Thursday, March 06, 2008

animals that live in the mirror

“In a preliminary listing, [Father Zallinger, of the company of Jesus] noted that the Fish was an elusive, gleaming creature that no one had ever touched but that many people believed they had seen in the depths of mirrors….

“In those days, the world of mirrors and the world of men were not, as they say now, separate and unconnected. They were, moreover, quite different from one another; neither the creatures nor the colors nor the shapes of the two worlds were the same. The two kingdoms—the specular and the human—lived in peace, and one could pass back and forth through mirrors. One night, however, the people of the mirror invaded this world. Their strength was great but after many bloody battles, the magic of the Yellow Emperor prevailed. The Emperor pushed back the invaders, imprisoned them within the mirrors, and punished them by making them repeat, as though in a kind of dream, all the actions of their human victors. He stripped them of their strength and their own shape and reduced them to mere servile reflections. One day, however, they will throw off that magical lethargy.

“The first to awaken shall be the Fish. In the depths of the mirror, we shall perceive a faint, faint line, and the color of that line will not resemble any other. Then, other forms will begin to awaken. Gradually they will become different from us; they will break through the barriers of glass or metal, and this time they will not be conquered. Water creatures will battle alongside mirror creatures.”

from The Book of Imaginary Beings
Jorge Luis Borges

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