I promise you: this is not a cooking recipe. Maybe, a magical recipe as the Wizards did – but… truly, no.
Your two words are close: basil and basilisk.
But in French, our two words are identical: basilic.
Basilic ? a mythical snake, the king of all, the most dangerous, the most poisonous, the most unlikely and the most used plant in the world when it comes to cooking tomatoes.
The confusion of these two meanings has given rise, in France, to a multitude of stories, of course, and such a witch who went to look for a basilic did not return because she found a basilic.
For the sake of convenience – mine – I will use the French sound, because that is exactly what has given rise to a whole host of stories.
You surely know that my beautiful country is almost world champion – and even: out of competition – in the field of morality.
Mind you, this is about lecturing others – and certainly not about lecturing oneself.
This is a tradition, even older than our secret recipes.
Books on morality have been available for centuries, as if it were raining.
The problem is that nobody reads them. And when people were forced to read them, they still didn’t apply these brilliant morals.
Let’s go back to the 17th century. France is preparing to flood you with its brilliance. We had left the 16th to the Italians, which was not too bad. We had the immemorial glory of the 17th century, the Grand Siècle, the century of Louis XIV, Versailles, the Comédie Française, the Academies of everything – and the creation of a perfectly artificial language, which became, by force, atonal – because it is so much classier, a monotonous language, without any tonic accent.
Some intellectuals had launched, in the 16th – from England – this still very austere movement which was already called Libertinage, and which seriously drifted towards sexuality only in the 18th century.
It was a question of freeing oneself from the tutelage of the Roman Catholic Church, which had a clear tendency to take people for morons and therefore, in particular, to impose moral rules.
As a result, in 17th century France, there was a great moment of thought – and intellectuals who wondered how to succeed in changing people’s mentalities, without forcing them.
They went back to see how the Ancients did it.
They found out.
Jean de la Fontaine wrote a very clear fable about it – and the trick is there: to instruct and to please.
Here is launched, for years and years, the fashion of stories that look like nothing, that are pleasant to read and that allow you to build your own moral rules.
And here I am, and you with me if you had the patience to stay with me, at my basilic story.
It tells the story of a Sultan from a very, very distant and very, very imaginary East.
This Sultan was full of qualities – but he had one major flaw: greed. Gluttony would be more accurate.
He had started his adult life young and beautiful, but very quickly he found himself a little less young and quite obese, his legs so swollen that he could no longer walk, his fingers so sulky that he could no longer write, his belly so prominent that he could no longer… reproduce – which put him in a great sadness, especially because he had in his palace a whole harem of women, each one more splendid, intelligent, sweet, charming, and attractive. And … his device was drowned somewhere in his greed, these ladies could no longer access it.
Here is our Sultan in full crisis of depression. He became bitter. Unpleasant. Nasty. He condemned everyone without caring what happened. He ate even more than usual.
On the day when a violent crisis made him give back all his food in his bulges and he had to undergo the humiliation of being cleaned in detail, he decided to call his mage and ask him to find a solution.
This mage, he looked so ? weak ? like a cloud of dust, all you had to do was blow on it and it would disappear – his age ? indeterminable, the age of dust, maybe he was a thousand years old ? 247,000 years old ? 24 ? who could tell? Maybe was he wise ?
He looked at the Sultan and urged him to send all his wives to fetch the basilic, the real basilic, the mythical Snake: a drop of its venom, mixed with star powder on a dark moonlit evening would restore the Sultan’s splendor – and take off all his unwanted pounds.
But the Basilic could only be captured by a woman – otherwise, the venom would kill the Sultan.
And so the world’s most charming Harem found itself in the countryside, searching for the Mythical Snake.
These ladies played a lot, laughed even more, searched for they did not know what since they did not know what a Basilic was – but, it seems that they gave the most adorable show in the world.
On the road a man passed by – he admired them a lot – stopped – and finally offered his help.
He listened to the sad story of the Sultan, and the far-fetched solution of his magician.
He had seen on his way here a stream with basilic growing beside it.
And as the country was hot, this basilic was largely surrounded by small very common snakes.
He led the prettiest young woman in the Harem, promising her that she would be the lucky one to save the Sultan.
She was horrified by the snakes – he was: a man – and chased them vigorously.
Then he made her pick a whole branch of basilic – and to keep the snakes from coming back, he made her put the branch in his big skin flask. Then he filled it with water – closed it tightly and offered to drive the beautiful Sultana to the palace.
The Sultan, enchanted, listened to the story of the capture of the Basilic by this beautiful young woman whom he had married one day – admired the heavy gourd containing – she could swear, it was true: the basilic.
The magician arrived, he could not believe his ears.
The stranger took advantage of his newfound prestige in this court to advise a new way, from his country, to brew basilic before waiting for the next dark moon.
The Sultan was impatient – the magician indifferent.
The solution was accepted.
The next morning, at the first light of dawn, the stranger, the Sultan and the Mage will met in the gardens of the Palace,
Then, the next morning, the stranger placed the Sultan and the Mage face to face.
He placed his flask in the hands of the Sultan – sent it to the Mage, who had to collect it and send it back.
In order for the basilic to infuse the Sultan’s sacred person, the operation had to be repeated five times on the first day, six times on the second day, seven times on the third day and so on until the forty-first day.
As for the Mage, only he had enough sacred protection not to fall dead when he came into contact with this basilic touched by a Sultana. Too bad for him.
The affair was exhausting – the Sultan was sweating and blowing like a colony of oxen. He was rolling to catch the ball. He hung on to everything to get up and throw it back.
But he did – and the stranger pointed out that all that sweat from his sacred person had just been replaced by the steam of the famous basilic.
Delighted, the Sultan promised to continue the treatment. He urged the stranger to stay – but he preferred to go on his way – while promising to return after 41 days – he had a reward in mind – a reward with such a beautiful smile and wonderful curls wrapped around that smile.
41 days later – the stranger returned in the early hours of the morning and the sight that awaited him delighted him to no end.
In the garden, two young men were vigorously competing for the ball, jumping and leaping like goats, going backwards as if they had always done so, and attempting the first smashes of our History.
The Sultan was so amazed at the power of the stranger’s magic that he agreed to grant him … the so pretty Sultana who had found the basilic and who had fallen so in love with the beautiful unknown stranger that she was. turned all sad and pale, so sad and so pale that she had never really been the Sultan’s wife. As for the Basilic, it must have finished rotting in its bottle.
Obviously, the story ends there – the moral is very clear, no need to add more. .
And since it’s a very pretty story, simple and perfect, it would be perfect to create on a stage. To live in: balloon – in Sultan’s hands – in Mage slippers, for those who would like to experience it in Virtual Reality – legendary mode activated when you are the balloon.