(Note to readers: The following is an allegory of Wall Street. Correspondence between this tale and the recent firing of Zoe Cruz by Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack is coincidental beyond the author's capacity to explain.)
Long ago and far away a girl child was born of Greek parents.
The Gods had been very generous to the girl. She grew to be brilliant, beautiful, passionate and dedicated to the pursuit of ideas, and of excellence in herself and those around her.
The Gods in their generosity decided that no one should be gifted without any burdens, and so they made the girl impatient and outspoken. As time went by, the girl grew to become a highly successful foreign exchange trader and risk manager in a Wall Street money-machine world dominated by men.
Some loved the woman because she was brilliant, some because she was beautiful, and some because she had an extraordinarily joyful laugh that had the power to erase negative moods of those close to her and fill others with light. But for some of the same reasons, and also because she was a woman, a number of the more senior men hated her. None hated her more than those whose jobs she threatened or whose income and influence she might overtake in her ascent to the throne. And sometimes when her brilliance flashed in a way that made men feel small or inept a current of hatred ran in the corridors and collected in the corners of the castle, as if waiting.
It came to pass that after some years of stellar performance she was promoted by the king of that time to rule the very region of the kingdom that he had ruled before ascending the throne. He had ruled with a mixture of brilliant charm and brutish cunning uncommon among leaders of his ilk, one of whose responsibilities was to prepare the next ruler. For in these Wall Street castles, those who ascended were privy to unspeakable wealth and therefore often protected their personal riches or reputation before the good of the kingdom. Some courtiers in the castle reviled his choice while others rejoiced to see this luminous woman on her path upwards. It is too simple to say that the richest and most powerful of the men felt enmity while the largely underpaid or legitimately ambitious women felt uplifted, because there were many on both sides of the gender line who were challenged and threatened and inspired by her. So it was not surprising that whisper campaigns wafted through the castle at her expense almost from the beginning.
It further came to pass that the king who promoted her was driven out by a new king, which left her among lieutenants who had been appointed and promoted to positions of influence by the first king. While they pretended to serve her they also schemed to block her ascent to the throne, for none wished to be governed by a queen, however gifted she might be. So they pointed to her emotive tendencies and overtly expressed opinions that they could fault, watched for any serious errors they could pin on her, and bided their time.
For a while she prospered under the new king, who admired her, but the courtiers soon conspired to drive him out, and to everyone's surprise the first king returned.
Of course things could never be the same between the returning king and her, for both of them had changed. She had grown closer to being a queen in her own right and he was battle-scarred from fighting to stay on thrones he had occupied among courtiers he could never fully trust. So should we be surprised to learn in our story that he would try to get rid of her in the first major war that made her appear weak or unprepared to rule the kingdom in his place? Because that is what happened, and the people of the kingdom, amid all the whispers and their own prejudices and fears - not just about the nature of the king they had versus the king or queen they wanted, but about themselves - are still trying to determine what happened in the final days, when the king accused her of failing to serve, of being ineptly blind to some new danger, and drove her out. Was she really the gifted one all along, destined to rule but made a victim of a powerful man's whim? Or did she bring it on herself in her own human frailty, and then fall victim to those who always wished her ill? Many had opinions but none seemed able to settle this vexing question, which was in its way a mirror to all their own fears and disappointments about life in the castle of wealth, where greed and scheming at the top overran compassion and fairness, and stories were born not so much of truth but in the interests of the richest and most powerful, who would always shape history to their own ends.