“So they found him at last,” Gertruida says with a satisfied smile. “He can now be buried properly, monument and all.”
“Who? The president?” Servaas looks up sharply – it sounds like good news.
“No, you dummy, Miguel Cervantes.”
“He the new president?”
Gertruida rolls her eyes. Such ignorance! “Cervantes, Servaas, was one of the greatest writers Spain ever produced. He was born a long time ago, in 1547, the same year Edward VI banned execution by boiling in England.”
“And they say we are backward?”
“The point is – if you’ll stop interrupting me – that Miguel Cervantes created Don Quixote, an erant knight with high ideals. Despite his blustering stupidity, he was an extremely wise man.”
“Now that, Gertruida, makes a whole heap of sense. Just like our parliament.”
“Well, I’ll have you know he could have written a speech for the country, seeing the vote of no confidence in the president was defeated by the ruling party’s inability to see the wood for the trees. Listen to what he wrote in 1605: Don Quixote was addressing his faithful squire, Sancho Panza at the time, after suffering severe setbacks.”
Bear in mind, Sancho, that one man is no more than the other, unless he does more than the other. All these tempests that fall upon us are signs that fair weather is coming shortly, and that things will go well with us; for it is impossible for good or evil to last forever. Hence it follows that the evil having lasted so long, the good must now be nigh at hand. So you must not distress thyself at the misfortunes which happen to me, since you had no share in them.
Servaas doesn’t know much about knights, old-time chivalry or squires, but he understands the bit that evil can’t possibly last forever. In his mind, parliament has degenerated into a circus: good enough for entertainment but not really huge in the problem-solving department.
“And, whats more, Servaas, he wrote something else that comes to mind…”
I do not deny that what happened to us is a thing worth laughing at. But it is not worth telling, for not everyone is sufficiently intelligent to be able to see things from the right point of view.
“Wow! He should have been our president, Gertruida.”
“You wish. But still, even though he died a poor man, at least he’ll be honoured by a monument. People from all over the world will come to pay homage to his genius.”
Servaas thinks about this. Cervantes, dead but honoured for his honest wisdom. The president, alive, and scorned for his devious ways.
“We live in a crazy country, Gertruida.”
“My name is Servaas.”
“Oh…but you sound like him.”