On top of the tallest mountain, on the top of the World, almost reaching the roof of the Earth and the floor of Heaven stands the Ivory Tower. There, it welcomes the four Winds that brings news about the smallest event that happens on Earth, Sea, and Sky. There, it receives epiphanies revealed by the Sun and the Moon, and on occasion, even revelations from Heaven.
Within that tower, there lives a boy who gazes at the topmost window of the tower in all four Directions. The boy lives alone, for he is disconnected from the World and the rest of its inhabitants. This boy is different; this boy is burdened with a huge punishment.
When he was just a child, his mother and father loved him. They loved him so much that they bought him whatever he needed. He said that he needed to learn. They adored him so that they sent him to the best school that their wealth could afford. They treasured him so much that they taught him anything that he ever wanted to learn. If they did not possess the knowledge on a given lesson, they always gave him the best tutor that they could find.
With the boy’s thirst for knowledge, he learned all there is to know about everything. He learned from Pappas that bees know of the hexagon and it’s superiority over the triangle and the square; the bees share this knowledge with him as evidenced by the hexagon honeycombs they make. He also learned, by virtue of Biology, that horseshoe crabs are of noble birth; they had bluer blood than any member of any royal family can ever bleed. He learned that the Sun is a mere ball of hot gas suspended in space, ever burning and ever so common as there are a billion other stars just like it. He learned that the Moon only borrowed her light from the Sun by harnessing the magical art of reflection.
He started professing his knowledge to the world, and he debased each noble or learned man that came before him. He brought the Pharaoh of Egypt to his knees, so obsessed with his Pyramids, by realizing that he wasted his wealth on a great monument, a symbol of magnanimity and immortality, by engineering it in the wrong shape. He debased the Queen of England for claiming that her royal family had blue blood when they can all bleed to death with nothing but a red stain on their halls. Most of all, he shamed the Sun and the Moon by telling everybody that one was only a ball of hot gas and the other was a shameless borrower who reveled in her vaingloriousness.
The boy was proud of himself, and he was proud of being proud. Unfortunately, he became famous in the four corners of the Earth. Orators spoke highly of him to social climbing women, who gossiped with shady ladies of the streets. The shady ladies, on their love beds, charmed their sailor men-friends with tales of pretentious wisdom about the boy. The sailors, while drunk, blasphemed and swore that this boy was indeed knowledgeable! With this talk buzzing on Earth and Sea, the Winds caught careless chatter and loud testimonies about the boy to their master, the Sun.
Angered at this smear on his reputation, dignity, and pride, the Sun conspired with the Moon to punish the boy. With the Winds at his bidding, the Sun commanded that they blow hard and strong to cause the continents to move and form the tallest mountain. With the tides at her bidding, the Moon drove waves up to create a snow-laden cap on the mountain. In Africa, the Sun blazed so hot that half of the elephant population died. He withered the carcasses into bare bones. The twin Winds of Africa, Samiel and Simoom, carried only the tusks to make the foundations of an Ivory Tower. As the Sun saw that the task is not complete and elephants began to shy from his great eye, he asked the Moon to furnish more ivory. The Moon, Lady of the Tides, gleamed with mischief. She made the tides churn in Greenland to kill off the walruses to finish the construction of the Ivory Tower.
Meanwhile, the peoples of the Earth felt this great upheaval. They sought the shades and the shadows of their dwellings because they knew that the forces of Heaven are not happy. The fishermen said, “T’is the Lady’s doin’, this highest of tides, ’cause she’s in a fittin’ rage over the boy.” The merchants of China, Africa, and Greece all chant, “The Lord of the Skies, with his great eye, is scorching and scorning the Earth because of this blaspheming boy.” Even so, with this new gossip, the boy didn’t take notice. For all his knowledge, he did not heed the buzzing of the masses, the cautious warning of seers, and the advice of priests. He trampled and trod on the street without heeding anything from those he secretly called ignorant.
Because of this hubris, this self-made pedestal, and criticism of Daedalus for gluing feather with wax instead of rubber, he was picked off from the street by a raging cyclone and was flown over the Sea, above the mountains, through sky and cloud. Huffing and coughing, he found himself inside a tower, an Ivory Tower.
He was amused, bemused, and bewildered all at the same time. He looked around and saw no one. He called out loud but nobody would answer. Desperately, he went towards a window to gather any bit of information that can save him from this solitary situation. At the window, he saw the Moon, powdering herself with crushed meteorite. He asked for help, but she only put half of her eye on him and even then, her interest waned and waned until one night that she only had a crescent of care for the boy.
“Little, blasphemous, proud, obnoxious boy, suffer your punishment — the punishment for shaming me and my husband, King and Queen of the Sky,” she said. “You shall be locked inside that Ivory Tower, your prison, the product of your trespass against our Royal Family.”
“This shall be your prison. With this Ivory Tower, you shall learn everything there is to learn about Heaven, Sky, Earth, and Sea. You shall possess all knowledge but have none to share in glorious revelation of the secrets that we shall reveal to you,” beamed the Moon. “You shall burst with crackling and potent knowledge, but the world will not know about you nor your greatness. You shall suffer solitude for trading ignorance and bliss for knowledge and pride.” With that said, the Moon closed her silver eyes.
Because of this reprobate, the boy remains learned yet alone and secluded. Because of this, he became master of all the knowledge of the four Dominions. Because of this, he feels great comfort in welcoming the four Winds with waving hair, a small gesture of gratitude for the slightest hint of company that they reluctantly afforded him. He receives epiphanies and revelations from the Sun, the Moon, and Heaven only to suffer in solitude, contemplate, and repent for his blasphemy and pride. While the tower’s master, he suffers in solitude for all eternity within the Ivory tower that stands beneath Heaven’s floor, near the roof of the Earth, on top of the world, on top of the highest mountain.
Originally posted on July 15, 2009 in a previous blog that I had in Blogspot. “The Legend of the Ivory Tower” now rests here.