Sunday, 6 October 2002
Once upon a time, in a world filled with the innocence of childhood, there lived a little girl named Matilda. While most children are known for their mischief and harmless fibs, Matilda took telling lies to a whole new level. Her vivid imagination spun tales so unbelievable they made even the most imaginative minds gasp and stretch their eyes in disbelief.
Matilda’s Aunt, a paragon of truthfulness, felt compelled to believe in her niece’s stories. It was a well-intentioned effort that almost cost her dearly – for it took her to the brink of her own demise. What she didn’t know was that Matilda suffered from an innate infirmity, a compulsion to weave false narratives into her everyday life.
One fateful day, as the sun began to descend and playtime grew tiresome, Matilda found herself alone in her house. Seeking adventure and excitement, she tiptoed towards the telephone, her heart pounding with anticipation. With little hesitation, Matilda dialed the number that would summon London’s noble Fire Brigade.
Within an hour, an army of gallant firefighters arrived, their hearts ablaze with courage. They came from all corners of the city, their presence igniting the air with British cheers. Windows shattered, ladders reached the sky, and water drenched the fiery ballroom. The scene resembled a theatrical performance, with the firefighters as the protagonists heroically battling the flames.
Yet, as the ordeal unfolded, Matilda’s Aunt realized the truth. She managed to convince the firefighters that their brave efforts were in vain, that the house was not, in fact, burning down. But, alas, even then she had to pay to persuade them to leave.
Weeks passed, and Matilda’s Aunt decided to treat herself to an evening at the theater. The play, “The Second Mrs. Tanqueray,” promised to be both fascinating and entertaining. However, due to Matilda’s history of lies, her Aunt chose not to bring her along, deeming it a just punishment for her deceit.
Little did anyone know that fate had a cruel sense of irony. That very night, a fire broke out in their home. Matilda’s pleas for help were met with scorn and disbelief. Passersby dismissed her cries of “Fire!” as the lies of a little girl who couldn’t be trusted. Tragically, when her Aunt returned, she found her beloved niece and their home consumed by the very flames Matilda had so desperately tried to warn them about.
Matilda’s story reminds us of the power of truth and the consequences of deceit. In a world where honesty is the foundation of trust, every lie we tell chips away at the bonds that hold us together. Matilda paid the ultimate price for her falsehoods, a lesson etched in the ashes of her charred home.
It’s the birthday of architect Le Corbusier, born Charles Edouard Jeanneret-Gris in Le-Chaux-de-Fonds, France (1887). It’s also the birthday of editor George Horace Lorimer (1867 – some sources say 1868), who edited the Saturday Evening Post from 1899 to 1936. We also celebrate the birth of soprano Jenny Lind in Stockholm, Sweden (1820), and the engineer and inventor George Westinghouse in Central Bridge, New York (1846). Finally, we honor the life and work of novelist and critic Caroline Gordon (1895), a master of storytelling who influenced a generation of writers.
As we navigate through life, let us remember the tale of Matilda and the devastating consequences of her lies. The importance of truth and honesty cannot be overstated – they are the pillars that uphold our relationships, our society, and our very souls. So, be well, do good work, and always stay true to yourself.