Monsters of the Dark Continent: The Fauna of Africa

Joined: January 10th, 2015, 3:44 am

August 13th, 2016, 9:59 am #1

[Georgia Lee Day continued from Empire of Dirt]

When first we came to the village they greeted us with a splendid feat of fruits, and we thought ourselves lucky indeed. Every exotic fruit that you might find off the decks of ships from the farthest land, but fresher by far, and many more fruits that I could not name, and whose names when I heard them I could not create with my tongue. We thought ourselves as kings, and ate mightily, but after a week we began to tire of this fare.

I spoke to the Jesuit, who at this time was living among them and served as their translator and counsellor. I praised the food they had given us with the greatest of effusion, and said in truth that it was far more splendid than that which I had seen in any court in Europe. But, I told him, a man may only eat as a bird for so long, and our bodies craved more hearty sustenance.

He told me that these villages did not eat the flesh of beasts, and when we scoffed at their primitivism he chided us.

“Surely,” I said, “the life of a man is worth more than the life of a beast, in the eyes of God?”

He told me that what I said may well be so, but that it was not for man to presume to see through God’s eyes.

“Surely,” I said, “we may see God’s law writ in the laws of nature. I tell you sir I am a man of science, and that these teeth with which the Lord bless’d us are for the rending of flesh, as a dogs, not for the endless consumption of fruit. Why might we have these, were we not put upon this earth to consume the flesh of beasts. Christ himself fed men with fishes!”

“There are few fishes in the jungle, my son,” the Jesuit said, and I conceded that this was the truth.

“Are you so perfect?” he asked me, “that you do not know hatred? You have never been angered by your fellow man, or looked upon a woman with lust, or felt the hand of petty jealousy?” and this, too, I conceded was the truth.

“We are more than our natures,” he told me, “so much more. It is in our nature to sin, just as it is to eat as a dog eats. Yet we, and we alone, may rise above our baser natures.

The beasts of the earth" he explained "are just such: of the earth. Their destinies are writ in clay. If you kick a dog, it will always howl. If you chase a gazelle, it will always run, and if it is thirsty it will always stop to drink. Men are not such creatures. It is only our flesh that is of the earth, while that which steers us is of heaven. Our destinies are not in clay, but writ in jasper, or perhaps they are not yet writ at all and falls upon us to enscribe them.”

There was a familiarity to his words, and I was much shaken by them. He continued.

“It is the way of nature that the strong eat the weak, but it is not the way of man. Eat flesh if you so desire, my son, but do not presume that to be God’s will. That is a choice you make, for God makes no choices for you.”

I felt as if in a dream.

“So if everything I do is my choice and my choice alone, then no one but I can be held accountable for how I act, or what fate befalls me?” I asked.

“And know,” he replied, “most assuredly that there will be an accounting.

Georgia Lee closed the book. She was almost finished, and excited that she would most likely have it finished by next Wednesday, which was when it was due back.

She would never open it again.

[Georgia Lee Day continued in IT'S THE G TO THE L TO THE A-B-B]