The Princess Bride: An Excerpt from the Book

That’s right. It’s a book. (Fair warning, it’s very different from the movie)

In the book there is a passage about Inigo’s father, Domingo, and the creation of the six finger sword. This is how I feel about writing. This is how most writers feel about writing.

Such a year.

Domingo slept only when he dropped from exhaustion. He ate only when Inigo would force him to. He studied, fretted, complained. He never should have taken the job; it was impossible. The next day he would be flying: he never should have taken the job; it was too simple to be worth his labors. Joy to despair, joy to despair, day to day, hour to hour. Sometimes Inigo would wake to find him weeping: “What is it, Father?” “It is that I cannot do it. I cannot make the sword. I cannot make my hands obey me. I would kill myself except what would you do then?” “Go to sleep, Father.” “No, I don’t need sleep. Failures don’t need sleep. Anyway, I slept yesterday.” “Please, Father, a little nap.” “All right; a few minutes; to keep you from nagging.”

Some nights Inigo would awake to see him dancing. “What is it, Father?” “It is that I have found my mistakes, corrected my misjudgments.” “Then it will be done soon, Father?” “It will be done tomorrow and it will be a miracle.” “You are wonderful, Father.” “I’m more wonderful than wonderful, how dare you insult me.”

But the next night, more tears. “What is it now, Father?” “The sword, the sword, I cannot make the sword.” “But last night, Father, you said you had found your mistakes.” “I was mistaken; tonight I found new ones, worse ones. I am the most wretched of creatures. Say you wouldn’t mind if I killed myself so I could end this existence.” “But I would mind, Father. I love you and I would die if you stopped breathing.” “You don’t really love me; you’re only speaking pity.” “Who would pity the greatest sword maker in the history of the world?” “Thank you, Ingio.” “You’re welcome, Father.” “I love you back, Ingio.” “Sleep, Father.” “Yes. Sleep.”

A whole year of that…

One night Inigo woke to find his father seated. Staring. Calm. Ingio followed the stare. The six-fingered sword was done. Even in the darkness, it glistened.

“At last,” Domingo whispered. He could not take his eyes from the glory of the sword. “After a lifetime. Inigo. I am an artist.”

So am I. So are you.


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