The List of Words Not to be Used

Photo - Don Ng

Photo – Don Ng

The list of words not to be used was put up on the door of the library. They had been written in alphabetical order. At first in groups, then one by one, the people approached them, read them, considered them. The following weeks saw a rash of haste as texts were consulted, words obliterated, and certain books burnt.

The list of words not to be used soon became the only existent example of those words. The people pretended to ignore it. From time to time, certain of them went by close enough to catch sight of one or two of the words. Certain of them committed the words to memory.

The list of words not to be used vanished about three months after it had appeared. Everyone noticed. There were rumours. Some said it had been removed by order, others that it had been stolen.

When enough time had passed, no one remembered how many words had been on the list. Memories faltered, secret arguments developed and opposing groups were formed. Centuries saw the list of words not to be used transformed into legend, millennia to myth. Historians speculate. Linguists propose. Writers imagine. The list of words not to be used illudes all who attempt to recreate it.

One response to The List of Words Not to be Used

  1. Simon K. said:

    Photo by Donald Ng

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