A Long Sleep

Gustave Courbet, Le Sommeil (Sleep), Oil on canvas, 1866

In my insomniac nights, I usually end up watching TV and simultaneously surfing the Net.

Here are some folks who really knew how to sleep.

The Greek poet Epimenides is said to have fallen asleep in a cave as a child and not to have awoken for 57 years, after which he found himself possessed of all wisdom. I have been awake for almost as many years and still don't feel wise.

I guess I am more like Rip in Washington Irving’s 1819 story, "Rip Van Winkle," who slept for 20 years in the Catskill Mountains, waking an old man, “unknowing and unknown.”

I am a big fan of the Arthurian legends. So, I believe is not dead but asleep in the form of an old tree yet to wake. And Arthur is not dead in Avalon, but is sleeping in the form of a raven.

It is said that Saint Euthymus slept standing against a wall, and Arsenus hardly slept at all.

I'm not sure it gives me comfort that leaders like Margaret Thatcher thrived on three or four hours’ sleep a night - same with Napoleon and Zhou Enlai.

Ben Franklin: “Up, sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will be sleeping enough.”

Harold Wilson: “I believe the greatest asset a head of state can have is the ability to get a good night’s sleep.”

The 7 Sleepers of Ephesus were persecuted Christians who sought refuge in a cave at the time of the Emperor Decius (AD 250) and slept for 200 years. They awoke in AD 447 during the reign of Theodosius II.

Sleeping Beauty (popularized by Charles Perrault) was a beautiful princess cursed by a wicked fairy to prick her finger and die. Fortunately, a good fairy commutes this death sentence to sleep lasting 100 years, from which the princess is released by the kiss of a handsome prince.

OK, I'm getting a bit drowsy - gonna click "Publish Post" and try the sleep thing. See you in the morning on Weekends in Paradelle.

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