ALL THE RED – Butcher boy by Soutine

Butcher Boy by Soutine

“What’s wrong, little boy?”

“I think I spent too much time cutting meat and now I see everything drenched in red.”

The butcher boy spends his day at the back of the shop ripping, cleaning, extracting, dividing the meat. Pigs, cattle, lambs, chickens are his companions for the day. He talks to no one, following  only the knife, which he now deftly manipulates.

His job does not disgust him but he has ceased letting recently butchered animals pass between his lips.  The butcher’s he works for supplies the city’s most renowned restaurants and serves the most knowledgeable culinary palates.

“Why is everything around you red, little boy?”

“ It is due from too much time elbow-deep in fresh blood. My vision is now comprised  of red gradients. I see scarlet shades instead of blues, maroons instead of greens, rhubarb reds instead of yellows, carmines instead of oranges, crimsons instead of greys, rubies  instead of blacks, garnets instead of browns and vermilion instead of my own skin.”

Innocently attempting to open his eyes and modify his vision as he speaks, the little boy fills the room with warmth and love.

“Love! That is the colour of the heart. It is red and vibrant! It is love that I see every day! Love, life and hope.”

Relieved and proud and of this discovery, the little red butcher boy smiles with his red lips. Red like the rest of himself.

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