Tag Archives: superstitions

My Date

Her name was Lin.
She was petite and slim
With long, black hair.

Just for a dare
I asked her
To dance.
She did sway
In a most peculiar way.

In search of romance
I took a chance
And invited her back
To mine.

We drank wine
As my black
Cat did purr,
But hold on there
I have no cat, either white or black,
And Lin I haven’t seen
Since the night of Halloween …

Father Frost

In the depths of winter, I thought I would share with you one of my favourite Russian folk tales, “Father Frost”. As the story is in the public domain (I.E. there are no copyright issues) it is reproduced in full below:

 

Father Frost

 

In a far-away country, somewhere in Russia, there lived a stepmother who had a stepdaughter and also a daughter of her own. Her own daughter was dear to

her, and always whatever she did the mother was the first to praise her, to pet her; but there was but little praise for the stepdaughter; although good

and kind, she had no other reward than reproach. What on earth could have been done? The wind blows, but stops blowing at times; the wicked woman never

knows how to stop her wickedness. One bright cold day the stepmother said to her husband:

 

“Now, old man, I want thee to take thy daughter away from my eyes, away from my ears. Thou shalt not take her to thy people into a warm

izba.

Thou shalt take her into the wide, wide fields to the crackling frost.”

 

The old father grew sad, began even to weep, but nevertheless helped the young girl into the sleigh. He wished to cover her with a sheepskin in order to

protect her from the cold; however, he did not do it. He was afraid; his wife was watching them out of the window. And so he went with his lovely daughter

into the wide, wide fields; drove her nearly to the woods, left her there alone, and speedily drove away—he was a good man and did not care to see his

daughter’s death.

 

Alone, quite alone, remained the sweet girl. Broken-hearted and terror-stricken she repeated fervently all the prayers she knew.

 

Father Frost, the almighty sovereign at that place, clad in furs, with a long, long, white beard and a shining crown on his white head, approached nearer

and nearer, looked at this beautiful guest of his and asked:

 

“Dost thou know me?—me, the red-nosed Frost?”

 

“Be welcome, Father Frost,” answered gently the young girl. “I hope our heavenly Lord sent thee for my sinful soul.”

 

“Art thou comfortable, sweet child?” again asked the Frost. He was exceedingly pleased with her looks and mild manners.

 

“Indeed I am,” answered the girl, almost out of breath from cold.

 

And the Frost, cheerful and bright, kept crackling in the branches until the air became icy, but the good-natured girl kept repeating:

 

“I am very comfortable, dear Father Frost.”

 

But the Frost, however, knew all about the weakness of human beings; he knew very well that few of them are really good and kind; but he knew no one of

them even could struggle too long against the power of Frost, the king of winter. The kindness of the gentle girl charmed old Frost so much that he made

the decision to treat her differently from others, and gave her a large heavy trunk filled with many beautiful, beautiful things. He gave her a rich

“schouba”

lined with precious furs; he gave her silk quilts—light like feathers and warm as a mother’s lap. What a rich girl she became and how many magnificent

garments she received! And besides all, old Frost gave her a blue

“sarafan”

ornamented with silver and pearls.

 

“Old Frost gave the gentle girl many beautiful, beautiful things”

 

“Old Frost gave the gentle girl many beautiful, beautiful things”

 

When the young girl put it on she became such a beautiful maiden that even the sun smiled at her.

 

The stepmother was in the kitchen busy baking pancakes for the meal which it is the custom to give to the priests and friends after the usual service for

the dead.

 

“Now, old man,” said the wife to the husband, “go down to the wide fields and bring the body of thy daughter; we will bury her.”

 

The old man went off. And the little dog in the corner wagged his tail and said:

 

“Bow-wow! bow-wow! the old man’s daughter is on her way home, beautiful and happy as never before, and the old woman’s daughter is wicked as ever before.”

 

“Keep still, stupid beast!” shouted the stepmother, and struck the little dog.

 

“Here, take this pancake, eat it and say, ‘The old woman’s daughter will be married soon and the old man’s daughter shall be buried soon.'”

 

The dog ate the pancake and began anew:

 

“Bow-wow! bow-wow! the old man’s daughter is coming home wealthy and happy as never before, and the old woman’s daughter is somewhere around as homely and

wicked as ever before.”

 

The old woman was furious at the dog, but in spite of pancakes and whipping, the dog repeated the same words over and over again.

 

Somebody opened the gate, voices were heard laughing and talking outside. The old woman looked out and sat down in amazement. The stepdaughter was there

like a princess, bright and happy in the most beautiful garments, and behind her the old father had hardly strength enough to carry the heavy, heavy trunk

with the rich outfit.

 

“Old man!” called the stepmother, impatiently; “hitch our best horses to our best sleigh, and drive my daughter to the very same place in the wide, wide

fields.”

 

The old man obeyed as usual and took his stepdaughter to the same place and left her alone.

 

Old Frost was there; he looked at his new guest.

 

“Art thou comfortable, fair maiden?” asked the red-nosed sovereign.

 

“Let me alone,” harshly answered the girl; “canst thou not see that my feet and my hands are about stiff from the cold?”

 

The Frost kept crackling and asking questions for quite a while, but obtaining no polite answer became angry and froze the girl to death.

 

“Old man, go for my daughter; take the best horses; be careful; do not upset the sleigh; do not lose the trunk.”

 

And the little dog in the corner said:

 

“Bow-wow! bow-wow! the old man’s daughter will marry soon; the old woman’s daughter shall be buried soon.”

 

“Do not lie. Here is a cake; eat it and say, ‘The old woman’s daughter is clad in silver and gold.'”

 

The gate opened, the old woman ran out and kissed the stiff frozen lips of her daughter. She wept and wept, but there was no help, and she understood at

last that through her own wickedness and envy her child had perished.

 

The End

 

(For the original public domain work please visit, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/12851/12851-h/12851-h.htm#FATHER%20FROST).

 

THE END 

Halloween

Halloween is just so much hokum, a trick designed to part the gullible from their money. The fansy dress industry does well. Fake blood and vampire’s fangs fly off the shelves while kids pester the neighbourhood with Trick Or Treat.

At the dead of night we are not so sure. What is that shadow which keeps pace as we walk home from that Halloween Party? That unearthly scream setting the hairs on the back of your neck astir is, surely a cat yowling for it’s mate, isn’t it? You quicken your pace just in case.

Cutting through the churchyard will knock 5 minutes off your journey. In the brightness of day you would have no hesitation so why now do you hesitate to enter? The dead after all can not hurt you, “tis the eye of childhood that fears a painted devil”.

You enter the churchyard resisting the almost overwhelming temptation to glance over your shoulder. Laughter in the darkest corner of the graveyard. Oh sweet Jesus why did I walk through here. Logic tells you it is merely an amourous couple who, unable to contain their desire have chosen this place to satiate their lust but, still you run blindly tripping over gravestones until at last the gate is reached. Locked! Desperately you climb, trousers rip on the gate’s spiked top, you are beyond caring. You jump down on the other side and with heart racing run the last few hundred yards to home.

Come the bright morning you laugh at yesterday’s escapades. My imagination ran riot but still, somewhere deep in your subconscious the nagging doubts remain.

Sounds borne on the wings of night

Sounds are incredibly evocative. My home is some 25 minutes walk from several train stations. Occasionally, when the wind is in the right direction and most often at the dead of night when the traffic has ceased I hear the whistle of a train. It is a mournful sound which induces in me feelings of sadness. I am not sure why this should be the case. Perhaps it flows from my perception that there is something about the sound, in and of itself which is evocative of sadness. The speed of the train also reminds me that life is passing by rapidly, we are here now but very soon, like the speeding night train we will be lost in the darkness which for me is symbolic of death.

At other times I hear the hooting of an owl as he hunts in the park next to my home. It is an erie sound which has, in many different cultures been associated with bad luck or death. In Macbeth it is the bird of ill omen which portends the death of Duncan

Lady Macbeth: ”hark! Peace! It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman,

Which gives the stern’st good-night”.

Whenever I hear the cry of an owl it is of lady Macbeth’s words that I think. However, having said that I love listening to the owl as he hunts for his prey. I can stand for long periods by my open window harkening to his call.

Some sounds produce feelings of rest and contentment. I love listening to the sound of running water. It is hypnotic and soothes me when I feel tired or stressed.

Of course the lack of sound can be wonderful. To sit in tranquillity reading or just relaxing is very necessary to the human spirit.