The Roller of the Red Carpet





There once was a man whose job was to roll out the red carpet for the great and the good; yes he actually brought the carpet to the hotel or the opera house or the cinema, unloaded the carpet from his van, and laid it out with his trusty assistant, his son Ahmed.

The roller had a warehouse where he had red carpets of various lengths and widths.The first task for any job was to measure the distance from the road or starting point to the stop point in the venue. Rarely did the client want the red carpet to continue into the venue.


Once he had the length, and the width specified by the client, he would go to the warehouse, roll up that carpet and stack it in the van.


Ahmed once asked,

“What is the significance of the red carpet, why do some people get it?”

“Some say it is a sign of merit,” said his father, “but in Sardinia they lay it in the streets at New Year to stop the bottles of champagne breaking. Others say it is to keep the shoes of the famous clean, so they are not in the gutter like us.

But even others say the red carpet symbolises the blood they have spilt to gain fame or, in the case of women, the lipstick they have used to allure men.”

“Are there no good people who have the red carpet rolled out for them?” Said Ahmed.

“I suppose a few,” mused his father.” one or two children, perhaps a wife.

Long ago in ancient Persia as today, women wove the carpets, not machines. The size of the carpet varied a little, small for a prayer mat then larger sizes until you had an almost room size carpet to lay on a floor or in a Bedouin tent. But they were all rectangles. For the loom itself dictated the shape. Each carpet was also a representation of the garden of paradise with birds and flowers depicted there. Each carpet was treated with the utmost respect both for its depiction of paradise and for the weavers who would spend months, sometimes years, weaving the carpet with great care.

But Europeans misunderstood the carpet and only saw that it was a symbol of great wealth and power; to them the bigger the carpet the bigger the power.

And they also misunderstood that the carpet is a place, it is paradise;

So, unskillfully, they created with their machines a long red carpet which is not a place but a road for the ego, leading nowhere.”




Text: alastair macleod
Images: alastair macleod; "red carpets" purchased from dreamstime royalty free photos
Editing/Proofreading: alastair macleod
Translation: cover typeset in goodfish
Publication Date: 12-07-2012

All Rights Reserved

To an amazing bookseller, who could anticipate your needs; to Tam McPhail of Stromness Books and Prints, in Stromness, Orkney.

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