Spring 1980 • Vol. II No. 2 FictionApril 1, 1980 |

Hamlet’s Planets: Parable 2:b

HAMLET O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a King of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams. Act 11, Scene 2 The woman slid her red enameled thumbnail into the soft fibre that sealed the bottom of the walnut shell. She twisted her nail a sharp quarter turn and the walnut shell divided. The two halves quivered in her palm like upturned tortoises. Then she looked into them. One half revealed a little man, covered up with a quilt, sucking his thumb. The other half had been painted by what appeared to have been an apprentice miniaturist who was himself a miniature. The dome of the walnut shell was decorated with tiny blue five-pointed stars, mythological figures in gauzy gowns, sun, moon, and winds, all with solemn faces; a band of the figures of the zodiac crossed the little heaven, and a god in a cloud, labeled with the Tetragrammaton, pointed his blessings and admonitions. In the other walnut half, the little man stirred. His quilt wa

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