Aki Kuroda by Pascal Quignard - Bull

Bull by Pascal Quignard, 1990

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 him as soon as the animal had set foot on the island land. The bull was so beautiful, its thighs so powerful, its hooves so black, its genitalia so round that Minos could not make up his mind to kill it. 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 Pasiphae. Minos went to the sanctuary with Pasiphae. In those days men and women did not get along because they had no 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 over 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 is my hair. Finally the hooves of the bulls. »

But, while his wife was writing the word "bull's hoof" on the pavement, the king took her violently from behind and pierced her.

III. The Sea King loved anything he saw that looked human and alive. He sodomized Ganymede. Britomartis threw himself into the sea rather than yield to it. Theseus took it in his mouth. Periboea sat 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 her to lack love. She took him to the sanctuary which bordered the garden. Pasiphae squatted in his robe and wrote on the pavement in front of the god:

“Being your wife, I want to be the only one to wrap my legs around your back. »

When she straightened up the king slapped her. She fell. Minos looked at Pasiphae who had fallen to the ground and looked at her sadly. Then he bent his knee and wrote:

“I form a wish to feel for a long time things of which I would have to be ashamed. »

The cheek of the daughter of the sun was red. She rubbed her cheek while looking at her husband for a long time in turn. Then she put both her 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 liked the garden. Then she loved the bull. Finally she liked his genitals. Pasiphae's hair was as black as the bristles and balls of the divine bull. After her husband had slapped her, Pasiphae decided not to go to the king's chamber anymore. She settled down in the garden. Pasiphaé was touched by the gaze 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 purses so soft of the divine beast and she pressed them one against the other very gently.

One night she slipped under the beast's belly and, clinging to the animal's bristles, introduced 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 was horrified but not surprised. “I believe my mother also loved a bull,” he said. 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 summoned the architect Daedalos from Athens. He asked her to build a garden that could hide a monster without anyone knowing. Daedalos composed a garden of detours and paths. The network of trails was so tangled that it was impossible for anyone but the one who designed it to find their way back. "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 by their ambiguous sinuosities.) The king of Crete entrusted the Athenian architect with the 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 could barely get back to the threshold, so deceptive was the building.) That done, the king turned to the architect and said to him :

“It's the universe. »

Daedalos didn't understand what Minos was saying because he didn't have ears to hear the sentences that the king's lips uttered resound. From the trunk of a fig tree near him, the architect took a yellow slug and looked at the king with concern.

VI. Minos led 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 maze.

You must give me the key. »

The architect's face lit up. He leaned over and noted in his turn on the black marble.

“There is no key because you asked me to get lost.

"Your trails laid end to end could lead the gods astray," 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'll have you thrown from the top of the rock into the sea."

The architect answered by noting the Greek characters with chalk on the ground: “The paths which will seem to you the most beautiful and the longest are those which 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 to paint. He also gave her a sponge that the fisherman had caught at the same time. Daedalos grabbed the living sponge and passed it across the pavement over the Sea King's shadow but the king's shadow lingered on the floor. The king looked at his shadow at his feet. He addressed his shadow. He tells him :

“Women and men contribute to each other's suffering. I have never seen any die who were reconciled. What about eye sponges, 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 shadows and slowly moved forward, leaving behind a shiny film. The Greek architect wrote under the trace of the slug:

“I would like to draw like slugs throwing their shiny trail behind them. »

The king grabbed the slug, looked at it, and ate it.

Daedalos suddenly ducked down and wiped away the gleaming trace the animal's body had left with the sponge.

Daedalos considered. Then he put his two knees on the frozen pavement and he noted:

“I would like to draw as sponges erase drawings. »

The architect's head was leaning forward on the pavement. Seeing this, the king took the architect by the neck and struck 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 reached his mouth.

VIII. Since the architect could not hear what the king was asking him, Minos took the bloody head of Daedalos and he dug a small labyrinth on each side of the head.

Minos says:

“Men too will have an island within them where they will harbor their secret. »

With the flesh he had taken from the sides of the face he made a meatball. Daedalos screamed holding his head in both hands. Minos placed the flour on the black marble floor and poured warm water over it. He first mixed the water and the flour and kneaded the whole thing with one hand without weakness. When the runny paste had begun to thicken, he introduced the meatball and added a pinch of salt. Then he thins the kneaded dough and expands it under his palms, giving it a circular shape. So he cut out garden figures which he then brought to the hearth, covered them with tiles and piled embers on top.

After an hour he removed the ear flaps from the hearth. He placed the two small pavilions of baked clay around the architect's face, at the edge of his jaws, level with his cheeks, under his black hair. Having done so, the king of the sea whispered in the hollow of the architect's ear:

" You hear me ? »

The architect nodded yes.

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, if we called it music? »

Daedalos looked at Minos with a frightened look. Minos said in a normal tone:

“First the island is a cache, the garden is a cache, the human soul is a cache. 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?

Bull by Pascal Quignard, 1990