Tag Archives: Charles

Manticore

I woke early this morning – one of the gargoyles has started snoring once the sun starts to rise and it is impossible to sleep with that going on (imagine rocks sawing against each other).

In the kitchen I found a note in Mordecai’s scrawl:

A manticore has been spotted at the Gold Dome. Have gone to see for myself.

Immediately, I packed Bubo into the jallopy and hit the road; while Mordecai has full faith in his and Charles’ combined abilities, they are no match for a manticore. So Bubo and I are in Montpelier, Vermont, home of the “gold dome” – the state building (Montpelier is the capital of Vermont). We have yet to see Mordecai, Charles or the manticore.

A manticore is a composite beast of Indian origin. It has the body of a lion, the face of a man, and the tail of a scorpion. An incredibly active beast, it is able to leap large distances, feeds on human flesh, and, some say, can shoot spikes from its tail. All accounts agree that the manticore’s voice is a whistle that sounds like a melody from pipes.

Pliny the Elder quotes Ctesias as saying that the manticore has a triple row of teeth that meet like the teeth of a comb. Reports differ on the eye color – some say blue and some say grey. But, to be honest, if you’re seeing the creature’s eye color, you’ve got larger problems than differing reports or colored contact lenses.

Bubo and I are staying in a church in the quaint downtown; it is cool still in Vermont, and Bubo is out hunting in Hubbard Park. Once the town goes to sleep, we shall strike out in search of Mordecai. Hopefully these reports of a manticore are greatly exaggerated, I have no wish to tangle with one.

My hope is that I can woo Mordecai from this foolhardy errand with apple cider donuts and the promise of a more-docile cryptid hunt through the outcroppings of Mount Mansfield.

Keep your fingers crossed, and should you hear a fearsome whistling, lock yourself inside. And don’t tell Mordecai.

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Susurrus

Early this morning I took a walk. It was before the sun rose, and a breeze lifted leaves and pollen from the sidewalks and swirled around my feet. Bubo was on my shoulder, and as we so often do, we walked through the Green-Wood Cemetery, enjoying the quiet that so rarely graces Brooklyn.

We walked beneath the trees and wound around the gravestones and it felt as though the earth were telling us a great secret, barely audible at first. Soon the wind was whipping through the trees and there was an explosion of leaves, flowers, pollen and feathers. Then that low rumble. As I often mumble, something wicked this way comes. Usually this means Mordecai is on the move, but he’s laid up in bed with a fever and Charles is reading him the complete works of Dostoevsky.

This brings us to susurrus. This noun is pronounced soo-SUHR-uhs and means a whispering or rustling sound. From the Latin susurrare to hum, to whisper, the first documented use of the word was 1826. And, naturally, you can use the verb susurrate (to whisper, murmur) or the adjective susurrous (full of whispering sounds) to round out your vocabulary.

One might say that Bubo and I experienced a low susurrus before the wind created the botanical explosion in the cemetery. One might also say that a violent storm is often preceded by a susurrus of anxiety and power. One might say a lot of things, my dears, and it is important that one has a full vocabulary with which to speak.

Relatively Candied

I believe I am completely recovered from the holidays – amazing how we look forward to the festive time with family until Day Two of the festivities and then we look forward to getting back to “normal” life – even if that normal life makes us crazy.

Nothing makes one crazy like family.

My family is crazy, and thus craziness is relative.

The Winter Solstice trees have been disposed of (converted to firewood) and most of the lights have been put away (Bubo likes to keep some around her nest). Mordecai and Charles are on a pilgrimage to Antigua and my house is finally my own.

As we all know, my own means just yours truly, a great horned owl, a pygmy yeti, a passel of dragons, various specimens, mobile gargoyles, some Night Story Birds, a handful of Slate Wing Fighting Birds, and whatever comes in through the subterranean canal.

Last night it was a very tiny woman, singing sea shanties and selling cookbooks printed on handmade paper. She had hair the color of yellow split peas and smelled of ham.

Interestingly enough, the first recipe in the cookbook I purchased was a Swedish ham and split pea stew. (With Silas gone and his amazing collection of recipes, one must come up with new culinary options.)

I already attempted the candied ginger. The parlor smells of singed hair and rancid citrus, so perhaps desserts are not my forte.

The stew is in the slow cooker and all I need is some delicious fresh bread.

Yes, this is the time I wish Great Aunt Una lived closer – she bakes a mean bread.

She also makes bread turn mean around 2 am, so anything un-eaten on the counter might bite you come morning. That is the time I do not miss Great Aunt Una.

 

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Mickle

Yes, this week’s word for Word Wednesday is happening on a Thursday.

Somehow, once inside Great Aunt Una’s rambling house in Harpswell, Maine, time stands still. I could have sworn it was Tuesday for the past three days. Ah, well. I suppose putting the blame on the house entirely is unfair. The grog has a lot to do with the time warping.

And there has been a lot of grog.

Which brings me to today’s word. Mickle is a noun that means a great amount. It is also an adjective that means great, abundant and an adverb that means greatly, much.

Mickle is a Scottish word which stems from the Middle English mikel,  which is from Old English micel and from the Old Norse mikill. There’s an old proverb: mony a little makes a mickle.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s probably already Friday and that means Mordecai and Charles have been out looking for dire wolves for three days.

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