by Pascal Quignard
I. The world was a completely black sponge. She absorbed the moon and the sun. Minos was the son of Europa.
Minos received the island from the hands of the god of the sea. Then Poseidon granted him kingship over the entire surface of the sea by sending him a bull, on the condition that Minos sacrificed it as soon as the animal set foot on the sea. land of the island. The bull was so beautiful, his thighs so powerful, his hooves so black, his genitals so round that Minos could not bring himself to kill him. Minos says:
“In my island, I want to make a smaller island where I will house the bull. »
When night fell, suddenly the horns of the moon reappeared. This is how King Minos invented the garden.
II. Then the king of the sea married the daughter of the sun. She had long black hair. Her name was Pasiphaé. Minos went to the sanctuary with Pasiphae. At that time men and women did not understand each other because they did not have ears. So the king of the sea knelt on the black pavement of the sanctuary at the entrance to the garden. He wrote with a piece of chalk addressed to the daughter of the sun:
“Is there a deeper shadow than that on which the legs of the daughter of the sun open and your feet trample on the pavement? »
Pasiphaé took the chalk between her husband's fingers and wrote on the ground:
“First there is the night. Then the skin of the beets. Then there's my hair. Finally the hooves of the bulls. »
But while his wife was writing the word "bull's hoof" on the pavement, the king violently grabbed her from behind and pierced her.
III. The sea king loved everything he saw that had a human, living appearance. He sodomized Ganymede. Britomartis threw himself into the sea rather than yield to it. Theseus received it in his mouth. Periboea would sit on him when he was hard in his sleep. “Thalamos taciturna intrat. » (She enters the room in silence.) The wife looks with sorrow at the husband who is making love. Then she leaves.
One day Pasiphaé complained to her husband that he seemed to lack love. She took him to the sanctuary which bordered the garden. Pasiphaé squatted down in her robe and wrote on the floor in front of the god:
“As your wife, I wish to be the only one to close my legs on your back. »
When she stood up the king slapped her. She fell. Minos looked at Pasiphae who had fallen to the ground and looked at her with sadness. Then he bent his knee and wrote:
“I wish to feel for a long time things that would make me ashamed. »
The sun girl's cheek was red. She rubbed her cheek while looking at her husband for a long time. Then she placed both knees on the black marble in front of him and noted:
“I have not yet seen the face of what I love. »
IV. As soon as the sun rose in the sky, the daughter of the sun used to go to the garden. At first she loved the garden. Then she loved the bull. Finally she loved his genitals. Pasiphae's hair was as black as the bristles and balls of the divine bull. After her husband slapped her, Pasiphaé decided not to go to the king's room anymore. She settled in the garden. Pasiphaé was touched by the look of the beast. She stroked his horns. She was rubbing the bull's hindquarters. When she felt too alone, she took the heavy, pink penis in her hand. Then she weighed the divine beast's soft pouches and pressed them together very gently.
One night she slipped under the beast's belly and, clinging to the animal's bristles, inserted the rod into her. She conceived a son and King Minos was ashamed when he saw his face: he had the body of a man and the head of a bull. The king said he felt horror but not astonishment. “I think my mother also loved a bull,” he declared. As the monstrous child was the grandson of the god who had given him the island for land and the sea for his kingdom, King Minos did not dare put him to death. But he wanted to hide it. He says :
“In my garden, I want a hidden garden where I will shelter your son. »
V. The king brought the architect Daedalos from Athens. He asked him to build a garden that could hide a monster without anyone knowing. Daedalos composed a garden of detours and paths. The network of paths was so tangled that it was impossible for anyone other than the one who designed it to find their way. “Turbatque notas et lumina flexum ducit in errorem variarum ambage viarum” (And he blurs the landmarks of the different paths; then he misleads the eye with their ambiguous sinuosities.) The king of Crete entrusted the Athenian architect with his son of Pasiphae. The architect entered the garden and left the child in the center of the uncertain place. “Vixque ipse reverti ad limen potuit, tanta est fallacia tecti” (And he was barely able to return to the threshold, so deceptive was the building.) This done, the king turned to the architect and said to him :
“It’s the universe. »
Daedalos did not understand what Minos was saying because he did not have ears to hear the sentences that the king's lips were uttering. From the trunk of a fig tree that stood near him, the architect took a yellow slug and looked at the king with concern.
VI. Minos brought Daedalos out of the garden and, holding him by the sleeve of his tunic, led him into the sanctuary. The king leaned over the pavement and wrote:
“This garden within this garden is a labyrinth.
You have to give me the key. »
The architect's face lit up. He leaned over and made a note on the black marble.
“There’s no key because you asked me to do it to get lost.”
– Your paths put end to end could mislead the gods, retorted the king. And I don't want to get lost in my own garden. Either you give me the key to my garden or I will have you thrown from the top of the rock into the sea.”
The architect responded by noting the Greek characters with chalk on the ground: “The paths that will seem the most beautiful and longest to you are those that do not end. This is the key to my labyrinth. »
VII. The sea king pretended to be satisfied with the architect's answer. He held a feast in the sanctuary to thank Daedalos. Minos presented the architect with a basket of shells filled with purple for painting. He also gave him a sponge that the fisherman had caught at the same time. Daedalos grabbed the living sponge and passed it across the floor over the shadow of the sea king, but the shadow of the king remained on the ground. The king looked at his shadow at his feet. He spoke to his shadow. He tells him :
“Women and men contribute to each other’s suffering. I have never seen anyone die who was reconciled. What about eye sponges, what if we called them handkerchiefs? »
Unable to hear what Minos was saying, the architect placed the yellow slug on the black pavement. He placed her at the edge of the king's shadow. The slug turned away from the shadow and moved slowly forward, leaving behind a shiny film. The Greek architect wrote under the trace of the slug:
“I would like to draw how slugs leave their shiny trail behind them. »
The king grabbed the slug, looked at it and ate it.
Daedalos suddenly bent down and wiped away with the sponge the shiny mark that the animal's body had left.
Daedalos thought. Then he placed both knees on the icy pavement and noted:
“I would like to draw like sponges erase drawings. »
The architect's head was leaning forward on the pavement. Seeing this, the king took the architect by the neck and slammed his head against the pavement, shouting:
“Will you tell me yes or no the secret of your garden? »
But Daedalos did not understand what the king's mouth was saying. The architect had his forehead open, his eyes empty. A trickle of blood ran down his nose and into his mouth.
VIII. As the architect could not hear what the king was asking him, Minos took the bleeding head of Daedalos and he dug a small labyrinth on each side of the head.
“Men too will have an island within themselves where they will shelter their secret. »
With the flesh he had taken from the sides of the face he made a meatball. Daedalos screamed, holding his head with both hands. Minos placed the flour on the black marble floor and poured lukewarm water over it. He first mixed the water and flour and kneaded everything with one hand without weakness. When the liquid dough had begun to take on its consistency, he introduced the meatball into it and added a pinch of salt. Then he thins the kneaded dough and widens it under his palms, giving it a circular shape. Then he cut out garden figures which he then took to the hearth, covered them with tiles and piled embers on top.
After an hour he removed the pinnae from the ears of the hearth. He placed the two small pavilions of cooked dough around the architect's face, at the edge of his jaw, at the height of his cheeks, under his black hair. Having done so, the king of the sea whispered in the architect's ear:
" You hear me ? »
The architect nodded.
King Minos says:
“I made this ear hole where there was the old gill of the sons of the sea god. This is how I did it: behind the pavilion, I put your labyrinth. Now tell me, the bottom of your labyrinth, what if we called it music? »
Daedalos looked at Minos with a frightened look. Minos said in a normal tone:
“First of all, the island is a hiding place, the garden is a hiding place, the human soul is a hiding place. Then the universe is a cache, the sea is a cache, the bull of the moon is a cache. What they hide is the secret. »
The architect looked at Minos in amazement. He opened his mouth. But he was silent. Then, his cheeks covered with tears, he said to the king:
“I understand what the king wanted to do with my labyrinth but what does ear mean?