Cat’s CradleKurt VonnegutContents

101. Like My Predecesors, I Outlaw Bokonon

So I wrote my speech in a round, bare room at the foot of a tower. There was a table and a chair. And the speech I wrote was round and bare and sparsely furnished, too.

It was hopeful. It was humble.

And I found it impossible not to lean on God. I had never needed such support before, and so had never believed that such support was available.

Now, I found that I had to believe in it—and I did.

In addition, I would need the help of people. I called for a list of the guests who were to be at the ceremonies and found that Julian Castle and his son had not been invited. I sent messengers to invite them at once, since they knew more about my people than anyone, with the exception of Bokonon.

As for Bokonon:

I pondered asking him to join my government, thus bringing about a sort of millennium for my people. And I thought of ordering that the awful hook outside the palace gate be taken down at once, amidst great rejoicing.

But then I understood that a millennium would have to offer something more than a holy man in a position of power, that there would have to be plenty of good things for all to eat, too, and nice places to live for all, and good schools and good health and good times for all, and work for all who wanted it—things Bokonon and I were in no position to provide.

So good and evil had to remain separate; good in the jungle, and evil in the palace. Whatever entertainment there was in that was about all we had to give the people.

There was a knock on my door. A servant told me the guests had begun to arrive.

So I put my speech in my pocket and I mounted the spiral staircase in my tower. I arrived at the uppermost battlement of my castle, and I looked out at my guests, my servants, my cliff, and my lukewarm sea.

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