While he was thus conversing with me, someone appeared at our side--I could not tell whether it was a man or a woman (for the fellow was strangely disguised and as if in a haze). "Where are you taking this man, Ubiquitous?" he inquired. "On a world tour," replied my companion; "for he desires to examine it."

2 "Why without me?" queried the stranger, "you know that it is your duty to guide, while it is mine to show whatever there is to see. It is Her Majesty's will that no one, having entered her realm, should himself interpret, as he pleases, what he sees and hears, indulging his own wit. For the scenes should be explained to him and he remain content therewith."

3 "Is there anyone so insolent as not to accept our order, just as all the rest do?" retorted Ubiquitous, "nevertheless, it seems to me that this fellow may require a bridle. Come along, then!" The stranger joined us, and we continued our journey.


4 I, however, thought to myself: "I hope to God that I shall not be misled. These fellows intend to place some sort of bridle on me." Thereupon, I spoke to the newcomer: "Friend, do not be offended; but I would like to know your name." "I am the interpreter of Wisdom, Queen of the world, and am under her orders to instruct men how all things in the world ought to be understood," he answered. "Accordingly, I instill into the minds of all you will meet, both old and young, well-born and commoners, foolish and learned, all that pertains to true worldly wisdom. Thus I give them joy and contentment. For without me even kings, princes, nobles, and all the most distinguished people would find themselves in a strange state of despondency, and would pass their earthly days in sorrow."

5 "How fortunate that God has sent you as my guide, dear friend, if what you say is true!" I exclaimed, "for I have started on this journey in order to find the most reliable and delightful thing in the world, so that I may lay hold of it. Having you for my counsellor, I shall be able to choose more easily." "Have no doubt about it," he rejoined, "for although you will find everything in our kingdom excellently and splendidly ordered and jolly, and will learn that all who are willing to obey our Queen never fail of a comfortable living; it is, nevertheless, true that some professions or businesses have more comfort and leisure than others. You will be able to choose among them as you please. I shall explain all that is necessary to you." "What then is your name?" I inquired. "My name is Delusion."

Chapter 4 ||| Labyrinth index page home