Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Winter Solstice Six Swans

21 Dec 04 Winter Solstice Six Swans

Seven Sisters

"One day the great hunter Orion saw the Pleiads (perhaps with their mother, or perhaps just one of them; see Merope above) as they walked through the Boeotian countryside, and fancied them. He pursued them for seven years, until Zeus answered their prayers for delivery and transformed them into birds (doves or pigeons), placing them among the stars. "

The Pleiades Star Cluster

The Six Swans are in the original Grimm collection of Household Tales of 1812. They cited sources as Die sieben Schwane from Feenmarchen published by Braunschweig in 1801. Similar tales include the Seven Ravens which appears also in the Grimm collection. Others are Twelve Brothers, Twelve Wild Ducks and Wild Swans that appears in Andersen's tales. Add to this the Twelve Dancing Princesses which has the ladies descending to a netherworld to wear out their shoes each night.

The stories probably are derived from ancient sources; the most notable is that of Proserpina who was abducted from earth by Hades while she was gathering flowers with her mother, Ceres. Hades, King of the Underworld didn't much appreciate his bachelorhood and had no interest in the wraiths that shadowed his land. Apparently they were so thin that he put his hand through them or could get a proper grip on their waists, and they were probably ticklish in bed. Whatever the reason, he nabbed Prosepina and dragged her under into darkness, leaving her mother disconsolate on earth. For this reason, the year is divided into seasons, as Ceres mourns the months that Proserpina must return to be with her self-imposed husband. Ceres wandered the whole earth in search of ehr, but finally went to Zeus to beg intercession and strrong arm his brother. Zeus, not wishing too many conflicts with his brooding sibling became diplomatic:

Metamorphoses Bk 5 Story of Proserpina and Hades

"The girl shall rise to heaven on one condition—
That is, if no food touched her lips in Hades
For this is the law commanded by the Fates.

He had his say, but Ceres was determined
To claim her daughter, yet the Fates said No.
But Proserpina, guiless, innocent,
Had taken refuge in Death's formal gardens
And, as she strolled there,plucked a dark pomegranate,
Unwrapped its yellow skin, and swallowed seven
Of its blood-purpled seeds."

Ovid, The Metamorphoses Book V, p155
transl by Horace Gregory, Mentor Books 1960

In the Grimm's tale, a forlorn king is lost deep in the woods. On condition of finding his way out, he consents to marry the witch's daughter, but:

"The King had already been married once, and had by his first wife seven children, six boys and one girl, whom he loved more than anything in the world.

Although it is not immediately apparent, the two stories are probably related. The hidden problem might be the shift from a lunar to solar calendar which can be found in Grimm's version of the six swans. There are seven children, one female and six boys. The boys vanish cursed as swans into the wide world. On hearing their mysterious disappearance the sister determines to find and redeem them. The task is arduous. She must remain mute for six years and weave shirts from star flowers. Fate intervenes in the form of a King determined to marry her. Her silence is attributed to witchcraft. When she gives birth, her children are stolen. Condemned to die as a witch by fire, she is still feverishly mute, trying to finish the sleeve of the last shirt of star flowers.As the fire is lit, the swans appear.

How many moons are there in a Lunar calendar and months to a solar year? Hence the youngest brother receives an incomplete shirt and is transformed once more into a human being, but deformed by a wing. Six and half doubled make up the thirteenth moon, while the six swans might represent the months of a solar half year. A beginning astrologist might split the circle into upper and lower halves, explaining that the center top is the zenith while the opposite pole is the nadir. The top is governed by the sun representing success and fullness of life, but at the opposite extreme lay the hardships and darkness a person endures. In one version, the brothers live double lives, during the day they are swans, but transformed back into humans at night, revealing its relationship to astrology and astronomy. As a transformation story, it symbolizes the ability of the soul to transcend the hardships of this world to enter the world-to-come.

Despite the loss of her three children and the accusations of being a witch, the sister remains faithful to her brothers even to the point of suffering a horrible death. She does not allow her emotions to be split amongst her children, husband or brothers. Superficially this looks easy, but how easy is it to remain silent when people speak evil of you? How easy is it to be torn in alliances between a husband and siblings? More than one marriage has been torn to shreds as a result of family bickering and antagonism of a family against a husband or wife. As social creatures, we seek the affection and acceptance of others, making compromises as it is necessary to maintain stable relationships. When the fire is lit, the brothers circle above her. Is it magic? No, not really. She has spent the six years loyally mute and completed the demanding task of the six shirts with the exception of a sleeve. The fire quenched, she begins a new life, filled with the rewards she deserved from her self-imposed labor. Although many like to preach about heaven, just as many forget that to enter that state, they must first die. In fairytales, the transition is quickly made as the characters transcend their hardships on earth and enter Paradise on earth.

The Wild Swans by Judith M Warren
a lovely illustration

Classical Sources

Pluto et Proserpina

transl Dryden, Ovid's Metamorphoses Book V

Orpheus Myth

Kline, A. S., (poetry translation) “Ovid, The Metamorphoses
full downloadable Metamorphoses in .pdf with index and hyperlinked text for quick searching.

University of Virginia Etext: Ovid Metamorphoses

Ovid Metamorphoses
Golding complete text
The Fifteen Books of Ovid's Metamorphoses, 1567
The first translation into English - credited to Arthur Golding

Latin Search Engine


Sur la Lune Index Illustrations

Grimm Six Swans
illustrated with engravings

Grimms Six Swans 1812 edition
trans Ashlimann plain text

Sur la Lune Six Swans

Sur la Lune, The Wild Swans

Sur La Lune, Seven Ravens by Grimm

Wild Swans by Andersen

An Analysis of "The Wild Swans" and "The Eleven Swans"

Andrew Lang, Red Fairy Book--Twelve Brothers and Twelve Dancing Princess

contents of the Yellow Fairy Book

Yellow Fairy Book: Six Swans

Andrew Lang, Yellow Fairy Book –Six Swans
nightingale steadfast tin soldier tinderbox emperor's new clothes
glass mountain and more

Grimms Household Tales transl Edward Taylor 1812
in plain text with notes

Planet PDF Grimm's Fairy Tales
and much more for .pdf

HCA: Fairytales and Stories transl H. P. Paull (1872)
168 stories in fulltext

HCA Center
http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/liv/minibio/skole_e.html schooling


Kay Nielsen Six Swans


NGC 1999: Reflection Nebula in Orion
my fav pic

Moon and Planets Sky
Mars Venus Mood and Pleiades


Seven Sisters
Pleiades- peleiades, `flock of doves', consistent with the sisters' mythological transformation.

"The Pleiad(e)s were the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione, and half-sisters of the Hyades, whose mother was Æthra (`bright sky'; a different Æthra than the mother of Theseus). They were perhaps also half-sisters of the Hesperides, who were daughters of either Night alone, or Atlas and Hesperis (`evening'), or Ceto and Phorcys"

the male counterparts also exist in mythology as the seven Hyades or rainmakers.

Cygnus Nebulosities

Cygnus loop

Cygnus Loop Shockwave

Other Andersen in Suite Fairytales

20 June 05 The Nightingale Art vs Artifice

18 June 05 HCA The Nightingale

17 April 2005 HCA Tin Soldier

21 Dec 03 Little Match Girl

14th Dec 03 Fir Tree by HCA

7 Dec 03 Snow Queen

1 November The Silence of Longing p2
reposted on 3d November was deleted


1 November The Silence of Longing p1

24 October The Waterline p1

24 October The Waterline Going Deeper p2

24 October 2003 The Waterline: Drowning p3

21 October 2003 The Mermaid

22 June 2003 The Ugly Duckling

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Kidnapped Santa

5 Dec 04 Kidnapped Santa

Kidnapped Santa
Gutenberg index L Frank Baum works
"One would think that our good old Santa Claus, who devotes his days to
making children happy, would have no enemies on all the earth; and, as
a matter of fact, for a long period of time he encountered nothing but
love wherever he might go

But the Daemons who live in the mountain caves grew to hate Santa Claus
very much, and all for the simple reason that he made children happy."

A Kidnapped Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum

Baum opens his Christmas parable with the conflicts of love and hate, wealth and poverty, happiness and sadness. Although already an institution in the United States through the corruption of St Nicholas, Santa represents the base commercial aspects of American Consumerism. Derived from Christian sources, he represents happiness through mass accumulation. He does little to ease the agony of the world or bring peace to embattled countries. Unlike Dicken's Scrooge, he suffers no moral dilemma or repents of miserly living. In truth, Santa is a cardboard figure, planted in busy shopping malls and plastered on plate glass windows to keep the economy circulating in the darkest time of the year. Moreover, he lives at the frigid North Pole and annually drives about in an airborne sled drawn by a team of reindeer. Not much can be more ridiculous than this American fairytale of achieving happiness through commerical gain.

The protests begin, "but Santa represents the Spirit of Giving." Does he really? Enter a church during the Christmas season and what is more commonly heard: The Giving or The Getting? There might be a display of Christian Charity with a heap of presents going to a local orphanage or children's hospital once a year, but what about the impoverished members that live amongst the wealthy congregation? Does anyone approach them to help them establish a new business, enter a new program of study so that they can become more self-suffcient? Or is it really much mor superficial than that with giving a present to satisfy a fleeting interest? How much is a doll or walkman really worth to a child when he does not have love and attention the year round or conscientious adults to provide him with a model of good living? How much are these things worth in comparison to the homeless poverty of many American children or the lack of dental and health care? Santa may indeed be symbolic of giving, but the serious question is what kind of giving?

Taking a superficial story designed for American commercialism, Baum tries to endow it with deeper insight and universal meaning. The biggest problem about Christmas is that it is largely a Christian festival with unscrupulously unchristian values of self-interest, whether consumer or corporation. Christmas is indisputably the season of plastic and increased debts. Mothers and fathers fret about fulfilling the demands of their children and children stressed out about satisfying the expectations of their parents. Kids arrive in school eager to show off what they got, but not what they gave to those in need. It's also one of the few times in the year, when the homeless can stand in long lines and reasonably expect to receive a cooked meal.

What's so generous about that?

In the US, approximately 33% of the children now come from single parent or homeless families. They live in shelters, becoming urban nomads without proper diet, social support or stable foundation. They have no future. This isn't their future, but America's future. People do not live in the street merely because they are shiftless, lazy people. Often they land there as sudden reversals in their lives and catastrophes outside their control. Sudden medical bills or consumer fraud strips a person quickly of his means. A job loss or unexpected accident forces a family from its home. Once on the street or in a shelter, it is virtually impossible to return to a stable position in a society that puts so much emphasis on material accumulation where the rich live like robber barons while exploiting the poorer classes for labor. Compared to Europe, the US is a disaster area fast becoming a country like India with an enormous split between the wealthy and poor with the impoverished becoming the Untouchables and Invisible Unwanted Burdensome People. They eat tax money for breakfast says the big self-serving government.

Moreover, technology affects the working population of America deeply. Without basic education, health or technological skills, an unemployed person cannot find a job. Jobs such as waitressing or janitorial work are unstable. Unskilled labor is dispensible, easily replaced by another drone. Psychologically the worker is worn down by the pressures of society, the unrelenting debts and his inability to fulfill basic needs of his own or family's survival. Certainly a Sony Playstation might be a nice toy to give to a family with limited means, but development skills, constant encouragement and personal interaction will go a much longer way in reversing the ills of society.

Baum tries to rewrite the Christmas Consumer Story, by creating conflicts between good and evil. Certainly it is a much better version than Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer or Frosty the Snowman with much deeper allegorical meanings for the reader, but the problem isn't the parable or the quality of writing; but what the reader does for his neighbor.

" The Caves of the Daemons are five in number. A broad pathway leads
up to the first cave, which is a finely arched cavern at the foot of
the mountain, the entrance being beautifully carved and decorated. In
it resides the Daemon of Selfishness. Back of this is another cavern
inhabited by the Daemon of Envy. The cave of the Daemon of Hatred is
next in order, and through this one passes to the home of the Daemon
of Malice--situated in a dark and fearful cave in the very heart of
the mountain. I do not know what lies beyond this. Some say there
are terrible pitfalls leading to death and destruction, and this may
very well be true."

Succinctly, Baum identifies the demons of contemporary society: selfishness, envy, hatred and malice. Pick any one of them before you enter the fifth cave. Consider which one you can sacrifice to help someone regain a more stable position in life. There are hundreds of social programs available. When you say your time is limited, consider the neighbor next door. Chart two hours a week to help someone at school, at church; at the synagogue, in the street, at work. Instead of plastic, give of yourself this year.

Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum

UC San Diego History of the Wizard of Oz
with book jacket illustrations

American Fairytales
American Fairy Tales by L. Frank Baum

Wonderful Wiz of Oz

Eric Gjovaag was born
January 21, 1966 in Seattle, Washington, USA
has FAQs re L Frank Baum and the books/film

L Frank Baum


offers an index to the books
movie index
has also an index to places, things, characters and weblinks

Lyman Frank Baum
has a collection of links and 26 works online
plain vanilla text—well laid out and legible


Wizard of Oz 1
with pumpkin pie

Wizard of Oz 2 Political Allegory
with roasted turkey

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Nix of Mill Pond

1 December 04 Nix of Mill Pond

Fairies live in woods, leading men astray into enchanted forests, the world of fantasy and confrontation with reality. In literature, the netherland of fairies often represents the human consciousness, the dreams and schemes that we wish to do, but frequently fear to try. In Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, Puck casts a spell on Titania to fall in love with an ass, parodying the foibles of love.

In Germany, there are stories of the Lorelei, the water nymphs luring the unwary huntsmen to their deaths with beautiful voices. Grimm records one of these stories in the Nix of the Mill Pond. The formula is familiar. An innocent man chances upon a body of water from which emerges the nix, nymph or sprite who entrances him with her beauty. In Rusalka, the Czech version, the nymph yearns to become embodied and joined in marriage with a man, but the price of the transformation is the loss of her voice. Only through the faithfulness of her beloved and the subsequent marriage, will Rusalka become truly human. The process is in reverse, discovering a dream and briinging it into reality through faithful application and personal discipline. However, the Rusalka story warns of outside influences for on the bridal night, the bridegroom is lured away by a seductive rival. Nearly the same theme appears in Tschaikovsky's famous ballet, Swan Lake, in which there are two apparitions of swan maidens: Odile and Odette, one white and the other black, each in competition for his affections, possibly representing the Good versus the Bad Intention since all people are born with both and frequently make decisions with leanings toward one or the other, including marriage.

In the Nix of the Mill Pond, the watersprite deceives the Miller who promises the newly born within his house:

"The Miller saw at once that it was the Nix of the mill-pond, and he knew not from fear whether to stop or go away. The Nix solved his doubts by calling him in a gentle voice, and asking him why he was so sad. At first the Miller was dumb; but as she spoke kindly to him, he took courage, and told her that he had once lived in riches and prosperity, but now he was so poor that he did not know what to do."

The Complete Illustrated Works of The Brothers Grimm, 1984 p 747 (first published in 1853 by George Routledge and Sons Ltd as Grimm's Household Stories) ISBN 1 85152 505 X

Doubt enters the Miller's life through misfortune. The Evil Intention persuades him to acquiesce. Life cannot get much worse. Because of the hardships and misery, he faces, he cannot see the consequences. He sees the immediate overwhelming daily struggle of survival with the misery that poverty inflicts on others. His intentions ar mixed. He hates the hardship, but sees no other alternative and is readily beguiled by the opportunity that the Nix lays before him. If he has sufficient food on his table and wealth to care for his family's needs, what dangers can be hidden in the innocuous agreement? Oppressed, he makes the pact, desiring a better life. Upon realization that he has traded his son for his own comfort, the bargain becomes a harsh reality. None of his friends can advise him.

The warning is clear. If a person indulges too greatly in his desires, they can swallow his life, just as the Nix claims the Miller's son. The metaphor warns the reader to be careful of schemes that sound too good, or plans that are built on air. Some dreaming is healthy, but becomes dangerous when the dreamer is narcisstic, basking hours within his own reflection, rather than working. Each person has a water nix that can betray him into self-destruction, by luring him into unfeasible projects or speculative endeavors. The relationship between reality and fantasy is illusive. Man first conceives a thing before bringing it into reality. Without the encounter with the nix or nymph, man lacks creativity. When the nix or nymph dominate and drive hard bargains concerning future life, the relationship becomes self-destructive. Only when the two are equally matched in marriage is an endeavor succesful. The man must be as strong as the dream, matching it with both physical and intellectual capacity, but not allowing it to dominate him.

Moreover, such decisions bear influence over generations. Although the Miller's son is apprenticed as a Huntsman, his fate overcomes him. One day, he in turn comes upon the mill-pond where the Nix waits for him. Unwary of his father's decision, he is entrapped by the contract. The burden of the bargain passes onto the wife on his diappearance. To break the spell, transformation is required as well as tenacious fidelity. The wife must struggle with the complex problems inherited from her father-in-law's facile decision years before. Only through much suffering does the conflict between nix and man resolve. Applied to business, the mtaphor illustrates a situation: a bad decision regarding investments. With it, consequences continue for years with a company struggling with bankruptcy or being sold to pay off debts. To redeem the company from the inadvertant bad decision, transformations must be made. Consultants consulted for restructuring and management changes hands.

Throughout literature, water-nixes and sprites appear, analyzed by Jung in his interpretations of dreams and symbols. Of the versions I know, a favoite come from a brilliant writer, Jan de Hartog.

Jan de Hartog, is known primarily for two books, The Peaceable Kingdom and The Captain. A prolific writer, Hartog served as a captain of the North Sea Fleet during the WWII in merchant marine. The Captain belongs with a group of novels that reflect his sea duties, along with The Distant Shore and others. He joined with merchant vessels smuggling concentration camp victims into Palestine. He also wrote for young audience, including the story of the nymph of the Lost Sea, the Zuider Zee.

Jan de Hartog came into my hands by my brother who died suddenly on December 1, 1971 in an unexplained rollover while hauling Christmas trees. How a cab can roll over its driver after it has been braked in a cul-de-sac is relatively inexplicable, especially when the truck is two weeks off the sales lot. Brakes simply don't fail on rigs two weeks new, but I suppose evidence in double-logging, might explain some of the mysterious circumstances that surrounded his death and those of his colleagues. Trucks don't swim very well in the Columbia River, either—but I am sure that at the time, the police believed in fairytales.

On this day, a little dark blue, Toyota Corolla got swept under the carriage of a sixty-foot rig, just off I-5 and 45th NE crossing the bridge during rush hour. I was on my way to a voice lesson on Mercer Island. A very still voice warned me to look in the review mirror. The rig charged throuh the lanes behind me, sweeping the merging traffic off to the sides, but I had nowhere to go caught in the center lanes. Quickly overcoming me, it sucked the car under the trailer. Horrified I saw myself being pulled back under its rear wheels. Somehow, in seconds, I escaped being crushed to death, but the little red car ahead of me was impaled on its grill and carried for nearly a mile where the rig finally stopped. The car was totalled. I stopped to see whether the people were alive. They got out, shaking in terror. We stood there together on the highway shoulder exchanging our horror. The driver of the rig climbed down, blaming us for cutting in front of him. He didn't even see the red car until he ground to halt.

To this day, I believe that my brother protected me that day, warning me of impending danger. Of the thousands of vehicles (5000+ an hour), I was the only one to stop, the only one to file a police report and the only one to bear witness for the insurance investigator. Unfortunately for the couple, they lost their new car—less than a week old—and their birthday present—skiing in the nearby mountains. However, they won their case. The driver was sky high. Drugs.

In honor of my brother who loved the sea, and gave me the wonderful stories of Jan de Hartog.

By Jan de Hartog

Jan de Hartog, The Lost Sea

other books by Jan de Hartog

Grimms Household Tales

Nix of the Mill Pond
online text

Nix of the Mill-Pond
translated by Maragaret Hunt

The Household Tales of Brothers Grimm
translated by Margaret Hunt

The Household Tales of Grimm
edited by William Barker, recommended by Gutenberg Project as more faithful to original texts

Nix in the Mill-Pond
translated by Margaret Hunt

transl by Ashlimann, The Nixie in the Pond
Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children's and Household Tales -- Grimms' Fairy Tales), 7th ed. (Berlin, 1857), no. 181

Grimm's Household Tales

Grimms Brothers Home Page

Planet PDF Grimm's Fairy Tales
and much more for .pdf download


Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake
with Seiji Ozawa as conductor

DVD, Tschaikovsky Swan Lake with Royal Ballet at Covent Garden
Markarova and Dowell

University of Oregon : Swan Lake
catalog of video recordings look to bottom for
Maiia Plisetskaia, Nikolai Fadeyechev, Ballet and Orchestra of the Bolshoi Ballet,

another good recording would be Fonteyn/Nureyev or Nureyev's production in Vienna 1991 --brilliant production

Fonteyn/Nureyev with Wiener Staatsopern Ballet
must be a re-issue of an earlier tape as Nureyev was in
Vienna in 1991, but Fonteyn died that year of cancer –

for other very good options

Margot Fonteyn

Gallery of Margot Fonteyn

Wikipedia Fonteyn
learn more about this incredible woman and fortunately she brought ballet to film

Antonin Dvorak, Rusalka
Vaclav Neumann, Czech Philharmonic with Benackova, Soukupova, Ochman, Drobkov

Antonin Dvorak, Rusalka
synopsis by Opera News

Fokine, Les Sylphides
Jim Williams, ballet photographer

More fairies in pointe shoes: Les Sylphides


22 June 2003 The Ugly Duckling

1 December 2004 Nix of Mill Pond

3 November Silence of Longing part 2
part 2: Rusalka, Berg and literary social criticism


1 November The Silence of Longing p2
reposted on 3d November was deleted


1 November The Silence of Longing p1

24 October The Waterline p1

24 October The Waterline Going Deeper p2

24 October 2003 The Waterline: Drowning p3

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Our most thoughtful condiments for the turkey

23 Nov 04 Our most thoughtful condiments for the turkey

The turkey has a bad reputation ever since Mark Twain derided the domestic turkey as the stupidest bird on earth. However, the US is full of its turkeys, domestic and political and in this season we are to be thankful for those laid upon the plank and roasted to perfection.

On Hunting the Deceitful Turkey
from Mark Twain

Therefore to honor the season of autumn harvest and a windfall of rotten apples into the political baskets of sour grapes, we uncork the wine, pass the port and begin a series of stories, collected to enjoy in front of a rushing fire or sitting on a luke-warm radiator or in a freezing cold room with three layers of socks and a hot water bottle clutched between the knees to gnaw on old bones and chew the fat, doing a little turkey-talk on the business of being a turkey.

On Turkeys and National Identity
nominated by Ben Franklin to be the national bird of the
US to reside in the great white nest

More on Wild Turkeys

from the Coffee Bean Goddess
pic of wild turkeys

A turkey is decidely an American bird., a gallinaceaous bird, Meleagriis gallapova, that is raised chiefly for culinary purposes. It is generally served with baked sweet potatotes, mashed potatoes and currant or cranberry sauce. However, cranberries aer not native in Europe, so currants are a good substitute for the appetizer. For a zesty change in the jelly section of your cabinet, you can experiment with making rowan jelly. The rowan is better known to the Americans as the ash tree that bears clusters of rusty red berries in late autumn. Wait until the berries are soft, nearly mushy before collecting them for jelly. Rinse them by running water over them . An easy way to stemming currants or rowan is by running a fork through the stems, thereby knocking the fruit into the cooking-pot. Don't worry over the loose oddbits, for making jelly requires straining and then possibly straining again. To make any fuit jell naturally, chop up three small japanese quinces and toss them in with the fruit. Allow them to stand overnight before cooking.

To make fine jellies, use low heat and allow the fruit to simmer hours. Strain the pulp through a cloth and allow more time for the the sediment to collect. Strain again to remove it. The liquid will change color depending on the intensity of heat an the resulting jelly will be a clear ruby that glistens wonderfully under sunlight. Use coarse sugar rather than crystal, adding it in slowly throughout reduction until you have the sweetness or tartness that you want. Two day jellies have much rounder flavors than the one-day jobber, and if you can manage the agony to three, you'll have a jelly which the neighbors will want. The trick is getting the full amount of juice out of the fruit and then repeatedly straining the liquid until all sediment is removed. Reduce, add water, reduce, add water, reduce until the fruit is nothing but mash.

Rowan by itself is tart, and is an excellent jelly for dark meat and game, but it blends fabulously with apple, pear, quince or mint. To give it some added zest, drop in some cloves, broken cinnamon stick and lemon peel. Orange and mandarin peels work nicely, too. The result is an incredibly wonderful jelly that will never be found in a delicatessan shop or on the grocery shelf with a brilliant red fire to warm the hearts of anyone who receives it as a present.

Rowan berries dry nicely, even more so than wild cherries and add wonderful color to a seasonal wreath to decorate your table or front door.

Now that you've had your work-out in the kitchen in creating the jellies to give some zing to the turkey, let's sit down and read, while the turkey gets it's roasting.

More facts on Turkeys from the Restaurant Report
Chef's Table: Let’s Talk Turkey
By Jim Coleman with Candace Hagan

In the following story, you can learn about the magical transformation of turkey to being a prince. I know, we're so used to people becoming turkeys that it seems impossible to believe that the reverse could be true, but this story is from Rabbi Nachman, known to many Jews for his delicious sense of humor that gets served with a generous helping of wisdom.

The Prince Who Thought He Was a Turkey
The Prince Who Thought He Was a
adapted by Gedaliah Fleer from the stories of Rebbe Nachman

Meleagris gallapavo: the real thing in the wild
us geo survey

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Baucis and Philemon

14 Nov 04 Baucis and Philemon

Ovid, Metamorphosis, Bk VIII
Dryden, transl Metamorphoses

Book VIII about 3/4 through book

Nearly every culture tells stories about gods or saints wandering about the earth, in search of good men. Brecht takes up the theme in his play, Der gute Mensch von Sezuan, in which the virtuous citizen is revealed to be a prostitute. The New Testament offers the Parable of the Good Samaritan, becoming the model for hospitals and emergency medical units over centuries, although the first Hospitalers were religious orders established along the routes of the Crusaders sweeping mercilessly over Europe, slaughtering the innocents that lived in their paths. Their vocation was to tend to the wounded knights and soldiers who were left on the field and to offer shelter those on pilgrimmage.

A band-aid does not much cover up the violence of genocide or religious wars as Central Europe became the chessboard of marauding Crusaders and invading Turks alternately sweeping off each other in bloody battles that captured towns, depopulated villages and persecuted Christians and Jews alike.

Ovid relates the Flood Story of Deucalion and Pyrrha, and although water does wash away dirt, it has little effect on men's souls. The plants and animals perished, subdued by the Deluge, but man resilient to nature through his engineering genius or tenacity to survive endured. In a few generations after the Great Flood, man resorted to his normal corruption and violence with much zest. The world turned and nothing changed much in human character.

And as then as now, disputes arose whether gods exist or the world has a Divine Creator. Atheism seemed as prevalent then as now with Ixion's son ridiculing Aechelous' explanation for the island, claiming it was a maiden drowned transformed.

"The others disagreed with what he said
And grew uneasy at his blasphemy
Particularly Lelex who was wise
Mature in years as well as wit and feeling.
He said, "The powers of heaven are eternal,
Not to be measured by our time and space,
And what the gods decide, their will is done."

transl Horace Gregory,
Mentor, 1958 p235

Lelex interrupts the discussion, presenting the story of Baucis and Philemon, relating the rustic beauty of the foothills of Phrygia where once Pittheus reigned. Jove took to wandering the earth, garbed like a peddler, searching for a stall to stay the night. One after another, the local inhabitants turned him away until he came to the hut of Baucis and Philemon. They had but little, but what little they had was theirs: a goat or two, the cheese thereof and smoked sausages hung from the rafters of the roof of the one-room dwelling.

Their door swung open as well as their hearts. A humble dinner lay upon the table and Jove invited in. Although meager, their frugal meal replenished itself. The food and drink never ran out. And for their hospitality, two trees now grow entwined together where a temple once stood. Jove granted their request never to be separated in life or in death.

As simplistic as the story seems, it is the source of a plethora of literature including Henry David Thoreau's Walden, as he cries to contemporary consumers to "Simplify, simplify, simplify."

"I see young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns, cattle, and farming tools; for these are more easily acquired than got rid of. Better if they had been born in the open pasture and ruckled by a wolf, that they might have seen with clearer eyes what field they were called to labour in. Who made them serfs of the soil 1 Why should they eat their sixty acres, when man is condemned to eat only his peck of dirt? Why should they begin digging their graves as soon as they are born? They have got to live a man's life, pushing all these things before them, and get on as well as they can. How many a poor immortal soul have I met well-nigh crushedand smothered under its load, creeping down the road of life, pushing before it a barn seventy-five feet by forty, its Augean stables never cleansed, and one hundred acres of land, tillage, mowing, pasture, and wood-lot!"

H D Thoreau, Walden, Walter Scott Publishing 1886, p3

Thoreau reduces life to the needs of Food, Shelter, Clothing and Fuel, seeking a temporary refuge on Walden Pond as he contemplates the meaning of life and the corruption of man. Critical of the religious fervour of his age, he comments on the bustling trade at Salem harbour which brings no trade into the Celestial Empire, explaining that his purpose in living at Walden was not to live cheaply, but deeply, taking his accounts before his Creator , being a self-appointed inspector of snow and rain storms, of highways and forest paths and watching the wild stock of the local village.

Through the eyes of Thoreau, we see our exaggerated needs for artificial entertainment and our greed for superfluity while two-thirds of the world is deluged by unremittant poverty. The refrigerator does not hold a chicken, but a dozen eggs and milk cartons supplied by a distant dairy. The dinner comes in foil, popped into the handy nuker sitting on the kitchen counter. Cook? Make your own syrup from the elderberries hanging despondently on the neglected bushes? Collect the quinces falling by the side of the road? Or use the shrivelled carrots for a hearrty soup? Me?

Why should I do that when I can heat a pizza?

And so for their gratitude for the little they had, and the much they shared, Baucis and Philemon grew together, immortalized as trees, at the edge of a meadow for their hospitality to wayward strangers.

H D Thoreau, On Walden Pond

An Internet Directory for Ovid's Metamorphoses
references and allusions
background, journals, criticism
old 1997-98

Project Muse
use search, drop in Ovid

Perseus Project : Ovid Metamorphoses

Ovid Metamorphoses
Golding complete text
The Fifteen Books of Ovid's Metamorphoses, 1567
The first translation into English - credited to Arthur Golding

University of Wisconsin at Madison
an annotated Ovid, printed just like a chumash

Ovid with the Picasso illus


14th March 04 Pygmalion:

15 Febr 04 Pyramus and Thisbe: Till Death Do us Not Part

27 Sept 04 Daedalus and Icarus

20 Sept 04 Deucalion and Pyrrha

11 Sept 04 Daedalus and Icarus

4 Sept 04 Phaethon Rises

7 Nov 04 Medea

21 Dec Let Us Orpheus Theosophically

4 Jan 05 Orpheus and Eurydice a Transcendental Kind of Love

30 Jan 2005 Venus and Mars

Sunday, November 07, 2004


7 Nov 04 Medea

Medea with the dark hair, shrewd mind and piercing eyes is the epitome of witchiness. She set the model, which all stepmothers are forced to follow, becoming the ancestor of Baba Yaga and other venerable old hags that populate folklore.

Medea was the daughter of Aeetes, King of Colchis who owned the Golden Fleece. The Golden Fleece was protected by a dragon which never slept in a sacred grove of Ares near the end of the world. In Thessaly, on the other side of the world, lived a King Aeson who conceded his crown to his brother Pelias for the duration of his son's minority. Upon reaching his majority, Jason would be the rightful heir over the land. Pelias outwardly agreed to the conditions and accordingly took the reins of government in his own hands. When Jason came of age, Pelias seemed willing to transfer the authority to the younger man, but on condition that he go to Colchis and bring back the Golden Fleece as proof of his princely heritage.

Like any young man, Jason was enthusiastic about the quest, sniffing the sea air for adventure. He put out a bull summoning the brave youth of his generation to join him on the adventure. They sailed together in a ship dedicated to the goddess Hera. Joining him were famous heroes including Herakles, Theseus, Nestor and Orpheus (obviously their tour guide for the Underworld should they end up there and entertainment section should they get bored on the way. Maybe they intended to send him overboard to the Sirens, who knows?)

Once in Colchis, Theseus probably advised Jason on the manner of seducing the king's daughter to acquire the Golden Fleece, having already gained experience in Crete in killing the Minotaur through the services of Ariadne. In this case, perhaps Orpheus was to play soothing music in moonlight while Jason lip-synched maudlin poetry. Once in Colchis, Jason made known their mission to the King Aeetes regarding the Fleece. "Very well, " Aeetes replied, " only if he could yoke two brass-shod, fire-breathing bulls to a plough and then sow the dragon's teeth. This only seems to be an outrageous demand, but he had Herakles on hand who much experience in clearing the Stygian stalls and wrestling lions. Moreover, the advice from Theseus proved timely, as Medea fell for his handsome looks and assisted in the theft.

Anxious to prove himself an all-round hero, Jason put on a fine show in bull-taming on the appointed day, and excelled in the dragonteeth sowing event. In so doing, he not only gained the Fleece, but stole Medea's heart. However, the stout men of Colchis were affronted by his boldness and the athletic exhibition soon turned into a melee in which each man fought for himself. Still there was the problem of lulling the sleepless dragon to sleep which guarded the Fleece. However, with a little magic from Medea, his eyes closed quickly as the men snatched the Fleece from the tree and headed back to the ship for a quick sail homewards. Adventures are always better to talk about after they have ended.

Back in Thessaly once more, the town turned out to celebrate the capture of the Golden Fleece. Only one thing troubled Jason. his father was not there. Too enfeebled by age, he cuold not dance in the streets. Medea seeing Jason's consternation intervened. A devotee of Hecate, she knew secret incantation to make the ancient young again. There are different versions how she did this. Some say she cut him up and tossed in a cooking pot, while others are more begnign and said she made a special brew of all the unspeakable things with a bit of herblore, slit his throat, drained his blood and gave him the first complete transfusion. Whichever the case, he was killed and then rejuvenated to a younger age. While others recount that she slaughtered Pelias the Ursurper in a particularly brutal way, establishing the precedent for Eddie Gein and Albert Fish.

Medea boiling a Lamb
image is from the Harvard Library

Having saved Jason's life and assisted in the poaching of the Fleece, Medea was no longer needed. Jason's mind now turned to more legitimate ladies and took interest in Creusa, Princess of Corinth. By now, Medea had two children of her own, so Jason had been somewhat occupied other than ruling his own country. Jealous and embittered by his perfidy, Medea sent the bride a beautiful gift, a poisoned robe, so that when Creusa took it in her hands, her skin would be burnt off like napalm. Beautiful to see, but deadly to touch, Creusa suffered a horrific death, thus we say to this day—curiosity killed the pussycat. To further avenge herself, Medea committed infanticide, fleeing the country in her dragon chariot, leaving Jason with a heir and in despair.

The Absolute Medea-Maria Callas

pic: Callas Medea poster
a cool 3000

recording with the Callas

Classical Myths; Medea
a collection of myths

Carlos Parada: Medea
very beautiful page, hyperlinked text

Internet Classics: Medea By Euripides

Written 431 B.C.E
Translated by E. P. Coleridge

TextKit: Medea
E P Coleridge translation in pdf free download 31 pp

Medea by James Hunter
a biographical account of Medea

Temple U Classics Dept
has several links, Zeus and Pandora

Bulfinch's Mythology The Age of Fable: Medea

Crime Library
serial killers


6 Jan 2003 Transformation Myths and Reality


Sunday, October 31, 2004

Baum and Political Allegory p2

31 Oct 04 Part II Baum and Political Allegory


Part I Wizard of Oz I Theosophical Society

Between the implications of social utopianism or utopian socialism and the puritanical distaste for allegorical works that might conceivably have mystical interpretations, Baum fell out of favor with the American public shortly after his death in 1919. Other commentators criticize his constant use of women and his disdain for romantic encounters between his characters, accusing him of promoting homosexuality and lesbianism. Such accusations are difficult to substantiate, but unfortunately those who wish to see the world only in stark monochromatic terms lose the the glory of nuanced colorings and the wonderful insights gained through allegory.

In considering, the Wizard as political allegory of the struggle of common man against the corrupt government of the east; the despondent souls living in the desert of Kansas dream of escaping to the the ethereal Emerald City along a Yellow Brick Road paved in gold. In drawing his parallels, Littlefield argues that the silver shoes Dorothy wears symbolizes Bryan's national plea for using silver to stabilize the gold standard and the split within the US as westerners skeptically viewed the Big Government in the East as the Wicked Witch. Several presidents fit the description of the Wizard as a Humbug from Grant to McKinley with the unrest of western farmers and the settlers on worthless land grants stolen from the Indian Wars as the common worker was exploited unmercifully for his labor without minimum wage or basic health insurance or medical care.

In this view, Dorothy becomes the feminist leader of the motley crew of socially marginalized figures, the pumpkin-headed Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion each representing a segment of disillusioned American society, desperately in search of the ideal political solution with a little magic from the inviisible wizard who through tricks of illusion appears to be a

" a great Head," said Dorothy...."And I thought Oz was a terrible Beast," said the Tin Woodman. "And I thought Oz was a Ball of Fire," exclaimed the Lion. "No; you are all wrong," said the little man meekly. "I have been making believe."

but turns out to be a terrible humbug instead in a city-state where green is the national color and the leader must appear to be everything to every person.

Although the company do not find a utopian solution for man's enslavement to greed or industry, they do fulfill their quests by achieving fulfilment through themselves ather than the artifice of the Wizard's magic in the duration of the journey. In spite of the colorful diversity of the Land of Oz where all things are pragmatically regulated and organized, Dorothy yearns to return to the bleak land of Kansas where crops to be successful must fail in order to gain the compensation from the government.

In time for a presidential election, maybe the Wizard of Oz fits neatly into the current reading list for a refreshing insight of American life and politics. And looking at the two candidates placed before the American public, one seems to be distinctly a humbug, roaring about when in reality he is filled with cowardice, having skipped any direct involvement with past wars only to volunteer the lives of gullible and vulnerable Americans overseas to terrorism.

Nostalgic, Americans can look back on Baum as a model of "simple living" and "true American values" of pragmatism overcoming the obstacles of sophistry and technology and getting down to the basics with fireside talks with the Trumans, Roosevelts and Carters. Confronted by the Wicked Witch, Dorothy tosses ordinary water on her, causing her destruction. Corruption dissolves before the truth and the remnants of it should be swept out the door before the next incoming official. Too often, we are deluded by the appearance of things and confounded by the roar of words, unwilling to trust ourselves to overcome the difficulties before us thereby allowing ourselves to be enslaved to regimes we recognize as destructive. Each adversary, Baum reminds us, has its weakness—the real problem is our own weak knees in confronting adversity.

Perhaps, in having November as the Election month with Thanksgiving just following, Americans preserve the national humor by placing taking a turkey from the White House and placing a pumpkinhead within.

Recipes for Election Day
Grilling the Turkey

Talking Turkey with the Reluctant Gourmet

Pumpkin Heads with Fab Foods

Mollie Katzen—pumpkins

Pumpkin Nook
has a basic pumpkin pie recipe plus all you need to know about pumpkins
best topping for pumpkin pie is homemade strawberry jam and when you have none, use blackberry

Parable on Popularism by Henry M Littlefield

Brooke Allen, 'L. Frank Baum': The Man Behind the Curtain
New York Times, November 17, 2002

"As the Tin Woodman remarks of his stint as emperor of the Winkies, ''Like a good many kings and emperors, I have a grand title, but very little real power, which allows me time to amuse myself in my own way.'' Baum often uses such asides as a vehicle for wry commentary: the citizens of the Emerald City, for instance, are pleased by the Scarecrow's accession to the throne, '' 'For,' they said, 'there is not another city in all the world that is ruled by a stuffed man.' And, so far as they knew, they were quite right'' -- the ''so far as they knew'' being a brilliant comment upon rulers as a species"

Kirjasto: L Frank Baum

short bio listing some of his 69 works
chief pseudonyms: Hugh Fitzgerald, Edith Van Dyne, Schuyler Stanton, Suzanne Metcalf, John Estes Cook, Floyd Akers, Louis F Gottschalk (two musicals) and Byron Gay

Theosophical Society:
Five Essays on the Wizard of Oz

L Frank Baum Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Baum, L. Frank (Lyman Frank), 1856-1919 . The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Text Center, University of Virginia Library

Richard Brown: Oz FAQs
a list of questions generally asked obout the book

Suite101 Janet Kay Blaycock

Other Places
International Wizard of Oz Club
memberhsip, books, conventions, publications, reference, Oz resources
The International Wizard of Oz Club
P.O. Box 26249
San Francisco, CA 94126-6249

UC San Diego History of the Wizard of Oz
with book jacket illustrations

Oz Central

Lyman Frank Baum

has links to online books
picture/image search, audio files, literary bios and search tools

For Text

University of Virginia Young Reader's Collection The Marvellous Land of Oz
scroll to Baum Palm or MS Reader
there are some illustrated works here

Lyman Frank Baum
has a collection of links and 26 works online
plain vanilla text—well laid out and legible

Gutenberg index L Frank Baum works

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Emerald City of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Enchanted Island of Yew by L. Frank Baum

Glinda of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Lost Princess of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Magic of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Rinkitink in Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Scarecrow of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Tik-Tok of Oz

The Tin Woodman of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Fab Foods Halloween

the gallery at Fab Foods

Pumpkin Nook- Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Nook
has a basic pumpkin pie recipe plus all you need to know about pumpkins
best topping for pumpkin pie is homemade strawberry jam and when you have none, use blackberry


Kidnapped Santa Claus