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The doll and the horse

1

 

The Doll and the Horse

Niovi Lyri

Published by Niovi Lyri at Shakespir

Copyright 2016 Niovi Lyri (greek: Νιόβη Λύρη)

Shakespir Edition, License Notes:

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One

Once upon a time, at the Beginning of the Things, there was a woman living on the top of the Mountain That Stands Above The World. We don’t know if she had been there before the glaciers, or if she came with them, or even if she was born by them, but in any case she was there after their melting. She was a lonely queen with big eyes and elegant hands, dressed in long white hair and in a skin (or something like a skin) pale and colorless. Those very old times Olympus (the Mountain Above The World) was lifeless and bleak, and its only resident, the white haired woman, had no company at all: the well-known Olympian Gods, with those universally famous love affairs and conspiracies of theirs, would settle only a lot of millenniums later. The woman lived on the silent top alone, having as an alternative only her secret cave, to dwell within whenever she felt like. She lived there patiently, waiting, as Chronos had once told her in her dream, for Her Centuries to come.

In the meantime, down on earth and around the mountain foot was the Blue Valley, a land rich with fresh water and with shining trees and flowers, but surrounded by an impenetrable veil that hid any possible passage to either the plain later called Thessaly or the nearby sea all this land had once emerged from. Unlike Olympus, the Blue Valley was not bleak: groups of centaurs, as well as of proud independent pegasuses and of a few charming unicorns lived there together and seemed to have unending pleasure, running free (up to the impenetrable veil) all the time and playing with each other.

But as time went by, the inhabitants of the valley got constantly fewer, being eaten by Chronos, the Time Spirit, until finally all perished except for a pair of centaurs and one weak, ill unicorn, the last unicorn on earth. Yet soon the centaurs too (a boy with a wide chest, curly hair and a rich tail and a girl with handsome round breasts, long hair that was usually formed in a braid and a flower-decorated tail) after mysteriously lurking for a while, vanished too, thus leaving the unicorn all alone.

Then that beauty of an animal, whose body was an opalescent masterpiece glowing with colors and his velvet-eyed face was the icon of purity ornamented with a crystal clear, water-like mane and a spiraled horn once strong and sharp like a stalactite, but now struck by the disease, raised his proud head and took a big decision: with any power left, he started climbing the steep slope of the Mountain that Stands Above the World, and after a long and agonized journey on the terrifying edges of wild, rimed gorges, he arrived, exhausted, panting, and fatally weak, but with an innocent hope flaming silently within his pure heart, at the celestial kingdom of the woman. The moment his horn fell from his wounded forehead before her, the queen of Olympus hugged him and kissed his blood with all that precious, mystified warmth lonely beings have deeply in their souls. Then she took him into her cave and washed and bandaged his wound. After that, she knew Her Centuries had come.

Soon the woman and the horse (because, without his horn, the unicorn was but a horse) made very good friends with each other. This might be a good sign, but it also was, at some point, deceptive, because their easy achieved friendship misled the woman’s mind to form wrong conclusions about mankind’s possibilities. However she had no choice but to take over Her Centuries. Therefore she started fabricating a simulacrum of herself: a doll.

In her very first attempt though with the – unknown to us – stuff, she so badly hurt her hand with the sharp, stone-carved tool, that she had to cut one finger off. Her blood then, which she saw with great surprise for the very first time in her ever existing life, spread all over the cave, turned into a red cloth and wrapped around her pale body, a magical gown to be with her forever.

The woman waited patiently until her wound healed itself, leaving her with a mutilated, one-finger-less, but still useful hand. Then she start again her crafting, this time more carefully and deftly, finishing finally the doll with success. The artifact, consisting of a smart, pleasant head upon a flexible elegant body, satisfied her enough, so she gave it life, as well as the power of talking. When Doll was animated, she stared at Red Woman (from now on we call her “Red Woman” because of the red gown), said “hello” in a vivid friendly manner and declared that, since all that blood had been spilt for her sake, she would always be loyal. Later however, when she got out of the cave and looked around, the world seemed so marvelous to her she momentarily forgot everything else and just stood gazing, completely astonished. She was feeling Things in an unprecedented way, although of course she didn’t know it was unprecedented. In fact, what really happened was that, as she was the first living being not ever co-existing with but born within the world, she brought along two new important-to-be features: the critical question about the world’s really existing or not, and the controversial way in which every newborn looks at the world, which is admiring it because it is very old, as much as because at the same time it is, for their own eyes, very new.

Doll lifted then her pretty eyelids to the Horse and instantly her admiring-the-world look faded away, giving place to a lighter, joyful expression:

«Hello, Dolly», said the Horse, caressing her with his lips, and he semi-opened his mouth with a funny countenance. Thanks to which Doll completely forgot about the marvelous world for the moment, and was instantly involved in something much more marvelous: playing.

 

In the meantime the woman was thoughtfully preparing their trip: first, fastening deftly her red cloth, she formed a large pocket and got everything they needed in. (At those very old times the food upon the Mountain Above The World, as well as that down in the Blue Valley, was abundant, single stuff-based and ever-existing). Second, she inspected her cave, although she needn’t to worry much about: not only there was no one else up there to invade it, but also the cave was secret by definition, meaning it would be visible to no one without the woman’s permission. So after those very simple settings, Red Woman rode Horse, took Doll upon her lap and for the first time in her life started going down the mountain slope.

They kept moving slowly along the edges of wild gorges, passing through silver clouds, frozen darkness and giant steep rocks. Those rocks had been revealed a long time ago, when the ices melted. (Of course, before the Glaciers, the rocks had emerged from the sea, wherein they had been for a long time under the water, but whatever remained within them from that period was now totally invisible). Every fold of the ground around the three travelers was empty and lifeless, every passage silent: neither the proud lion nor the Olympian golden eagle had been born yet. And the soil, it was bare too: achillea ambrosiaca, veronica thessalica and centaurea incompleta didn’t yet exist, let alone the cedar, the maple and the oak. Only jankaea heldreichii, the humble wildflower which survived glacier time, could be spotted here and there in the distance, in light blue, droplet-like tiny sprouts. So, passing through that vacant, misty space of eternity Red Woman, Doll and Horse arrived finally at the Blue Valley, and after a little rest, they got ready for the very first journey ever attempted through the border and out into the Manworld.

 

But the whole enterprise turned to be rather underestimated. Horse had of course already told Woman about the impenetrable veil of the Valley, but, given the two young centaurs’ escaping (which she was also told about) she considered it of minor importance. Now however the unexpected obstacle stood before them, because, no matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t find a passage. The Blue Valley was completely surrounded by the veil.

Tired of searching and almost desperate, they sat at last on the bank of a quiet lake – once resounding the gallop and breaths of joyful centaurs and unicorns and sometimes the loud fluttering of a young pegasus – and they tried to think. Meantime the nights were getting longer, and, worst of all, there were no stories to accompany the travelers except for one or two, actually except for their owns.

«I’m scared», Doll said one evening. «The nights are growing. Are we going to be trapped in Eternal Night?”

Red Woman ensured her they were not, but in her heart she was anxious too. Down here, things were different than high up in the Mountain. She couldn’t tell for sure if it was actually the End or the Beginning of the World that it was coming.

“Well, it is absolutely not possible”, Horse said later that night. “There m u s t be something. I remember those centaurs, the two who remained with me till the end. It is stuck in my mind how they were lurking, as if they were waiting for something to happen or for someone to come. I didn’t much like them you know, they were kind of arrogant. Especially the girl, with that mane of hers – how could a girl have such a mane?”

“How can I?” asked Red Woman, tossing her long white hair with grace.

“But yours is not a mane. You are not a horse!”

“Well, neither are the centaurs”, she said with a smile.

“But they…” For a moment Horse looked confused, then he quitted.

“Anyway”, he went on, “they knew better than anyone down here. Kind of wise they were, you know”.

“The wise who abandoned you”, Doll said sarcastically.

“I was very sick”, he answered humbly. “I do not believe they meant harm. Down here we wouldn’t much take care of each other, but neither would we intervene in each others’ lives. I think they just k n e w. I mean, me coming up the Mountain and all that…”

He hushed. T his story - the story about how and why those centaurs passed the border secretly- might potentially be a good one to accompany them, but all three knew it was not just a story: it was the very solution to their problem.

Next day they kept sitting silent, watching the daylight gleaming through the leaves of the silent trees and upon the calm surface of the lake, and reflecting again and again over the case. Soon, or so it seemed to them, the sun was ready to set down once more.

“And one morning they simply vanished, just like that?” Red Woman asked again suddenly, and more vividly this time.

«Yap! As I said I was sick, my forehead in pain, and couldn’t see well around. I spent the night suffering and hardly sleeping but, just after dawn, I suddenly woke up with a somewhat strange, new agony. I turned and looked around and couldn’t spot the centaurs anywhere, they had just vanished. I am pretty sure they escaped out into the Manworld, or whatever is out there, and probably very early in the morning, cause during the night I had the feeling they were still with me”.

«Maybe there is a secret passage, something that opens only on a certain demand”, suggested Doll. “Isn’t this the case of the secret cave up in the Mountain? Doesn’t it open only on demand?”

“Yes, but… I don’t know”, the woman answered. “My cave exists only for me, I am the Queen of the Mountain. The centaurs on the other hand didn’t rule the Valley down here, did they?”

“Nope”. The horse was positive.

They hushed again. The sun had now already went down, foreshadowing one more long night. The woman was steadily gazing at the gold glimpse of the horizon, when suddenly she had an idea:

“I think I got it! It must be the s u n”, she cried out with excitement. And she went on explaining:

“There comes a moment, a very certain moment, when the sun starts getting higher in the sky. I believe at this moment precisely the passage opens. This must be the case! We have to watch carefully!”

“But the sun rises anyway, at least until now”, said Doll. “It rises every morning. What do you mean by getting higher?”

“I mean getting higher over the horizon so its travel across the sky becomes longer. I do not mean the rising – the moment we see it. I talk about the route b e t w e e n rising and sunset. Now this route is very short because the sun has lowered a lot near the horizon. But soon this is going to change!”

“Do you say the sun is moving? I mean apart from rising etc.”

Touched by Doll’s curiosity, the woman smiled:

“It’s kind of complicated”, she answered. “Actually, it’s us that we move”.

“It’s what?”

“Oh, let it go! Crucial question this will be in the upcoming centuries! For now however, let’s concentrate upon our problem, Dolly”

Meantime Horse sat isolated beside a rock, apart from the bank. He was also staring at the horizon, now deep blue after the sunset, a concrete dark entity united with the impenetrable veil. The woman turned to him but remained silent: he was as always, simple but so respectable, vulnerable but proud, calm and trustworthy. He instantly felt her eyes upon him:

“I think they knew” he said suddenly. “The centaurs… They knew, but they wouldn’t tell”.

“That’s what wise people do, I suppose” Doll said sarcastically again. “They do not tell!”

But Horse didn’t answer.

All three decided to keep lurking from now on, for catching the very moment the sun would go up, on a little longer celestial route. (Back then, in that distant era of the Universe, magic creatures as these three ones had of course much more acute senses than us humans). Two days and nights later the sun, after standing still for a while very close to the horizon, did begin to get higher. At that moment precisely a mysterious power seemingly from nowhere drew up the veil and lifted it, thus revealing the passage to the world beyond. Red Woman realized they shouldn’t waste a moment, so with her red gown raised above her knees rode the horse hastily, took the doll in her arms and rushed decisively out into the Manworld.

 

It was a whitish, vaporized place out there, a mostly colorless and partly shapeless world, although islets of still faint colors, scattered flora sprouts and transparent moving figures resembling little animals could be seen here and there. As for humans, in color they looked rather like the woman before wearing the red gown, being mostly pale and light-haired, while in all other ways they were rather similar to each other, and only if you knew them closely you could tell differences, even in age and sex. Moreover their groups were fairly quiet, since, unlike Red Woman, Doll and Horse, they hadn’t yet developed speech.

That strange world however could under certain circumstances evolve, the woman felt, to be friendly and promising. She wandered around scrutinizing the new space as deeply as she could (because she also had to be cautious) and when the night spread all around, calm and magically glowing, she guided the horse to something like a small garden and left it as present to the human living there. Then she moved to a neighboring settlement and left the doll beside the cradle of a sleeping child. Those were her very first presents to the humans, that very ancient night following the winter solstice. (The term the sun’s lowest position in the sky would be defined by in the future).

In the dawn Red Woman took her way back to the Blue Valley, however with some anxiety: would the passage be still open or would she have to wait until the next lifting of the veil?

“Am I going to be trapped here, among these dumb, bizarre people?” she was wondering as she hurried to the passage.

Fortunately the veil, though a little lowered, was still up enough to let her in. So without delaying she took her way up the Mountain. She climbed quickly and deftly, holding her gown to let her feet move easier, and without gazing around. There was nothing to see after all but the rocks, as for the blue droplets of jankaea heldreichii here and there, once a pleasure to her eyes, now they were for the first time a source of sadness. Because, compared to Manworld’s few flowers and plants, they were even fewer and poor and alone. (And so, without noticing, Red Woman felt her very first, still faint and confused, human feelings: jealousy and desire).

Suddenly, as she was going up the silent slope, she felt around her an abrupt stream of cold air. At those old times storms were unknown and the air was constantly calm, so the woman stood astonished. She had unfailingly realized the message carried by that sudden frozen blast: down in the Manworld – where Time was passing a lot faster, meaning enclosing much more actions and events in its Manworld shell than up here on the still, bleak Mountain– her horse had just died. Someone had killed him. She regretfully blamed herself for never letting that possibility cross her mind. This had been a big mistake on her part. She ought to know that out there, in the Manworld, immortality just did not exist.

“I shall bring you back to life”, she decided after a few moments. “I just wish the veil will be still up”.

She turned and ran again all the way down. The passage was hardly open. She rushed through it as fast as she could, looking around in agony until she found Horse. He lay slaughtered near a human settlement. She gently touched and caressed him, and he instantly got back to life. Then she rushed again into the Blue Valley and back home, only a few moments before the veil dropped down, this time completely closing the passage. She left however Horse back in the Manworld, at his own will.

 

 

Two

When humans killed the horse for the second time and broke the doll into pieces, Red Woman, after one more time resurrecting them, decided to take them back. So again the three of them passed the veil to the Blue Valley, went up the Mountain and, after they came back home and had some rest, the woman asked them to tell her their stories.

“The human you gave me to as a gift was a healthy young man”, Horse began his narration. “I don’t think he had a name before, nevertheless I named him Fear, and soon you understand why.

”He lived where we first found him. He enjoyed a simple, peaceful life, exploring the land around his home and collecting sprouts and fruits. At first he seemed happy with me as his companion, but after a while he changed: now he wanted but just one thing, to ride me. After this idea came to his mind he thought nearly of nothing else”.

“So what?” asked the woman. “I, too, ride you, and we are both very used to that. Were you afraid of him?”

“Afraid of him? Me?” the horse protested. “Not at all! At least, not at the beginning”

“You just mentioned you named him Fear”, she reminded.

«Yes, but not because I was afraid of him. I named him Fear because he was afraid of m e. It’s kind of complicated, in fact. You see, on my part, I would let him with great pleasure ride me, but then an unbelievable mess began: the man – Fear –incessantly and fervidly wanted to do but exactly what he was afraid of –ride me. He was all the time full of anxiety and had no fun anymore, nor had he any other feelings for me or for anyone else. But every time he tried, he always hesitated and finally retreated, and this kept happening all over again. So at last, having to cope all the time with that strange behavior, I began to be afraid of him too. I got angry with fear every time he approached me, which by turn made him the same. But tell me, please, wasn’t I right? How is it possible for someone who is afraid of you to ride you, which in fact means to lead you? I couldn’t let such a thing happen”.

Both the woman and the doll agreed with him.

“So, finally disappointed”, Horse continued, “Fear gave me to another human, older than him I suppose. (I cannot tell for sure because humans are so much alike). At the moment I thought I was given as a gift, but soon I realized Fear had done something else: He exchanged me, though I couldn’t make out what he took in return. The fact is that a third human, a girl I suppose (because she was a softer shaped being, and she was kind of reminding me of you) went to stay with Fear just after I left. But it made no sense, since it is not possible for a human to give another human as present, or to exchange her, is it?

Doll assured him it is not. Woman said nothing.

“Well”, the horse went on, “I named my new companion Counter, for to accept me as a gift (or whatever), he repeatedly and thoroughly counted me by his hands as well as by his eyes and even by his nose. After that he drove me to his place and, to my extreme satisfaction, presented me to a very cute little human, apparently his own child. Oh, how a beautiful little girl she was! Her face was brighter even than Dolly’s, with eyes so clear and straightforward, and her body was lively and nimble and strong. She run almost all day, playing joyfully out in the garden or in a tiny shed she had constructed for fun along with another kid.

But my happiness proved to be very deceptive. The girl, whom I named Shiny, soon began to torture me. She used το beat me with a branch, pull my tail, hurt me in every imaginable way. She was very resourceful in contriving new forms of malice. Soon enough her little friend too, a thin and nervous boy, began to participate in those horrible deeds. Moreover they both usually burst into a strange-to-hear, pleasure-imitating laughter. Gradually they also began to neglect my basic needs: freezing, hunger and, worst of all, thirst were now my additional every day torture.

”What was most terrifying however was not the cruelty itself, but its absolute lack of meaning. Regarding the participation of the second child, there seemed to be a competition between the two about who would invent the smarter torture. But the initial attitude of Shiny was incomprehensible, until it occurred to me that it was but a transformation, a kind of mask, of that same absurd fear of my prior companion, Fear. This explanation consoled me a little, not because it made any sense but because, though so frustrating and miserable, it might after all be some kind of excuse. Yet the meaningless torture was going on unceasingly, constantly preventing me from doing what above all is in my nature to do: feeling things, expanding my conscience, sharing and being united. It was as if a fence had been raised between me and the world, a jail that held me hopelessly apart from life. Until one morning, the moment Shiny’s friend was laughing aloud, ready to beat me with a thick branch, I got furious and killed him. Then Shiny’s father, Counter, running to help them and seeing what I have done, killed me in turn. That was the first time you revived me”.

Horse stopped talking to take a deep breath. Meanwhile the cave had begun to heat in a strange way, as if Fear, Counter and Shiny had moved in and were now co-inhabitants, their pale faces haunting the space. The warmth spread around making the narration more fascinating. Moreover, the whole process had another bizarre effect, because as long as the cave was listening to the very first story of its life, its dimensions were growing and its whole space was enlarging, to embrace the new treasure: the stories from the past.

“The next one you gave me to after my resurrection was Runner”, continued the horse.

“Runner?”

Red Woman and Doll were now sitting happily in front of something just inflamed magically by the power of both the narration and the gathered souls – something humans would learn to do later in more practical ways: a fire.

“So what did Runner do? Did he run?” asked the doll.

“Again you misunderstood – or rather it’s my fault, I’m afraid I’m not good at naming. Runner did not run. He fed me well and he really took care of me, nothing to complain about that – and, he wanted m e to run!”

«Run? Why run?” asked the woman staring at the new born flames in front of her.

“I didn’t make out at first. He trained me a lot, though. He wanted me to run every day without purpose. Then one day we went together to a meeting with other humans and, the blessing, with other horses. Can you really imagine my happiness? Me seeing other horses? It had been such a long time since those days down in the valley with the echo of the gallop all around. Of course those ones – the horses in the Manworld – were kind of different. Heavier they were, and with thicker, dark hair, and maybe stronger than me, but anyway they were brothers and sisters. It was one of them who explained me the situation – they didn’t talk of course but we understood each other anyway: we were supposed to run in a horserace! To find out who would come first!

”Well, here I must confess the feeling was not totally unfamiliar to me. I so much liked running in the Blue Valley with my brothers and sisters the unicorns – not so much with the centaurs, for I was a bit afraid of them – and even some times with some cheating, trickster pegasus who when in trouble would open his wings and oops, fly away like hell. I wasn’t the faster, but I had style. The centaurs – yes, them again! – used to say they had never seen a creature running like that, almost similar to water. But in that enforced horserace in the Manworld, with horses not willing but obliged to run, I didn’t feel like running at all. It was not funny; it was pure nonsense, a totally useless duty. On the other hand I couldn’t disappoint the human who had fed me so well, and so I ran, and ran, and ran again, and – don’t ask me please if I ever won, all that was so embarrassing. I’m sure it will pass a long time before I feel like running again.

“Well, did you win any race anyway”, asked Doll mischievously. Whereupon the horse drew his lips aside and gave her a light bite.

But the woman stayed silent, looking always at the fire. She felt a well hidden pain on Horse’s part, a vague spirit of sorrow.

“To cut a long story short, after a while I moved on with another human”, the horse continued. “It was I believe an arrangement again, between humans I mean, an exchange. My new human was very kind, but I had already lost trust to almost everyone. And I was right: the new one, the Guard, cared so much of me that let me do almost nothing. He looked after me all the time, stroked me and hugged me and all that and I should by all means feel grateful, but I didn’t: I lived in prison, and before long I was so unhappy I didn’t want any food. And here came Sweetie”.

“Sweetie? A new Shiny, I suppose?” asked Doll.

“Not at all, dear. First of all she was older than Shiny, though she was young enough too. Sweetie was sweet to everyone and mostly to my owner. She was his Fiancée, which means his beloved one, but kind of official”.

“Owner?” the woman finally raised her eyes from the fire.

‘Yes, I suppose that’s what all humans considered themselves to be, Owners, but that’s not the point here. Well, Sweetie, a handsome and smart girl, was almost the perfect companion for me. Of course I let her ride me with pleasure, and we used to go together to many a lot long strolls – or short trips, I can’t tell. However the season changed – out there in the Manworld there are seasons, you know – and the time came for Sweetie to move on, along with her Fiancé and other companions, to another land”.

Horse stopped. The fire was still on. Doll was listening with anticipation, but the woman waited with a hint of fear. Horse went on:

“You see, because humans do not talk, don’t for a moment believe I was not able to feel their thoughts. I felt them as if they were uttered aloud. Well, Sweetie was so kind-hearted she couldn’t see me live like that – like a prisoner. Which she thought would certainly happen if I went on with them. So she let me free”.

“Free? What do you mean by free?”, asked Doll, while Red Woman was thinking: here, in her Mountain kingdom, Freedom was an unknown value, for its opposite was unknown too. But the horse had already lived a long time within this opposite.

“Very interesting”, she said gently.

“Then”, Horse continued, ignoring Doll’s interruption, “I started rambling alone. In the Manworld, you see, you can’t live as easy as in the Blue Valley. You have to feed with difficult-to-find, special stuff cropping up from the ground. But I didn’t know how to find it, so I wandered for a hopelessly long time, starving, until eventually one day, desperate to find some food, I attacked a human settlement and, totally against my will, I killed a human”.

The woman stared at the fire. That lingering spirit of sorrow appeared now more clearly: it was the same spirit humans later would call Guilt.

“Then”, continued the horse, “the humans killed me for the second time, and you again brought me back to life”.

Red Woman didn’t say anything again. She was reflecting in silence: now that the narration was finished it was not the horse she was primarily thinking of, but the human condition. Regarding that, what was most remarkable was the fact that, among all those so different humans, not even one could sufficiently communicate with the horse.

 

 

Three

Doll was not such a good narrator as the horse, maybe because her speech was a lot mingled with her feelings. Her very story indicated a great sentimental participation in human life, which up to a point was only natural: she was born in a kind of family, so she carried along the bonding quality, with all its possibilities as much as its limits.

Doll didn’t qualify things as slavery and freedom, but rather as happiness and frustration, or encouragement and resentment. She often spoke about her personal role within the human group in question, while only rarely thought of herself as an outsider. In other words, she was much more extrovert and worldly than the horse. Another aspect of her story was that every separate scene of it was remarkably vivid and colorful, though we cannot tell if this colorful life was really existing out there, or it was but her personal view upon things.

“In the house you left me that first night”, she began, “close to that child’s cradle, they just considered me a decoration element. There were other decoration elements too – flowers, stones, feathers and some things I couldn’t make out. The chief in the house was Mother, and she wouldn’t let Child, or anyone else, play with me, neither would she herself. So in fact I was not a gift, as you mentioned me to be, but just a very unhappy doll. And I became unhappier when Child, being at first interested in me, soon enough forgot me.

”But I couldn’t stop looking for an opportunity. So, one day, the Wise One, a thin woman with gray hair, came to visit Mother and Child, and I managed to attract her attention. I suppose she was a good friend of theirs, because, you see, those were exactly the days when humans invite their friends and exchange gifts and have a good time all together. Actually I think they are the days just before and after the sun’s getting higher, you know, when the veil down in the valley opens up.

Well, Wise One, whom Mother and Child seemed to respect, made them to understand that, far from being an ornament for the house, I was instead an object to play with – which wasn’t of course much encouraging for me as I’ m nothing like an object, however it was a promising change.

”My first moments with Child playing with me were the happiest. We looked at each other with complete understanding and would stay like that for a long while, enjoying our fresh bonding and feeling things together. But the happy moments didn’t last, for Wise One began to teach Child how he should play, and what would be the “right” way to do it. In the beginning I found it sort of amusing, but later all this became very annoying. As for Child, he literally suffered from that teaching: he had not even the chance to forget me. Instead, he was constantly obliged, according to Wise One’s instructions, to do certain and monotonously repeated things with me”.

“If you ask me”, Horse interrupted politely, “Mother and Wise One were but two alternatives of the same thing, a thing called by humans Order: the former was staying still, doing nothing to distract the existing Order, and the latter was giving precise instructions, to be sure everything would be predictable and in Order again”.

“Certainly”, Doll indifferently, impatient to continue her narrating. But the Red Woman, still watching the warm flames in front of her, noticed that Horse could already comprehend Order, a unstable human substitute to world’s higher quality, Harmony. She also came to the conclusion that humans seemed to have already established different social roles for the individuals, as that of the Wise One.

“Well”, said Doll when she had again all the attention, “one day, maybe near the next sun’s getting higher, Child, who was definitely tired of the Wise One’s instructions, offered me as present to another child, Friend.

Friend proved indeed to be the first real happiness for me. He knew exactly how to play. We spent all the time together, trying and checking everything around us, and life was just delightful. Furthermore, he made stories and put both of us inside them. It was really fascinating”.

“Stories?” the woman asked surprised.

“But yes, there were stories! Humans managed to tell them mainly with gestures, but also with voices, as they were able to make some certain sounds that meant certain things. We used to gather together in a circle, me and Friend and some other humans, imitating actions and thoughts, ours or others’, but above all enjoying being together. The stories were very short of course, and about just very simple actions of some persons we all knew – for my family lived in a crowded settlement…”

“Y o u r family?” Horse interrupted.

“But yes, it was my family after all. Well, furthermore we repeated those stories, again and again, in a sort of dancing, concurrently putting flowers and leaves with vivid colors and perfumes on each other’s hair or necks. All was but paradise for me, until…”

“Until what? What happened?” Ηorse was now really excited – or was he slightly ironic, feeling already some kind of jealousy?

“Until there came the season of gifts again –you know, sun coming up and all that. Friend then gave me as present to a friend of his, Anger. But this new human of mine did not know how to make stories. She didn’t know how to play with me either, no matter how hard – well, I suppose it was hard – I tried to show her. She just couldn’t learn. So finally her own inability turned her furious with violence, and she broke me! She broke me into pieces! In pieces you found me, remember?” reminded Doll, thus completing her narration.

Sitting near the entrance of the cave Horse, now calm after his confession of killing the human, was looking at the fire: he was wondering how they would put it out. The cave was full of moving shadows. Red Woman on her part wrapped her gown around her body, a movement irrelevant to feeling cold – she could feel neither cold or heat at all– but rather expressing determination. She looked at her hand with the cut-off finger and sighed eagerly. She had work to do.

She had of course noticed several interesting things in Doll’s story, but what impressed her the most was that, contrary to Horse’s case, there had been at least one human, Friend, who knew how to communicate with her.

Both stories, Horse’s and Doll’s, deserved, she decided, another try. The first because no hope was found yet, the second because it was.

(Meanwhile, the fire extinguished by itself).

 

 

Four

In spite of her mutilated hand, Red Woman worked hard to prepare her second journey to the Manworld. This time she fabricated a lot of copies of her first gifts, meaning a lot of dolls and a lot of horses, with slight differences to each other. Gradually the cave was filled up with breaths, manes and earnest doll faces. After finishing, the woman gathered them and inspired them the will to live with humans, yet without revealing the secret of death. Then she put the dolls upon the horses’ backs, rode the Original Horse – after hiding a mysterious package in her pocket – and took the Original Doll upon her lap. With her red gown as unmistakable flag, she guided that magical caravan through the wild clouds, the gigantic rocks and the frozen nights of the Mountain, until they all arrived down at the Blue Valley. There they had to wait for the sun to go higher and open the passage to the other side.

This time however Red Woman wouldn’t let any fear to wrap around her dolls and horses. She opened the pocket of her gown and revealed her little secret: along with her gifts, she had fabricated gifts for the gifts: a good amount of candles (we do not know of what stuff), that she now arranged in rows upon the bank of the lake. The dolls, the horses and the woman crowded together close to them, and after a while the candles magically lit, forming rows of warm, twinkling flames that would be incessantly glowing until the lifting of the veil, thus giving the travelers hope and courage. Apart from that, they had also another kind of company this time: they had a small treasure of stories.

Of course they were but the same, already known stories, which they would tell and tell repeatedly, until their voices started conforming something the Blue Valley presumably (we give a possibility to those enigmatic centaurs) listened to for the first time in its mythical life: music. It was of course a primitive kind of music, coming from a hardly conscientious breath of rhythm and intonation and the -strongly conscientious- seeking of hope and courage, a marvelous polyphonic echo, which filled up those gloomy nights in the Blue valley with its deep, sentimental trembling.

When, in the dawn after solstice, they finally passed the border and got into the Manworld, the three guides (the Red Woman, the Original Doll and the Original Horse) felt a slight change in the air: the sky and the atmosphere were clearer and the schemes of the objects around had become a lot more distinct and concrete. Actually the little crops out of the soil and the colored creatures and the sweet touching of the sun were now the pioneers of that blessing, tender landscape which in the future would give the beings here that unique joyful, amiable immortality, characteristic of what is universally known as greek joyfulness. Of course the plain later called Thessaly and the sandy beaches of Platamon , let alone the castle standing between them and Olympus, from top of which one could survey summer and winter at the same time by simply turning their heads from the sparkling Aegean Sea to the misty mountain, did not yet exist. But the space for them was already there, being prepared to embrace their eternal grace.

When the night came in the Manworld, Red Woman went on with delivering her gifts, the various copies of dolls and horses. As for the necessary feedback (the information about the humans’ reactions), the horses would refer (if possible) to the Original Horse and the dolls to the Original Doll, since the two originals would be the only ones to come back up the Mountain: all others were donated with the desire to live with humans, and so would it be.

Yet during the gift delivery, carried out this time with less precaution, humans were not so much surprised. They seemed to have been waiting for the Red Woman and to somehow recognize her. Furthermore, some pale (or weren’t they so pale anymore?) faces declared even sort of excitement for the gift. Concerning this (the gifts themselves), some humans were given a doll and some others a horse, but a few were privileged by both. This initially happened because Red Woman found in some cases a human crowd living together, so she left them a variety of dolls and horses, but later this confusion resulted in one person possessing both- which proved to be crucial.

After finishing the delivery the woman took her way back and up to the Mountain and her cave, yet as she was climbing the steep slope, she felt again some streams of cold air, messaging that down behind, in the Manworld, some of the dolls or the horses were probably dead. This time however she wouldn’t resurrect them: she had multiplied the two originals, an action that meant reproduction. Reproduction is not compatible with immortality. Moreover, if her gifts were supposed to live with humans, they had to be mortals too. Humanity means mortality.

 

The stories of these dolls and horses, as retold by the two Originals , were more or less alike those from the first journey: some humans hurt their gifts on purpose, others didn’t know what to do with them and eventually destroyed them, deliberately or not, while some others were misled by “teaching” from Wise Ones, Mothers and Fathers. (The latter being a new kind of human, or rather say a new human role). Yet, compared to the previous stories, there were now a few significant hints of development: Shiny (a girl named by Horse after that first Shiny of his, the one from the first journey) this time wouldn’t torture her horse. Intercrossed narrations however proved that, in solstice night, this new Shiny had been presented not with a horse but with a doll, and the she was given the horse later, through that now well established custom, exchange. (Counters were now the majority between humans and they would make exchanges all the time). One more thing to mention is that, before the exchanging, Shiny and the doll given to her as a gift made friends with each other. This might have been a crucial factor for Shiny’s tender attitude to the horse afterwards.

It was an interesting story indeed, that about this new Shiny and her horse: The girl didn’t ride the horse at all. She only used to sit beside it on the green ground, slightly sad, stroking it from time to time or trying to speak to it. (There already were some spontaneous, clumsy attempts of speaking). Original Horse, transferring the narration of the horse involved couldn’t help adding his own comment about that silent, tender relationship:

“I think she was feeling guilty”, he said, having always in mind that the tender girl was resembling the old Shiny, his own, the cruel one. “Guilty for what my Shiny had done to me. On the other hand, I do not understand it, because that horse was not even me. And she hadn’t done it any harm”.

“Well, maybe this is somehow possible”, Red Woman said thoughtfully. ‘I mean”, she continued, ‘that the feeling of guilt can be, in some inexplicable way, transferred to the next generations, regardless the initial criminals and victims”

The various stories, as told by the originals, confirmed also the woman’s presumption that humans found it more difficult to communicate with horses than with dolls. This seemed odd, because a horse’s behavior is in most cases restricted and recursive. A doll on the other hand has definitely a more unstable an unpredictable personality.

She looked at her beloved Horse, with his velvet eyes of perfect purity and his head so gracefully rising to heaven. She felt honored to have him, to be able to behold him whenever he trotted along the narrow path outside the cave or sat at the edge of the gorge upon the highest top of Olympus, immersing his soul into all Immortal Things. She was fully aware of his exceptional ability to unite with any form of existence, visible or not. On the other hand, that capacity of his was as much unlimited as his everyday acting was predictable and limited. One would tell it was a kind of balance, a way of sparing energy.

“Horses are simple and straightforward beings”, she reflected. “Why do humans fail to communicate with them?”

The dolls instead, although loyal and good willing, seemed to her fairly selfish or somewhat shallow and superficially behaving. But, no question, humans compromised better with them: they inspired them easily their own most common values. There were enthusiastic doll-references about human mating and death ceremonies, about food and decoration and games, even about building, training and caring for the weak. In different teams or villages (we can plausibly start talking about villages now) dolls adapted the local values, being admirably compatible to most of them. Moreover, they had a tendency to be antagonistic, claiming adequately and several times successfully their own personal rights within, and according to, different value systems.

“Maybe the whole thing is not so boring after all”, Red Woman thought.

 

Ας said however, Red Woman had given some humans both a doll and a horse. References about these cases were contradictive: one human might treat both their horse and doll with the same cruelty, while another might just ignore either of them and a third, though cruel to the horse, would be extremely kind to the doll. Which in turn could sometimes become a feedback for the human, to add some dollish tenderness when dealing again with the horse.

But then there came an unexpected consequence. The dolls’ being more compatible with humans, along with the latters’ tendency to jealousy and imitation, made humans who had only horses (and saw that others had both) to determine they could have both too. So, relying on their horses’ power, they began to attack other humans to rape their dolls.

Soon enough, whoever had a trained horse would rape a lot of dolls and become wealthy. Moreover, the horses’ owners allied together to rape the dolls of the weaker ones. That alliance resulted in its turn to a mingling process concerning personalities, and now everybody could be Fear as much as Counter, or both a Wise One and a Sweetie, or a Runner as much as a Friend.

The original Horse regretted this progression, especially because horses were involved.

“I should never feel fear. I should have known better. Never should I kill that poor human in my first trip. I could have shown them another way…”

“There is no other way. Everything is going to be ok, don’t worry”, said the Red Woman, surprised a little by her own so humanlike talking.

She understood that killing that human had struck Horse down and discomposed his self-estimation. But this was only a side effect of his unique ability to share any feeling without fighting to keep it at a distance. He had internalized the humans’ pain for the loss of their companion, and this pain took him down. But she knew soon he would raise his head again with pride, more wise than before.

Furthermore, Red Woman believed indeed there was no other way. She had already dreamt of the blood baths in the upcoming centuries, of those innumerous innocent victims lying slayed upon the vast plains of frustrated fertility, to eventually dissolve into swamps of liquefied despair.

“This time I liked humans more”, said the Original Doll, interrupting the stream of dark thoughts. “Yes, of course we suffered. But humans suffered too. They were taken their dolls, they had to submit, all those fights usually ended to a few powerful humans and many others becoming slaves. But we had good time too, and wherever we had horses with us was even better, for us dolls I mean. I often felt I lived in a family just as I do with you two.”

Only then Red Woman realized the obvious: by being together, the doll and the horse altered not only the humans but also each other. Horsy qualities passing to a doll would make her kinder, more wide-eyed and more sensitive, while dolly qualities would make horses more practical, more willing to be bound and even funnier.

These new, evolved dolls and horses were in turn a new influence on humans, some of whom began to behave differently: a very interesting human relationship appeared then, one that involved two human individuals in the absolutely free-chosen, happy task of caring of each other. This was surely a little victory, so the woman decided the next trip.

 

 

 

Five

After a short time of resting, Red Woman and the two originals started planning their third expedition. (Meanwhile, heavy clouds had gathered at a distance above and around Olympus, foreshadowing the future millenniums of great battles). The woman had already decided that the doll-and-horse combination had to be much stronger. They had to no more be two separate entities but, instead, just one. However she didn’t want to create a hybrid. A hybrid might be just a third independent being, who would interfere with humans all over again, messing things up. She needed something more sophisticated – and finally she made it up.

She fabricated new dolls and horses and, gathering them in the cave, she transformed them all, including her Originals, into humans. She gave them various countenances, body characteristics, skin and hair colors. Then she guided them slowly and carefully on foot down to the Blue Valley through the Mountain, which for the very first time experienced a crowd of humans crossing its slopes. At the valley they waited patiently, with candles glowing in the night and stories keeping them company, until at solstice, when the veil was lifted, they passed all together, with Red Woman as leader, into the Manworld.

This time three new significant things happened almost immediately after their arriving. First, the humans in the Manworld were rather disappointed: they expected horses and dolls as gifts, not humans like them. Occasionally they even attacked them and killed or enslaved some of them. But at the end they accepted them: there was something enigmatic in newcomers’ nature, something very charming and magical, implying they could be a blessing.

Second, because neither new doll nor horse appeared this solstice, a few humans tried to manufacture some by themselves. The (handsome and multicolored) results had the crucial disadvantage not to be alive, however revealed the humans’ creativity, which, along with the constant tendency to playing, would in the future prove to be the most stable qualities of the human species. (Or was it that dolly anxiety, already experienced by humans too, about the world’s being or not being, which actually triggered the humans’ creativity, the lack of gifts being only a casual opportunity?)

Third the woman, feeling for the first time a very humanlike loneliness, and having already a sufficient experience of the Manworld, decided to stay too for a while. (Meaning perhaps centuries according to the human time measurement). At first she hesitated near the veil, having now the opportunity to watch it and make out for how long it stayed open: it was about a moon circle. (This would determine the approximate period of every solstice celebration all over the world in the future). After the veil dropped down, the woman, being voluntarily trapped in the Manworld, had no choice but to wander among humans and study them now in person. No more references and other’s narrations would be needed.

In the meantime, dolly-humans and horsey-humans were mixed up with other humans and began to reproduce. The evolution was extremely wide and complicated, as well as fairly random and unforeseen. The Manworld was now full-colored, with all humans having horsey and/or dolly blood, blended in infinite combinations. Red Woman, invisible to humans (with the exception of some children and a few strange adults no one took seriously) noticed that, as everybody was interfered with everybody, each one developed the kind of personality supported by the environment. It was therefore of enormous importance not only what a person was (a horsey-human or a dolly-human or both), but also what his neighbor was, and still no presumption could be about the result. A dolly-human coming across another dolly-human might reproach them, because of jealousy and antagonism, while another similar encounter could be the happiest ever. Or, a dolly-human coming across a horsey-human might be destroyed out of fear or passion, or might just find their ideal mate.

And all this was not only about individuals. Houses, villages, even countries began to radiate a new dynamic energy. Contrasts were soon everywhere, causing complexities, frictions and compromises, not only between individuals but also between classes, races and even generations and eras: the time had come for the humans to create what later they would call ideas, namely to organize all these different qualities and desires of their personalities into some higher entities. So Red Woman had now to deal with some new immortal (or very difficult to die) beings, for the first time born not by her magic power, but by the humans’ interacting. Among them a great and special contrastive pair of entities seemed to gradually emerge, affecting almost any human deed, and also manifesting a mischievous character, as its two opposite parts often changed places: it was the pair of Shadow and Light, or, as humans called it, of Evil and Good. For their sake the earth was now continuously fertilized by the victims of slaughter.

Red Woman, invisible and unnoticeable (with the exceptions mentioned above) wandered a lot, upon whole countries. She crossed cropping farms and turbulent rivers, gazed at the surface of lakes and seas from the decks of crowded boats, and lingered out of both tiny cottages and enormous castles. But she couldn’t tell for sure if that messy, unstable life was worth all the blood spread upon those vast plains of slaughter.

 

 

Six

The only fairly constant good spirit she was able to detect was the custom of gifts: as years went by, she noticed that humans welcomed the winter solstice by exchanging gifts and having happy dinners with siblings and friends in front of fires. Also, in some cases, there were certain persons, children or adults, who carried the gifts around and delivered them, usually dressed in red or other vivid colors. She was pleased by the custom, but it didn’t seem to have a permanent effect on human characters.

However, an issue of much greater importance soon drew her full attention: without having realized how, she found herself some day in the middle of a world much noisier, trembling with echoes and vibrating with the rhythms and the harmony or non-harmony of those charming elements known as words. She could now not only observe but hear what was happening: humans had developed Language.

Language was a real wonder: as it reproduced things in the form of words, it gave humans a capacity unparalleled to anything before, that of controlling time and space, as well as each others’ feelings and thoughts. But it had also consequences: because it copied things it made them much stronger and people were trapped within them. Soon some humans took advantage of this power and used Language to manipulate others. Before long, Red Woman noticed a flexible, quick moving entity with cunning face and restless eyes, a treacherous spirit always ready to betray and torture, which led the humans to use language deceptively, in order to achieve their own goals. That spirit was Lie, the first powerful child of Language.

Fortunately enough, Lie triggered the birth of its opposite, Truth, a charming, elegant entity with a straightforward countenance and clear eyes. But this spirit was much more difficult to follow, because, to be fulfilled, it needed not only the desires an feelings of humans, but also the study and knowledge of the reality. Because its achievement was difficult, Truth was at first a very faint -but strangely appealing- entity, who was recognized mainly as the opposite to Lie. However, soon Language had a third child, a spirit very beautiful and charming, moving around in perfect rhythm and harmony, and consisting of both Truth and Lie elements. Her name was Poetry, and she was a special, Higher Lie and at the same time a special Higher Truth. Poetry was a tremendously inspiring entity, with whose help certain humans, the Poets (very special humans were they, with the additional capacity of seeing the unseen, which made Red Woman extremely cautious) combined selected dolly and horsey elements in secret proportions, thus presenting a brand new world of ideal societies and persons.

“I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see with my own eyes and hear with my own ears”, admired Red Woman.

A later descendant of Language was Teaching: with this language activity, much more sophisticated than that primitive ‘teaching” of the Wise One long ago, the teacher would uncover the most flourishing dolly and horsey features of the student and would cultivate them, with the better possible result as to the student’s character.

“This is great”, admitted the woman, a little skeptically.

Finally another child of Language was Science: according to that, humans would study carefully some elements (horsey or dolly or both) existing in the nature or in other humans, and after dropping away a lot of stuff as trash, they would reunite what was left in a tiny but very strong piece of knowledge.

“Useful”, the woman decided.

 

The next level was a great surprise too: humans put together Poetry, Teaching and Science (whose servants were back then called witches and sorcerers) in a complicated effort to deal with Shadow and Light (or with Evil and Good). That effort resulted in the birth of those well-known, worldwide spread, and up to now very powerful entities called Gods.

Red W oman couldn’t make out if humans experienced Gods by apocalypse – because that was what they often said – or if they discovered them, or even just invented them. According to humans, Gods created everything – not only every doll and horse but everything with no exception (conclusively, they somehow created herself too)- and could do anything. People adored them, first on slopes and in the forests, afterwards with primitive structures or sculptures aimed at gathering people around and finally in impressive constructions called temples. Some people believed in many gods (and goddesses), while others only in a few or even in just one. Concerning this, what was sort of amusing to Red Woman (because it kind of mirrored Horse, Doll and herself) was a special belief found in several God systems about a Trinity, meaning three different aspects of the same God, or, alternatively, three Gods complementary to each other.

 

“Maybe they know better”, thought the woman, to whom all those seemed hopeful enough. “Maybe they will eventually manage to cope with all this mess. Besides, what do I really know about these creatures, Gods?”

And with this moderate satisfaction she finally decided to go back to her Mountain, yet this time alone, as her beloved originals were for sure lost to her, living now eternally in the blood of humans.

But then she had a sudden desire: to inspect some more private moments of humans.

“Why shouldn’t I take a look at people’s homes, before I leave? No one would care”.

And she took a look, and two and three. And she took a lot of looks, because there, in houses, was the entire miracle. She noticed a lot of Shadow of course, a lot of pain and fear and cruelty, but this was expected. What was the unexpected and most amazing was that magical, completely free-chosen relationship between two individuals she had already noticed in the references from the previous trip: that of two persons caring of each other and having together all the fun, as well as suffering together all their hard moments. That exquisite capacity seemed to have been surprisingly developed, and was now spread over a great number of houses. The woman opened her red gown wide with joy to feel into her lap all that blessed blood of love that ran in the veins of the beloved.

But her happiness wouldn’t last. After a while she found out that this most precious feeling of love was also the reason for the strongest pain of all. No consolation was able to smooth the anguish, to lessen the mourning and lift the grief of the human who had lost their beloved. Red Woman had never imagined such a pain could ever exist. She was desperate now, because she could do nothing about it without diminishing the love capacity itself, which was out of the question.

She wandered a lot trying to think of a remedy, an antidote for that illness, the illness of the deepest sorrow. Then, as she was rambling around, she came across one of those extraordinary humans, Poets. Looking at her with interest, the Poet (who, as said, had the rare power to be able to see her) asked her why she was traveling alone.

“My beloved ones are now in the veins of all humans”, she answered, at which the Poet exclaimed with joy:

“Oh, God, what a metaphor!”

So, considering him a very strange person, she told him nothing about her problem, yet his encounter gave her an idea: to listen carefully to the human legends, to all those stories made by the servants of that mysterious entity, Poetry. And in them she finally did find something useful: she noticed a kind of relief invented by the so called witches, according to which when a hard situation could not be overturned, it might be softened with the addition of a special parameter that led to a more bearable condition.

So she summoned all of her power and imagination to invent such a factor, and one night, one very calm night near the solstice, she blessed the mankind with a very special gift – in fact two gifts – which since then have been coexisting incessantly with humanity: she gave them Lamenting and Homesickness.

So every time a human mourned for the loss of the beloved, they could lament, meaning expressing loudly the pain and cry very hard, so as to be heard and accompanied by others who would also lament for the loss either of the same or of some other’s beloved one. This option of expressing and sharing the deep pain no loving human could escape proved to be the only possible alleviation and in some occasions even an opening to a future touch of love.

Homesickness on the other hand represented a different kind of expression, much more silent as well as more intellectual. It concerned the feeling normally caused by a forced departure or exile – that endless misery actually similar to the parting of the beloved, since in most cases it contained it. In that case the separated one would be homesick, meaning feeling nostalgia for what was left behind and sharing the feeling with others in the same condition, which would make it softer and sometimes even very creative. Since then Homesickness has been visiting not only millions of immigrants but also millions of abandoned, and in fact almost every human being, since the feeling in discuss, nostalgia, is caused not only by separation in space but also by separation in time, thus practically condemning every human being to an exile.

And so Lamenting and Homesickness managed up to a point to unite humans by the expressing and sharing of the sorrow.

“It was the best I could do, this L & H solution”, thought the woman exhausted, and in a kind of humorous manner.

And with a sting of Homesickness for both her Mountain and the left behind Manworld, she eventually took her way back home.

 

 

Seven

On her way back upon the mountain Red Woman was heavy with grief. Doll and Horse would never come back. They couldn’t, even if they wanted to. They were now dissolved in the blood of innumerous humans. Lamenting was already there for her, but one that, unlike down in the Manworld, was orphan, because there was no one up here for her to lament with.

Moreover, the Mountain itself was changing: the stillness of the old days was giving space to some new specimens of life, some new varieties of colored creatures she could now spot here and there, as well as to a few new sounds and even smells. (It made sense after all: if within humans Gods had already appeared, then upon Olympus Chronos, the Time Spirit, had to prepare a home to the Olympians, a process that would take some time. There would be a Titan battle first, of which some distant storms were now but the very preliminary actions).

When Red Woman finally reached the top of the Mountain, the place seemed also kind of strange to her. Her cave was narrower than ever and the path near the entrance was covered with stones. Her well-known home wasn’t there anymore. Instead Homesickness was there, but again one with no one to share with.

The woman looked around the silent cave, then looked at her hand with the cut-off finger and took the great decision. That place was not her home anymore, and she was, after all, blessed not to be a rock or a plant: she could leave.

But she would do it in the best possible way: she stood still for a while, meditating and preparing herself for the great action. Then she took a deep breath and began το once again practice her own ancient, uniquely creative and reproductive magic: she broke herself into many pieces and gave them various human forms, so they could mingle with humanity. The transformed pieces of the Red Woman, all dressed in red too, started then their journey down, in a magnificent row moving through the silence, a magical red chorus the misty Mountain saw for the first and last time in its immortal life.

Before passing the border to the other side, the transformed pieces gathered together in the Blue Valley. There the woman, whose spirit was within all those beings, felt again the souls of the unicorns, of the pegasuses and of the centaurs and remembered the day when her Horse, the last unicorn on earth, reached her celestial kingdom and dropped his horn, the last evidence of the fairy world, in front of her, thus entrusting his entire life in her hands. With this feeling deep in their hearts the pieces of the woman crossed for the last time that magical border and got into a flourishing, complex, multicolored Manworld to stay there forever.

 

Since then the Red Woman lives in humans’ blood. She has come across innumerous variations of the dolls and the horses, many of them complete failures that ended to the most dark paths of the Shadow, others average specimens and a few in whom she saw the nobility of her beloved Originals. She has also lived through a lot of bloodbaths and torturing and even dismembering, following patiently a chain of butchery scenes beyond imagination. But whenever everything seemed hopeless, some feeling or deed on a human’s part would always change her mind.

Moreover, she herself has been through time humanized too. She can now do but very little magic compared to that she managed at the Beginning of the Things, while on the other hand she shares numerous human disadvantages. Humans on their part would often mention an “embodiment” or a “personification” of some God, and we don’t know for sure whether they just talk about their official God, or they express a vague, somewhat subconscious awareness of the Red Woman’s existence among them.

But the most important is that humans always celebrate winter solstice in joyful dinners, as well as by offering gifts to each other, no matter how poor they might be, while they have also established a lot of legends and stories concerning supernatural or holy beings (sometimes dressed in red), whose main duty is to deliver the solstice gifts. This annual triumph of blessing sun is actually the greater celebration all over humanity, the most expanded and common festivity on earth. And the fact is all these jubilations around the world, though never mentioning the Red Woman, seem to hold some distant memory of her. Because, for example, somewhere near the North Pole an ancient goddess is said to ride a chariot driven by deer upon the sky, while somewhere else people have built a ritual door, a kind of stone veil, for the sun to triumphantly pass through in the morning after the solstice. In the Roman Empire the solstice festivity lasted almost a month (the time period the veil of our story was open) and today in some solstice holidays humans kindle rows of candles and let them glow in the night, just like Red Woman had done in the Blue Valley. Everybody knows of course the famous Christmas, with the trees full of little dolls and the carousels with their wooden horses, as well as with its endless constructions of blinking lights all over the earth, and above all with its great attraction, the red saint (or “Santa”) who delivers astonishing amounts of gifts. However fewer of us may have seen the miracle of the solstice in Africa, with that enormous red disc of a sun standing motionless near equator, magnificent and omniblessing, forever the supreme and unquestionable source of life, or the various ancient and modern holidays all over China or India and among Native Americans. And even fewer may know that in one of our most important eras of the past, that of ancient Greece, a god named Dionysus, red with blood and wine let himself broke into pieces in the hands of his priestesses and the next morning, the morning after the solstice, was reborn as a Holy Infant for the sake of humanity.

As for humanity itself, through centuries (and between slaughters) it managed to create some other interesting great entities such as Reason or Enlightment, while lately it tries, under various names (such as Ecology) a still very distant and unstable reflection of that initial Harmony of the Beginning of the Things.

Last but not least, we must always have in mind that in our lifetime we doubtless come across the Red Woman, for she now lives in the blood of too many humans, who are also eternally reproduced. Of course men and women who have knowledge, or kindness, or give a lot or are particularly creative are very probable to be her embodiments. But it’s not only them: candidates may also be among people we wouldn’t feel comfortable to make friends with. They are just ordinary people, who however have a great and sometimes annoying passion that compels them to go endlessly and relentlessly after something.

Because Red Woman, still possessed by Lamenting and Homesickness, is constantly looking for her Original Doll, for whose sake she was once self-mutilated, as well as for her Original Horse, that unicorn with the opalescent body and the waterfall-like mane who once came to find her, thus saving forever the precious remembrance of the fairy tales.

 

 

See Niovi Lyri’s page on Shakespir:

https://www.Shakespir.com/profile/view/niovi

 

 

 


The doll and the horse

An immortal woman, who at The Beginning of the Things used to live alone upon Olympus (the Mountain that Stands Above the World), started one day a journey to the Manworld, bringing a doll and a horse as presents to humans. But the secret of Winter Solstice hold her back, until she found the solution. Then, a totally new era begin... A different Chrismas fantasy, in a mythical greek (but universal as well) environment.

  • Author: Niovi Lyri
  • Published: 2016-12-30 15:20:13
  • Words: 12349
The doll and the horse The doll and the horse