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The tale of two tails


Standing ram-rod straight at about 6 feet, 7 inches Elias Roache, the musician, shopkeeper and story-teller used to relate lively tales and give lessons about human virtue and folly. As school boys we would make sure to pass by his little shop in Back Street to drink coconut water and moreso, to hear his witty, colourful and often instinctive narrative delivered with hard common sense. Reaching across time, I often connect with Elias Roache’s reflections still so relevant.

Among the many stories (usually involving his friend Cornie Padmore of Paul’s Avenue) was the celebrated fight between his dog and Padmore’s – “the baddest dog fight ever”. Every time their dogs met, although held back by their masters’ leads, they would growl, snap and threaten each other. One day Roache and Padmore allowed them to fight to see which was the stronger. As we listened intently Roache abruptly reached an anti climatic end. The dogs had devoured each other leaving only their respective tails. {{more}}

The message was and is still clear and timely.

Looking through a plain glass it is evident that human nature wallows in mortal combat now so present in many areas of our daily lives. The classroom of life now encourages and promotes the feral instincts as if they are sustaining values and survival kits. So often, however, life is a great leveller. The old and timeworn saying is never far away. “When you’re digging a hole for another dig one for your self too”.

The benchmarks of our claims to civilisation take a back seat for the cannibal within converted into action without.

They are those who simply say “that’s life for nothing better is expected of and from life than life can give”. But at what price for our spirit of community, our moral and ethical intelligence, our aesthetic, cultural and intellectual values, beliefs, customs and thoughts?

Unless arrested and chained it may well be a real tale of “tails”.