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PRINCE AND PRINCESS – A satirical porno fable

by Georg Johannessen, translated from the Norwegian by Rana Issa

This short story was written in 1968 by Georg Johannessen, the Norwegian professor of rhetoric, artist, and public intellectual. The story was published in the same year as Kassandra, a scandalous play in the revisionist tradition in vogue in early postmodernity, which takes Troy as the form from which to attack post-World War II Norwegian society; the play brought Johannessen great controversy. Like Kassandra, “Prince and Princess: A Satirical Porno Fable,” (Prins og Prinsesse: en satirsk pornoeventyr), foretells of the general state of false piety that plagued Norwegian society in the 1960s. The story was first published in an anthology with other Norwegian writers, and later in a collection of Johannessen’s works that he edited and titled On the Norwegian Way of Thinking, (Om den norske tankemåten). The original year of its publication was eventful. It was the year of the great student movements in Europe, and the anti-Vietnam war movements in the U.S. It was also the year of the assassinations of the American presidential candidate Robert Kennedy and the leader of the Civil Rights movement Martin Luther King. It was the year the Soviet Union— Norway’s neighbor—occupied Czechoslovakia. And in Norway, the crown prince Harald married Sonja Haraladsen, an ordinary “woman of the people,” an event of great interest to the dailies.

“Prince and Princess” employs satire to criticize the way Norwegian society responded to some of these events. The ambiguous style of the piece mirrors the rhetorical ruses of newspapers, which Johannessen repeatedly criticized during his career for their trashy lack of precision in recounting and commenting on the world’s developments. Johannessen’s text roots itself within a continental tradition of critique against deadly ideologies that harks back to Marquis de Sade’s shocking responses to the French Revolution in works like Philosophy in the Bedroom and Justine; George Bataille’s 1928 novella The Story of the Eye; and Wilhelm Reich’s response to Nazism in his psychoanalytic treatise The Sexual Revolution (1936). In his attack on the Christian morality that dominated large regions of Norway in the 1960s, Johannessen links his satirical ridicule of moralizing ideology with a scathing commentary on Norwegian interventions in the world. In the part of the story when populations are exchanged between the two warring lands, Johannessen advances a rare critique of Norway’s image as a peace-loving nation, alluding to Norway’s interference with the Greece-Turkey war after the end of World War I. Johannessen exposes the moral hypocrisy behind this veneer, and moves further to connect his critique of Norway to the general state of malaise that he identified in the Western world at the time. Until his death in 2005, Johannessen remained a highly respected and prolific writer. He produced in almost all the literary genres that were known to him and is remembered as one of the towering figures of the contemporary Norwegian intellectual scene.

 

One time, a woman married her son. They had two kids: a boy and a girl. The children married one another and had two kids. They called them Prince and Princess. Prince grew up into a most handsome man in the kingdom. Princess became the most beautiful woman. They did not marry one another, but loved like brother and sister.

One day the men of peace in the kingdom went to make peace with the enemies in their kingdom. Prince went along with them because he too was against war. Princess cried and said: “You will never come back from this. The enemy is good but is ruled by evil leaders.  And we are evil but we are ruled by good leaders. And the enemy has transparent rods that spit out sun onto our cities. We have that too!” She wept a pool of tears, and in it she saw her reflection. She laughed and said, “The spring is beautiful and the summer is beautiful and the autumn is beautiful, but for she who waits, the winter is most beautiful, for she is the most beautiful. You can go for one year. I will live without a man until you come back.”

She discharged her three lovers: two worshippers and her husband—he was an old peace-chief.

But Prince said: “No good woman can live without men, and no good man can live without women. Every day, you can have a man, but never the same man for more than one month. And you are never to cry in the arms of a man before you can cry in mine.”

Prince hoisted her skirts, kissed her cunt and said “Cunnilingus, cunnilingus!”

Prince stood on his hands and said: “Fellatio, Fellatio!”

Then he drove his cock into her sin-lips, his tongue in between her lips, his tongue into her sin-lips, his cock in between her lips, and they fucked for the first time and forgot their mother’s cunt and how they cried when they came out of it.

She cried in his arms and said, “I have never had this before with anyone. Before, I knew what love was, but you have given me orgasm.”

When Prince left, she went out to the garden and planted a beech-wood tree. Between the roots, she placed the coil and diaphragm1)Popular and reasonably effective contraception devices until the sixties. , which were made of plastic and would not rot. Then she kissed each twig on that little beech, squatted, and peed on that holy mark and said: “Let’s see if you manage to survive for a year.” And then she fertilized the tree herself.

Prince rode first. He rode on an invisible horse. Underneath him he had eight invisible wheels which he could see with his invisible glasses that he con-trolled with a red button. Behind him, three meters high, were red, green, blue and yellow buttons that blinked and flickered when the knights pressed on them. In the sky, it was written in artificial yellow clouds: Peace and freedom are the same! And in the streets a hundred thousand children marched and sang:

We will live, we will live!

And young women went into the big fuck-and-kiss machine Cunnilingus-Fellatio and screamed: Come again, Come again! But those young knights rode in their soundless air uniforms, their invisible horses, and pressed their buttons.

Prince cried and some drops mixed with the warm rain. An old woman cried as well, and she felt another tear. The tear reflected her own face from where it hung on her eyelash. And the invisible sisters took her to a visible hospital.

It rained warm and vast as the peace corps lurched, so no one saw who was crying.

After two months of war, the two kingdoms were conquered. No one was killed for there was no such intention. In the peace conference that they held around the clock, the top peace leaders managed to trick one another: They sent peace messages to the peace corps who pressed the buttons so that the peace rays poisoned the drinking water of the enemy land. Everyone could drink from the enemy’s water, but none could drink from his own water.

This war was therefore called the War for Land and Water.

The peace conference adopted a 26-hour day rule. During heavy earthquakes along the Earth’s axis both kingdoms managed to halt the rotation of the Earth on those days when they had to ponder whether the water plan was better than the land plan. The water plan stipulated that all water shall be sent across the border. The land plan stipulated that the two peoples switch places.

After eleven long days, it was agreed on the land plan because it was easier to move people than to hold the clouds in one place. People moved.

The two honorable kings gave a speech in chorus. It aired in the two lands through that power aided by superstitious women who believed that God had now come again. They stooped to the earth and mumbled: Dear cock, who is in cunt, dear cock who is in cunt…dear cock…

Their sinless, toothless sin-lips mumbled and grumbled and divined cuss words, and this is how the speech sounded:

FREE WOMEN AND MEN IN BOTH LANDS:

BOTH LANDS ARE NOW FREE

PEOPLE FROM THE LAND SHALL GO TO THE LAND PEOPLE FROM THE LAND SHALL GO TO THE LAND TEA, COFFEE, BEER, WINE, AND LIQUOR WILL BE SERVED

NO ONE MUST WASH THEMSELVES

NO ONE MUST DRINK WATER.

Prince became visible again. He stood on a mountain and had orders that he must remain in the Peace Belt, which was a two-mile-wide road that split the two kingdoms. He served coffee because the cows did not die, but the milk was deep frozen and sent in big blocks to the enemy land.

Everything was done so that milk production would revert to pre-war levels. People delivered their brakes and shoes, cheese, book binders, sour cream, chocolate, and cream caramels. Milk was made into water, meat into calves. Leather factories moved backwards twenty-six hours a day. Ten pairs of shoes became half a calf.

Princess worked in the canning factory in the new land. There, boxes with ox and cow meat were opened and sent to the Department of Milk and this is how the next war broke out: the enemy kept its invisible cows a secret. The milk became visible by mistake and the ex-minister received an automatic peace command that he could not prevent, no matter how much he tried to transform himself into a calf. He became as mad as an ox and bellowed about freedom.

That war was only ten minutes long and was called the Gallop War or the Peace Statistic. Exactly 2% were killed. They were selected according to age, profession, education, and function, precisely belonging to the total composition of the two peoples. The invisibility police had mutual monitoring rights, but rumor had it that the Peace Conference saved its own relatives from becoming war victims. Therefore, the two kings announced:

BOTH LANDS HAVE PEACE NOW

BOTH LANDS HAVE SUFFERED BIG LOSSES

THE LAND WILL HELP THE LAND WITH RECONSTRUCTION

THE LAND WILL HELP THE LAND WITH RECONSTRUCTION

BUT FAMILY FEELINGS MUST BE RESPECTED EVERYWHERE:

HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER AND THY OTHER RELATIVES

OTHERWISE IT WILL NOT BE GOOD FOR YOU AND YOU WILL NOT

LIVE LONG IN THE LAND

EVERYTHING-GOES-ON-ITS-OWN-IN-A-FAIR-WAY!

And those that protested against fairness were fairly treated and on the toilet doors one wrote: foolish + silly = frilly and all kinds of disgusting words came into fashion among the youth who whispered: crucifixion, crucifixion. Prince drove to his new home. Princess stood in the grind and laughed with joy. She asked Prince if he met many beautiful women, but he said: “No one was as much like me as you. Besides, I was invisible and all the cunts were dried up so the sperm was deep frozen and sent in small blocks to the enemy land. And you? And your man?”

“I killed him,” Princess said. “He bored me, I could hardly get him out of my cunt so long there was war. He made himself small and sat in my womb and sent peace rays in all directions. This is how all the peace leaders sat, you see, they wanked and wanked and wanked as they prayed to Cock in space.”

Prince looked at her and said, “You were not invisible. None of the women were made invisible and no one visible has the right to kill. This is murder.”

“How silly,” said Princess. “I used a regular bread knife and cut his throat. He had a nice tie, which you can have.”

“Ok,” said Prince.

None of them thought more about it. None of them souled, divined or witnessed life. They ate, shat, pissed, and fucked until the invisibility police detached a wall, wrote on it and returned it to its place next to the bed that covered the whole floor. On the wall, in black letters it said: Thou shalt not sleep with thy sister! Thou shalt not sleep with thy brother! Children have only two grandparents. This creates: Guilt! Actually now, the third war broke out. This was called the Guilt War which was unanimously adopt-ed by the Peace Conference. Every second person was killed and those who lived got two names: their own and the name of those who died for their sake. The two kings read in chorus:

We are saved! He saved us! She saved us!They saved us: We are saved!

We are saved!!!

The good ones have won the land

The bad ones have lost the land

The All-powerful cock fights with the cunt No + no = no!

The All-powerful god fights with satan War is found in human view

Peace as well

God with us be same

Sin

Amen

That night the beech-tree wilted. Between the roots, Prince found the diaphragm and the spiral. Princess whispered to him and said, “Do what you want. Do what I want. Do what you want. Do what I want.”

But Prince said, “It breeds unfortunate hereditary problems. My wife and my sister.  My mother and my mother-in-law. I am brother to my child. I am the father of my son. I do not want to live.”

Princess cried and mirrored herself in the pond, spat in it and said, “I will no longer cry or laugh. Kill me, my brother, and I can kill you too.”

After that, there was no more Prince and no more Princess and few people and many animals.

Contributor
Rana Issa

Rana Issa is Assistant professor of Translation Studies at the American University of Beirut. She obtained her Ph.D at the University of Oslo. She has published historical studies about the Bible, Arabic lexicography, Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, and is currently working on translation in contemporary Syrian literature and film. She has translated theory and literature between Arabic, English, and Norwegian. This is her first time translating poetry. She is a proud Beiruti and mother of two.

Footnotes:   [ + ]

1. Popular and reasonably effective contraception devices until the sixties.
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