Company of Liars

Are you finally admitting that you can sell a man hope? Have I at last succeeded in teaching you that?'
He laughed and flicked his whip again, harder. He was in a better mood than I had seen for months.
'No, Camelot, not hope. Hope is for the weak; have I not succeeded in teaching you that? To hope is to put your faith in others and in things outside yourself; that way lies betrayal and disappointment. They didn't want hope, Camelot; they wanted certainty. What a man needs is the certainty that he is right, no selfdoubt, no fleeting thought that he might be wrong or misled. Absolute certainty that he is right, that's what gives a man the confidence and power to do whatever he wants and to take whatever he wants from this world and the next.

But then, the flames of a fire are not made less painful by the knowledge that others are burning with you.

God's hand can be seen in any occurrence for those who are determined to find it there, but then again, so can the devil's

Home is the place you return to when you have finally lost your soul. Home is the place where life is born, not the place of your birth, but the place where you seek rebirth. When you no longer have to remember which tale of your own past is true and which is an invention, when you know that you are an invention, then is the time to seek out your home. Perhaps only when you have come to understand that can you finally reach home.

Hope is a beautiful lie and it requires talent to create it for others.

Hope itself is always genuine. It's only what it's placed in that can prove to be false.

I'd believed mine was the greatest of all the arts, the noblest of all the lies, the creation of hope. I thought hope could overcome everything, but I was wrong. Hope cannot overcome truth. Hope and truth cannot co-exist. Truth destroys hope. The most savage cruelties man inflicts on man are committed in the pursuit of truth. My last lie had been the most honest, the most honorable of them all, for there is an art greater even than the creation of hope. The greatest art of all is the destruction of truth.

I truly believed that the creation of hope was the greatest of all the arts, the noblest of all the lies.

Miracles are like murders. After the first one, each becomes easier than the last for, with each success, the miracle-worker's certainty in himself becomes stronger.

My brave husband came back from fighting the Turks and brought me a robe of silk and a necklace of human teeth. He sat up at night by his hearth telling tales of battle. Apparently the Turks are ten times more ferocious and fearless than the Scots. 'Perhaps we should invite them here to drive the Scots back,' I suggested, and he laughed, but he didn't kiss me. That's when I learned the truth about scars. A man with a battle scar is a veteran, a hero, given an honoured place at the fire. Small boys gaze up fascinated, dreaming of winning such badges of courage. Maids caress his thighs with their buttocks as they bend over to mull his ale. Women cluck and cosset, and if in time other men grow a little weary of that tale of honour, then they call for his cup to be filled again and again until he is fuddled and dozes quietly in the warmth of the embers.

But a scarred woman is not encouraged to tell her story. Boys jeer and mothers cross themselves. Pregnant women will not come close for fear that if they look upon such a sight, the infant in their belly will be marked. You've heard of the tales of Beauty and the Beast no doubt. How a fair maid falls in love with a monster and sees the beauty of his soul beneath the hideous visage. But you've never heard the tale of the handsome man falling for the monstrous woman and finding joy in her love, because it doesn't happen, not even in fairytales. The truth is that the scarred woman's husband buys her a good thick veil and enquires about nunneries for the good of her health. He spends his days with his falcons and his nights instructing pageboys in their duties. For if nothing else, the wars taught him how to be a diligent master to such pretty lads.

Rain slips through your fingers as easily as words blow away in the wind, and yet it has the power to destroy your whole world.

Reckon it's best if you don't have anyone you care about; then it can't hurt you. Don't have to be afraid of losing someone if you no one to lose.

The day that I left my home, I had prayed that my children would forget me. I wanted to spare them the pain of remembering. But that night, as I crouched in the white mist, waiting, I knew more than anything that I wanted them to remember, I wanted desperately to go on living in someone's memory. If we are not remembered, we are more than dead, for it is as if we had never lived.

There was a new king and his name was pestilence. And he had created a new law - thou shalt do anything to survive.

They were just the ordinary sounds of of people beginning their day, silly raucous, discordant, but they were the most beautiful sounds on earth, the sounds of living people.

We couldn't bring the sheep back to life, so there was nothing for it but to eat the evidence.

We had taken her for granted until she was no longer there, like an ancient tree you don't truly see until it is felled, and then only from the empty space in the sky do you suddenly grasp its stature.

You've heard tales of beauty and the beast. How a fair maid falls in love with a monster and sees the beauty of his soul beneath the hideous visage. But you've never heard the tale of the handsome man falling for the monstrous woman and finding joy in her love, because it doesn't happen, not even in a story-teller's tale.