fabulist n. a person who invents fables, or a liar
Long years ago, when summers gleamed and sunshine pooled into tremulous haziness above the warm roads, a rabbit and a mole were talking in the shade of a sprawling oak tree.
“I heard that Mr Raven squawking in the early hours again,” said Mr Mole, squinting at the slinky rabbit beside him.
“Oh, him,” said Miss Rabbit in her seductively deep tones. “Yes, he’s a menace - he keeps me up all night with his cawing.”
“You keep me up all night with that voice,” thought Mr Mole.
“Eh? Oh, umm, nothing.” said Mr Mole, not realising he’d spoken aloud. “I said ‘true, he keeps me up all night with fat mice’.” At his unconvincing cover up, Mole winced, which was hard to see in his little scrunched up face.
“Hmmm, yes.” She sounded unconvinced and Mr Mole shifted uncomfortably. He decided to change the subject.
“Lord Toad tells me he’s buying a new motor car next week.”
“Oh, Lord Toad is a fabulist!”
Mole coughed and ran a finger under his collar - he’d never heard anyone dare to say anything so scandalous about Lord Toad. “It’s true!” he proclaimed indignantly, “I went for the test drive with him.”
“I’m sure it is true, my dear Mole,” soothed Miss Rabbit sounding not unlike the throaty purr of Lord Toad’s motorbike. “I was referring to the fact that he published a beautiful little tome of fables recently.”
“Oh, I see!” Mr Mole was most relieved that Miss Rabbit wasn’t being scurrilous. “I thought you were calling him a liar.”
Miss Rabbit eyed Mr Mole with renewed interest: “You are truly a living thesaurus, my furry darling. I find that so attractive in a mole.”
Mr Mole coughed again. He loosened his top button.
“Allow me to loosen a few more buttons,” growled Miss Rabbit, peeling open Mr Mole’s crisp white shirt. “You appear quite flushed.”
We will leave them alone now, to indulge their passions and avoid getting acorns in uncomfortable places. But this small tale is in itself the forging of a fabulist. The moral is that words are seductive. Words can make even short, squinty, furry creatures beguiling to slender, beautiful, clever, and also furry other creatures. For words wield a mighty but gentle power and, through all the ages since we learned to talk, have been used to seduce rather than conquer, to tempt rather than trap, to woo rather than possess.