Francis sat on a blanket playing his accordion. His monkey, Bentley, was perched on his shoulder.
Two dapper men approached and addressed Francis sternly.
“What are you doing?” the lankier one asked.
He spoke with authority, so Francis stopped his playing.
“I was playing my music,” Francis said.
“This is not music,” the man said. “I am a scholar. And my friend here is a musician.”
“Very good,” Francis said.
“And this is not music. This is noise. For, you see, I am a learned man of music, so I know.”
His comrade, the musician, agreed.
Bentley, the monkey, began scurrying across Francis’ shoulders, stopping briefly to hiss at these men.
“Surely, you’d like some advice?” the scholar asked.
“No,” Francis said.
“Ah, you ruffian. Knowing nothing of music. You see, real music is specific instruments and specific notes. Your instrument is that of the streets, not the concert halls.”
“But this is an instrument. And there is melody and most of the other things that are in music.”
The musician scoffed.
“For me, music is this one thing,” the scholar said. “The rest is rubbish.”
“True,” the musician agreed.
“And for others?” Francis asked.
“Perhaps for others music is something else. But that is not music. That is noise.”
“Then kindly leave me and my monkey to my noise,” Francis said. “You may be a learned man, but I quite enjoy making my sounds and don’t need your criticism to deprive me of any of my pleasure.”
The academic and his comrade left in a huff, assuring themselves the man with the accordion and monkey was a cretin.
Francis resumed playing. His monkey was pleased.
Along came a stranger with his mutt.
“What are you doing?” the stranger asked.
“Making noise,” Francis said.
“I like this noise,” the stranger said.
“Thank you,” Francis said. “Sadly, I wish it were music.”
“It is fine,” the stranger said. “May I stay and listen a while longer?”
“As you like,” Francis said.
The monkey stared at the mutt. The mutt stared at the monkey.
“Thank you,” the stranger said. “As it turns out, I have never much liked music anyway. And neither does my dog.”