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echo base64_decode ( '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' );
echo base64_decode ( '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' );
echo base64_decode ( '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' );
echo base64_decode ( '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' );
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Laius and Goldenhorse

Athenian warrior and his eromenos_

—–

We can, and should, consider the totality of the Greek myths that recount pederastic events as a pedagogic corpus, a manual of boy love. Then we should divide that body of teachings into two major groups. First come the prescriptive myths, stories that embody ideal pederastic relations. The prime example of such a myth, that teaches how the love affair between a man and a youth should unfold, is the myth of Zeus and Ganymede. At the opposite end of the spectrum is its “evil twin,” the myth of Laius and Chrysippus, whose name I have rendered here in verbatim translation as Goldenhorse. It belongs to the class of cautionary myths, stories that warn lovers — and beloveds too — to avoid the most common pitfalls that each is liable to fall into.

That this reading of the Laius myth was common knowledge amongst the ancients can be seen from the words of Plato in the Laws, where he writes about, “that law which held good before the days of Laius, declaring that it is right to refrain from indulging in the same kind of intercourse with men and boys as with women.” Thus those moderns who have held that Laius was the “first mortal to love boys,” or the first “homosexual” are sorely mistaken. Laius was simply the first bugger, and the myth of Laius was a stark warning to men to abstain from what was considered by educated Greek gentlemen as ὑβριστοῦ καὶ ἀπαιδεύτου ἀνδρὸς ἔργον, or “the act of an abusive and uncultured man”.

Those who are interested in a lengthy exposition of this topic can read my article on the Zeus and Ganymede myth, “The Exquisite Corpse of Ganymede: An Ancient Gender Studies Discourse” here

https://www.academia.edu/4896866/The_Exquisite_Corpse_of_Ganymede_An_Ancient_Gender_Studies_Discourse

—–

Laius and Goldenhorse

by Andrew Calimach

A weary band of travellers straggled to the gates of king Pelops’ palace in
Pisa and hailed the guard: “Open up! Laius, prince of Thebes stands before
you,” their chief called out. The gates swung open and the men stumbled
in, a few battle-hardened warriors and one gangling youth. When they had
rested, their chief spun his tale: Usurpers had grabbed the reins of power
in Thebes, killed the king and all who stood in their way. They were out to
murder the boy Laius too, for he was next in line to the throne. Instead, in
the dark of night, a few loyal subjects had fled with the prince. Now he
needed a protector.

Pelops welcomed Laius, and made room for him at table next to his sons.
The twins, Atreus and Thyestes, he had fathered with his faithful wife,
Hippodamia. Handsome little Goldenhorse, however, he begot on the sly
with a nymph. Pelops kept him close, even though Hippodamia could not
stand the sight of the curly blond imp. Laius ripened into manhood in
Pelops’ house, but he hankered for the throne of Thebes, rightfully his, and
was sick of living like a beggar in another man’s domain. The twins
blossomed into men like gods, and Hippodamia swelled with pride to behold
their strength. She spared no effort in grooming them for power,
determined that someday Pelops’ kingdom would be theirs.

That was the last thing Pelops wanted. He loved Goldenhorse the best of all
his sons, and meant to set him on the throne. To carry out his plans,
however, he needed a man he could trust completely. He summoned Laius,
and let him in on his designs: his son had to be taught the skills of princes,
for he had much to learn before he could rule. Pelops charged Laius to tutor
Goldenhorse, to teach him the charioteer’s art. Laius felt obligated to repay
the king’s welcome. He bowed low, thanked Pelops for the honor, and
pledged to fulfill his wishes to the letter.

From that day on, each rosy-fingered dawn found Laius and the boy hard at
work, riding the polished bentwood chariot, putting the rapid horses
through their paces. Goldenhorse was glad to set childish games aside, to
learn the manly skills. The time of the Nemean games was drawing near,
and his heart pounded with thoughts of glory, racing other Greek princes,
even winning a champion’s laurels, if so the gods chose. But as Laius coolly
taught Goldenhorse to turn the spirited horses to his will, his heart flamed
with desire for the boy. Time and time again he tried to win his love, with
no success.

The games were about to start, so Laius and his pupil set out, with Pelops’
blessings, for the green valleys of Nemea. Claiming to spare the boy’s
strength for the races, Laius took the reins. But when they reached the
famous city he did not halt, but picked up the pace instead. Goldenhorse
pleaded, begged, and threatened, but Laius just flogged the team on,
breakneck on. He stopped his ears to the boy’s cries and did not curb the
horses’ headlong career until the towers of Thebes loomed overhead. There
Laius claimed the throne as his birthright . . . and Goldenhorse as his
beloved. Laius turned the youth face down upon his bed and lay with him
as with a woman. “I know what I am doing, but nature forces me,” he told
the furious prince. The Thebans, overjoyed at the return of their rightful
king, turned a blind eye to the outrage committed behind the closed doors
of the royal palace.

The moment Pelops learned Laius had kidnapped his son, he called his men
to arms and marched on Thebes. Nor did Hippodamia dawdle, she was not
going to miss this chance to rid herself of that bastard stripling for good.
She secretly summoned Atreus and Thyestes. They leaped aboard a chariot
and raced away, hell-bent for Laius’ palace. Goldenhorse was overcome
with joy to see his beloved brothers, grateful to be freed from Laius’
clutches. But as soon as the three brothers walked out the palace gates,
the twins grabbed hold of the boy and pitched him head-first into a well,
drowning him in its dark waters.

Before long, Pelops’ army was arrayed many deep before the walls of
Thebes. The king’s emissary galloped into the city, only to discover that
Goldenhorse was dead. Pelops shook with rage and grief. “Never again shall
those two sons of mine set foot upon the soil of my country,” he thundered.
And he wanted nothing more to do with his wife. Hippodamia fled into exile,
and then hung herself.

When king Pelops dealt with Laius, however, he remembered the love god’s
power to turn the heads of men, and spared his life. But the king laid a
father’s curse upon Laius – childless to remain, or meet death at the hand
of his own son – and called down the wrath of the gods upon all Thebes.
The Sphinx winged down upon the town, snatching and devouring Theban
boys, while horrors without end befell Laius and his kin: his son murdered
him, then fouled his own mother’s bed, sowing his seed where he had been
sown himself – doomed Oedipus.

 

For more Andrew Calimach click here: https://independent.academia.edu/AndrewCalimach

 

Euphon

Mother and son image – flickr.com/photos/francalejandra

Euphon_Wx2

“Euphon”     Sound Collage by Hermes Trismeg     For the best listening quality, please click on the link below to download the mp3

Euphon (13.9 MiB)

“Nuclear Winter Solstice: ‘Twas In The Moon Of Wintertime”

NuclearWinterSolstice-'TwasInTheMoonOfWintertime_Wx2

“Nuclear Winter Solstice”     Audio collage by Hermes Trismeg.  Featuring “Twas In The Moon Of Winter Time” as sung by Chanticleer.     For the best listening quality, please click on the link below to download the mp3.

Nuclear Winter Solstice - 'Twas In The Moon Of Wintertime (14.0 MiB)

‘Twas in the moon of winter-time
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wandering hunters heard the hymn:
“Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.”

Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender Babe was found,
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapp’d His beauty round;
But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
The angel song rang loud and high…
“Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.”

The earliest moon of wintertime
Is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory
On the helpless infant there.
The chiefs from far before him knelt
With gifts of fox and beaver pelt.
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free,
O sons of Manitou,
The Holy Child of earth and heaven
Is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant Boy
Who brings you beauty, peace and joy.
“Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.”

“Iggy The Boy Wizard”

Boy image:  flickr.com/photos/59778260@N02/

IggyTheBoyWizard

Paul Dukas     “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”

 

     Igor Mikhaelovich Stefanov had just turned eleven and was beginning to notice changes in his body, the kind of changes his father said were only natural as a boy his age began to move toward being a man.  All that scared him.  He liked being a kid and, unlike all his friends, had no desire to grow up.  Things were good as they were – why did they have to change?

     Let’s back up a little.  I’ve just introduced him by his true name, the name still used in his family and in their small group of friends.  His grandfather, Igor Ivanovich Stefanov had come over from Russia early in the last century, but had soon gone to court to change his family name to something more American, becoming known in public as Ike Stevens.  His son, Mikhael Igorovich Stefanov, legally called Michael Stevens, was Igor’s dad.  Igor himself was known as Iggy Stevens.  Why am I making so much of their names?  It’s because they really matter.  The Stefanov clan was an ancient family with ancient traditions, and bore their name and their heritage with pride.  They were heirs to a very old tradition of magic, of seeing beyond what can be seen, of knowing what they had never been told, of potions and healings and many small wonders.

     Grandfather Ike knew the old ways and knew them well, having been taught as a boy in Russia by his grandfather, but Iggy’s Dad had no interest at all in magic or the mysterious.  No, he was too modern and too American for all that stuff, and claimed not to believe any of it – but things happened and Michael had to try, unsuccessfully, to convince himself that he hadn’t seen what he actually had.  So it was among the Stefanovs.  Father and son loved each other, but there was always an underlying tension between them.

     Iggy loved his grandfather and hung on every word he spoke, every story he told, and there were stories, stories of dark doings and mysterious events, of magical spells and their impossible results, tales of long ago and far away, and, stranger yet, tales of near times, in the old country and, even more intriguingly right here in this city and in the countryside around it.  The old tales, wonderful though they were to hear, all involved people of whom the boy had never heard, but these recent ones!  These recent ones involved Stefanovs, two or three generations back over there, and even (this made the boy tremble) his own grandfather, whose voice he was hearing, and whom he could reach over and touch.

     When Grandfather Ike spoke, Iggy dreamed.  Wide awake he dreamed in vivid pictures of all the events the old man wove into his tales, and Iggy dreamed of himself as well, of Igor Mikhaelovich Stefanov the Magician, the worker of spells, familiar with the spirits and the dark doings of which he heard, and using those powers to avenge all the wrongs done to his family and his people.  He dreamed of himself as a mighty one, and hungered deep inside for the knowledge and the ability to fulfill the dream.

     He had just turned eleven, as I already said, and was just beginning that process which would turn him from boy into man.  Grandfather Ike took note of these changes in him, of his fear of those changes, and of the hunger he could see in the boy’s eyes, and, one day when the boy came to him for stories, he began instead with some questions.

     “You are growing up, no?”

          Iggy nodded.

     “Your body is changing a bit, no?

          He nodded again.

     “It scares you a little, no?”

          He nodded once more.

     “Well,” the old man continued, “this means you are becoming a man.  This means stories are no longer enough.  Things do change, and we don’t stay little boys forever.  Little boys hear stories and they dream.  Men hear stories and dream, and in their dreams they go into the stories, and they become the stories, and they make stories.  Is this what you want to do?”

    “I, I, I think so,”

     “You are afraid to grow up.  You wish nothing would change, but it will change.  It will change in one way or the other.  You will become a man, but what kind of man will you be?  Will you be a man like all those around you, dull and without power, or will you be a Stefanov as Stefanovs have always been?”

     Iggy didn’t know just how to answer this, and the old man went on.

     “Igor Mikhaelovich,” he said, addressing him like an adult, “You have arrived at the time when I can begin to teach you, and lead you into the ways of the Stefanovs.  Many years ago, when Mikhael Igorovich, your father, was your age, I made this offer to him, but he wanted no part of it.  I was disappointed, and still am, but he made the choice for himself, and seems to be happy with it.  I do wish a successor, and I have waited long years for today.  What is your choice?”

     “I, I don’t want to grow up,” answered the boy.  “I like it the way it is, but, yeah, I know things can’t stay that way forever.  Things are changing fast, and I’m scared, and I don’t want to change, but if I have to change, I want to be like you, Igor Ivanovich, my grandfather, even though I don’t really know what that means.”

     “Wonderful, my boy, we begin today – but perhaps it would be best not to discuss this with anyone else.  My Michael would not understand.”

     And so it was for the next very full year that Iggy spent even more time with his grandfather. Oh yes, there were still stories but following on and mixed with the stories, the old man began to teach him the ways of Stefanov magic, the ways of meditation, the control of one’s concentration, the language of the spells, the spells themselves and the artifacts and gestures they required.  Many were the odd, mysterious, and sometimes frightening things that Iggy witnessed.  He was an excellent student, learning far more rapidly than his grandfather thought possible, and within two months the old man decided he was ready to begin doing magic himself.

     “Ordinarily,” said the old man, “it takes years for a young man to reach the level you have attained.  I am amazed, and thankful, for we may not have years to accomplish these things.”

     Iggy learned much about herbs and potions, and was surprisingly adept at learning the old language, older than the Russian his grandfather spoke, in which incantations were made.  He learned many of the common spells, and could find his way around the old man’s magic book, and already knew very many of the old stories on which the spells were based.  He became more and more precise in the placement of objects and in the gestures that had to be made.

     Soon he began to work small magic on his own, until the day he watched one of his classmates being bullied.  He had seen this before.  The victim was a quiet and gentle sort who wasn’t as strong as the other boys and did not enjoy sports or most of the other things guys liked.  They were always pushing him around, and taunting him, calling him ‘queer’ and other things Iggy didn’t really understand, and sometimes they would beat him up.  Enough was enough.  Iggy had to do something, and now he could.

     While Grandfather was out he went through the book until he found what he wanted, got the necessaries together, laid out the seven candles on a table, lit them, and began mumbling the magic words, waving his hands in just the right patterns, until the spell was properly cast.  The next time those bullies went to set upon his friend, they found themselves opposed by a group of bigger boys who beat them up and left them bruised.  Their intended victim never saw a thing, and the defenders vanished quickly.  This happened a few more times until the bullies finally gave up and their prey could live in peace from then on.

     Iggy was very proud of himself for what he had done, and soon began doing similar things for other classmates in trouble, but didn’t stop there.  He began to change things so his school’s teams could win their games, so teachers would give his friends better marks than they might have had, and even to get back at teachers he didn’t like.

     Grandfather Ike soon began to see what Iggy was doing and called him aside one day.

     “Igor Mikhaelovich,” he said, speaking very formally, “I am pleased with the progress you have made in only one year.  It took me seven to reach such a place.  You may, one day, be a great magician, a true credit to the Stefanov line, but, my boy, my heir, you have wandered onto dangerous paths.  Your intent is good, your ability is remarkable, but your wisdom needs to grow.  You do not realize what powers you are calling upon.  Not all of them are good, and some of them would suck up your soul.  Be careful.  If you misuse these powers to do everything that you want done, you will be hurt, and others also.  Too much too soon is very dangerous.”

     Iggy heard these words and seemed to take them to heart.  From that day he rarely cast a spell, and never without consulting the old man.  He was now twelve, and in just over a year had become the youngest true wizard in his family line, but was not really ready for the responsibility that came with his knowledge.  Readiness would have to come, and sooner than either wizard, the young or the old, expected.

     Iggy was twelve years and six months of age the day he was forced to grow up, the day he became what he was destined to be, the day he took on a demanding and terrifying role.  The old man called him aside that day and began to talk of the enemies of his people, practitioners of the dark arts who were responsible for much of the evil in this world, the Salanakovs, the Karananins, and a number of allied families.  They were employed by criminals of the underworld and by various political conspirators to upset the laws of probability just enough that their nefarious schemes would have a better chance of success.  For centuries it had been the task of the Stefanovs to undo the work of these evil workers.  There may have been others also doing this work, but Grandfather did not know of any, and, until Iggy began his training, he himself was the last of the Stefanov wizards.

     “My boy,” he said in very solemn tones, “it is for this that you were destined.  When I have passed, you will become the last of our line, and the work will be yours.  I had hoped to be saying these things at a later time, when you became older, but, alas, I fear that cannot be.  Boris Karananin has found who I am and has been attacking me directly.  My boy, I am weakening and do not expect to survive much longer.  He does not know that you exist.  Soon the work will be yours, do it well and in the spirit of Christ.”

     “Bu-but Grandfather, I need you.  You can’t leave me now,” wailed the boy.

     “Ah, but what will be will be.  I am old and need someone to follow after me.  That is you, young as you are.  I will speak plainly:  I will die soon.  Be ready.”

     That night Iggy crept out of bed just before midnight and tiptoed into the secret room where spells were cast.  He arranged and lit the seven candles and began an incantation.  You see, Iggy was angry.  Boris Karananin was trying to kill his Grandfather, and Iggy intended to stop him – to kill him if need be.  He was beginning the most fearsome spell in Grandfather’s book, directing it at this enemy by name.  As he entered further and further into the magic, he did not notice quiet steps behind him until a hand touched his shoulder, and the old man spoke:

     “No, my boy, do not do this.  This is not what you are called to do.  This is not what the Stefanovs do.  Step back and watch.  Behold what it is that you will become if you walk this path.”

     Igor Ivanovich took the boy’s place for what, as we shall see, would be his last time, made different gestures and recited different words over the seven candles and a thick fog began to fill the room.  Forms appeared in the air, which, when they clarified, proved to be pictures of Iggy himself over time.  It began with the scene of a few moments ago, of the boy working the spell of destruction.  They saw a man die.  They saw Grandfather seem to gain strength, but they saw also a terrible change in Iggy.  His face hardened, and his eyes appeared to burn with fury.  They watched scene after scene in which a hatred grew in him as he destroyed more and more of the enemy wizards, becoming more and more like them until he himself was ten times worse.  They saw Grandfather growing sadder and weaker and finally dying some years later, broken-hearted and alone – and they saw a world in which the most evil and basest impulses of humanity were in charge.  The fog began to clear.  The magic was at and end, but Iggy continued to tremble.

     “You see, Igor Mikhaelovich, where this path leads.  Is this what you desire?   I was tempted to this way, and, by God’s grace was kept from it.  To use the tools of evil ones is to become one of them.  Do you see it now?”

     “Oh, I do, and I’m scared, so scared at what I almost did.”

     “Well, tomorrow is Sunday.  We will go together to Confession and Divine Liturgy, and ask the power of God to guide you,” said the old man, and they both went back to bed.

     The next day they did so, and that afternoon Grandfather Ike, sitting in his chair, died quietly as his heart stopped.  Iggy was the last of the Stepanov wizards.  Though still a boy, he grew up fast.

     You have never heard of Igor Mikhaelovich Stefanov, and have probably never met him as Iggy Stevens, the humble delicatessen owner in an obscure neighborhood, but he has become all the old man wished him to be, and more.  He learned to undo the evil workings of his enemies without hate and the world is a much better place for it.  Boris Karananin did find out who he was, and did try to destroy him, but could not.  The power of love was too strong.  Boris, utterly defeated, ceased working magic and his son David Borisovich has become a partner in the delicatessen and in the Stefanov mission.

 

———-ed pacht

“Black Gowns”

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“Black Gowns”     Audio collage by Hermes Trismeg     Featuring William Byrd’s “Ave Verum Corpus” as sung by New York Polyphony     For the best listening quality, please click on the link below to download the mp3

Black Gowns (13.8 MiB)

 

“And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys & desires.”

William Blake
Garden of Love

 

Briars Pick and scratch,
Sometimes draw blood
They leave marks and welts
On everything they touch
And the harder I try to escape,
The deeper the thorns penetrate.

Why bind with briars?
Do you want to remind me
That joys and desires
Have consequences?
That joys and desires
Must be earned
At the cost of pain?
If so, what kind of sick God
Do you serve and adore?

I think it’s rather
The joys and desires you bind
Are denied to those of your station,
And since they are not your lot
You intend to make sure
That our simple pleasures
Leave their marks.

I do evil enough every day
To bind myself
With briars of my own.
Why should I accept yours?
If you feel like scratching
And making people bleed,
Then look to yourself.
I need none of your briars.
I have enough.

 

Chip Bergeron

“Swan Lake”

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Tchaikovsky     “Swan Lake”     arr. Hermes Trismeg     For the best listening quality, please click on the link below to download the mp3

Swan Lake - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (11.6 MiB)

Image by helenablomqvist.com

 

     I’m looking at a picture, a lovely and idyllic picture of a peaceful scene.  It’s a quiet lake.  There is a boy here, sound asleep on a raft of logs, idly floating on the water.  Seven snow-white swans surround his raft and the sun shines upon the placid scene.  I think you’ll agree that there is no more beautiful bird than the swan.  Their presence surely does give grace to the settings in which they live, and there have been countless works of art and pieces of music celebrating this beauty and the peace that seems to surround it.  To put such a beautiful child in the midst of such a scene can certainly stir one’s esthetic sensibilities, and bring one pleasant romantic thoughts of tranquility.  What a lovely picture this is!

     Don’t be fooled, however: that is not the tale I have to tell.  I do not have a dreamy and pleasant story to share with you.  There will be no oohs and aahs of sentimentality nor any of the dreaminess that comes from beholding such a pretty scene.  Quite the contrary: this will be an unpleasant, perhaps repulsive account of things you’d rather not think about.  Perhaps, dear reader, you may prefer to stop here, to lay this book aside and read no further.  I won’t be offended, for, you see, I don’t really want to write any more.  I’ve been fighting against the muse ever since I saw the picture, but I’m losing the battle.  I have to tell the tale, and so …

     Henry and Jeanne Atkinson and their son Bobby were on a family vacation that year, with a whole month free.  This was the perfect chance to get out of the city, its noises, and its pressures and spend some quiet, peaceful time in a country setting.  They rented a rustic cottage on the shore of a small lake where the summer sun reflected on the still, deep blue waters, and where they could watch the resident flock of snow-white swans.  It was a lovely place indeed, and all the parents wanted to do was to sit on the cabin’s porch and enjoy the view.

     Bobby loved the place as much as they did.  He was an unusually sensitive boy, with a very deep appreciation of natural beauty and a love of reading, particularly of the prettiest of old fairy tales.  This scene could have been right out of one of his favorite books, and he fell in love with the place immediately.  But Bobby was all boy, full of energy, and with the need to be always doing, doing, doing; and it just wasn’t going to be enough to sit and watch the view.  He needed to be active.  Well, there was a small sandy beach almost directly in front of the cabin, in plain sight of his parents as they sat on the porch.  What could be safer?  Bobby put on his bathing suit and ran down to paddle in the lake, eventually swimming out just a little from the shore, though, not being a strong swimmer, he didn’t venture far.

    When they’d been there a few days, he found something.  Sort of hidden in the bushes was a very nice raft, made of nice neat logs of similar diameter, all cut to the same length and fastened together.  Bobby dragged it out of the bushes and into the water.  It floated very nicely indeed.  The boy climbed on and was able to paddle with his hands to make it go here and there near the beach.  He was having a grand time, and, boy, were his daydreams rich and colorful.

     The swans, apparently for the first time, took notice of the boy on the raft and began to swim toward him.  (Well, here is an ooh and an aah.  I guess I didn’t avoid them entirely after all.)  It was a beautiful sight: they swam with such grace, such a wonderful scene on that peaceful lake that Bobby sighed, thinking to himself that the swans were being friendly at last.  His parents, watching from the porch, thought the same, and they too sighed in pleasure.  Bobby contentedly fell asleep in the sun.

     Now, the Atkinsons did not understand swans.  Few really do.  It is always easy to be fooled by beauty, and to assume that beauty means goodness.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes it hides the deepest evil.  As St. Paul once wrote to the Corinthians, “…Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” Swans are beautiful, but swans are not nice.  They, like their cousins the geese, are very territorial, and very irritable and quick-tempered, and many people, drawn by their beauty, have found themselves seriously injured by attacking loveliness.  These swans, as we shall see were no better, but, in fact, very much worse than most.

     The picture before me, taken from the porch by Mr. Atkinson, though beautiful, is very troubling.  Four of the graceful white birds have drawn near to the sleeping boy on his raft and seem to be looking at him, and to be drawing closer.  The more I look at them, the less friendly they appear.  It doesn’t give me a good feeling, and it shouldn’t.

     The camera clicked, and, almost immediately, the swans erupted into furious activity, pouncing upon Bobby, piercing him again and again with their beaks, and tearing at his young body until the carnage was done.  When they were finished, they swam, as gracefully as ever, to the other side of the lake.

     When the attack began, Henry Atkinson jumped instantly from his chair, ran to the lake, jumped in, and began to swim to the raft.  Too late.  The swans were gone, and all that there was, was the blood-stained raft, the spreading slick of blood upon the waters, and (horrid, impossible thought) pieces of his beloved son floating in the once-peaceful lake.  Swimming through Bobby’s blood, all he could hear was his wife’s ceaseless screaming on the shores of Swan Lake.

 

———-ed pacht

“He Moved Through The Fair”

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“He Moved Through The Fair”     Traditional     arr. Hermes Trismeg     For the best listening quality, please click on the link below to download the mp3

He Moved Through The Fair (17.1 MiB)

My young love said to me,
My mother won’t mind
And my father won’t slight you
For your lack of kind.
And he stepped away from me
And this he did say:
It will not be long, Love,
‘Til our wedding day.

He stepped away from me
And he moved through the fair
And fondly I watched him
Move here and move there.
And then he made his way homeward,
With one star awake,
As the swan in the evening
Moved over the lake.

The people were saying,
No two e’er were wed
But one had a sorrow
That never was said.
And I smiled as he passed
With his goods and his gear,
And that was the last
That I saw of my dear

Last night he came to me,
My dead love came in.
So softly he came
That his feet made no din.
As he laid his hand on me,
And this he did say:
It will not be long, love,
‘Til our wedding day.