound, so you passed away. Later, when she remembered the happy moments you had together, she regretted denying you her aid and committed suicide.
Your name was immortalized by this tragedy!

– Your turn, Edgar Ravenswood. Sir Walter Scott is not one of my favorite writers, so I prefer to reveal the end of Donizetti’s sempiternal opera. Lucia would never be able to live without you. She was forced to marry Arthur, but she went crazy on her wedding night (the aria “Il dolce sonno” is worth a listen) and murdered her husband. Losing the
love of your life was too much for you to bear, so after singing a heart-breaking aria, you took your own life. That decision immortalized your name!

– Rama, noble avatar of Vishnu, your eternal happiness was also cut short. Despite your victory against Ravana in that epic battle, many doubts were raised regarding the chastity of your wife, Sita, after all those years living with her captor. She was eventually exiled and one day she asked her mother, the Earth goddess, to swallow her up to prove
she had always been faithful to you. You were left to live without your love for the rest of your life. The poet Valmiki immortalized your name in the Ramayana!

All assembled were greatly relieved that they had met such unhappy ends, and so they quickly gave up the idea of executing poor Cupid. After all, if it weren’t for that naughty child, their lives wouldn’t have been filled with such sublime tragedy and pathos! The peaceful atmosphere, however, was then broken by the skeptical Don Giovanni:

– Innkeeper, I can’t believe that these monogamous lunatics who nearly killed an invalid child were immortalized by literature. Can you prove any of this? As lawyers like to say, at least back when they still learned the language of Cicero, Allegatio sine probatione veluti campana sine pistillo est (An unproven allegation is like a bell without
a clapper).

– The proof is on its way. Wait, my friends … five, four, three, two, one… Our writer woke up from a dream that seemed more like an endless delirium. He promised himself never again to drink more than half a glass of wine at bed time and to
find a psychiatrist skilled in the interpretation of oneiric experiences!

The End!


André Bastos Gurgel
André Bastos Gurgel, OAB (Order of Attorneys of Brazil), Academic Advisor for the Carmenta Online Latin School, is a life-long student of both modern and ancient languages. Mr. Gurgel is fluent in English, Portuguese, Mandarin, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Latin (the last of which he learned with Carmenta) and has a working knowledge of Danish, Hebrew, Ancient Greek, and Sanskrit. Mr. Gurgel is currently studying Old English through Carmenta as well.

Click here to read Mr. Gurgel’s full profile.



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