So I started to get into writing fiction again (much for the efforts to save my sanity). This was sort of a warm-up and I was inspired by the idea of the reverse "ugly duckling" tale, which may have been done before, but whateva. There may be some historical allegory in their as well but who cares?!
... without further ado:
"A long time ago I use to be well acquainted with this French swan..."
"Two questions-" a child, much, much younger than the man he was speaking to interjected.
The old man subtly huff-grumbled, having barely begun at all. Kids these days. He picked up a long pipe from the stand beside his chair and pushed the contents of whatever was inside down before lighting it and taking a long, drawn-out puff before he continued.
Waving away the dense fog of unique smoke lingering in his wake he began, "I suppose to add yet another question to your greedy list of inquiries, you would also like to know why I don't hesitate to set such a bad example for you? Tell me something first; If you already know it's wrong, then what do I have to do with it?"
The child blinked absently.
The old man seemed to have expected nothing less. He continued with a sigh, "The swan was French because it's an analogy for this French woman I use to know, if you can call her that. I find it easier to think of her as a swan... They share a lot of qualities, which is the point of my story. Now if you don't mind..."
"I never even asked-"
This time, it was the old man's turn to interrupt, "Well what else could it have been? I hadn't even finished the first sentence of my story before you stopped me."
The child's response was silence.
"She was beautiful. " The old man continued.
"I gave her everything, this Swan. She seemed so pure with her white feathers, her peaceful yet quirky disposition, and especially what I thought was her intelligence. "
"What you thought?"
"Well, at the time, I taught her everything that I knew and as you know, I know a lot of things. Consequently, the Swan ended up learning a lot of things, which hardly seems like a bad thing right? " The old man looked to the child for the first time since their conversation began without a level of irritation to his tone or countenance.
The child nodded in agreement, like children predictably do...
" Yeah, I use to believe that. Back when I was young and naive, I use to believe that everyone had a right to knowledge and if they had the ability to obtain it, then they ought to. I suppose deep down, I still fundamentally believe this. "
"Then what was wrong with her?" The child asked innocently.
" Well turns out there's a big difference between knowing the dance moves and being the one who invented them. You see, back then I didn't realize that she was actually just an imitation. And very much like a swan, she had her beauty to make up for her true lack of understanding for all the things I thought I had taught her."
"How does that make sense?"
"Beauty is a very distracting notion. The concept of it is nearly impossible to explain and it's perimeters are ever-shifting. For some reason though, it makes things easier for those whom are considered to be such, or so it would appear. That being said, one could dance their way through life using beauty as their fuel source... but as I said, beauty is ever changing and can fade, sometimes never to return again."
"So what does this have to do with a swan other than the fact that she was beautiful? Is she ugly now?"
"Perhaps she was never beautiful to begin with?" The old man trailed off dejectedly, "For you see, all that she knew was imitation and once the wellspring of her source made itself unavailable to her, she flew away looking elsewhere to drink. Nothing truly ever suited her tastes as she never truly formed any of her own. Eventually, her wings grew tired, completely depleted of their borrowed fuel source. She did indeed wither quickly thereafter."
The child looked to the old man with a glint of terror within his eyes.
"Now let me ask you something." The old man said, "Do you know what happens to a swan who has lost its beauty and ability to fly?"
The child shook its head.
"They chop its head off!"
"That's terrible!" The child dejected.
"No. That's mercy." The old man retorted.