In Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest,” we are asked to picture a magical island on which we find a man named Prospero, who lives there with his daughter, Miranda. He has a servant named Caliban, a wild sort of partially human creature who believes the island should really belong to him, so he spends a good deal of his time creating problems for Prospero.
Dear Blogger-type friends: It looks like the question this week is a bit too difficult. Sorry.
We had a nice response for Robert Frost last week; few correct answers this week. I’ll shift gears and come up with something more manageable for next Sunday. Hope to see you then. --Berowne
(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "L" is for "Lem")Here’s this week’s Berownial quiz question:
Some people get everything handed to them.
There I was, working at the same crummy job for the past twelve years and getting essentially nowhere, when I learned that my old army buddy Earl had a relative who suddenly up and died.
If that sounds like a tragedy, it wasn’t much of one for Earl; the deceased was an uncle he really didn’t know very well. However, due to the intricacies of inheritance law it seems that Earl was next of kin and he learned that he now had a house, along with a cash inheritance.
What a break that was! After his wife left, he found he was a single parent trying to raise a sixteen-year old daughter, Milly, in what I believe are referred to as straitened financial circumstances – i e, not much in the way of actual dough.
He couldn't conceal a shock when Earl saw what he had inherited. It wasn’t just a house; to a guy who had been living in a small apartment it was a mansion. Three bathrooms, he kept saying to himself. And each of the numerous rooms in the place seemed as big as his former apartment. It wasn’t a just a break; it was a red-hot miracle.
To top it all off, it came with help. There was a hired man named Lem who had been with his uncle for years, and in his will the old man had specified that whoever inherits his house should keep Lem on; this would be a plus because he knew the place so well.
Well, Earl thought that was fine. He proposed to have the gardener/handyman do the necessary work while he concentrated on learning about fine wines and how to live like an alleged upper-class gentleman.
But there was a fly in the Pouilly-Fuisse. Lem turned out to be difficult. Oh, he’d do the work, but only with an avalanche of grumbling and by making it clear that whatever there was to be done could wait till tomorrow, or maybe like next week. He showed little respect for Earl, though he was, of course, his boss.
From time to time Lem claimed that the old man had told him he would be inheriting the place - it was supposed to be his. Earl just put up with this, thinking it’s the sort of thing people have to get used to once they’ve inherited a mansion.
But then things got even uglier with Lem – who was already ugly to begin with. He had had his eye on Milly, the daughter of the house, for some time. She reported to her father that he had made some “suggestions” to her, not all of which she had understood but was pretty sure they were unpleasant.
That tore it. Lem had to go.
When I heard Earl’s story, I couldn’t help thinking it reminded me of one of Shakespeare’s best-known plays.
(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings.)