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The Scrivener: Through Darkling Glass: Part Three - Taking The Good With The Evil

'I fear that you have not heard of the sad events that occurred while you were away. Your uncle, such a fine old man, has died, and your cousin, that beautiful boy, has drowned at sea.'

Keawe, owner of the magic bottle and its wish-granting imp, returns to Hawaii to hear bad news and good.

Brian Barratt continues his magically entertaining adaptation of the classic Robert Lous Stevenson story.

To see pictures painted by John Burge to accompany this story click on http://openwriting.com/gallery/v/johnburge/

Almost as soon as they reached home, a friend of Keawe rushed along the beach and began to offer comfort and sympathy.

'Why are you doing this?' Keawe asked, mystified. 'Has something gone wrong during my absence?'

'I fear that you have not heard of the sad events that occurred while you were away. Your uncle, such a fine old man, has died, and your cousin, that beautiful boy, has drowned at sea.'

Keawe broke into sobbing at this terrible news. While the tears flowed, he forgot about the mysterious bottle. When he had calmed down a little, Lopaka spoke: 'Now this uncle of yours, didn't he own some property?'

'Yes, of course, he owned land a little way south of here. He grew taro, bananas and coffee.'

'And so this land will now be yours! This is the work of the imp of the bottle. You now have both the land and and your grand house.'

'But does this mean that the imp has killed my loved ones in order that I might have the land? What a dreadful, evil thing to do! Besides, there is no grand house upon that land.'

To find out more, they visited the lawyer. There, it was revealed that Keawe's uncle had been very successful and amassed a huge fortune. All this money, as well as the land and its crops, now belonged to Keawe.

'You see, you can now build your great house upon this land,' declared Lopaka.

'At last, everything is becoming clear,' replied the delighted Keawe.

The lawyer eagerly gave Keawe the name of an architect, assuring him that the man had an excellent reputation.

They went to visit the architect, who had a set of house plans and drawings already on his table. Keawe gasped in wonder — they were exactly what he had in mind for his own house.

'This is my house! Although I do not like the events which brought us here, and the death of my uncle, I will accept the outcome of it all. I will take the good with the evil.'

They discussed at length all that Keawe wanted in his house: the furnishings, the pictures on the walls, the ornaments, the knick-knacks on the tables; every possible detail. The architect promised to supply everything. When he calculated the total cost, it turned out to be exactly the sum of money Keawe had inherited from his uncle.

Keawe turned to his friend Lopaka. 'Well, it is clear that I am meant to have this house and everything in it. It is my heart's desire. I suspect that it might have come from a devil but I am sure of one thing — I shall make no more wishes as long as I have this bottle and its imp.'

Thus a contract was prepared by the architect, and duly signed. It was agreed that they would leave the architect — and the bottle imp — to take care of all the work. Keawe and Lopaka then set out on another long ocean voyage, this time to New South Wales, where they would visit Sydney, another great city which they longed to see. Keawe swore that he would make no more wishes and ask no more favours from the imp or, as he suspected, the devil.



Brian Barratt has had half a century of professional experience with books and Education. He’s been a bookseller, editor, publisher, author of schoolbooks, private tutor in English and thinking skills, class tutor in creative writing for adults, writing group leader in several schools, mentor to gifted students, judge of many writing competitions, and curriculum editor for Australian national Tournament of Minds... among other things.

He is a moderately/severely hearing handicapped elderly gentleman who explores the history and usage of the English language; writes whimsical articles; researches and writes about his ancestors, including many in the Book Trade during the past 300 years, and an elusive Gypsy; listens to recordings of Enrico Caruso, John McCormack, Kathleen Ferrier and other great voices from the past; relishes Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony and the music of the erhu; loves dictionaries; digs into the palaeopsychology of religious beliefs; rummages around in people’s minds; talks to dogs and birds, and to the possums that live in his shed.

Since 1936 he’s lived and worked in four countries, in this order: England, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Australia. He's lived in a leafy eastern suburb of Melbourne since 1971, next to where the rich people live. His house is actually a library-museum-art gallery-wizard's lair. There's a sign which reads 'Persons not wishing to see worlds outside or inside themselves are gently advised to close their minds whilst in this place'.

Do visit his Web site The Brain Rummager www.alphalink.com.au/~umbidas/



In 2008 John artist completed his first retrospective exhibition at the Victorian Artists Society in East Melbourne. It had been his first Melbourne show in thirty-six years and ranged from 1975 till the present. The nine panel ' Bluebeard's Castle ' - a free adaptation of Bela Bartok's 1918 opera - was seen for the first time in it's entirety.

He had previously exhibited in Melbourne in 1972 at the Warehouse Galleries in Richmond and, according to some, provided one of the most memorable and notorious openings of the time.

John then moved to Europe and lived for twelve years in the Catalan village of Ortedo, deep in the Spanish Pyrenees, exhibiting in Barcelona during the dying days of the Franco regime.

He later showed in Amsterdam and Munich, exhibiting with Dali, Vasarely, Magritte and Fontana before a critically acclaimed exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, Alkmaar. Despite forthcoming contracted exhibitions, family circumstances meant a reluctant return to Australia.

Through the mid-eighties and nineties he moved into book illustration and became involved with art education in schools. Over the last four years John has returned to full-time art.

In May 2010, he exhibited a second, more complete showing of ' Bluebeard's Castle ' at the Kingston Arts Centre. It included previously unseen work and as a coda, 'The Don's Last Tale ', a large watercolour on the theme of ' Don Giovanni '. The exhibit was opened by Mr Rob Hudson MP, Parliamentary Secretary for the Arts and a short discourse on Bartok's opera was presented by Associate Professor Thomas Reiner, head of the Monash University Conservatorium of Music.

An exhibition of new and recent work was held from the 16th of June until the 4th of July, 2010 at the Jackman Gallery, 60 Inkerman Street, St.Kilda, VIC. 3182. The gallery continues to carry a wide and comprehensive selection of John's work.

Do visit John's Web site http://www.johnburgeart.com.au/


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