Sunday, September 12, 2004

A Pint of Colza Oil's Your Only Man...

-The early books of the Bible I accepted as myth, but durable myth contrived genuinely for man’s guidance. I also accepted as fact the story of the awesome encounter between God and the rebel Lucifer. But I was undecided for many years as to the outcome of that encounter. I had little to corroborate the revelation that God had triumphed and banished Lucifer to hell forever. For if – I repeat if - the decision had gone the other way and God had been vanquished, who but Lucifer would be certain to put about the other and opposite story?
-But why should he? Mick asked incredulously.
-The better to snare and damn mankind, De Selby answered.
-Well now, Hackett remarked, that secret would take some keeping.
-However, De Selby continued, perplexed, I was quite mistaken in that speculation. I’ve since found that things are as set forward in the Bible, at least to the extent that heaven is intact.
-How could you be so sure? he asked. You have not been temporarily out of this world, have you, Mr De Selby?
-Not exactly. But I have a long talk with John the Baptist. A most understanding man, do you know, you’d swear he was a Jesuit.
-The Dalkey Archive, Flann O’Brien

It is not easy to give an account of the Colza Hotel, its owner Mrs Laverty, or its peculiar air. It had been formerly, though not in any recent time, an ordinary public house labelled ‘Constantine Kerr, Licensed Vintner’ and it was said that Mrs Laverty, a widow, had remodelled the bar, erased the obnoxious public house title and called the premises the Colza Hotel.
Why this strange name?
Mrs Laverty was a most religious woman and once had a talk with a neighbour about the red lamp suspended in the church before the high altar. When told that it was sustained with colza oil, she piously assumed that this was a holy oil used for miraculous purposes by Saint Colza, VM, and decided to put her house under this banner.
-The Dalkey Archive, Flann O’Brien

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