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In a novel about Russian master-musician Shostakovich, I came across a funny line about a funny exchange. Another Russian composer, Rimsky-Korsakov, was being ‘persuaded’ to go to Paris. Resigned to his fate, he sent a postcard to register his acceptance, which read: ‘If we’re going, then let’s go, as the parrot said to the cat which was dragging it downstairs by the tail.’ You’ve got to love the warm humour of the cold war.
It reminded me of Thomas in that Gospel story where Jesus was headed straight for Jerusalem, knowing exactly what it would mean, and precisely what it would cost him. In a manner that would have done the parrot proud, Thomas, – although Jesus was no hungry cat, nor Thomas the one to suffer – said to the other disciples: “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” I wonder if Jesus looked at Thomas piercingly, or simply kept his face to the road ahead.
It also reminded me of Peter in that story when he was told by Jesus that ‘someone else will lead you where you do not want to go’. Jesus was talking about that day of martyrdom that would surely come for Peter, when Nero would be the hungry cat, and Peter the parrot dragged to his fate. Though I suspect that when that cold day came, Peter’s manner was not that of a jocular bird, but that of a disciple committed to proving a warm love for his Master.
DM 2nd September 2022