Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly — 1910 (Heft 32)

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A FABLE OF THE FUTURE

MANY years ago, I have been told, there was a Great Divide. How it
had grown up no one could precisely say, but tradition related there
had been a time when it was not and that the people whom it now
separated were of the same race. However, they had become known by
different names, the Laymen dwelling on one side, the Artmen on the other.
The Laymen, working in the shadow of the Great Divide, looked up at the
sky; and the Artmen, working on the sunny side of the barrier, looked up also
to the sky. Both thought their sky the only one and exclusively their own.
To both of them also the ridge of the Great Divide which they saw against the
sky seemed to be the Top of the World, and, being restless folk, both strove to
reach it, in order that from its height they might control the World.
Now, life on the darker side of the Great Divide was very strenuous,
demanding brawn as well as brain to surmount the natural obstacles which
encumbered the valley and the mountain’s side. But, by dint of endurance,
skilful invention of contrivances and, most of all, by combination of effort, the
Laymen were making the rough places smooth, and gradually building their
way up to the Top of the World, though the top and the sky above it were
often hidden from view by the smoke from their furnaces and the mist of sweat
given off from their laboring bodies.
Meanwhile, among the Artmen, dwelling on the sunny side of the Great
Divide, were some who lingered in the valley, dallying in the graveyard of their
dead, a spot redolent of lovely memories and beautified with slowly decaying
memorials of the greatness of the Past. Yet a larger number, the younger and
more alive, were also building for themselves a road that led to the Top of the
World, working in their way as hard as the Laymen, yet all the while rejoicing
in the perpetual presence of their sky.
So matters proceeded. For how long the Fable does not say. But in the
fulness of time there came a day, when the roads on either side of the Great
Divide were completed and the Laymen and the Artmen met at the Top of the
World. It proved to be a vast plateau, so vast that it seemed to be the Whole
World. The only thing vaster was the sky; for the sky of the Laymen and the
sky of the Artmen were now discovered, not to be two skies, but differing
aspects of the one sky. And in the light of this sky, the Laymen and the
Artmen rediscovered that they were brothers and lived happily ever after-
wards; or at least as reasonably happy as the differences of individuals per-
mitted. Charles H. Caffin.

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