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The Fable of The Old Young Man and The Jester | erasmus cromwell smith

The Fable of The Old Young Man and The Jester

As the crowd

at the circus main tent stage

still cheers his act,

the joker walks back

heading towards

his “camerino.”

He has a white plastered face,

a giant painted mouth

wearing a perpetual smile,

a tiny perfectly round nose,

both painted in red.

He wears a tall, floppy

multicolored hat,

covering his crown

of shoulder length

bright orange strands of hair.

His loose clothes

on one side

resemble those of a harlequin,

with polka dots of white

imbedded on the other.

His humongous shoes

are like two flapping tongues,

impossible wide at the front,

unbelievable narrow at the back.

His nonchalant antics,

are often shockingly outrageous;

everyone and everything

are subjects of his jest;

all of his actions

seem like a parody of reality,

a mime’s journey

into the lighter side of life.

In our existence

not all is as it appears to be

or is it?

The diminutive voce

interrupts his stride

“Jester, jester!”

Pleads de young juvenile

in the alley along the “camerino.”

The clown turns and stares

with his penetrating green eyes

at the young teenager.

“Isn’t this a bit too far off the beaten path,

for a young man like you,

to be wandering around?”

The impatient clown asks.

“My parents are just behind the curtains

with my little brother

feeding the giraffes.

They know I am here,”

the young man replies with confidence.

“Fair enough,” says the clown in resignation.

Pensively the youngster crosses both arms

while raising one hand to his chin.

“Joker, do you make people laugh

for a living?” Looking stern,

the young man asks.

“Isn’t causing laughter what clowns do?”

The clown replies in the form of a riddle.

Unfazed, the young man quizzes him further.

“You make people happy Jester.

Are you a happiness maker?”

The clown relaxes

as he leans of his camerino’s door.

“After all, isn’t that

what those that visit the circus seek?”

The clown replies yet with another question,

while still giving close to nothing.

“Now, if you will excuse me,”

the clown says as he steps into his dressing room.

“Joker, joker,” the young man pleads

before the door closes.

The startled clown pauses. The young man presses forward.

“I don’t find you very funny in person, Sir!

Your face wears a painted smile

but up close, it doesn’t feel genuine.

Your eyes exude sadness

specifically annoyance or anger,

perhaps directed at me,”

the young man blurts out on impulse.

The clown first reaction is to pull away,

but to his great surprise,

he hesitates and reverses himself.

“You’re a very good observer, little man.

Come over and have a seat,”

the jester offers unexpectedly.


the clown leaves the door wide open.

Once seated, he offers the young man,

a box full of chocolates,

letting select whichever he wants.

“Joker, you make others happy,

but not yourself, why?”

The young man asks.

“Isn’t it, by the way, how many live,

just keeping appearances in public,

but guarding their darker inner realities

close to their vests?”

Replies the joker, once more,

with another question.

“Jester, when l looked at you from afar,

while doing what you love and do best,

making others laugh,

being lauded by everyone,

for an instant,

your life seemed like a fairy tale,

but now being next to you,

I ponder and puzzle,

how is it that you are not happy?”

The opinionated young man asks.

“Inquisitive youngster,

isn’t it true that in life,

there’s always something missing

that we covet the most,

but we don’t have it or it’s unreachable?”

The jester reasons.

“Or is it that we are always on the way,

chasing goals

and when we finally reach them,

we find that the goal post

has already moved,

most of the time by us

and a new pursuit has replaced it all?”

states the jester full or sarcasm.

“Joker, but what you have at the present

is fulfilling enough isn’t it?

The pursuit of your goals

what is often called “the chase,”

is loaded with mementos

and all of those that love your act.

You have to celebrate

the journey of life as it happens,”

the youngster wisely declares.

Once more, the clown

counters back in contempt,

“There are no fairy tales in life kid,

those only reside in children’s books

and in the world of fantasy.”

“Jester my life is a fairy tale,”

the young man states in joy.

“I’m sure it is,” the joker responds.

“You are surely born in a privileged home,

enjoying all the trappings

of wealth and success;

happily married parents,

no hardship,

no tragedy,

no pain,

of course you see life as a fairy tale.”

“Be ready though,

the moment will come,

you won’t see it that way anymore,

when it dissipates like a mirage,”

emphasizes the clown with poignant criticism.

“Joker, I am an orphan,

those are my adoptive parents,

until recently we were homeless.

My father just got a job as a janitor.

My youngest brother walks in crutches

because he contracted polio when we was five,”

declares the young man,

his words filled with deep emotions.

In shock and shame the clowns covers his mouth.

“I’m so, so…” he starts to apologize,

only to be interrupted by the youngster.

“Jester, you are a privileged man.

Take stock of all you have going for yourself,

realize your source of happiness

in and around you,” adds a smiling youngster.

“Tap your daily access to joy and laughter,

for what they are,

celebrations of life.

You fairy tale resides in you.

You do what you love,

people love what you do.

Is there more to be asked from life?

Fact is, that if you wished to,

you could make out of any circumstance,

place and people around you,

participants in your life’s fairy tales,”

the young man adds with profound words.

“I understand now

the source of your wisdom;

your words reflect experience

way beyond your years,”

seemingly thinking aloud

the clown declares.

“And what would that be, Sir?”

The young man quizzes.

“The challenges of hardship

are what made you who you are,”

the jester replies.

“Life is a fairy tale

that resides inside all of us.

It is there to be tapped,

regardless of place or circumstances.

It only requires

ingenuity and candor of the soul

and a true desire of the spirit

to participate throughout

in the journey of life,”

are the youngster’s parting words.

His parents and brother

approach through the corridor.

“Time to go,” they announce.

The young man walks out

with a big broad smile.

“Joker, it was very kind of you

to spend time with me,

it was a truly magical moment,”

he declares, his face radiating joy.

“Young man,

it was magical for me as well,

it was like a…”

he says spontaneously

while stopping short, filled with emotion…

“A fairy tale?”

The young man asks smiling even more.

“Most definitely,

as well as, a life lesson well learned,”

says the clown

with sparkling eyes

that finally show for once,

his face painted smile,

real and genuine,

and perhaps everlasting.

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