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The Lord of the Lies: an allegorical tale

By Paul Blythe

With apologies to William Golding

During an unnamed time, a plane carrying a group of boys crashes over the Pacific. The pilot and crew of the plane are killed, but many of the lads survive the crash and find themselves stranded on an uninhabited island.

Amongst the oldest of the boys, handsome and confident is Arsène, whilst an ever so slightly clumsy boy with glasses who nevertheless possesses a keen intelligence is known as Manuel.

Arsène finds a conch shell, and when he blows it the other boys gather together. Among these boys is Grover an aggressive boy who marches at the head of his own choir.

Arsène, whom the other boys choose as chief, leads Grover and another boy, Walter on an expedition to explore the island. The three boys find a pig, which Grover prepares to kill but finally baulks at the responsibility, before he can actually stab it.

When the boys return from their expedition, Arsène calls a meeting, using the conch as his authority and attempts to set rules of order for the island. Grover initially agrees with Arsène, for the existence of rules means the existence of punishment and constant castigation for those who break them, but Arsène reprimands Grover for his lack of concern over long-term issues of successful survival.

Arsène proposes that they build a fire as high as they can on the mountain which could signal their presence to any passing ships and guarantee their rescue. The boys start building the fire, but the choirboys lose interest when the long task proves too arduous for them.

Manuel proves essential to the process: encouraging the younger boys to keep trying, not to give up and they use his glasses to start the fire.

All the while Grover tries to hunt pigs, Arsène orchestrates the building of shelters for the boys. The smallest boys have done their best, while the boys in Grover’s choir, whose duty is to keep the fire burning, and have spent the day idly surfing.

The boys soon settle into a daily pattern on the island. The youngest of the boys, known generally as the “young’uns,” spend most of the day practising their food gathering with increasing skill.

A ship passes by the island but does not stop, because the fire has burned out. Manuel blames Grover for letting the fire die, for he and his hunters have been preoccupied with glory hunting at the expense of their duty.

Arsène calls an assembly in which he questions the boys for not assisting with the fire or the building of the shelters and the storing of food for the lean times which must surely follow. He insists that the fire is the most important thing on the island, for it is their one chance for rescue, and declares that the only place where they should have a fire is on the mountaintop.

Arsène admits that the task is difficult but says that there is no legitimate reason to be afraid. Grover then yells at the young’uns for their fear and for not helping with hunting because they were busy finding food.

Manuel and Grover fight once more, and when Arsène attempts to assert the rules of order, Grover asks rhetorically whether anyone ‘cares about the rules,’ all Grover wants is the instant gratification of a successful hunt no matter what the cost.

The next morning, as the boys are travelling to the fire, they spot the dead pilot and mistake him for a living beast. Unfounded rumours quickly spread, they name the beast Quickfix.

Grover immediately calls for a hunt to chase the Quickfix, but Manuel and Arsène insist that they should stay together, for there is no need to chase the Quickfix as even if they caught it many could be injured in the trying.

The choir of hunters, now known as Chunters, while searching for the beast, Quickfix, finds a boar, Grover stabs it and it runs away. The Chunters go into frenzy, lapsing into their mindless “kill the pig” chant over and over again. Grover mocks Arsène for not wanting to hunt the Quickfix, claiming that it stems from his greed and cowardice.

Grover attempts to assert control over the other boys, calling for Arsène’s removal as chief, but when Arsène retains the support of the other boys Grover runs away, crying.

Manuel suggests that, if the beast prevents them from getting to the mountaintop, they should build a fire on the beach, and reassures them that they will survive if they behave with common sense and as a team.

Grover claims that he will not only be the chief of the Chunters, but of all the boys and that they will go to the sinking sands where they plan to build a wonderful house and have a feast. The Chunters finally kill a pig, and Grover smears the blood his face as a symbol of his success. They then cut off the head and leave it on a stake, Grover claiming he has mastered the Quickfix.

Grover brings several hunters back to the shelters, where he invites the other boys to join his tribe and offers them bribes of meat, porkies and the opportunity to chunt and surf all day. He steals the conch. All of the boys, except for Walter, Arsène and Manuel, are lured away by Grover’s false promises.

Meanwhile, Walter finds the pig’s head in the forest that the Chunters had left. He dubs it The Lord of the Lies because he realized it was not the Quickfix that Grover had proclaimed.

Walter then sees the dead pilot that the boys perceived to be the beast Quickfix and realizes what it actually is; he alone it seemed to have worked out the truth.  He rushes down the mountain to alert all the other boys about what he has found.

Arsène and Manuel, tending the fire, decide to find the other boys to make sure that nothing unfortunate happens while they are pretending to be Chunters. When they find Grover, Arsène and Grover argue over who will be chief.

The boys panic when Arsène warns them that a financial storm is coming. As the fury of the storm breaks, Walter rushes from the forest, telling about the dead body on the mountain. Under the impression that he (of all people) is the beast, Quickfix, the boys descend on Walter and attack him.

At the sinking sands, Grover rules over the boys with the trappings of an idol. He has to keep one boy tied up, and he instils fear in the other boys by constantly brainwashing them about yet another beast called The Next Quickfix.

When Grover realizes this chief lark is not as simple as he thought, he doesn’t even know how they will cook his porkies; he claims that they will steal the fire from the other boys. Meanwhile, Arsène, Manuel and the Walter work tirelessly on keeping the signal on the mountain going.

During the night, while they’re asleep the Chunters attack the three boys, who fight them off but suffer considerable injuries. Manuel learns the purpose of the attack: they came to steal his glasses.

After the attack, the three boys decide to go to the sinking sands to appeal to Grover as civilized people.

When they reach the sinking sands on which Grover has built his shack, Grover summons the other boys with the stolen conch.

Grover tells Arsène, Manuel and Walter to leave them alone and when Grover refuses to listen to Arsène’s appeals to justice, Arsène calls the boy ‘a a a fool’. An incensed Grover tips a rock over on Manuel, causing him to fall down the mountain to the beach. The impact kills him and, to the delight of Grover, shatters the conch shell. Grover declares himself chief and hurls his spear at Arsène, who backs away.

Arsène regroups near the sinking sands, where he can see the other boys, whom he no longer recognizes as civilized boys but as savages.

Arsène realizes that the Chunters are rolling rocks down the mountain to drive him out. Arsène evades the other boys who are Chunting for him, and then realizes that they are setting the forest on fire in order to smoke him out-and thus will destroy everything left on the island, just to see him gone.

Beating a hasty retreat, Arsène finally collapses on the beach, where a naval officer has arrived with his ship in answer to the mountaintop beacon.

The Officer thinks that the boys have only been playing childish games, and he scolds them for not behaving in a more organized and responsible manner as is the British custom. He may just have been right.

The End

And they all lived happily ever after, except the dead ones of course, oh and Grover who was unceremoniously thrown out of the choir not because of his actions on the island but because eventually his balls dropped and his voice broke.

Another story

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28 comments to The Lord of the Lies: an allegorical tale

  • gunnerzealot

    brilliant! but sorry I had to stop reading in the middle because I’m actually reading the book and I didn’t want to spoil the storyline for myself. nevertheless, an excellent version of the original!

  • Common Sensei

    Massive post mate, fair play for putting in so much time and effort! I sort of see the logic in relating Goldings novel to the different factions of Arsenal fans and their struggle to find a common standard amongst themselves.

    The two sides in the novel representing the forces of idealistic communism versus the totalitarian approach of democracy. And that is sort of what the fans are like. One one side you have your reasonable fans who tend to argue more amongst each other – although their arguments are based on logic and debated fully until a standard decision is reached.

    Then you have your communists; who perhaps are not so learned of the points they are making and tend to prefer being led by somebody with a much stronger opinion than there own. They tend to be rather easily led into such points and very stubborn and difficult to reason with once they have decided that position.

    I must ask you though; what was the actual summary or conclusion of the piece?

    Which side are you taking and what do you think needs to be done?

    Are you a Wengerite or an AKB or something in between 🙂 ?

  • Amr

    brings back memories of GCSE english 🙂 nice post.

  • Common Sensei

    Personally I see Wenger’s work in a very positive light and have no problem at all with the lack of a goal-keeper signing.

    In my eyes we have bigger more worthy goals than just a cabinet full of trophies – in my view Wenger is trying to lead the progress of the entire sport and how clubs model themselves and behave. And winning trophies is the final piece that the club needs to achieve to prove that the formula works better than the alternatives….

    Which are spending constantly to bring in the best players and starve the other rival clubs of these players, whilst also inflating the transfer market and unsettling the players.

    Effectively it has to be considered cheating since the playing field is no longer level, and the proof in the pudding is that the last team to successfully do this (Chelsea) have won trophies with the squad of players that they purchased in the last 5 years at the expense of the other teams they have taken players from.

    Obviously this is not a sustainable model, and whilst other clubs and their fans are all clamouring to be swept off their collective feet by a super-rich pimpdaddy like Abramovic or somebody similar …. they are eithier in denial or just ignorant of the change this will facilitate in the entire environment of league football and all the clubs involved.

    Clubs who have previously survived on annual injections of cash; when it comes to the point of them selling their assets and trying to re organise the business so that they can operate solely from their own profits with enough homegrown players to satisfy their quota will realise:

    – The assets they paid over odds for have practically no resale value
    – The have to sell them anyway because of the squad size and lack of funds to pay the salaries
    – They have very little in the way of organic options (youth)

    And every other team who didn’t do what we are doing now will basically see their ability to compete in the league decimated. Not only this they will then have to spend a great deal of money on new players and staff who can operate successfully under the conditions.

    Arsenal on the other hand will have to do nothing whatsoever as the rules and the environment created by the premier League has been created based upon the same common sense understanding and value system that Wenger has been installing into our own club since his work started back in ’96

    So in the end the tables will turn completely and the entire league of clubs will then be competing with each other to try to break into the top 1 (which of course will be Arsenal)

    Basically this is why I call myself a Wengerite – I see all this happening and think the man is a genius for noticing this 15 years ago, planning for it and against a barrage of insults from his OWN FANS and doubters in the press … he has carried on implementing this plan and building on it year on year.

    Perhaps this year we will see just why it is such a stroke of genius? And I am not afraid if we [again] miss out by the thinnest of margins as we did last season.

    Sooner or later something will give out; be it the finance to keep these clubs running (Man Utd, City, Chelsea could all go the same way Liverpool Newcastle and Pompy have all gone after their relatively short term successes post-pimping by their rich owners).

    Arsenal are the only club who are in a position to pass this madness by and this is purely down to the GENIUS of Wenger and his youth project. It is the blueprint for a sustainable football league, where rather than looking for shortcuts to winning the league via money – the motivation is to breed the best teams and players yourself rather than just use money as a way to hijack them from other teams.

    That can only be a good thing and I hope to God that this puts at least a sizeable dent in the coffers of the evil Sky corporation who are the catalyst to the current shift in focus in football which has put the entire sport in danger of changing forever.

    In Wenger we trust?? I certainly do he has proven his colours to me!

  • Phil

    Great write up, a very clevel way of doing it.

  • Dark Prince

    Is there a sequel to this story?? 🙂

  • soulrebel

    Tony/Walter: Who is Paul Blythe?

    Really enjoyed this in any case, and Common Sensei, thanks for your post too mate. I spend a lot of time reading Le Grove posts and arguing the cause. There are some regulars who post on there who are so insulting to Wenger that i feel I must always pipe up to defend him and the players, just so the more moderate of readers on Le Grove don’t think it is the only way the Arsenal fans think.

    I too feel like Wenger has safeguarded Arsenal against the madness and that he deserves the utmost of respect for doing so while still keeping us in the most prestigious of European football, even coming 13 mins away from winning the cup in 06 and coming close to even beating Chelsea and Utd to the league in recent years while they still flaunt they’re mega riches with no concern over the long term whatsoever.

  • Micheal

    “Beating a hasty retreat, Arsène finally collapses on the beach, where a naval officer has arrived with his ship in answer to the mountaintop beacon.”

    I really hope that does not happen to Arsene… Nothing is more sickening than the sight of a fallen hero after the effort and sacrifice to save others… I wish to see him experiencing the rewards of his innovations… I do hope Arsene Wenger will be remembered forever among all TRUE Arsenal supporters…

  • Gf60

    Clever analogy Paul…and so true. Wish I had a reliable crystal ball for 3,4,5 years hence. Suspect it would show that Arsene always knew best.

  • Common Sensei

    “Soulrebel

    Meeting the occassional ‘real fan’ is what makes it all worthwhile 🙂 Read the article called ‘Why I am considering becoming a united fan’ and the comments below and you will see in a flash what kind of thing we are up against.

    That particular fan actually led me to a great discovery about football and what it means to different people – so even though she is doing the unthinkable, I would have shook her hand had the chance arose!

    Some people are fans of football, some are just fans of winning. Others use football as the platform to perform social tasks or as something they can use to chat to men.

    All these people equally consider themselves fans so it almost amounts to a ‘league’ structure within the fans of a club!

    All aiming to ‘win’ but doing it in the various different ways. Some are heavy handed, riding rough-shod through the opinions and emotions of others, whereas some (like me) prefer to carefully pick through each argument and try to enlighten as many other people along the way – I am driven by my love of Arsenal football club to try to share this with anybody who shows the slightest interest in football.

    But as we have seen – football is not for everybody as SkySports would have us think, and Arsenal is for even less people. Infact the conclusion I have reached is that it takes a special something to really understand ‘The Arsenal Way’ and to be honest the majority of people will never reach this great standard 🙂 Which makes me feel very superior indeed with my excellent club. So much so that trophies are nothing to me at all – I would hate to see Arsenal have to resort to paying for their success as this flies in the face of our clubs entire history.

    Arsenal are the club of TRUE champions, not just winning trophies – but winning them in the correct way and honouring what the trophy is supposed to represent

  • Busch

    Well, all the yucking it up at calling Grovers people who will “delight” in a murder shows there is no moral high ground on this site, either.

    Unless, of course, I am taking hyperbole too seriously. In which case, I might say the same of some of those that get bent out of shape over the way others vent/express their frustrations on other sites.

  • the Author

    Common Senei, as an allagorical tale you are right to seek a definitive message, but the ‘right’ answer is your own. Dark Prince as to a sequel, it might just be happening all around us as we speak!

    Soul Rebel, glad you liked it, no pressure it being my first article here and all!!

    And Gf60 if fairies had crystal balls, they wouldn’t go to goblin parties, but that’s a story for another day.

  • Dundonald Girl !! :-)))

    May not be a true Arsenal fan , but am a fan of Paul Blythe – well written piece & adapted well to the world of Arsenal

  • walter

    I must say that I found this a great article and the comment section again was from a very high standard. Once again. Articles like this (and from the other Paul this week) are such different from what we can find on the internet.

    But I think that the comment section of Untold is by far the greatest comment section the world has ever seen.

  • ernest

    lovely post you got there

  • Terence McGovern

    L et’s
    e ngage in
    G roup
    r ectal
    o utbursts and
    v enting of
    e xcrement

  • Chris the skiing gasman

    Great piece, It drives me mad people bitching and moaning with their le negativity. Just makes me wonder where the club would be if left in the hands of the short sighted ones, as for the girl leaving for united. Go, I will be too busy singing to notice your absence. For we are by far the greatest team the world has ever seen.

  • Arsene Apprentice

    Joust we may and seek we shall… And, the author is as clever as this site! Thanx much another clever interpretation of the reality of Arsenal!

  • Phaze

    Epic read on Untold AGAIN, It’s almost expected now

  • GoonerForLife

    Excellent post.
    @Tony,
    Please somehow convince Paul Blythe and Paul Fowler to write more articles for this site. Pleeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

  • john

    Tony – I love this website but sometimes I do think you are a bit unfair on Le Grove or the AAA. While I agree parts of that constituency is mindless there are some with well thought out views.

    I am generally an AKB but I do think the goalkeeper sitation has been handled veryt badly. What do you think?

  • John, I have never felt that Almunia was a poor keeper, rather that for whatever reason he had a poor spell, which unfortunately coincided with a loss of form from his deputy.

    My view is that keepers tend to be much more heavily criticised by fans than any other player because their errors are more costly, and cannot be corrected. A forward can miss five opportunities and take the sixth and win the game. The keeper can make five saves, miss one and lose the game.

    So on that basis I am not sure that Wenger really wanted another keeper. For all I know he told Almunia this, and just made a pointless low bid to put journalists off the scent. Maybe he made the bid to put a message to Almunia that said, I can make changes.

    He has a bit of form in this regard, as when he dropped Lehmann and put Almunia in the team for half a dozen matches – just to show Lehmann there was a limit to how far he could be pushed in this regard.

    The other factor is that I am not sure who, out of those available, could have been brought into the team with a fair certainty that they would be better.

    My point about the lack of coherence from the AAA is that they rarely take into account the economics, the realistic possibilities and the options when they criticise a player or the club. I can only guess they have never been employers themselves, and so have never had the opportunity to watch an employee grow into a job and develop and bloom. That is what good employers do, and what Wenger does.

  • frankbuch

    Very clever write up but dont you think we need a physical DMF.
    i am going to tell you why i feel we needed a melo type player this season. other than song we have no natural defensive leaders in the team and all the other players are footballers.we need that nasty,aggresive,it’s them v us type player who can bring that mentality on the pitch.do you know when vieira used to get sent off and we were down to 10 men i thought that learned the team to bond and be strong for each other.it brought that togetherness and spirit that we were still going to win the game with 10 men.melo no doubt for me would get sent of a few times if he played in prem lge,but that for me would have a snow-ball effect on his fellow players.i have heard that wenger is a big fan of him.this is why i would like arsenal to sign him, when players see what he does get in amongst the opposition it will galvanise the rest of the team.a lot of the spirit from the vieira days came for me when he got sent off and backs were to the wall.that’s what we need.

  • sweeta

    Tony, you are defending a guy who has cost us the title, the champions league and a lot more – I am sorry they guy is not a arsneal player. Seaman and even mad Jens were better

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Arsene Wenger is well known for:

    1. Wearing glasses.
    2. Being clumsy.

    End of analysis of this article.

  • ferris

    wenger can be stubborn too

  • Sweeta

    No I’m not

    PS: I think my reply contains as much reasoned logic as your comment, don’t you?

  • Common Sensei

    Almunia did not cost us the title, what sort of rubbish is that? If he did I am sure he would have been replaced and the rest of the squad would also want rid of him.

    But they give him their full support as does the manager.

    Seaman was our best goalkeeper since Wenger has been there boss, and ‘Mad Jens’ for all his faults was an extremely able goalkeeper.

    Tony mate I feel your pain – dealing with this constant barrage of ignorance could drive a man to drink, drugs and distraction.

    All I can say is this: Thank GOD for goblin parties