Once upon a time, there was a storyteller who could not help but begin everything with “once upon a time”.
This would not be so much of a problem if he were wholly content to let each cessation be a commentary of perpetual bliss, as tradition demanded. He was not the first, or the thousandth, or the hundred thousandth thousandth, to question the form and function of the fairytale; but his stories were oddly unsettling. They ended on strange and uncertain notes, without surety. No matter how conventional the rest of the tale, the ending always rendered all things peculiar.
“Once upon a time there was a prince and a princess who had adventures and got married and lived in that uncertain matter so common to us, our tiny species, adrift on a small island of sentience in an uncaring ocean of thoughtless Cosmos.”
People didn’t like it.
“Thus it was that a simple peasant boy came to be the fiercest and finest warrior the land had ever known. And he was greatly favored throughout the land. But this also meant that, when the Unknown Thing from beyond the stars made its sallow and sickly way to the surface of Earth, it was he, that warrior, who was sent forth to face it; and what happened next is for too awful to be spoken aloud.”
It would have been bad enough if that writer had stuck to fairytales; but eventually, it became obvious that he was writing about Reality, the true Reality, the world we all inhabit, and our unease at uncertainty is merely the reactive horror of simple primates attempting to make their way in a Universe whose howling hostilities drag at the soul until all is murk and gloom, and so it was, and so shall it be, and there is no escape, for there is nowhere to escape to.