Category Archives: art

Gate to the Land of Youth II…

*

… Within the walls of the white-washed house Fin, and his Merry-Men, found an old man lying bent on the edge of the hearth with a sheep tied to the wall alongside.

They sat at table and the old man raised his head and acknowledged them.

‘Little enough chance of sating our thirst and hunger in this hovel,’ thought Dermot.

Just then the old man called loudly for food and drink, and up from the floor below came a strapping young lass who wasted no time in setting the table with a feast fit for kings.

But no sooner had Fin and his Merry-Men put fork to food than the sheep which was tied to the wall broke its hempen rope and rushed toward the table sending the food and drink to the floor.

“By the Gods!” cried Conan, “look at the mess you have made of our supper, and we so badly in need of it.”

“Get up and tie the sheep, Conan,” said Fin.

So, Conan got up and, grabbing the sheep by the scruff of the neck, attempted to drag it back towards the wall.

Try as he might he was unable to do so.

“What’s this,” laughed Dermot along with all the other men, “Conan, the great warrior, defeated by a sheep.”

“I am more than happy to stand aside and let a better man have a go,” growled Conan.

“Get up and tie the sheep, Dermot,” said Fin.

So, up got Dermot and he too tried to drag the sheep to the wall but was unable.

Each of Fin’s men in turn attempted the task and failed until, eventually, Fin himself was forced to stand and tie the sheep but all to no avail.

That sheep was not for budging…

To be continued.

*

Gate to the Land of Youth…

*

Fin and his Merry-Men were hunting atop a hill.

All day they were there yet caught no glimpse of game.

As evening drew in, Fin spoke, “let’s turn for home, boys, there is naught for us on this dismal hill,” he said, “’twill be late when we get there and a hunger and thirst will be on us.”

“A hunger and thirst on us, already,” said Conan, and spat into the ground.

*

So Fin and his Merry-Men turned and set off down the hill-side.

Before long a Black Fog fell and they lost their way.

“No good ever came from a fog of this sort,” said Fin resignedly, “we’re out for the night now, boys, and no mistake!”

As the Merry-Men set too, assessing their predicament, Dermot spied a white-washed house in the gloom.

Whichever way he turned the house still loomed.

“This way for a home-stead,” cried Dermot, “maybe we’ll find food and drink this dreary night after all.”

So Fin and his Merry-Men followed Dermot to the white-washed house…

To be continued.

*

The Lord of all Proud Beasts…

rs-332*

His skin is hard as rock.

His heart huge as a boulder.

His belly thick with spikes.

*

His eyes glow like dawn.

He sneezes and lightnings flash.

Flames leap from his mouth.

*

Smoke pours from his nostrils

like steam from a boiling pot.

His breath sets coals ablaze.

*

He looks down on the highest

and watches terror dance before him.

Is nothing on earth his equal?

*

Carnival…

*

…Face of moving water

Breathing in water

The water a breathing face…

*

Today I will speak to you

For, today, we hold a race

A sprint to the death

Whose spirit yields to the swiftest

The fleetest of foot…

*

He, who with the most fateful

Imagination of mind

Can picture the year

Bearing fruit

through a carnival of fear…

*

It is he whom we call great

He, who grants freedom to stars.

Parsley and Partiality: King of kings…

rs-268*

“In fact,” says Wen, placing the metaphorical bit firmly between her teeth, “I’m not even sure I’m happy with the term folk belief, I think I prefer folk wisdom.”

“And which version of the tale do you prefer?”

“Oh, Basile’s by a country mile.”

“I wonder if the title owes anything to the ‘King of Kings’?

“Undoubtedly.”

“And what are we to make of the ending?”

“The ending is hugely problematical and yet these old chestnuts though preposterous in the extreme still retain a curious validity.”

“I agree, yet I am not sure a lion would be quite so afraid of a donkey.”

“In the natural world, no, but for the torturous realms of our inherited psychology it makes perfect sense.”

“Psychologically where would you put it?”

“I’d put it alongside Rumple-stilt-skin.”

“In a story cycle would that be before or after?”

“Before, obviously!”

“Are we done?”

“Of course not, we still have to sort out the Old Woman.”

*

Parsley and Partiality: Craving…

rs-268

*

“Before we solve that particular problem,” says Wen, warming to her theme, “I’d like to spend some time considering the ‘craving motif’.”

“It is not particularly overt in the Grimm version. I even thought about including it as a problem.”

“It is occluded in Grimm, one could be forgiven for thinking that Rapunzel is named on a whim.”

“Not so in Petrosinella!”

“She even gets the birthmark, presumably because the craving for parsley is only partially satisfied.”

“Are we thinking that the craving comes from the unborn child?”

“As a curse of styes in the eye we, perhaps, might be, yet the birthmark motif seems to hark back even further and is at least suggestive of the spirit of plants or some such.”

“Petrosinella replays many of the motifs of the frame story and in the frame story Basile appears to ridicule such folk beliefs.”

“Ridicule, or call them to the fore-front of our attention,” says Wen, and then continues, “the second tale of Day One, ‘The Myrtle’, features a fairy who lives in a sprig of Myrtle.”

She seems mighty reluctant to let this go…

*

Parsley and Partiality…

rs-268

*

… “I’ve answered two of the questions,” smiles Wen.

“You mean you’ve found solutions to two of the problems, and which would they be then?”

“I know where the tower is situated.”

“Ah, I thought you had the air of one who has been grubbing about in old books about you.”

“If by ‘grubbing about’ you mean research, I feel no sense of shame about that,” says Wen.

“Petrosinella!”

“You already know about it?”

“I know of it, yes, but I wouldn’t like to steal your thunder.”

“The tower is built in a wood.”

“Would your second ‘answer’ have anything to do with how the tower was constructed, by any chance?”

“It might,” says Wen, “and we needn’t have done any ‘grubbing’ for this one, we could have worked it out.”

“Ah, Little Grub, ’tis music to my ears… Pray explicate! Pray explicate…”

“As the Old Woman is an Enchantress, in the Grimm version, and an Ogress in Basile’s, the tower was constructed around the girl and then raised by enchantment.”

“A woman wearing a tower, naturally, I know not how I missed it, but why is the owner of the herb garden… the Enchantress… the Ogress, or even, the Sorceress, an Old Woman, and without resorting to names, who is she?”

“More problems,” says Wen.

“I am afraid so.” …

*

…and Red-Fox.

*

…In another part of the meadow Red-Fox was hunting mice for breakfast. He saw one and jumped on him with with all four feet but the little fellow got away.

In his disappointment Red-Fox heard a distant call, “Bring a knife!”

He started in the direction of the call and as it got louder he continued.

By and by he came across the body of Buffalo lying on the ground with Field-Mouse still standing atop it.

“If you dress this Buffalo for me I shall give you some of the meat,” said Field-Mouse.

“Very well,” said Red-Fox, and he dressed the Buffalo while Field-Mouse sat on a mound nearby looking on and giving orders.

“You must cut the meat into small pieces.”

When Red-Fox had finished his work Field-Mouse paid him with a small piece of liver. He swallowed it quickly and smacked his lips, “May I have another piece?” he asked.

“Why, I gave you the largest piece,” said Field-Mouse, “How greedy you are. You may have some of the blood clots.”

So poor Red-Fox took the blood clots and licked the grass. He really was very hungry, “I have six little ones to feed at home, may I take some more meat?”

“You can take the four feet of Buffalo,” said Field-Mouse, “that ought to be enough for your little ones.”

“And what of my wife,” said Red-Fox.

“Why, she can have the head,” said Field-Mouse.

Thereupon Red-Fox jumped on Field-Mouse who just had time to let out a faint squeak before he disappeared.

*

…Buffalo…

*

…Buffalo trampled the grass and tore up the earth with his front hoofs but when he looked for Field-Mouse he was nowhere to be found.

‘That’s put an end to him,’ thought Buffalo.

Just then he felt a scratching in his right ear, so he shook his head as hard as he could and twitched his ears to and fro.

But the scratching in his ear became a gnawing which went deeper and deeper until he was mad with pain.

Buffalo pawed with his hoofs and tore up the sod with his horns. Bellowing, loudly, he ran as fast as he could in circles but at last he stopped and stood still, trembling.

Out from his ear jumped Field-Mouse and said, “Will you now admit that I am master?”

“Never!” bellowed Buffalo and again charged at Field-Mouse in an attempt to trample him under-hoof.

But the little fellow again disappeared and moments later Buffalo felt a scratching in his left ear. Once again he was driven mad with pain and he ran about the meadow in a frenzy, sometimes leaping high in the air. At last he fell to the ground and lay stock still.

Field-Mouse crept out of his ear and stood proudly on his dead body.

“Hi-Ho,” he said I have killed the greatest of beasts, “this will prove to all my master-ship.”

Field-Mouse began to call lout loudly for a knife to dress his game…

*

Field-Mouse…

*

Field-Mouse was out gathering wild-beans for winter when Buffalo came down to the meadow to graze.

‘He will mow down the long-grass with his prickly tongue and there will be no where left to hide,’ thought Field-Mouse, ‘I will offer him battle, like a man would do.’

“Ho, Buffalo!” squeaked Field-Mouse, “I challenge you to a fight.”

Buffalo went on grazing.

Field-Mouse repeated his challenge but still Buffalo went on grazing.

With his third challenge, Field-Mouse laughed contemptuously at Buffalo’s inaction.

“You had better keep still, little one,” said Buffalo, still grazing, “or I will come over there and step on you.”

“You can’t do it!” squeaked Field-Mouse in defiance.

“If you don’t be quiet I will certainly put an end to you,” said Buffalo, quietly.

“I dare you!” said Field-Mouse.

Before Field-Mouse had quite finished, Buffalo charged at him…

*