”The story is the king,” people say. ”The word is the queen,” I say. Down with this tyrant king! Long live the queen!
From the dawn of time, humanity has been an ever-moving mouth whispering tales. It’s our nature to create something out of nothing, to record and decode life inside a palpitating web of words. But the truth is this: any fool can spin a yarn. It doesn’t take any particular skills except for a little bit of an active mind. Anyone can make up a story. People have been doing it all the time in all the languages of the world, from the little child whose imagination is galloping at the speed of light to the average Joe and plain Jane, from the middle-aged adult to the sweet, old lady next door.
But if this is an innate ability, then what exactly sets the writer apart from the…
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Sil eased onto the marble slab next to Olwen, taking further courage when she didn’t shy away from him or order him away. ‘’The lost lands of ages and ages I braved to fulfill my own yearnings. What are yours, Lady Olwen? And why did you choose me to fulfill them?’’
‘’Because I sensed your strength in the arts, and it called out to me from the moment you turned yourself a wanderer amongst the lost lands. I can count on my fingers all the otherwordly denizens whose awen has roused and fused with mine. That you, a mortal, stand on equal ground, if not higher, than them is a thing of wonder and delight for me.’’
Her words had an intoxicating effect on Sil who swelled with pride at his powers and sent his silent gratitude to his kinswomen, for without their guidance his gifts would be wasted on him. ‘’Many thanks, Lady Olwen. It is an honour to receive such heartfelt praise from a creature like you.’’
Olwen slightly lifted her feet off the ground for a moment, and a cluster of three white lilies sprung up at the spot. Her soul must be as pure as the fires that burn in a sacred temple, Sil thought, for his mother had told him tales of rare people who were so detached from
malice and perfect strangers to vice that every step of theirs was so fertile it brought life and breath to the world.
‘’Tell me more of your mother.’’ Olwen slid closer to him, their knees almost brushing against each other. ‘’You said she’s called Cordelia. She must be very potent in the arts.’’
‘’Of a truth,’’ replied Sil and related it to her all the troubles and sorrows his mother and aunt had suffered from the moment they fled their homeland in the east until they were shipwrecked and beached on Rumia. Then he lost himself in vivid narrations filled with tenderness about Rumia’s High Priestesses and their many teachings as he left his childhood behind and grew into manhood. Then concluded with the tynged they had placed upon him and later their aid in ushering him to the lost lands when he kept his word.
‘’So we’re both orphaned, it appears. Fated to live under the shadow of a parent’s absence. The paternal figure has remained a mystery to you, just like the maternal figure has forever eluded me.’’ Her eyes glazed as if she sought for her lost mother in faraway worlds hidden beyond veils of mist or others residing only in dreams.
Such was her concentration and so deep the longing etched on the countours of her face, Sil feared she might sprout wings and fly away in search of the woman who gave birth to her and then forsook her. Whatever emotions plagued her, Sil felt them burrow themselves within his own heart–as if an invisible string bound their ribs together.
For, even though, the path of his thoughts didn’t veer often to his father, when it did, Sil couldn’t easily shake off the restlessness that assailed him for days and made him roam as if a wild beast in the woods and streams and hills of Rumia.
Tentatively, Sil laced his fingers with Olwen’s. ‘’The past is often pregnant with unfortunate memories, and no good thing comes from dwelling on it. Though you may call me a liar, for that is a piece of advice I don’t always follow with success. Like you, I think of what could have been. But I’ve been taken care of and loved and taught precious lessons that have led me to be the man I am. And I believe you’ve wanted for nothing. Hasn’t King Pen raised you as if you were a child taken shape from his own seed?’’
An excerpt from my mythic fantasy novel currently titled The Fruit of Passion.
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Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s short story The Child that Went with the Fairies narrates the tale of a poor widow and her four children living in a sublime Irish landscape. While the three youngest are outside playing and the sister and mother are busy doing their tasks, the youngest of all the siblings, Billy, is taken away by the ”Good People” as the fair folk are called in the story. Little Billy returns to his family from time to time until one day he vanishes altogether, never to reappear, and is considered dead.
On the surface, The Child that Went with the Fairies, resembles a typical, supernatural tale where a child is kidnapped by some otherwordly folks under mysterious circumstances and is forever torn apart from his loved ones. But Le Fanu is an astute writer who knows how to add layers upon layers of meaning, rendering his work…
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