Alice and the Red Queen

Alice and the queen

Alice and the queen

In Lewis Carroll’s famous masterpiece “Alice through the Looking Glass,” there is a dialogue between the main character and the Queen, who has just told something quite extraordinary.

– I can’t believe it – says Alice.

– Can’t believe it? – the Queen repeats with a sad look on her face. – Try again: take a deep breath, close your eyes, and believe.

Alice laughs:

– It’s no good trying. Only fools believe that impossible things can happen.

– I think what you need is a little training – answers the Queen. – When I was your age I would practice at least half an hour a day, right after breakfast, I tried very hard to imagine five or six unbelievable things that could cross my path, and today I see that most of the things I imagined have turned real, I even became a Queen because of that.

Life constantly asks us: “believe!” Believing that a miracle can happen at any moment is necessary not only for our happiness but also for our protection, or to justify our existence. In today’s world, many people think it is impossible to put an end to misery, to build a fair society, and to alleviate the religious tension that seems to grow worse every day.

Most people avoid the struggle for a whole variety of reasons: conformism, maturity, the sense of the ridiculous, the feeling of impotence. We see injustice being done to our neighbor and remain silent. “I’m not getting involved in fights for nothing” is the explanation.

This is a cowardly attitude. Whoever travels down a spiritual path carries an honor code to be fulfilled; the voice that is raised against what is wrong is always heard by God.

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

Lewis Carroll is one of my favourite writers. He lived in Guildford with his sisters. A cross provided by his sisters can be found in St Mary’s Church in Guildford, a church in which the Rev Charles Dodgson occasionally preached.

Last summer I treated my lovely friend Sian to a special Alice day out in Guildford.

We had a wonderful day out.

We went to an enactment of the courtroom scene, we visited spots associated with Lewis Carroll including his house, we visited a special exhibition on Lewis Carroll and Alice and his links with Guildford, we had lovely afternoon tea at the back of Guildford House, we sat by the river where I read to Sian passages from Alice, much as Alice’s sister had read to Alice and I gave Sian a beautiful illustrated copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Synchronicity: As I sat down to write, I found I had received a request asking me was the house Lewis Carroll shared with his sister open to the public. Sadly not, it is a private house, though I believe they occasionally acceded to special requests.

For my lovely friend Sian.

Note: Alice met two Queens on her travels. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland she meets the Queen of Hearts infamous for ‘Off with her head!’ In Alice Through the Looking Glass she meets the Red Queen with who she has this conversation. The first Queen is a playing card, the second a chess piece. The illustration is of the Queen of Hearts. In the conversation Alice is talking to the Red Queen. The two are often confused, or worse, merged into one.

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One Response to “Alice and the Red Queen”

  1. keithpp Says:

    Only fools believe that impossible things can happen. And Tunisians and Egyptians.

    Who would have believed a week ago, let alone a year ago, that today we would see a million Egyptians on the streets of Egypt calling for Hosni Mubarak to go?

    Young and old, rich and poor, Christian and Muslim, men, women and children, all united in their call for Hosni Mubarak to go. Last Friday we saw Christians guarding their Muslim brothers at prayer.

    Unarmed protesters faced down the forces of the repressive regime and won. They faced down the forces of repression and the forces of repression fled with their tails between their legs.

    Tear gas was fired. Tear gas with Made in USA on the side of the cannisters. A repressive regime paid for with US dollars.

    Our hearts go out to the brave Egyptian people. Once they lost their fear, anything was possible, even the impossible.

    Enduring images are of a girl on her father’s shoulders, calling for Mubarak to go, of a former policeman beating his uniform with the soles of his shoe, of an eight-year-old girl giving wise advice to Mubarak to go.

    Today even an Egyptian cat joined the million Egyptians on the street calling for Mubarak to go!

    A butterfly flapped its wings …

    A young unemployed man set fire to himself in protest at not being allowed to set up a fruit and vegetable stall, his only way of earning a living. The Jasmine Revolution was born, the most enduring image was that of a Tunisian woman singing in the street of the martyrs. Ben Ali fled Tunisia like a rat up a drainpipe.

    The revolution will spread across the Arab World and the Middle East. One by one the dominoes will fall.

    Who next? The corrupt House of Saud? The evil Mullahs and Ayatollahs in Iran?

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