All’s Fair in Love and War. How Fair Is That?

A pale and sickly boy falls in love with a healthy and wealthy girl. The girl is engaged to a healthy and wealthy man. Sounds like it’s clear who’s the better match. Later on, we’re shocked to discover that the less fortunate person is the bigger man.


How can someone become very amorous of a stranger who he has met only few times and from afar? Why would the husband not see the freshness and loveliness of that very same person? It’s quite simple: one has a heart and wears it like a crown, the other has always let the money do all the talking.

The bent-backed boy has always had so much heartache to deal with. First, he’s poor, has a poor health, and does hard labor in a poor place. It’s such a hard-to-swallow place that even onlookers dread yet stop to see out of curiosity. After a while, their head becomes roughened and hardened out of tension. Can you imagine what the workers withstand inside day after day? In this hell hole, there’s plenty of noise pollution, all types of hazards, fire, dampness, no fresh air, sweaty flesh and sore muscles.

Second, the horrifying accident to which the poor urchin was subjected on an ordinary work day happened to be seen by an extraordinary girl. He spits blood. His blood spits fire. Pity, fear, and repulsion is all he inspires. Sweet as she is, she offers to pay for his medical treatment. Her pity makes him wish he was dead. Does she pity him because she’s rich and he’s not? Does the disparity of social classes make her feel guilty? Or is it because she’s a kind kid? It could be one or the other, but the result is the same. It leads to the factory boy not feeling worthy of her because he’s poor and she’s not.

Third, his love for the humane heiress takes a life of its own and grows despite all his efforts. When he left the glass factory and found a job at the vase shop, she was his muse. As he thought of her beauty, beautiful art took form in his hands. When he wrote a story later on and had it published in the newspaper, she was also his muse. As he talked about the contradictory feelings he felt during all these years, passionate love and innocent hatred crashed together. But in the end he was never able to kill her, even if it were in his imagination.

Only a valiant warrior could have had gone through all these forms of pain without ending up as a mad man or the shadow of what he used to be. Unrequited love hurts as much as a losing battle. And war hurts as much as a womanless existence. Nonetheless, this noble fighter was capable of preserving the radiant image of his loved one. His heart was never overpowered by misfortune and bitterness, social class and poverty, unshared love and resentment, or any other demon.

The Hunchback’s goddess lives like a nonconsequential pet in her castle, whereas, in an another world… in this urchin’s secret world, she’s a dove that nests in a man’s soul. How unlikely is that? But, then again, that’s the wonder of love, life, and romance. The glass factory boy never got to have his goddess by his side, but her essence never left him. On the other hand, there’s this green soul who’s bound to a practical husband who severely lacks the wealth of a beating heart and the breath of romance. How strange!


Photo credit: The pigeon man 2 by Nicolas Winspeare on Visual Hunt / CC BY

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