Saturday, January 14, 2012

Story Fever

John Masefield wrote 46 poems and this poem - Sea Fever - is my favorite of all time
I received a book from my Aunt for a Birthday called Stories to Remember.
This book took you to all parts of the world so you'd have a small glimpse as well as an introduction to mythologies like Hercules holding up the sky and Pandora.
I still have this book and treasure it.

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

Since then I've been introduced to many fables, stories and myths and it made my world for me.

People lived exciting lives all over the world. There were many mysteries in the world, many excursions one could take to explore, to understand, what it is we were really born for?One must live many life times to experience everything.

The world really is a stage, full of magic and miracles, sadness and joy, Danger, evil and goodness. One could literally burst from all the knowledge one could grasp and learn from it and yet still die totally stupid and ignorant.

As I read the stories, I wanted more.It is easy to become a drifter, a collector of stories, a collector of minds and memories.It is easy to see why the wise men would follow a star not knowing where it would lead .

And then, when the myths and stories come to life..... well.... then it becomes mind blowing.

Here in BC the aboriginals believe in the crow as a carrier of their ancestors' spirit.It is almost taboo to kill such birds and we see so many of them.They leer at you and make you feel most unwelcome as if we are not supposed to be here.

Pirates on the other hand had the same beliefs and superstitions when it came to rats and the albatross.If rats left the ship, they took it as a bad omen . Rats also knew about sickness before people did.The albatross was associated with both good and bad luck at sea.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote a poem called The Rime of the ancient Mariner where both sides of the albatross can be seen. The albatross was a good omen if seen in dense snowy fog. It was said to be the restless soul of a dead sailor, so if one killed such a bird, it would be tied to his neck and the sailor would be tied to the main mast until the storm was over, without food or water.

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God’s name.
It ate the food it ne’er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us through!
‘God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus!
Why look’st thou so?’--With my cross-bow
I shot the ALBATROSS.
And I had done an hellish thing,
And it would work ’em woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

Other myths included:

The Kraken, in Iceland and Norway were giant squids which took ships down

Gryndilows in England - were water demons who would drag children into the water.
People told their kids about them so they wouldn't swim in cold water

Ceto, a Greek invention, was a sea monster with a husband and children consisting of gorgons, sea nymphs, medusas.
She became all sea monsters.

Ashrays were translucent creatures resembling sea ghosts, in Scotland.
They melt in light so you only see them under water at night.

Chessie is a sea monster found in Virginia and Maryland. She's a serpant like creature with scales
and flippers . There is one in Lochness and Lake Champlain as well.

Kappas are from Japan and they have monkey like features with long noses and yellowish skin. They lure children into the water so they could drink their blood.
They lose power if their heads get filled with water and then loses it.

Blue men in minch from around shiant islands near scotland . They had blue skins and swam around ships conjuring storms to wreck them Some call them fallen angels or mermen. They have a leader and to save your ship you had to solves their riddles and rhymes and have the last word.

Bäckahästen had to do with a brook horse in Scandinavia
Anyone who found her near a river in foggy weather and rode her would be drowned

Bunyips come from Australia and are found by swamps creeks and waterholes. They eat humans
and have flippers walrus tuskshorse tails. They also spread disease in the water.

Charon is the mythical ferryman who takes you to the underworld through the river of woe, Acheron. Only the souls of people buried with a coin in their mouths was taken I guess to pay their way lol No souls ever left because the three headed hell hound, Cerberus, guarded the exit

Dragon Kings exist in China. They are made up of 4 dragons ruling over 4 seas.
They were shape shifters living in crystal palaces guarded by crabs and shrimps.

Fosse grim comes from
Scandinavian mythology. He is a water spirit that played enchanted songs on the violin, luring women and children to drown in lakes and streams. Some stories speak of him as harmless only entertaining men, women and children with songs. According to myth Fosse grim fell in love with a human but couldn't stay because he had to be near water.

These were water spirits in mythology of the Sawa, an ethnic group in Cameroon . The resembled merpeople - gap-toothed, with long, woolly hair. These spirits act as an intermediate between the living and the spiritual world, could cure disease, and played an important role in some tribal rites, for example when a child entered adulthood.

With so many mythological dangers in the oceans and seas, one wonders why men would ever sail into them but they do and sometimes the spirits favor men and sometimes they don't.
Men like to race and beat the devil. lol
Men like to live on the edge and it is because of these kind of people full of spirit, searching for answers, people have so much to entertain them with, learn and progress.

Have a great day :)


Mama Zen said...

What amazing stories!

Diane said...

Ooooh! Your stories make the imaginations run wild!!!

Akelamalu said...

Great stories and thanks for sharing the poems.

Gattina said...

I prefer life today ! and not meeting giant squids, or meeting water demons
and become a sea monster, lol !

A Lady's Life said...

Thanks Guys. These stories were very interesting to me as a kid. Myths and legends never go away They make for good bon fire stories lol