Morcan Meets Gulbean. By CpSingleton © 2016
There was once a man. A very lonely man. A man so disfigured that society either grimaced so hard that their faces frightened him or they poked terrible fun and made him want bury himself alive.
His name was Morcan Van Speinter.
After being cast out by his family, who thought that his mother must have unwittingly slept with a dirt devil, Morcan tried to live in villages, but they gathered in small groups to point, so he moved to the city. Alas, they gathered in larger groups to do the same.
Until one day he found a deep cave in between the village and the city and there he lived. Alone, sad, but never afraid.
It was in his cave that one day he had a visitor.
‘Hello,’ the visitor called, from the mouth of the cave.
Morcan didn’t know if to answer, therefore stayed silent.
‘I can hear you breathing,’ the voice began. ‘So, could you answer yay or nay to the possibility of allowing me shelter for the night?’
The day had been stormy and wet, with promise of more to come in the night, so without pause for thought, Morcan, a man who had been shunned and beaten for the way his features had turned out all his lonely life, abruptly shouted his reply to the stranger…
‘Nay!’ He called back. ‘I do not mind you taking shelter. I have a nettle stew on the boil, if you would like to join me.’
‘You are very kind,’ the stranger told him. ‘My name is Gulbean.’
‘I am Morcan.’
And with that, and a tip-tapping of what must have been a stick on the hard rock floor, Gulbean entered.
Yet, Morcan didn’t move from his position at the back of the cave.
He couldn’t bear the thought of mockery in his own residence. That would push him right on over the edge. He was certain of that.
It wasn’t until he noticed that the silhouette belonging to the stranger was drifting too close to the roaring fire did he bolt forward.
‘Be careful, Gulbean, you are near to cooking yourself there!’
‘My thanks,’ Gulbean replied, before sidestepping safely, at the very moment that a lick of a flame greedily spat towards his hanging cloak. ‘You will have to forgive my clumsiness, I was born without eyes.’
‘I’m very sorry for your loss, friend,’ Morcan said with deep compassion. ‘I was born with a face that not even my mother could stand.’
‘My father accused my mother of adultery with the horns of a devil and ran away,’ Gulbean began as he seated himself carefully down. ‘My mother dropped me off a cliff at three, but luckily I slipped through a chimney of a house at the bottom and landed neatly in a cooling pot of soup. My new childless parents were ever so grateful and brought me up like a prince.’
‘I am pleased and also jealous,’ Morcan said. ‘Pleased that you landed safely and jealous that my mother didn’t throw me off a cliff. Humans have been nothing but heartache to me. I could happily be done with all of them.’
‘Then why did you allow me entry to your home?’
‘Because you would surely drown to death, or worse, in the oncoming storm.’
‘You are a good man, Sir.’ Gulbean told Morcan. Would it be possible to feel your face myself?’
‘Ermmmm…I’d rather not.’
‘Surely it’s only fair,’ Gulbean replied with a smile. ‘You can see my disfigurement.’
‘Well…okay,’ Morcan reluctantly replied and leaned forward, so that the other man could go to work with his fingers.
He closed his eyes. After a moment he could feel the other man’s fingers drifting over his bumps and protrusions.
‘You are really as ugly as sin, aren’t you?!’ Gulbean eventually announced with a shudder that didn’t disguise his utter revulsion in any way at all.
So Morcan lifted the nearest and biggest rock and beat the other man to pulp.
Enough was enough, after all, he thought. And now I can have a barbecue and throw the vile nettle soup out of the doorway.
‘Bonus!’ He told the cave.
The cave happily echoed his sentiments several times over.
If you’re looking for a moral to this story, then you’ve come to the wrong cave.