Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Me a Trickster?

When is it OK to trick someone? Is there a time when a lie is necessary and "allowed"?

I am not a liar, but I have often wondered what I would do if I was faced with a dangerous and life-threatening situation. I know that if my children were in danger, I would do anything to save them. I tend to instantly change into a wild lioness when my cubs are concerned.

Yesterday I walked the dogs up the country alley behind the Duck and Cherry. Hector, the Wheaten Terrier, picked up a parcel from the middle of the snowy dirt road. It was flat as a pancake, probably run over by a truck driving to the neighboring greenhouse. My detective talent told me that food was involved since Hector was so eager to bring it home. He carried it stubbornly between his teeth and tried to get me to return home. I understood his plan and just as inflexible made him continue our walk. Knowing how much he loves to hide treasures that suddenly appear on our walks, I talked him into jumping across a stone fence to bury it there, away from the road and any other dogs walking down the alley.

Obedient and clever he leaped across, hid behind the rock wall, and started digging. Respectfully, I waited and gave him space.

I thought he might remember as we passed that same way this morning, but fortunately he did not.

I tricked him. I let him hide his treasure, hoping he would forget about it. I also hoped that the badger who frequents that area would find it instead.

Wikipedia says that a trickster is someone who plays tricks and otherwise disobeys normal rules and conventional behavior. They can be cunning or foolish. Mythology has their examples. The Bible tells stories of such, for instance Delilah who tricked Samson into cutting his hair to loose his strength and for certain reasons Jacob tricked his twin brother Esau to obtain the birth right. In Norwegian folk tales we have a young fellow called Espen Askeladd, who constantly tricks both trolls and people along his way.

Literature has their fare share of tricksters. Cartoons have many; both villains and clowns. Cheat, swindler, charlatan, fraud, con artist. Yes, an artist I want to be, but not that kind. And the other titles are not the kind I want on my CV.

So what do you think? Was my motive yesterday good or bad? Is it justifiable to trick others now and then?

Today's water color is one I made for a children's song book. Who's tricking whom in this rendition?

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