treasure-box[#tbt This is a reposting of one of my more popular posts, originally posted in February of 2013]

For a message on envy, I shortened and rewrote a poem by Victor Hugo called “Envy & Avarice.” (“Recasting,” I call it.) I found the poem both enjoyable and thought-provoking, a sad commentary on human nature that sometimes arises in me. I’d be interested to know what you think. Leave a comment.

Envy & Greed by Victor Hugo

Recast by John Rallison

Envy and Greed, twin sisters wandered seeking
Any soul that might be open to their reeking
In sullen, sulky silence moving shore to shore

Pale Greed was hugging close a shiny treasure box
Worried always at each glance upon its locks
Thinking always, “There’s not enough, enough, yet in my store!”

While Envy stared with jealous eye unblinking,
Of that shiny box and contents always thinking.
“She’s more than me, more, still forever more.”

When suddenly to their surprise
The god named Gift appeared before their eyes
He said, “Great gifts I have bestowed.
I come to give you gifts where none are owed.
Choose any gift, whatever you’d like best
With only this to bear on your request.
The first to speak receives their gift untroubled;
But that gift to other sister will be doubled.

Imagine what a quandary was begun
In greed or envy, what would you have done?

Each sister thought, distressed to give the other more
Contemplating long, they tried Gift’s patience sore.
Then Envy spoke with loud, triumphant cry,
“Hah! I ask for blindness in a single eye!”