Tag Archives: Friday Fable

Lillywack

Oh, my dears. It’s been a long week. And it is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.

261 miles downstream from Manaus in the middle of the Amazon River is the island of Tupinambarana, covered in forests and accessible only by air or by water. The island has been separated from itself by natural channels, so that it is actually four separate islands, and these channels pulsate through the trees. It is within these channels that Lillywack lived.

Gentle and thoughtful, Lillywack is fascinated by humans. She finds our voices lyrical and mesmerizing and each year crept close to the town of Parintins to listen to the sounds of the Boi Bumba festival.  The Boi Bumba festival takes over the town every year and is based on the folkloric tale of Boi Bumba. There are many different variations of the legend, but a common version tells the story of a rich farmer who gives his daughter his favorite boi (ox) as a gift. He entrusts his ranch hand Pae Francisco to care for the boi, but Pae Francisco’s pregnant wife, Mae Caterina, develops an inexplicable craving for the bull’s tongue. Pae Francisco thus kills this prized beast to satisfy his wife’s need.

When the crime is discovered, adventures ensue as local Indians hunt and capture Pae Francisco in a forest hideout. Brought before the rich farmer for judgement, Pae Francisco faces death for his deed. Desperate to save his and his wife’s lives, Pae Francisco attempts to resucitate the ox. With the assistance of Curandeiros (spiritual shamans), Mae Caterina and Pae Francisco are able to harness the power of the drum beat and bring the ox back to life.  Thus, their lives are spared and all is forgiven.

Each year, 35,00 people gather in an arena to party and participate in the Boi Bumba festival. It is described as “an incredible musical and theatrical experience, a religious procession, a tribal ritual, a giant puppet show, a fairy tale of powerful villains and brave heroes, a folk art presentation, a major party for the audience and an energizing choreography of the galera all at once.”

So you can understand why Lillywack was so fascinated. Each year she crept closer and closer to Parintins, hungry for more lights, more music, and a better view. She crept too close, though, and was discovered by a boatload of fishermen, drinking in their wooden craft in the river. They offered the creature quentão (she wisely refused this hot and alcoholic beverage) and let her watch the festivities with them from the safety of the water.

Intoxicated by what she saw, Lillywack prefers to live amongst humans now, favoring the bright lights and stories of our world than the rich, aquatic quiet of her world. She now resides in the United States, and loves any holiday that involves a parade. There may be tiny Lillywacks growing in every country, for all we know. Or perhaps Boi Bumba will entice another Amazonian creature to come out of hiding.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.


 

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Decklen

Oh, my dears. It’s been a long week. And it is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.

Deep in the stacks of maps on the third floor of the British Library lived Decklen. Old, composed, and rather polite, Decklen grew up among the books and manuscripts, from a teensy little pup to the venerable and aged creature he is today. Fed and cared for by librarians (who love a well-behaved furry thing who adores knowledge as much as they do), Decklen grew in size and in education. His appetite for books and information surpassed his appetite for toast and jam early.

If one had managed to stay in the library overnight, one might witness this fellow loping past the stacks, re-shelving books, pulling new ones, taking big deep and satisfied sighs when he found a book he particularly wanted.

And so Decklen grew and aged in the British Library. He slept behind shelves and danced in moonlight on the terraces. He ate up as much knowledge as he could, and he learned how to brew a perfect cup of tea. Unfortunately, with health regulations being what they are these days, the librarians were forced to ask Decklen to leave. They knew that he would find a new home, surrounded by new pages. With a noggin filled with Chaucer and science and even some rather significant philatelic facts, this monster would, at the very least, be delightful conversation.

Perhaps you should peruse a bookstore or a library soon. Perhaps you should keep some toast in your pocket, and maybe a tea bag or two. Look through the stacks of books – the really dusty ones with books gleaming with words and not fancy covers. That’s usually where Decklen can be found.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.

 

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Figure B

Oh, my dears. It’s been a long week. And it is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the fear of being buried alive reached a feverish height. Grave Watchers were hired to keep watch over the recently buried, alert and vigilant should the prematurely buried awake. Often there was a bell apparatus set up with a string from bell to coffin. If the bell rang, the buried was not dead but alive.

My Uncle Ruprecht spent an eventful month as a Grave Watcher somewhere in Tennessee. He published his most well-respected poem during this time, titled “Safety Coffin Sleep Depravity”, and received a commendation for logging the most consecutive hours in a cemetery as a Grave Watcher during inclement weather.

He also continued the work that would become his legacy: Behavior Taxidermy. Ruprecht has an uncanny ability to recreate precise moments of human behavior, sculpting and drawing emotions so that these creations pulsate with energy. Even centuries later.

We discovered a trunk of Uncle Ruprecht’s Behavior Taxidermy Studies in an ancient trunk, and while the man seems to have disappeared nearly half a century ago, we inexplicably continue to receive letters and shipments from him. For all we know, he is back in Tennessee, vigilant at some soul’s grave, waiting for a bell to ring in the night.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.

Erter Vinter

Oh, my dears. It’s been a long week. And it is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.

In Alfheimr, home of the Light-Elves and one of the Nine Worlds of Old Norse mythology, the erter vinter (winter peas) dwell. These tiny elves sing and fly through the heavens on the dreams of dead animals. They smell like salt and when they sing make whistling and tinkling sounds like bells and chimes in the wind. They are happy beings and welcome spirits to heaven with a warmth that seems unfathomable for a Norwegian winter.

Here on earth, we live with the Dark-Elves, creatures dark as pitch and thick with evil. It is easy to become mired in their darkness, to believe the terrible things they whisper, and this is exactly what they want.

As is written in the eddic poem Gylfaginning:

That which is called Álfheim is one, where dwell the peoples called Light elves [Ljósálfar]; but the Dark-elves [dökkálfar] dwell down in the earth, and they are unlike in appearance, but by far more unlike in nature. The Light-elves are fairer to look upon than the sun, but the Dark-elves are blacker than pitch.

Yes, the erter vinter are tiny. And yes, they are silly and happy creatures that could easily somersault across the palm of your hand. But they battle the dökkálfar each and every day. They ride on clouds of otter dreams, singing songs to remind us of the simple strength of the snowflake and to remind us that our world is beautiful and that we are each loved. The dökkálfar are fierce and impressive, but the erter vinter are fiercer.

And they’re cute, too.

The next time you succumb to the insidious whispers of the dökkálfar, take a moment to listen for the chimes and bells that are the songs of the erter vinter. Take a deep breath of the salt in the air that means the erter vinter are near. Let their soft songs seep into your subconscious. It can be warm even in the coldest winter.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.

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