A wall in ruins asked me to tell its story.
What can possibly be told about a mossy and ivy-claded wall, bordering a pathway of almost no use?
At one end of the wall there is half a stone arch, suggesting the use of a door or gate of yesteryear. At the other end, an upright stone marks the corner around which only a few loose stones witness the former existence of part of a house, which used to meet the old wall there.
Yes, the wall had belonged to a house, a big house, a palace, we could say.
Whoever had it made, had ambitions.
“I want my house to be the equal of a king’s house.” He said.
Workers came from the city to help with the construction. Ox-carts drew, painfully, huge stones from distant mountains.
Masons broke the big stones into blocks and started raising the walls.
The man, who wanted to raise in the very heart of the plain, a king’s house, went often there to visit the work. He yelled with the workers, quarreled with the supervisor. He wanted speed and perfection.
He had the road brought to that place. He had a well dug, which was springing the water, which was to water the future gardens around his future house. He had to have his house built, so that he could inaugurate it with a great party, full of friends, music and fireworks.
However, the work was delayed. It could also be the man’s fault, as he sometimes wanted some things, and later he wanted some other things. A tower on the left of the entrance should, on second thoughts, be better on the right.
Where the saloon was to be, there would be the kitchen, or maybe it would be better to demolish the walls of the rooms to enlarge the saloon… It became a raising and knocking down game.
The supervisor of the work was growing dizzy.
“The man must be mad.” He whispered. “He’s squandering a fortune and the house won’t be ready so soon.”
So it happened. Without receiving their back pay, the workers abandoned the work.
With time, brambles and underwood took hold of the walls. Many years passed. Rain, floods, storms, destroyed whatever was left of the unfinished house.
Covered with moss and ivy, the wall withstood.
But how could I tell the story of a wall?
Walls and ruins do not have a story to be told.
Or do they?