I don’t know what it is used for, though I daresay it would take some rubbing to get it out of the carpet – Bill Bryson, Mother Tongue, footnote Chapter 10.
‘The basis all magic lies in the consonant ‘ma’. The Sanskrit word ma means “to measure”. All delusion divides, measures out, the undefined infinite into finite forms and forces. Initial magic is cosmic as it created the illusion of time and space. It was essential to provide a sense of individuality and independence to different objects that the cosmos had conjured. Thus the cosmos is the first illusionist.
All subsequent magicians just created an alternate perspective to the existing illusion. The wonderful feeling one gets when we reach out to pluck that dry leaf from the plant that we have so lovingly nurtured – and see it fly away in form of a butterfly is the original illusion!
Now look here both of you’. Commanded Mr J.
He picked up a pamphlet lying on the table and tore it into small pieces geometrically and then tossed them up in the air. A cluster of butterflies flew around for a minute and then headed for the one open window. ‘I hope you appreciate the difference?’
Fiona and Ted stood mesmerized.
‘Now go out in the garden and pluck out the dry leaves from the plants in the garden till you find the one that is not a leaf’, said Mr J.
Both of them walked out. Their faces reflected the confusion they felt.
Mr J’s eyes twinkled for a moment and if anyone had been there to notice – he would have observed a sparkler burning bright.
Ted and Fiona plucked dry leaves from the plants in the garden and collected them in a basket. None of them flew off. They persevered for two hours and finally picked up the basket of dry leaves and took it inside. ‘No butterflies there, Mr J.’
‘Amazing!’ Mr J took the basket and peered inside, ‘did you look inside this basket?’
‘Come and have a look.’
Ted and Fiona looked in to find it writhing with caterpillars.
‘The end for a caterpillar is the beginning for a butterfly,’ and Mr J overturned the basket on the carpet. A cluster of butterflies rose up leaving behind a gooey mess.
A woman with a doughy face walked in looked at it …….. I don’t know what it is, though I daresay it would take some rubbing to get it out of the carpet.
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