shamrock tea

An imagined conversation between Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle from the strange and good book Shamrock Tea, recommended to me by Christine Evans…


Once upon a time, continued Wilde, there was a man who was beloved in his village because he told stories. Every morning he would leave the village, and in the evening he would return, after the workmen there had done their day’s work. They would gather about him and ask him, What did you see today? And he would reply, I saw a faun in a forest playing a flute, and the wild beasts danced to his music. What else did you see? said the men, and he repied, I came to the seashore, where I saw three mermaids sitting on a rock, combing hteir hair with a golden comb. And the men loved him because he told stories.

One morning, he left the village, and when he came to the seashore, what did he see but three mermaids combing their green hair with a golden comb. He walked on, into the fores, where he saw a faun charimgin the wild beasts with the music of his flute. And when he came back to the village that evening, the men gathered about him, and asked him what he had seen.

I saw nothing, he answered.

So, my dear Doyle, of some things it is better to remain silent.

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