So one of the stories/fables that I heard as a kid which sticks in my brain these days and has always held a certain fascination is the one with the line “the prince has horse ears”… as a recurring refrain? maybe it’s the title? Here’s where wikipedia could ruin the romantically blurred fog of my memories and shine some clarifying light on the question. So I’m gonna not go there.
The story goes that in some kingdom, there’s a prince who’s always got a hat on, or long hair, or both. He is befriended by someone (maybe a barber) who gains his trust and this prince shares a serious secret. His hair or hat or crown is hiding the fact that his ears are horsey. Like he has hairy Spock ears. And this new friend swears to keep the secret. Except that it starts eating at him and eating at him. He’s basically about to burst with this hidden knowledge, but he is very loyal and trustworthy so he fights the urge to spill it, to confide the secret in some third party. But he can’t take it, and has to tell, so he goes out into a field of reeds and whispers “the prince has horse ears”.
And well, it bites him in the ass. Somehow the reeds hold the sentence and i can’t remember how (maybe a flute made of the reeds), but they release their secret in the presence of a gathered audience, revealing it at the worst possible time to the worst possible crowd that this guy is a freak.
I feel like the internet is that field of reeds. There’s no way to keep things a secret in it, but you really want to believe you can. And that’s too bad, because there’s basically no way to spill the beans in a healthy yet confidential way. I suppose that postcard thing, postsecret, and others like it are the closest thing.
I have some doozies I’d like to. Is this part of growing up? Keeping painful secrets forever and from everyone? Because it sucks worse than almost anything.