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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Don't Cut off Your Nose to Spite Your Face" (without using the actual phrase or litera (02/14/08)

TITLE: Under Cover
By Joanne Sher


The covering thrown over my face is stifling. I gulp in the air around me--some of the last breaths I ever will take--and listen as my method of execution is declared.

The irony is not lost on me as I wait in the darkness created by this veil.

I had just wanted that man dead: him and his self-righteous people. They had been sworn enemies of my ancestors for nearly a thousand years, and that animosity certainly didn't lessen when he defied my kingdom.

So, it isn't my kingdom, exactly. Almost, but not quite. I am, after all, the head of the king's princes and servants. Nearly everyone in Persia is under me. Obedience to my command and honor to me are practically law.

Or were, anyway.

When I discovered he refused to bow down to me, despite the king's orders, I was irritated. When I learned of his nationality, I was livid. There he stood, at the king's gate, day after day, thumbing his nose at my authority. Nothing but that dirty Jew's death, and the death of his people, would appease me.

If only I'd settled for vengeance on one man.

In my defense, I wasn't the only one eager to get rid of the Jews, and I'm still not. I am certain, no matter what happens with the edict, those people will be eliminated somehow, some day. My people have been working at it for centuries, and they will succeed, with or without me. I'd bet my life on it.

I guess that's not much of a guarantee, considering my current situation, is it?

Anyhow, the edict. We Agagites gathered to consult the gods about the ideal time to get rid of the Jews. The chosen day was appointed --albeit eleven months off--and I drafted a decree to present to the king. Considering my pull with His Highness, I was certain that my wish would be his command, so to speak.

And I was right. I told the king about the Jews' refusal to obey his law--not mentioning the Jews by name, of course-and he gladly signed the edict and allowed me to seal it with his signet ring. I figured that the date being nearly a year away just gave my kinsmen plenty of time to prepare for the annihilation.

If only the lot had pointed us to a more immediate date.

I was sure things were wonderful when the queen invited me to her banquet yesterday. The food was exquisite, and I was her only guest aside from the king himself. Then, when she asked me back for the following day, I was tickled beyond belief...until I stepped out and saw that Jew, Mordecai, at the gate, refusing to show me the honor I deserved. I wanted to kill him on the spot.

It's a shame I restrained myself.

I went home, figuring a chat with my wife and comrades would lighten my mood. I was right, of course. They not only relished in the glory and honor I received from the king and queen, but they came up with what I thought was the perfect solution to my problem.

"Have a gallows fifty cubits high made and in the morning ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go joyfully with the king to the banquet,*" they suggested.

So that's how I spent last night: constructing the mode of my worst enemy's demise. I must say it was a most joyous undertaking, and my spirits were quite high as I entered the court to ask His Highness' permission to exact my revenge.

That was the very last time I rejoiced.

I won't go into all the details, but suffice it to say that I was humiliated, shamed, cursed, and sentenced to death. And now, it appears that my method of vengeance on Mordecai will be meted out on me.

The brightness of the day is almost blinding me. After leading me through I don't know where, they have removed the veil from my face. As my eyes adjust to the light, I see one of the king's servants approach. In his hand is a noose - a noose I am all too familiar with. I look up, fifty cubits into the sky of Susa, and see the destiny I have built for myself.

So they hanged Haman on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai.*

*Scripture quotations, in order, from NASB
Esther 5:14, Esther 7:10

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This article has been read 1199 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ann Renae Hair02/21/08
What a clever and appropriate approach to the topic.
Not just his nose, but his head! Perfect.
It's so fun to guess the MC while you build on the suspense.
Catrina Bradley 02/21/08
A perfect example of the topic. I love your accounting of this Bible story from Haman's POV. Haman's last line is awesome. Great job!!
Lori Othouse 02/22/08
I enjoyed guessing the MC also! Great take on the topic and Haman's POV!
Beth LaBuff 02/22/08
I like how you began with the execution, then went back and gave us the details that led up to it. "If only the lot had appointed us to a more immediate date." -- this is such an important detail you brought out in your story. Don't you love how God works?
You've done a lot of research to be able to write this. The book of Esther is one of my favorites. (I read it -plus the book of Ruth- to my girls every year while they were growing up.) I really like that you chose this story, your POV, and your detail.
Patty Wysong02/23/08
What an opening! I love the voice you used in this telling, and your use of the single sentences between paragraphs--they added a touch of humor in just the right places. Loved it!!!
Patty Wysong02/23/08
I just noticed the title--I love it!! What a tie in with the story. Made me snicker, too. :)
Joy Faire Stewart02/23/08
You have brought this Bible story to life with Haman's POV and right on topic. Even knowing the story, I was intrigued from beginning to end.
Lynda Schultz 02/23/08
This story is the perfect example of a plan that backfired. The man not only lost a nose, but his whole head. Good work.
LauraLee Shaw02/24/08
Wow, brilliant!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/24/08
I loved the retelling of this Bible story through Haman's viewpoint. It was excellently written.
Laury Hubrich 02/24/08
Wow! This is powerful writing! I really like the title, too. Very appropriate. I love, love, love reading about Bible personalities and events through your eyes.
Jan Ackerson 02/25/08
Perfect Bible story for this proverb, and you've once again NAILED the voice.

This is my own piddly nitpick for pieces ike this: how's he telling this story?

Love the title, love the bitter irony here.
Karen Wilber02/25/08
You hooked me in as I wondered where you were going. Suddenly, I recognized the story and thought "Good one!". Excellent voice and the bitter irony was well done (all those short sentences between paragraphs). Terrific final sentence.
LaNaye Perkins02/25/08
What a master you are at telling these wonderful stories from the Bible. Well done my friend.
Debbie Wistrom02/27/08
I get so much from your retellings of Bible stories, they make we want to run to the OT and delve in. Thanks for the inspiration.
Seema Bagai 02/27/08
Another wonderful retelling of a Biblical story.
Shirley McClay 02/27/08
One of my favorite Bible stories! Never really stopped to think of things from Haman's view... awesome!
Sara Harricharan 02/27/08
Ooooh, I like this! You did very well here! Esther is my absolute favorite story. seeing this through the eyes of Haman, well that put this in a new light for the same old! Now I want to go read the whole story again. ^_^ Very nicely done!
Sally Hanan02/27/08
Great title, and this Bible story is a perfect example of the proverb. The monologue style wasn't as enrapturing as some of your other pieces, but I liked the way you had the one-liners interspersed throughout.
Loren T. Lowery02/27/08
This story has always reminded me of a great Shakespearean drama and your writing does nothing to diminish this observation. Simply marvelous, as usual!
Sherry Castelluccio 02/27/08
I love it when bible stories are brought to life. This was so tangible and wonderful. You have such a gift of giving the scriptures new birth. This was so enjoyable. I can't wait for your next entry!
Lyn Churchyard02/27/08
Oh I just love the story of Esther, Mordecai and Haman. This is brilliant. I love the telling from Haman's side. My friend, you have done another brilliant retelling of a Bible story. Well done, so very well done!!