The Tenth Leaf

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Today Reingold ordered me to spend the night in the outer court with him attending to a frightened chicken that Reingold was attempting to procure an egg that was laid in the full moonlight before the light of dawn.  He insisted that the egg be procured before the first light of dawn. When I told him that such a thing as that could not be achieved he berated me in the most unceremonious fashion, and then he said that we would spend every night with the chicken until a suitable egg was procured.   When I made known my opposition to his plan he swore at me.  Then he ordered me to sing to the chicken in the event that I could persuade it to produce an egg.  I told him that I could not sing and that my singing would perhaps damage the chicken so that it would never produce another egg, but he only became angry with me for obstructing his plans.  I then begged him to explain his plan so that I could best provide service to him.  His response was both mystical and frightening.

He said that the melancholic stare of the King was his purpose to render to life on canvas, and that to do this he would need the egg from a chicken that had been similarly exposed to moments of such delicate melancholy as the King during his lonely night vigils. The light of the full moon was indeed necessary to achieve this aim he told me simply.  A sympathetic relationship would be firmly established when the egg had been prepared for the tempera.  I do not like this man.  He frightens me with his sorcery, and I wondered if indeed the King knew the extent with his involvement with the subtle form of magic being performed in his name.


– Sorren



To even know what sympathetic magic is establishes a level of guilt that cannot be refuted.  Why cannot the ignorant classes thrive in happiness within their ignorance?  It brings me no happiness to condemn them for crimes that they are too ignorant to even understand.  But I must know to what depths this man may have voluntarily plumbed.


- M


 I don't know what disturbs me more: Sorren's description of the mind of Rheingold, or M's reaction to it.  That Rheingold would want to use minerals and crushed insects from the island does not seem too strange to me, as it seems that indigenous plants and minerals best represent the character of a thing, from peat moss used in the malting process of Scotch whiskey, to indigenous hops used in the production of beer.  It was his precise philosophical reason for artificially producing the effect upon a chicken in order to manifest similar attributes in the egg tempera that is strange to me.  And the mention of sympathetic magic also is hard to understand.  But in fact, the use of sympathetic magic was accepted as true magic, and most people completely expected the promised results and saw them even when they did not manifest as such.  The attitude of M is simply just horrifying, and it is easy to see how the atrocities during the Middle Ages could have been justified by those for whom they were committed.