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Archive for September, 2012

A Simple Luv Story

Another tale in a series of assignments from my Mythology and Folklore course:

Once upon a time in a remote valley by the River Bithynia, there lived a happy farmer, Baxter, and his jolly wife, Philisha.  Baxter farmed the land and Philisha kept a few animals:  a milk cow, a plow horse, and a few chickens.  The contented couple relished their simple life and lived their entire married days above the barn in a cozy little space that Philisha tended fastidiously.

Everything they had ever needed they brought forth from their own hands.  They fetched cool, clear water from the river, their garden produced a bounty of vegetables, they had a small fruit orchard, and they tended beehives for their honeycomb, as well.

(The Comfy Abode of Baxter and Philisha — Photo by Cynthia L. H.)

One evening, just as Philisha was setting the table for supper with a steaming plate of biscuits and gravy, two weary travelers rapped upon the door.

Baxter welcomed them to stay for the meal and rest, as night was fast approaching.  Baxter said, “I’ll even bring out a jug of my best moonshine, if you’ll just stay, ya’ll.  We seldom get visitors in these parts, do we, Sugar?  And dagnabbit if I’ll turn you away to wander the darkness in these boondocks.”

“Baxter Dear, please watch your language in front of the guests, won’t you.” Philisha quietly chided.  “And perhaps run down to the garden and fetch a cantaloupe or two?”

“Yes, My Angel,” Baxter said.  He brought out his pipe and tobacco.

The travelers agreed to stay and so all passed a joyful time of fellowship.

When the sun rose the next morning, the guests gathered their belongings and prepared to depart.

“Baxter and Philisha, we have to tell you.  We are gods disguised as men, searching the earth for genuine, kind-hearted souls,” said One.

“And some really good ale,” said The Other.  “I think yours was definitely nine and a half on a scale of one to ten.”

“Why, thank you,” Baxter said.  “I have won several awards and been featured in Better Shines and Gardens magazine a time or two.  But I ain’t braggin’, or nothin’.”

“Why, of course not,” said the One.  “Anyway,” continued the One, “we think that you are just the nicest folks we’ve ever come across.  We want to grant your fondest desire.”

“Choose anything,” said the Other, “anything at all.”

Baxter and Philisha were just completely flabbergasted.  Nothing like this had ever crossed their minds.

“We’re perfectly pea-pickin’ happy,” Baxter said.  “There ain’t nothin’ we need, is there, Baby?”

“Well, if I may,” Philisha interjected.  “There is that teensy issue of the aging process making it not quite so easy to climb up into our little cottage here above the barn.  You remember, Baxter Dear, that today you almost fell.  Then when I reached to help, you nearly pulled me on over with you, Hon.”

(Philisha Saving Baxter From Falling From the Barn — Photo by Cynthia L. H.)

“Aw, psshaw, Philisha.  I ain’t gettin’ old.  My joints was just stove up from plowing so long yesterday.  I’m fine, now, Sweetcakes.” Baxter said.

“Nevertheless,” said the One, “we would like to grant you a wish.”

“Any wish at all,” said the Other.

“Just go ahead and pick one,” said the One.  He nudged the Other and whispered, “I hope they hurry up and decide.  We’ve got places to go.”

Philisha took the opportunity to declare,  “Now, Baxter Dear, remember that house up on top of Knob Hill?”

“That mansion?” Baxter asked.

“Yes, that one,” Philisha said.  “I’ve heard through the grapevine that it is sitting empty.  The owners… you know, what were their names?”

“Oh, yes, um, let me see … now….” Baxter scratched his beard trying to remember.

The two gods looked at each other and rolled their eyes.

Philisha said, “Betty.  Bettisimma.  Bandy.  No.  Barbie.  That’s it ….”

“Barbie and Ken,” Philisha and Baxter said at the same time.

“Oh, yes, Dear.  That’s it,” Philisha said.  Barbie and Ken.  They’re divorcing.”

“No way,” Baxter said.

“Way,” Philisha said.

“What is the world coming to?”  Baxter asked.

“I don’t know, Dear.  So sad.  Anyway, I would loooove to live in that mansion.  Can you do that for us?”  Philisha blinked her long, however gray, lashes at the two gods.

“Definitely,” said the One.

“Most definitely,” said the Other.

They closed their eyes and clasped their hands in front of them and said a tiny prayer.

At the end of the prayer Philisha and Baxter thought the two gods said “Abracadabra,” instead of “Amen.”  But not to worry.

Poof.  Baxter and Philisha were suddenly in a lovely pink mansion that overlooked the valley where they used to live in the barn.

“Oh!  Isn’t this lovely, Baxter Dear,” Philisha said.

“Well, I’m homesick, Pookie … just a little,” Baxter said.

“Oh, pishposh, Baxter Dear,” Philisha said.  “Well, just go on down and sleep in the barn, then, Hon,” she continued.  “I’ll cook supper.  Look at this kitchen!  My my!  Even a microwave!  I am just so excited.”

“What are we havin’ for supper, My Love?” Baxter asked, just a little hesitantly.

“Why, biscuits and gravy, Dear.  Of course,” Philisha said.

“Perfect, Darlin’,” said Baxter.  “I think I’ll stay.”

“Perfect,” said Philisha.  She smiled and hugged Baxter.

He smiled and kissed her cheek with his scratchy beard.

And they lived happily ever after.  Dear.

The End

Author’s Note:  The inspiration for my story came from Ovid’s Metamorphoses — Philemon and Baucis.  Many of these Ovid tales seemed ridiculous.  I decided that another ridiculous story was in order.  I switched the names around.  The female in the Ovid tale was Baucis.  The male was Philemon.  I made the female, Philisha, and the male, Baxter.  I had a little too much fun with this one.  ;^)

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Hi-Ho!  Seamus here.  It’s been a while.  Miss Cynthia asked me to apologize for her, but I told her there was no need.  As you can see, Finn has been getting into everything that he possibly can.  Circumstances have gone beyond quite lively.  Well, more on that later.

Miss Cynthia wanted you to know that our summer that was supposed to have been spent learning more on Celtic history and lore, was actually spent straightening out multiple shenanigans that inundated the household.  (Poor Miss Cynthia.  I do believe it was all Finn’s fault.  Oh well.  More on that later, too.)

For now, Miss Cynthia is immersed in her classes at the university.  Lo and behold!  One of her classes is Mythology and Folklore.  (I guess she gave up on me ever helping her.  Little does she know that I’ve been spinning all kinds of magic to inspire the muse.)

For the Mythology and Folklore class, her professor is requiring the construction of yet another blog.   It is, however, private to the students of the class.  Miss Cynthia asked permission to share her tales with you here.

Without further ado — may I present Miss Cynthia’s very first legend in Blogland:

STERLING AND THE VICIOUS BEAST

By Cynthia L. H.

In a mystical valley far beyond normal vision, a ferocious dragonfly tormented the miniscule faerie folk until they had lost hope.  The inhabitants of Glen Ywen found their faith drained away.  All became dark and bleak and the earth around them turned black.  The sky was black and the massive tree beneath which their village stood was black.  Its branches spread broad and high, but every leaf was black as midnight.  Shadows abounded.

The black dragonfly, Ferox, roamed the countryside by night and devoured whatever he fancied.  Wheat crops, grape vineyards, cottages, villagers – it made no difference.  If Ferox wanted it, Ferox destroyed it.  He would feast and then burn what remained before him.  The ashes and coals simmered in the blackness for as long as the villagers could remember.

Ferox was not just a dragonfly, but a vicious creature of death.  Spouting black flames, he pillaged and burned and burned and pillaged.

The faerie folk lived in quaking fear of the rancorous beast.  In former days they were a strong clan who possessed much magic, but Ferox had beaten them into subjection.

The outlook of the villagers had grown so grim that their judgment was as clouded as a storm-clad day.  They sought to appease Ferox, but there was no relief.

Each month, at the advent of the New Moon, when the sky was nothing but blackness, they would lay one of their first-born sons at the mouth of Ferox’s lair.

This day, there was but one who remained.  He was the child of the only noble in the land, who was no longer very noble.  If Ferox had left their possessions, he would have been king.  As it stood, his name was his only redeeming quality:  Sterling.

Now being the last of the boys to be sacrificed, Sterling had been protected and grew strong.  He spent most of his days sword-fighting with an uncle or riding round the countryside.

He was cunning and swift, as well as strong and courageous.  In spite of all that surrounded him, Sterling was rather a miracle, against all odds.

On the day that he was to be sacrificed, his family had kept it secret.  Sterling had no idea of his impending doom.

He thought that he was going on a country ride with his uncle and cousins.  He threw a leaf saddle over the back of his shiny black steed and galloped up into the night sky.  The wings of his horsefly beat against the black of the night and cooled the simmering air.  Sterling looked back and saw no one.  He was puzzled, as he thought they were right behind him.  He was wrong.  His family had sent him on his own to face the mighty Ferox.

Sterling rounded a corner and there he was – Ferox – roaring, belching smoke and spitting up sulfurous hairballs every which way.

Sterling pulled his sword from the scabbard and fearlessly charged the beast.

Ferox roared in indignation.

“Who dares to challenge the Great Ferox?”

Sterling pulled back the reins of his charge.  “It is I, Sterling of Glen Ywen, Bearer of the Standard of Truth.”

Ferox emitted a deep belly laugh that nearly knocked Sterling off his horsefly.  Thankfully, the steed was steady with his wings and remained aloft.

“I will devour your Truth with one breath if there is such a thing,” Ferox said.

“Of course there is,” Sterling said.  “I am the representative.  Truth lives in me.”

Ferox thought this was hilarious.  He had never been so amused.

“What makes you think so, Sir Piety?” Ferox teased.

“If I answer you, will you leave me be?”  Sterling asked.

“I will,” Ferox answered.  He crossed his tiny black dragonfly toes because he knew that he was lying.

Fortunately, Sterling knew that Ferox was lying, too.  As the bearer of all Truth, he could sense these things.

“You hold in your mind the thought that I will make you a fine dessert,” Sterling said.  “Is this so?”

“It is so,” Ferox said.

“Truth,” Sterling answered.

Ferox was puzzled.

“You will not chase me when I turn my steed, because you think that your flames can leap farther and faster than my horse and I can fly,” Sterling said.

“Dare!”  Ferox said.

Sterling whirled his horsefly about and spurred him until they hurtled out of Ferox’s reach.

Ferox was baffled.  No one had ever dared to dare him.  He wasn’t sure what to do next, but he took up pursuit anyway.

Sterling and his horsefly climbed steeply into the sky and were now diving straight above Ferox.

Ferox heard the drone, but did not see them.

Sterling’s Sword of Truth pierced through the heart of the black dragonfly.

With a bellow and hissing, Ferox crashed to the ground with a mighty thud.  He screamed and tried to rise again.

Sterling swiftly searched for the sulfurous spheres of charbroiled sheep that he had seen the soulless beast spit out previously.

He stabbed each orb with the tip of his sword and poked them into the jaws of Ferox.

One last hissing breath produced a tiny spark.  It was all that was necessary.

The sulfur ignited and Ferox sizzled and fizzled until not even ashes remained.  His own darkness had consumed him.

At that precise moment, the village became verdant and full of life again.

A beautiful faerie appeared out of the clouds, riding upon a lavender butterfly.

“I am Verity, Queen of Candor.  I am on a quest to find the Bearer of the Standard of Truth.  Are you he?”  She asked.

“I am.”  Sterling nearly burst his buttons at her beauty.

Verity reached across the span between them and grasped his hand.  She smiled.

Sterling smiled back.

They galloped off into the dawning of a new day where the sun was rising in brilliant hues of amethyst, peach, and amber.

***The End***

Photo — St. George and the Dragon — Stockholm — Web Source:  Wikipedia

Author’s Note:  In this class, we read legends and folklore.  We take a story that we’ve read and spin our own tale off of it.  I based my version upon the story of Daniel and the Dragon from the apocryphal Book of Daniel in the Septuagint.  I love this story and wish that it was in all adaptations of the Bible.  Of course I twisted the details again in my tale.  I created faeries, horseflies, and dragonflies.  I also wanted to question the integrity of family who would sacrifice their children to a dragon — not very honorable.  But somehow, the hero turns out unscathed.  I also wanted to unleash my creativity with my own odd humorous perspective.  I really had fun with this one.

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