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Plate VII: "Theater of Fate"



ACT VII: The Puppet Master (The Chariot)



- In which the boy happens upon a puppeteer and his telling show


Ahead opened a broad theater filled with empty seats. In the center an archway held a tiny stage. The little set seemed fit for dwarven actors, a miniature proscenium. The boy took a seat in front of the queer little space and waited. In a moment, odd little puppets descended and began to silently dance, jerking to and fro. The figures were fanciful little jesters, bedecked in brightly tasseled outfits and jingling bells. Their strings moved expertly, moved by the able hands of a tall, thin puppeteer cloaked in black. He began to sing, and danced the imps to keep time:


"Strings to move your skin,

Threads to move you along.

Soon you will dance

To the puppet master's song.

See what marvels!

See what might!

These tiny actors,

Fraught with joy and fright.

Stories and legends,

Movements of skill.

Strings of fate:

Bound to frighten,

Bound to thrill.

A spectacle with tiny actors:

A play!

A play!

What grand theater,

These stringed dolls.

Marvels of cord,

These imps

Who dance on command.

A show for you:

These brave actors

All at the beck

Of fractured scripts.

Harlequins in frills,

Fools for fate.

And as heedless fortune

Pulls your strings

One may ask:

Who puppets

The puppet master's strings?"

In a stage whisper, the tall gentleman continued:


"Beware those in shadows

Who pull hidden strings.

We are all puppets

To unseen hands

Whether they be made of

Self, divinity, flesh, paper, or fancy.

Tough, tough, to cut these strings

When there are no strings to be found."


The boy sat some time, watching the marvelous puppets dance their spoof of life. Then he felt his strings tug him ever forward into the house.