The olive tree in the Bible –
The stories of Prof. Socrates Sciusciapinseri
by Salvatore Paolo Garufi Tanteri

Prof. Socrates Sciusciapinseri and Prometheus Mazzacanagghia were sitting on the gallery of the House of the Ancient Dream.

Facing each other, like the duellists of western movies. The time was marked by beer mugs. Opposite them lay the plateau of Santa Barbara: a tangle of green, solemn, dusty, solemn swaths and puffs of prickly pears and olive trees on a stone floor whitened like skeletons.

“What a sight!” exclaimed the professor. “Here, the Son of God still speaks to men… Too bad they’ve forgotten his tongue lately!”

Mazzacanagghia looked at the landscape. Then, he pointed a questioning face at the professor, sharp as a knife.

“Where does God see him?” he said. “Today the sirocco wind is more like Satan’s breath.”

“Exactly!” replied the professor. “God is the voice that rises up among satanic brushstrokes… for example, his blood flows in that olive tree that stands out far away, alone like a good giant… at the end of the sultriness, in fact, you will find him ready to give you the joy of his oil that will give flavour to your soups and salads…

Mazzacanagghia returned to stare at the horizon at the white heat.

“Citizen you are, Professor!” he blurted out. “Crazy Trumpet Intellectual! “You see what isn’t there and expect us to see it too, who know it isn’t there!”

“If you don’t believe me, believe the Bible,” insisted the professor. “After the Universal Flood, Noah had a dove start from his Ark three times and on the third attempt it came back with an olive leaf in its beak. That’s no accident! There had been the catastrophe of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, but thanks to the olive tree, history was repulsed to walk with agriculture… Thus, the whole Mediterranean civilization was born with the olive tree.

“Now go and explain the whole thing to the bureaucrats of the European Commission!” grinned Mazzacanagghia.

“Bah!” snorted the professor, wiping the foam of beer left on his lip with the back of his hand. “Those people act like the apostles who were with Jesus on the famous night in the Garden of Olives…”

“And he comes back with these olive trees, I profess!” interrupted him. “God… what’s the matter?… he’s a politician, who changes shape and name every minute? God is God and olive trees are olive trees!”

“When will you realize that words are never what they seem at first sight?” the professor grew impatient. “In the words flows the blood, that is, the thought, of those who say them… Feeling the moment of his crucifixion approaching, Jesus returned among the olive trees, because the olive trees represent life, as if to say the word of God, his Father!… The fact that the apostles yesterday – or today, the European Commission – fell asleep and forgot that it is work and not arrogance that makes us be in God’s image and likeness demonstrates the insufficiency of human intelligence to understand, Giovanni Pascoli would say, this enormous mystery of the universe!

At this point, the professor and Mazzacanagghia resumed sipping their beer… otherwise meditating.