søndag den 31. januar 2021

Susan in Sweden - V

Continuing my tale. This instalment uses up the last two words: Mischief and Languages.

      And / or

Susan got up and felt her way in the tiny room, it was not absolutely dark. As her eyes got used to the dark, she could see just a bit. It was a small room, with a floor space of maybe two by two metres and at least twice as tall. the light came from somewhere high above, behind an outcropping in the massive stone from which the room was hewn. She tried conjuring up her witch-light, but it did not work. She was neither cold, nor hot. And the stone was not cold to the touch either. It was a strange place. She sat down, stood again, even tried lying down. It was unpleasant either way. In the end she squatted in a corner beneath the source of light, figuring that the door had to be opposite the "window" or whatever was up there. During the wait only the presence of the light source above let her keep a hold on her sanity. No sounds reached her, the light did not change, there was only herself and the hard stone room. She was afraid of making loud noises, and small noises were swallowed by the stone walls. She recited the multiplication table, murmuring away, then the Lord's Prayer, then a lot of poetry, Icelandic vocabulary and more poetry. Until finally, after what felt like hours the wall next to her glided open and a big figure stood etched in black against the glaring light of the room outside.
  "What mischief have you been up to now?" a voice asked. Susan almost began crying. It was a voice she would have recognized everywhere. It was Thora.
  "Mischief." she answered. "I was only trying to help. But everything went awry. We should have come here in the first place. And apropos. Where is here?"
  "You came," Thora said, "and that is good. Helge is together with Gilvi. We'll see what will happen when have heard your story too. Now, Susan, you tell me the truth," Thora said. "Spill it!"
  "I was in Sweden," Susan began. And quickly, but unhurriedly she told the story of tickets for cigarettes, pear flavoured soft-ice, shopping, bananas, Helge's appearance, their escape from the Swedish police, the freight train, more police in Denmark, dinner at home, and their mishap at the Unicorn Farm. "Has Torben gone mad or something?" she ended her story. "We just did not want to talk with him."
  "Come with me, Gilvi and Helge are waiting for us now," Thora said, not answering even one of Susan's many questions. They walked through a long corridor of the same stone, lit with a soft light from lamps hidden above. Doors at regular intervals were all closed, but Susan imagined, that they all led to cubicles resembling the one she had sat in. Gilvi and Helge sat at a table in a bigger room, still lighted by that same, soft light, tea and cakes stood on the table, and Helge was talking and eating and drinking all at the same time. Susan could see that he had been crying.
  "Good evening, Susan," Gilvi said as he stood up from the table. Do have a seat and some cake, and some tea. It's still hot. And you as well, my dear sister," he said, bowing in Thora's direction.
  He sent a jabber of in ultra-fast words to Thora. It was, as far as Susan had been able to discern, some kind of twin language, or maybe a magically enhanced one. Thora sat, and Susan did the same. The cake was good, and so was the tea.
  Gilvi looked at Thora, who spoke: "You two have been more wronged against than doing wrong. You even paid that poor fruit seller more than the bananas were worth. And no harm came to him, as far as we have been able to discern. All that police was not there for you, that's true. I think this is a story with a happy ending." She smiled and arose. "And I think I've got to take hand of our third visitor. I'll be back soon."
  "My father is alive and well," Helge said with a happy smile. "Thora have been visiting him in the hospital. He'll be home soon, and so will I. But I've chosen to stay with Thora in Iceland until he returns home. She has also promised to sing me a new wand - and help me with my homework."
  "Oh, I'm so happy for you," Susan said with a mighty yawn. "You must come and visit me and my family in Elsinore when you're settled. I will gladly spend all day showing you Hamlet's castle and the gruesome cellars - even worse than the ones we were incarcerated in. What is this place?" she asked, turning to Gilvi.
  "It's a secret," Gilvi answered. "But our portals all are trap portals and lead to here - single cells only - and with an alarm going off so that the guardian of the day can go and have a look. It's a precaution we have had to take recently due to some unforeseen developments. I won't say any more, and guessing and asking will only make me shut up." Gilvi looked glum, even angry.
  A short while later, Thora returned. "Out third guest is sent back home again, no problems," she said. "And now it's time for us to leave here as well. Helge, you come with me, and Gilvi can you take Susan home?"
  "Of course, Gilvi said. "I'd be honoured to."
  Helge and Susan hugged one another, "See you in the autumn holidays," Susan said. "and remember to learn how to change your clothing back before you go home," she added in a teasing tone. Helge smiled and said: "You've better study that spell yourself. I might not be around to help you next time." They laughed, and Thora and Helge walked out through the door, showing a field of greens and lava blocks and a blue, blue sky.
   "Is it tomorrow already? My Mum will be worried sick," Susan said.
  "No, she won't," Gilvi said with a wink. "She 'remembers' you arriving home late, but not terribly so. It's bad enough we had to test you in the cubicles. We won't put you in bad standing with your parents as well."
  "Man am I grateful. 'Only' testing me in the cubicles. It was awful, you know dark, lonely and so quiet. The quiet was the worst. I felt like my ears were falling off."
  "Yes I know. I've spent some time there too. But we'll not use any more portals for now, I'll teleport you home."
   "Oh!" Susan exclaimed. "No, not home. My bike ... I left it by the portal. I've got to have it back for tomorrow ... today, I mean."
  "I'll get it," Gilvi said. " It's still very early morning, and you'll need some sleep."
  He took Susan's hands and when the darkness from the spell dissipated, it was replaced by a softer darkness. The sun had not risen yet in Elsinore. She thanked Gilvi, and showed him where she normally placed her bike. Then she tiptoed upstairs to her room and slipped under the duvet. She was asleep even before Gilvi had left the garden.

Det vilde hjørne - Sunday Selections, Wild

English in the subtitles only

I august 2019 skar vi vore blommetræer ned til sokkeholderne. De gav max. 20 blommer om året tilsammen - og mindst 100 gange så mange hvepse. Alle grenene fra disse træer og en hel del andre rundt omkring fra haven, blev lavet til flis i en stor maskine, vi havde lejet. Det larmede!
Summer 2019 - the trees where my beehives were, is being cut down
and reduced to small pieces by a red monster.

     Området her er der, hvor mine bier var - jeg skal ikke have bier igen før det er giftfrit her i området igen - blev ryddet for hegn, kvasbunker (de blev bare flyttet) og bistader.
Spring 202, all the tiny wooden pieces are evened out, branches and stones placed decoratively
and all the seed bags with flower seeds hailing back to the last century spread over the area.

     Om foråret blev flisen blev bredt ud, sten og træstubbe blev lagt rundt omkring, planter fra steder hvor de ikke skulle stå - for eksempel inde i drivhuset - blev flyttet herud, og så hældte jeg alle de poser med blomsterfrø, der havde hobet sig op i årenes løb ud over området. Nogle af frøposerne havde udløbsdatoer helt tilbage til det forgangne årtusind, men nu blev de alle sammen bare hældt ud.
August 2020 gave us a lot of flowers and the wild bees and butterflies and lizards and so on loved it
     Sådan så det ud et år senere - august 2020. Der var masser af sommerfugle, bier, firben og andre kryb og kravl, der forlystede sig her.

Og her er et par nærbilleder af nogle af de blomster, der spirede.
Sådan ser det ud nu, januar 2021:
January 2021 it looks like this. I have found more old seed-bags hidden somewhere else
for the coming year. And I have been picking wild flower seeds while biking.

Jeg har fundet flere frøposer til at drysse ud til foråret - de havde forputtet sig - og så har jeg også plukket frø af diverse vilde blomster på mine cykelture rundt i omegnen, blandt andet æselfoder, som jeg altid har syntes, var en imponerende plante. Og her kan den gro i fred uden at kradse nogen.

Æselfoder (Onopordum acanthium)
Scottish Thistle - one of the wild ones I took seeds from

lørdag den 30. januar 2021

Susan in Sweden (Unicorn Farm) IV

Continuing my tale. I still have not used all the words. But now I have only Mischief and Languages left over.

      And / or

They opened the low door to the outside and ducked to get through without banging their head on the top frame. Meticulously and silently Helge closed the door, and turned to face Susan again. They began walking. As they entered the yard of the Unicorn Farm, They looked up. Yes one of the windows at the top floor of the Farm was shining with a bright, welcoming light. Helge began moving faster, but Susan suddenly stopped. "Helge," she whispered urgently. "Stop! That light comes from Torben's room. We do not want to speak to him, do we?"
Helge stopped, but a crunching sound came from where he stood. It was loud in the dark quiet night. "Shells!" Helge whispered loudly. "Left overs from our transformation lessons I dare bet. And you're right, Susan. Let's get out of here. I don't want to talk to Torben. I do not trust him after that broom race."
Susan made a strangled sound. "Look! He's shining a searchlight at the buildings."
They turned and ran. Past the corner of the Barn, over the stubble field that made them stumble and almost fall, through and then along the small river, Susan once had discovered, and then forgotten all about. The searchlight twisted and turned from Torben's window, but was unable to get to them. Then they hear a sound they knew. The sound of a flying broomstick. They ran even faster if possible. Finally they were at the line of trees. and ran between it and the tiny river down towards the sea and the end of the line.
  "Which tree? Rowan?" Helge panted. "How does .. a rowan .. look?"
  "Berries," Susan answered. "Red berries"
  "Here!" Helge said hoarsely. "Red berries ... galore!" It was a rowan sure enough, An old, tall one with bark of shining silver, gracious leaves like a waterfall of fronds and berries almost as big as cherries. But the two children were not in the mood for appreciating of even the finest rowan in all Denmark. They could hear Torben coming nearer and nearer. On the brink of panic they circled the tree. First they ran clockwise, and when that did not work, they turned around and ran counter-clockwise around the tree. Torben landed on the field just a few metres away when Helge disappeared. Susan ran to the same spot and also entered the portal. The dizziness engulfed her, and as she opened her eyes, she was in a tiny, black cubicle, all alone.

Part 5

Susan in Sweden and at Home III

Continuing my tale. I still have not used all the words. Actually only one more. And I still have some dramatic ones left over:
      And / or

They got off the shuttle bus and walked through the city's bustling streets towards Susan's home without any further incidents. As they walked, Susan asked Helge  more about details from his escape from home.
  "In books, it's always so easy," Helge said regretfully. "The one who has run away from home, finds some nice people who take care of them, or help them on. And all problems are solved in the end. In reality, it's just cold and lonely. I took the train to Helsingborg, so that my mother should not be able to find me. I gave up getting help from Harald and his siblings, because that was probably the first place mother would look for me. I had some plans about finding Kalle and Anna here in Helsingborg, but I did not know where they lived, it was as hopeless as finding a needle in a haystack. Do you know how many are named Berggren in Helsingborg? I ran out of money, so I slept in the parks or up there by Kärnan, where I also found money in the gravel outside the cafe before I was thrown away by the waiters. I did not even have enough money to go home again, and I do not know how my father is doing ... and without my wand I could not do anything. " Helge looked so very sad.
  "We'll have to go down to Unicorn Farm," Susan said. The teachers can definitely help. That kind of thing doesn't just happen in books."
  "No, it also occurred to me. But then it was too late. I was already in Helsingborg. And as I said, my search for Kalle and Anna did not lead to any result."

They turned the corner to Susan's road. Then Helge asked: "But what do your parents say to you taking me home?"
  "Nothing," Susan replied. "We are welcome to take friends home. If you are lucky, we can have dinner before we go to Unicorn Farm."
  "We ... are you telling me that you will come along?" Helge said, a disbelieving smile spreading across his face.
  "Yes I will. Firstly, it's not nice to be alone doing that kind of thing, secondly, I've become curious about what it all ends up with," Susan replied.
  Helge smiled gratefully at Susan and they turned into the driveway to Susan's home. Inside the driveway, between Susan's house and the fence, Helge thought of their clothes. "Hey, Susan, what do you think your mother is going to say when she sees your fine new skirt?"
  "Oh my God," said Susan, "you remembered just in time. It would have been very hard to explain. How is it? How do I cancel it?"
  "I do not know," replied Helge, "maybe you just conjure the right colour back again."
  "It's probably the easiest way, yes. Thank you. I can always look in my book later." Susan thought intensely about the right green colour, swung the stick over the skirt and said, "Grænn!" The skirt looked normal again. "Phew! That was hard," Susan sighed. "Couldn't we just leave your clothes as they are?"
  "Yeah, there's no one to know that it's not their right colour. And it's fine as they are, more practical too."
  Susan opened the front door and shouted: "I'm home again!" The house was two stories, with attic and a basement too, so she had to yell to be heard.
  Mum stuck out her head from the kitchen door and said, "Welcome back, did you have a nice trip? Well, who is that?"
  "Yes, it went well," Susan replied. "This is Helge, one of my friends from the Unicorn Farm, I met him in Helsingborg. Can he eat with us?"
  "Yes, OK. We're going to eat have 'Half Reds'," Mum replied. "Does his parents know where he is?"
  "Yes," Susan replied with her fingers crossed behind her back. "He's on his way to visit an aunt here in town. I'll follow him there when we've eaten." She gave Mum the cigarettes and dragged Helge out of the kitchen again. "Pull off your shoes and wash your hands before eating." Susan showed Helge into their nice bathroom and slipped into the old one behind mom and dad's bedroom.
  "What was it your mother said we were having for dinner?" Helge asked with a puzzled expression.
  "Half Reds," Susan replied. It's a family name for macaroni with sliced red sausages. "

While they ate, Susan recounted a slightly revised version of the day's events. Dad said an alcohol smuggling ring had been busted down at the harbour that afternoon.
  "Aha!" exclaimed Susan. "That explains the many police officers we saw down by the buildings there. They were busy investigating an elderly couple. I always have a bad conscience when I see police officers,"
  "You do not have to," said mother. "Police officers are there to help us. You can always ask any police officer for help."
  After dinner, Helge helped Susan do the dishes, while Linda put them away and told about the horses at the riding school where she had spent the day.
  "Funny," Helge said, "at home I hated doing the dishes, but it's really nice to do it here, with you."
  "Other peoples' food is always tasty," said Mum, who passed by.
  "Huh?" said Helge, looking up at her. "Yes, your food was very tasty, but what has that got to do with doing the dishes?"
  "It's something we say," Mum explained. It means something like it is always more fun, better or more interesting to eat completely ordinary food or do even the most boring things somewhere other than at home. "
  "Well, like that," said Helge. "Yes, it seems to fit very well."
  "You'd better run now," Mum said. "It'll soon get dark. Susan, you take good care of yourself on the way home. You do not have to hurry, but on the other hand, I'm not happy that you're out all night. "
  "I'll bring my bike," Susan said. "I can push it there. It's downhill almost all the way home."
  "Remember the lights," Mom said, giving her a hug.
  Helge shook her hand and politely thanked her for the stay and for good food.

They went up to the portal through the darkening streets, it was still hot, their lack of extra clothes was not a problem. Strangely shy, they walked side by side along the road. Susan pushed her bike and Helge tagged along, kicking a small rock he had found. Then they turned left and up the hill towards the lumber yard. "How long has there been a portal here?" asked Helge. "Since Lis and Tage helped Heidi and me make one last fall. Jon came and cast the final spell one of the last days of October. Why do you ask?"
  "Probably mostly because I've always wanted to come to Elsinore. I've heard so much about the city. You know, Hamlet's castle ... all that. But we always had to go and visit my mother's family up north during the holidays. And my father said it was too bad there was no portal here."
  "It's not very big either ... not that I know if it matters. But we had to hide it well." The street lights came on and Susan said, "We're going in here," and went through the hedge to the old lumber yard.
It was almost empty, only a couple was hurrying home in the farthest end of the yard. The old lumber yard was a wonderful place to play for the children of that area, but only in daylight. There were holes and old, rotten planks here and there, and large puddles under a thin cover of grass even in the driest season. The paths that went through were used as shortcuts by those who lived in the large multi-storey building up on the other side of the yard, but they were all at home at that time of the evening. They passed the red, wooden barracks.
  "There's never anyone here," Susan assured. "It housed the accounting department in the old days. Now I do not really know what's in there. Now and then, mostly in Summer, there's a flea market or book sale just outside the barracks, so maybe all the things are stored in there." When they had almost passed the barracks, they turned right, along a slightly worn, winding path.
   "What a huge tree!" Helge said. "Is that your walnut tree?"
  "Yep. It's mega-hard to climb." Susan replied. "As you can see, the lower branches are all high up. We usually shoot the walnuts down with stones. We're going in there." Helge followed Susan down the winding path and around to the backside of the barracks. Susan parked her bike up against the back wall, locked it, and cast a "Do-not-disturb" spell on it.
  "You first!" they said simultaneously.
  "Okay, let's do it together," Helge said.
  "Yes," Susan replied. I do not feel like being alone either here or in the spooky storage room at Unicorn Farm tonight."
  "One, two, three!" Helge counted, and they jumped together through the portal. The familiar dizziness enveloped Susan, shorter this time, and then she could see the old furniture in the storage room at Unicorn Farm. Helge sat on the floor next to her. "Man, that's disgusting!"
  "How many times have you been through a strange portal?" Susan asked interested.
  "I think this was the third time."
  "It gets better with pracrise," Susan reassured him.
  "Thank you for the heads up," Helge said, shaking his head tentatively. "I'm ready now, I think," he said, getting up. "Let's just hope someone is here on the Farm."
  "Oh, I did not think of this," Susan said anxiously. "There is no teaching going on at the moment. What do we do if there is no one here?"
  "Then we must take another portal ... just not back to Stockholm. Do you know where the Icelandic portal is? I honestly would rather talk to Gilvi or Thora," Helge said anxiously.
  "The Icelandic portal ..." Susan mused. "I remember the portals were moved pretty soon after we started. At first, most of them were out in the yard, but people kept on running through them all the time. It was pretty inconvenient. Yes except yours. It was not moved, right?" Helge shook his head. "The Icelanders .. their portal ... Yes, now I know. It was moved to the big rowan tree at the end of the treeline, closest to the water. But for now let's go out and see if anyone is around. Quietly."

Part 4

fredag den 29. januar 2021

Susan in Sweden II

Continuing my tale. I still have not used all the words:
      And / or

She crossed the long, narrow square leading down to the city hall and was on her way to the book-store. On the way, she passed a fruit seller with his cart. He looked tired and hungry, Susan thought. He shouted hoarsely "2 bananas for 50 øre, Two apples here 25 øre". It was actually cheap, and Susan would like something more in her stomach than an ice cream. "Two bananas, thank you." she said to the man by the fruit cart. He put them in a brown paper bag, and was about to hand them to her, when a boy came out of the alley opposite, grabbed a bunch of bananas and ran down towards the town hall. Susan looked amazed. But it was Helge! What the beep was he doing in Helsingborg, and why was he stealing bananas? She had to find out. She placed a big coin on the fruit cart, rudely snatched the bag out of the hand of the angry fruit seller and ran down the street shouting: "Helge, Helge! What are you doing here!" The fruit-seller shouted, "Well, you're in league with that thief. I'll get you both!" He ran after them while shouting: "Police! Thieves, Robbers! Help me!" Susan rushed after Helge, and managed to see him turning left at the bottom of the square. She reached him seconds later, and there he stood, gasping and red in the face. The light were red, of course. They heard a police whistle and two seconds later Susan heard the bell telling that a a train was coming. Susan grabbed Helge's bananas and put them in the basket with her own. Then she took his hand. "Come on!" she said, pulling him toward the pedestrian crossing. "But, but we can't cross, the lights are red," Helge protested.
  "Yes. They are red for everyone right now. There's a train coming. Come on! "She pulled Helge with her, and when he realized what she was up to, he ran with him.
  Helge and Susan crossed the track seconds before the train arrived. It was a freight train with many, many carriages, slow-moving too. Now the police officer would have to go all the way around the train. "Come on, the ferry is about to leave. We're going home to my place." Susan and Helge darted up the stairs and were the last ones to board the ferry before the landing was taken. "Phew, we made it. Now mom's not going to give us a scolding." Susan said aloud. "Let's go upstairs and get some fresh air."
  When they stood on the deck, and had caught their breath, Susan asked: "What are you doing in Helsingborg? I thought you lived in Stockholm. And why are you stealing bananas?"
  "I ran away from home," Helge said weakly. "My father became ill, and my mother said we could not afford me going to the wizarding school any more ..." Helge wiped his nose. "Only my father is magical. My mother has never really liked it. I do not know if she's just thinking it's nonsense or if she's afraid of magic. When I protested, she grounded me. I tried to sneak out to go over to Harald and the others, but you know how clumsy I am. I overturned a glass and she discovered me." Helge wiped his eyes on his shirt sleeve and sniffed again. "She locked me in. And then ... then she broke my wand." Helge struggled not to cry. Susan almost trembled with anger. "What a beast she is! What do we do now?"
  "The police are probably alerting colleagues in Elsinore," Helge said. "We have to disguise ourselves. "
  "My basket," Susan said, "it's all too easily recognizable. I'll probably have to leave it here on the ferry."
  "Throw it overboard?" suggested Helge.
  "No, it's too dangerous. What if someone sees it and thinks it's a man overboard. I'll hide it in one of the toilets. Those down on the car deck are rarely used. Now you go into the men's toilet up here and wash up as best you can, then I go down and buy cigarettes for my mother - and a carrier bag. Stay up here until I return. We'll probably find out something. I do not think they'll stop all the ferry traffic for a bunch of bananas." Helge smiled a crooked smile, snatched a few bananas and slipped into the men's toilet. Susan went down to the kiosk and bought a new carton r of cigarettes with her mother's money, and a bag of 'Black Boats' and a carrier bag for her own.
  "Well you didn't get enough with one ice cream," the lady smiled at her.
  "No," Susan said, "I want something to take home and share with my sister, I still have money left over."
  "Have a nice trip," the friendly kiosk lady said, and hurriedly turned to the next in the long queue.
  Susan went down the steep stairs down to the car deck. She was about to go to the toilet when she saw that one of the doors of a freight train carriage was ajar. "Fine," she thought, "this is a perfect diversionary manoeuvre." Quickly, she placed the contents of the basket in the carrier bag, tied the scarf around her neck, and peeled one of the bananas. Then she put the banana peel in the basket and slipped it in through the door, pushing it in as far as she could reach. 'Århus East' was written on the large boxes inside the wagon. At the bottom of the basket she also found one of her hair bands. "Fine, then I can make a ponytail," Susan thought. Then she went to the toilet while gnawing the banana. Inside the toilet, she thought it over. Her skirt had a very distinctive green colour. She had agonized a lot over that colour-changing spell. But now it could do some good. Blue. She was quite sure of what was called in Icelandic. She took off her skirt and spread it out over the toilet. The wand almost by itself performed the right movement and the words flowed out of her mouth. The skirt had a nice, inconspicuous blue colour. Perfect.
  Then she washed her hands and face in the cold water and put the skirt back on. Without a basket, with a ponytail and a different coloured skirt, she was probably a little harder to recognize. Now it was Helge's turn. She meandered up the stairs to the sun deck. The wind had begun blowing some more. Helge sat on a bench and looked longingly back at Sweden. "Hello again." Susan said. "Now we have to do something about your clothes too!" Due to the rising wind, they were alone on the sun deck and Helge took off his trousers and shirt and spread them on the floor in front of Susan. One, two, three, the shirt had become a darker green and the trousers were grey instead of white. Helge dressed again. "How good that you have made your homework. I did not get that far," he said sadly.
  "Listen," Susan said. "Now you get a ticket from me, and then we go ashore separately. They are probably looking for two children together. And then we quickly get into the first shuttle bus. And a little later out again through the back door. There is always so many who want to go with the first one, that the driver will not wonder. He'll just think we wee about to get squished. Then we go over to Kronborg. It is not very far." Susan and Helge fought bravely not to look at each other in the crowd at the gangway, There were no officers standing there, and they were about to breathe a sigh of relief. Then Helge looked through the windows of the building and saw the three officers outside.
  The officers looked at the disembarking passengers, but just cast a cursory glance at the two children. Once they got on the bus, they found one another, and quickly agreed to stay on the bus. It filled up and drove off. Susan could see through the door of the bus, and saw the officers standing and talking to an elderly couple who had also been on board.
  "When we get dropped off, you just follow me," Susan said. "We have to get up to the portal as fast as possible. But I have to go home and hand over the cigarettes first."

Part 3

Halfdans forbudte digte 29/1 2021

I dag er det Halfdan Rasmussens 106 års fødselsdag. Lige som sidste år bringer Uglemor et af de otte børnerim, der er blevet bortcensurerede i den nyeste udgave af hans samlede værker. Jeg vil gentage dette på de næste 6 fødselsdage hvis jeg lever så længe.
     Denne censur gør mig ondt, dels fordi de ord, han brugte, dengang var neutrale ord for folk og folkeslag og det derfor burde være muligt at bringe dem - eventuelt med fodnoter eller et forklarende forord. Dels fordi slags amerikanske tilstande med fornærmelses-parathed og følsomheds-censur på andres vegne ikke burde forekomme - og da slet ikke ramme Halfdan Rasmussen, der faktisk var en stor og modig forkæmper for folk, frihed og menneskerettigheder og imod censur. Hans vers om Bødlen for eksempel burde være tvungen læsning for alle mennesker i hele verden.
     Og i det tilfælde att du ikke læser kommentarerne, vil jeg lige gengive Elephant's Child's kloge kommentar: "Clothes and people's expectations frequently do chafe. And itch." (tøj og folks forventninger generer ofte - og klør.)

-- 🎂 --

  Today is the 106th birthday of Halfdan Rasmussen. Maybe one of the greatest Danish contemporary poets. MotherOwl holds him in high esteem, and on the occasion of his birthday I will, like last year, publish one of the eight rhymes for children that was censored from the latest collection - and will continue to do so for his next six birthday, if I live long enough.
  This censorship grieves me as Halfdan Rasmussen is truly a great fighter for freedom and equality, his pen wrote the Danish verse that was turned into Each Small Candle.
  The words he used, were the at that time neutral demonyms, and the verses should be included, maybe with a footnote or a preamble.

   There won't be an English versification of the poems, as my less than perfect English poetry made the verses rather pedestrian.  I mourn the fact that I'm not a poetic genius able to render them full justice. His equilibristic verses are serious even at their most playful, and never serious without at least a touch of humour.
  But after seeing what Google translate did to those verses, I am supplying a translation - word for word, or rather meaning for meaning with no pretension of any versification. Last year's poem will be updated in the same way.
  And just in case you do not read the comments I want to insert Elephant's Child's wise connet here: "Clothes and people's expectations frequently do chafe. And itch."

-- 🎂 --

En liste over alle de bortcensurerede vers og hvor de er udgivet. Jeg begyndte med nummer 1 sidste år, og fortsætter med nummer 2 i år.

All the censored verses and from where they come. I began with number one last year, and will just tacle then one at a time.
  1. Lille negerdukke (Børnerim) (2020)
  2. To små negerdukker (Børnerim) (2021)
  3. Hittehattehættehuer (Børnerim)
  4. Rikke (Børnerim)
  5. Negerdukken lille Sam (Børnerim)
  6. Sikken et hus (Børnerim)
  7. Nogle øjne er så smukke (Halfdans rim)
  8. Alle bilerne fra landet (Halfdans rim)

To små negerdukker
To små søde negerdukker                  Two cute little Negro dolls
gik i byen efter sukker,                       Went to town to buy some sugar
men da de var splitternøgne                But as they were stark naked
gjorde godtfolk store øjne.                 Goodly people were gawping.

På et torv med flotte huse                 In a square with pretty houses
Købte de sig hver en bluse                each of them bought a blouse
For at prøve på at dække                   trying to cover up                                                                   
Det som var så kønt hos begge.         what was pretty in both of them.

Bluser er så tit så korte.                    Blouses are often very short
Og skønt numserne var sorte            and even though the bums were black
stirred folk så uanstændigt                people stared without decency
at det føltes næsten skændigt.           it was almost shameful

To små søde negerdukker                 Two cute little Negro dolls 
skyndte sig at købe sukker,               hurried up and bought the sugar
og hos frøken Tummelumsen            and at Mrs. Tummelumsen's*
fik de sko og skørt om numsen.        they got shoes and a shirt around their bums.

Tøj er varmt og sko kan klemme,     Clothes are hot, and shoes can pinch,
så da de igen var hjemme                 when they reached their home again
smed de tøjet over stolen                   they threw their clothes upon a chair
og løb nøgne ud i solen.                    and ran naked into the sun.


* Name from a book (Livsens Ondskab by Gustav Wied). The name sounds funny and like Mrs. Dizzy

onsdag den 27. januar 2021

Words for Wednesday - Using the Words.

The Words for Wednesday put up by me, did not inspire me much. Here they are:

      And / or

and a photo of a loom. 

  Then I sat surfing the 'net, swearing loudly mumbling over Facebook's new antics - they finally stopped FBPurity from working, forcing me to use the new looks. Urgh! But there I saw this photo from
Helsingborg Stadsarkiv:
  This photo hails back to the days before Sweden went from left- to right-hand traffic, which I told about in my Poetry Monday :: Spaghetti post; and it made me remember the many, many times I took the trip to Sweden and back. Of course Susan went there as well.
🌝 There's no magic in this instalment, but I did not use very many words; only three actually, so maybe more is to come  ...
  I am threading a for me new territory in English: Sea-faring, duty free shops and such. Please correct any mistakes or wrong expressions.

Susan, come here!" Mum called. "What are your plans for today?"
"Nothing really," Susan answered truthfully. She had some vague ideas about drawing their cat, reading a bit maybe, studying some Icelandic and spells and NOT do her homework until tomorrow, Sunday.
  "I have some complimentary tickets for the ferries, they expire Monday. Would you mind taking a trip to Sweden and back? You can have all the tickets obliterated on the way there, and then buy cigarettes for me with all of them. They are all return tickets, but you only need to show one of them when getting on board in Sweden."
  "How can I have all the tickets obliterated? I'm only me ... one person?"
  "Today miss Hansen is at work. If you greet her from Dad when showing the tickets, she'll do this as a service for us."
  "Do I have to go back with the next boat, or can I go for a walk in Helsingborg before I return?"
  "If you have time, there's no reason why not. These tickets are good for all day once obliterated. I even have some Swedish coins. You can go and buy an ice cream or something."
  After Mum told her this, there was no doubt in Susan's mind. She loved soft ice, and in Sweden you could have her favourite variety. Pear flavoured soft-ice. "Oh yes," she said. Let me get dressed and get my book and a basket while you get the tickets and the money.
  Susan returned, fully dressed even to shoes carrying her favourite basket with the contents covered up by an old scarf. "That way no one can see all your cigarettes and be tempted to steal them," Susan told Mum, who smiled and handed Susan a wad of tickets and a big bank note, "This is enough for cigarettes both ways. Don't lose it!" Susan shook her head. Mum the gave her a small handful of coins, silver and bronze together: "And these are for ice cream and what else you can get." It was mostly small coins, bronze 1, 2, and 5 öre, and worn silver 10öre, but also some of the bigger iron 25 or 50 örer and even some large, silver 1 kronor coins. "Thank you Mum," Susan said, "I'll take good care of them." She took her small red purse from the zippered pocket in her skirt, put coins and tickets in one compartment, and the banknote in the other before putting the purse back and zipper the pocket again. "Good Susan," Mum said. "I'm sure you'll do fine. Remember that the tickets are only valid for the big ferries, no idea in you trying to go by the small boats."
  Susan smiled. "Won't do." she agreed.

Susan decided to take the shuttle bus to the ferries and walked down to the small, cosy square from where it departed. It was only a short trip to the other side of the harbour, but she would catch an earlier ferry. As instructed, she greeted the lady from her dad and had all 10 tickets obliterated. This meant she could get a whole carton of cigarettes each way. But first she had to get aboard. As Denmark and Sweden were part of a union, she did not have to bring her passport - she did not even own one - or any other personal papers. But she had to go through the customs. and as usual the customs officer looked at her and decided that she was suspicious.
  "What do you have in that basket, young lady?" he asked,
  "Oh nothing special," Susan answered. "My book, some 'godis' (Swedish for candy) and a couple of pencils." She folded back the scarf and let him have a look.
  "Aren't those extra salty liquorice?" he asked suspiciously.
  "Why, yes, of course," Susan said. "I like it. Do you want some?"
  "Oh, no thanks. I was just asking. You can board"
  Susan wondered why she was almost always controlled, and what they were searching for. The Danish customs were looking for coffee and for fireworks - but not in the summer - what the Swedish ones were looking for, Susan did not know. She was not afraid for the return journey. the Danish ones were always very lax when it was not the season for fireworks at least.

Before the ferry left the docks Susan was already in place on the smallest, topmost passenger deck. She loved to stand there, in the prow of the ferry, with the wind blowing in her hair and the sound of the big engines in her back. Smoke billowed from the smoke stacks, and a lout HOOT sounded from the whistle. The ferry slowly left the pier. Susan stood rooted in place, watching the hustle and bustle in the narrow strait. 11 ferries in each direction every hour, plus fishing boats, big and small vessels passing through and the even smaller sailing boats also passing, or turning into marinas on either side of the Sound made for a very crowded waterway. It was like a ballet, nobody was ever close enough together that they looked like crashing, every boat, ship and ferry seemed to know exactly when and where to sail. The blue sea and the blue skies above and the tiny white clouds and white sails gave a festive, dreamish look to the whole scenery. The Swedish coast quickly grew closer, she saw the roofs and greenhouses of Sofiero Castle glittered in the sun before they were hidden behind green trees. She remembered that she had to buy cigarettes for Mum and hurried down the narrow staircase to the shop.
  "A carton of cigarettes, King's, please." Susan said and gave the tickets to the shop lady who stamped all the tickets without batting an eye, took the bank note, and gave Susan the carton of cigarettes and her money back
  "And nothing for yourself?" she asked.
  "No thanks," Susan said, "I'll save my money for a soft ice in Helsingborg."
  "Enjoy!" the lady said, and Susan hurried out into the fresh air once again to watch the ferry docking.
  Soon the ferry glided between the stony arms of the breakwaters outside the harbour and slowed further down to glide into its place. Not quite 4 kilometres in 20 minutes was not an awesome speed, Susan could have done faster by bike if she could have biked over the waves.
  Susan did not hurry down to stand and wait with the others to get off the ferry in a hurry, all that crowding was not necessary The voice in the loudspeakers announced that the ship had arrived, and everybody was kindly asked to disembark using the doors in the right hand side of the ferry. She reached the door as the first passengers were already getting back onboard. A lot of people only took the trip to be able to buy duty free tobacco, and took the same ferry back again. Susan debarked, went down the stairs and stood on Swedish ground. She turned left and followed the fence to the big road.
  It was really big, three lanes in each direction and a train track. And of course the traffic lights were red. Finally they turned green and Susan crossed the large street very quickly. If you were slow, the lights changed again and you were caught in the middle. Susan stopped outside the town hall. It looked as if it was built from giant LEGOs, but in a pretty way. As always she patted the big, black naval mine outside the town hall. Its many horns gave it a look not unlike some strange udder. Her granny had told her that it was placed there as a memorial for WWII together with a relief depicting some men and a boat. For Susan this was something that had happened long, long ago, but it had become almost a ritual for her to pat the mine whenever she passed it. Having done that she sauntered up towards the loomig tower at the end of the street. The tower stood on its hill; a heavy, squat figure contrasting with the elegant towers, bows, buttresses and fountains supporting and flanking the staircase leading up to it.
  Today Susan did not climb the staircase to the medieval tower, instead she turned left into the central shopping street of the town. Her target was the ice shop a few houses down the street. She studied the price list and counted the coins in her purse. Yes, she had enough for a big soft ice, and even more left over. Mum had been in her generous corner. She ordered a big vanilla-and-pear ice cream in a cone and admired the way the soft green and white waves of icecream crossed and doubled back before finally taking the first delicious bite. While licking and biting the ice cream, she continued down the pedestrian street. Many different shops tried to tempt her into using her money, but most sold either clothes or groceries or jewellery. Not really tempting. When she reached the small square, she turned back, ice almost eaten. She considered going into the big shop just to ride the escalator up and down again and buy some candy, but then again. This was a special trip. She wanted to buy something lasting, not only Swedish candy - even if it was tastier and cheaper than its Danish counterpart.

Part 2

tirsdag den 26. januar 2021

Words for Wednesday - 27 January 2021

This meme was started by Delores a long time ago.  Computer issues led her to bow out for a while.  The meme was too much fun to let go, and now Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast.

  Essentially the aim of this meme is to encourage us to write.  Each week we are given some prompts. These prompts can be words, phrases, music or images.
  What we do with those prompts is up to us:  a short story, prose, a song, a poem, or treating them with ignore...
  We can use some or all of the prompts, and mixing and matching is encouraged.

  Some of us put our creation in comments on the post, and others post on their own blog. This fun meme includes cheering on the other participants.
  And the more the merrier goes here as well, so if you are posting on your own blog then please tell us in the comments, so that all other participants, can come along and applaud.

And at long last I've found out that if I publish my posts at 13.00 my time, this means it will be published as the first time zone hits Wednesday. And thus it IS Wednesday now - at least in New Zealand!


And / or


And/or this photo

Have fun.

New Blogger - A Rant

  I do not only have a personal blog. I also have one for the small trimonthly paper I'm an editor of. And on the blog of this magazine I have a page containing a monthly text. Now it's high time to create the 2021 page and archive the old one.
  I ran into one of Bloggers peculiarities here.
  As I have to put the texts in chronological order for the archives, as opposed to the "newest on top" format in the actual page, I always have to do a lot of copy-pasting. And I always have to go to the HTML to sort out some code after I'm done. Look what I found.

This is the archived page back from 2019 - when we still had old Blogger:

This is what the 2020 page looked like - one wall of text and code:

But - some say - use the Format HTML button. OK: It helps a bit, but it's not reliable. Look inside the red ring - the March text has not been sorted out.

... and I copy-pasted some code from 2019 archives to the 2020 ones. Nov look: Nice formatting in the top red ring where I pasted the codes from 2019, and not so nice in the lower ring, where I pasted some 2020 codes.
  It is not so tough when it is text only. But in some of the pages, I have photos as well, and finding the code for one picture in a wall of text and code is now a real pain in the lower part of my back, where before New Blogger it was tedious, but totally doable.
  End of rant. Blogger, please fix this ... and yes, I have given feedback on this.

mandag den 25. januar 2021

Poetry Monday :: Our Favourite Car

  Mimi of Messymimi's Meanderings and Diane of On the Border are taking turns supplying us with a topic for this weekly endeavour, sometimes with the help of others. They also write wonderful, funny, thought-provoking, ingenious or  honestly well written verse. Go and read.
  SpikesBestMate often publishes a nice verse in the comments, and helps out at topic supplying.
  Karen of Baking in a Tornado has joined us in this crazy pursuit, and promises us at least a poem a month - we hope for more.
  Jenny at Procrastinating Donkey is taking a break due to her husband's health issue and lately passing from this world. Let's continue to send warm thoughts, good energy, and lots of prayers her way.

  I have something more to ask of you: If you read this and the poetry of others, would you please leave a comment. Half - if not more - the fun of these challenges is receiving the responses of others

  I'm going to pass on this subject. Even though we had a car for many years - with yours truly as a competent and reliable driver - and I have driven halfways around the worlds in my youth. I never loved, or even liked to own a car. I feel so much more free now our driveway is empty, and my poem would be a bitter one, not suited for piublication.

Instead I am going to repeat post a poem about rain that I originally published in August 2018. It is even more relevant today except for the line on apples and berries of course. I tried substituting with things to be done in the fields this time of year, fences .. plowing, and all sorts of things, I do not know the name of in Danish, much less English. If you know some better words, please help.

It was rainy all day. I could hear it all night, as I lay in my bed.
Now everything's dripping and drooping, and dreary and wet.
The brooks are all leaping, the rivers all run.
Every field had its water, every straw had its drink.
But there's fields to be ploughed and harrowed, I think.
So please, pretty please, can we have back the Sun!

Our village green, where we go for sports, BBQ and play is swamped:
Next Mondays topic: Spunky, old and awesome broads. (which I hope Diane - or another kind soul - will please explain)

And for the next four Mondays:
Craziest Vacation Memory (February 8)
From Your Pet's Point of View (February 15)
Favourite Word that Starts With D (February 22)
Peanut Butter Day (March 1)

søndag den 24. januar 2021

Sunday Selections Again.

Now it is late Sunday evening. The green candle has burned down, leaving this ruin of a candle behind.

  Today was a good day, We had cakes. All the inhabitants of the Owlery went for walks or a bike ride as they liked. It was cloudy and cold, but no frost and no wind. A lot of people were out walking the streets in and around our little village.
  MotherOwl remembered to bring the camera, and found this:
  Eranthis, the iconic Danish "spring is on its way"-flower.
but spring is not around the corner yet, and thank Heaven for this. Winter will have to come first.

Here's a photo of the wild corner without snow:

Talking of the weather:
  This is the weather forecast for tomorrow and Tuesday. Typical, Danish "winter" just above freezing, cloudy, rain or sleet and wind.
   Add to this the info below. Length of day: 08:06 hours. Sunrise 08:19 and Sunset 16:26. And you get some depressing days - remember we already have more than an hour extra day compared to winter solstice.
  December 2020 was a record month. Denmark had an average of 16.6 hours of sunshine. But in Gribskov (the municipality where we live) we had 9.4 - less than half an hour a day. We have to go back to 1956 to find a lower number (8.6). As a comparison. January, today included gave us 29.7 hours of sunshine.
  The forecast for the rest of this week says frosty nights and above 0 at day, little to no snow and rather windy. Also typical.

Sunday Selections

The past week or two we have had Winter, November and Winter again. Here's a couple of crazy photos.

De seneste par uger har vi haft vinter, novembervejr og vinter igen. Her er et par billeder fra perioden.

Beginning with the fountain in snow.

-- ⛲ --

Det nye springvand i vinterdragt.

Jack Frost made his art on our bathroom window.

-- ❅ --


After many years a goldfinch is once again visiting our wild teasel. When we moved in, we had many of these birds visiting each winter and eating the seeds from the teasels. The goldfinches are the main reason why the prickly, dry teasels are left standing in our garden over the winter. And now they have returned ... or at least one of them has.

-- 🐦 --

Efter flere års fravær er der atter stillidser i vores kardeboller.  Da vi flyttede ind, var der hvert år mange stillidser, og de er hovedårsagen til at vi lader de stikkende afblomstrede kardeboller stå vinteren over. I år er der en efter flere år uden nogen overhovedet endelig en stillids i haven igen.

Nu hvor det almindelige kirkeår er startet, skulle vi jo have et grønt lys. Men det her lys opfører sig altså sært.

-- 🕯 --

Now that Ordinary Times have once again begun, we needed a green candle. MotherOwl bought one, but it is acting quite strange.

Stillidsen igen. Ugleungerne siger, at den ligner en Angry Bird!

-- --

The goldfinch once again. The Owlets think it looks like an Angry Bird.

torsdag den 21. januar 2021

En hel time - One Hour More

Uglemor ville lige tjekke, hvor meget dag mere vi har fået - og så er det allerede en hel time længere Jahuu. Til gengæld er goderne uretfærdigt fordelt. Morgenen har kun fået 19 minutter mere, mens aftenener er hele 45 minutter længere. Men det kommer.

MotherOwl wanted to look how much longer the day has grown. And today it is exactly one hour more! But there's no justice here, the morning has only gotten 19 minutes more while the evening took the lion's part with 45 minutes more. But we'll get there.


Jeg tog også et  billede fra min "Vejen hjem"-lygtepæl, så man kan nyde det herlige solskin vi havde i dag.
  Der er groet mange flere asketræer op, siden jeg sidst tog et billede her.

I also snapped a photo, resting at my usual "On my way home" lamppost. It is has become more overgrown since last I shoved photos from here, but the wonderful sunshine is still as lovely.

The Greenhouse - Part 3

This Wednesdays words:




And/or the saying: You can't have your cake and eat it!

I used only half of them, but then I also used the word I had left over from last Wednesday: labour.
It is a continuation of The Greenhouse I and II.
I'm quite certain it won't make it into my book if it is ever finished. It is just too strange.

The pressure of water against Susan's chest was overwhelming and her need to breathe could not be ignored much longer. Her ears were singing, not any longer with the waves of the ocean, but with the high pitched humming, that precedes fainting.
Tom looked at her: "Sorry! I forgot. It's not quite enough to hold my hand. Take this!" he said and pressed a Sjóblóm into Susan's hand. As she grasped the stem, she felt her body tingling from head to toe, and she opened her mouth wide open. After the first laboured breath, she drank in the water as were it pure, clean air.
"Sjóblóm!" Tom said, bubbles floating upwards from his mouth. "I'm surprised Tähti did not tell you more of the magical properties of this flower."
"She did not, or she might have told the others while I was getting the flowers, but I doubt it." Susan felt the bubbles tickling her cheek as they floated upwards.

Together they swam, surely further by far than the width and depth of the basin tit the greenhouse. Enormous sea weeds drifted slowly in the current of their making. sheets of green laver, forests of saw wrack and bladder wrack interspersed with stretches of green eelgrass rolled past them, then the water slowly grew darker and the larger seaweeds gave way to pillows of Irish moss and small colonies of corals in all the colours of the rainbow. Shortly after passing between two peculiar red clumps of corals, Tom stopped. Suddenly they were surrounded by a swarm of pipefish and seahorses. The pipefish all gave off high, shrilling notes. Susan felt like holding her ears. The biggest of the seahorses swam up to Tom, and Susan was surprised to see, that it was taller than Tom. The giant seahorse was covered in tiny platelets, Thousands and thousands of tiny platelets like an armour covered its body. And it had spines. Spines everywhere and of every conceivable colour. Susan knew that seahorses grew all their life. This seahorse had to be ancient beyond measure to be this big and spine-clad.
It spoke to Tom in shrill tones, more articulate than the pipefishes' piping, but still not a language Susan could hope to understand. Tom answered, listened, and answered again; then he asked something as far as she could hear. The big seahorse answered with a small, but piercing note.

"What was all that about?" Susan asked Tom, as he returned.
"The seahorse people need our help. I do not understand Littoral very well. I just hope I'm good enough to be of any help."
"You haven't forgotten that I'm a witch?" Susan asked. "I can cast a spell to make almost any language understandable. It is the very same Gilvi casts over the Farm every morning." She stopped talking "... but this means that we're outside Unicorn Farm here ... or that Littoral is not affected by the spell." She fell silent again. The big seahorse emitted some shrill sounds, and even without understanding the language, Susan understood the urgency and looked smilingly at the seahorse.

It spoke again in the strident, sibilant Littoral. But Tom slowly shook his head and said some words in the strange language. He turned to Susan. "Try your spell. He is using a lot of words I do not understand."
Susan drew her wand and concentrated. Clearly she spoke the Icelandic words and swished her wand. It did not work. "It's the water," Susan said. "It hampers my movements, and makes the swish into a slow movement instead."
The big seahorse came closer and said something. It was obvious to Susan that it spoke slowly, one word at a time. Tom answered. The seahorse looked at him and repeated the same three sounds over again. Susan tried the spell once more: "Mál sameinast!" she said loudly, as if trying to make up for the sluggishness of the water by being louder. It worked, partially at least. Suddenly she understood what the seahorse meant. She turned to Tom. "I think it wants us to eat the Sjóblóm."
"Yesss!" the seahorse said clearly. "Yessss ... Eat ... Bloom".
"No!" Tom said. "If we eat the flowers we grow. When we grasp the sjóblóm by the stem and dive into the water, we turn small, smaller than a seahorse, and we can breathe the sea water. If we eat the flowers, we keep our normal size, and can breathe the seawater for a limited time only." He turned to the sea horse: "No good. We grow too big!" and he added some words in Littoral as well.
The seahorse nodded slowly. Then it went over to Susan and looked her in the eyes. It spoke to her, a mixture of Littoral and Danish streamed from it. It repeated over and over until Susan understood and repeated slowly "I crush the flower, keep the stem in my hand and put the crushed flower on my wand. Yes?" "Yes!" The seahorse nodded emphatically. "Flower Crush ... Wand Move!" Susan did not linger. Quickly she stripped the flower from the stem, crushed the petals in her hand and drew her wand back and forth through the mashed flower. "Now. Spell!" the seahorse said. Susan clenched the stem in one hand while she swished the wand through the language spell. "Mál sameinast!" she said as her wand swished unimpaired through the water. And the usual mosquito sound was in her ears. The seahorse spoke again, and now it sounded like ordinary words, even if Susan still if she tried could hear the sibilant tones of Littoral behind them.
"Thank you." it said and turned to Tom: "Do you know how many timess I've watched you sswimming thesse waterss?" Tom shook his head. "And how many timess have you spoken to my people before today," the Seahorse continued. "But today you finally brought another one with you, a female even. Will you help us?"
"If we can and may." Tom answered, "We cannot help you against our conscience. What is your need?"
"It'ss the Sea Mother. She iss dying, or rather fading. She iss, or was, human like you once. She needss to ssee humans now and then to remember what it'ss like to be human. She needss the sservice of her own kind."
Susan thought back to the Christmas party and asked: "Is it like the old tales from Greenland? The tales of the Sea Mother with all the animals of the sea bound in her hair. And the young heroes that swim down and comb her hair to let the fishes and seals and whales out of her hair?"
"Yess," the seahorse said. "Ssomething very like thiss iss what I want to assk you."
"Do we have to comb her hair?" Susan asked.
"No," the seahorse said. "It'ss something both eassier and harder I have to demand from you. You, little girl, you need to sstand naked in front of the Sea Mother. Only thuss can her memory and ssanity be restored."

Susan swallowed. "Is she ... , no, that's not what I mean. ... Please tell me a little more."
"There'ss little to no rissk in it for you," the seahorse said. "But for uss it's a question of life and death. Tom here has kept us alive by throwing sjóblóm into the basin for a long time."
She looked at Tom. "Did you know about this?" she asked.
"No, I did not. I did not know about the Sea Mother at all. I ... have felt like something or someone looked at me. Sometimes. When I was swimming in here. But my stays in this water have always been a pleasure. I have always returned a wiser man. I never dreamt .." his voice faded. "I promise to turn my back and not look. I won't make this any harder for you, Susan. Please forgive me for bringing you here." He turned away, but not before Susan saw his face turn all red.
Strangely touched and assured by Tom's obvious confusion and plight, Susan looked at the Seahorse. "I will do it," she said. "Please lead the way to the Sea Mother."

The seahorse turned around and spoke to the pipefish in Littoral, so fast that only a few of the words were intelligible for the two humans.
The pipefish rearranged themselves, making it clear which route they should take. And they followed the giant seahorse between two rows of noisy, softly jubilant pipefish.

They swam into a clearing, bordered by white and red patterned corals and big globules of Irish moss in intricate patterns. Suddenly Susan realized that most of the red and white corals were not corals at all, but camouflaged seahorses. Then her eyes fell on the giant Sea Mother and she forgot about all the other wonders of this underwater world.

The Sea Mother was not a human being, or rather she was more than a human being. Her skin was pale silver, shimmering like fish scales, because it was scales. Thousands and other thousands of tiny scales close together covered her skin. Her hair was made out of filaments of red and green seaweeds and swayed and drifted slowly in the current. She was clothed in scales, or maybe it was her skin. Susan could not see where her skin-scales ended and the dress-scales began, but a dress, kind of anyway, fell from her middle, silver shining in all the colours of a broken rainbow whenever she moved. Her face was beautiful and ugly at the same time, the scales gave it a strange, inhuman look, but the sea green eyes looked like ordinary eyes only now empty and old. Her upper appendages, or arms were like the arms of a squid, yet with human elbows and wrists, She held a long, straight rod of pure white corals in one hand.

The giant seahorse bowed, and Tom and Susan did the same, carefully so as not to get off balance in the water. Then Tom sat down on a boulder turning the back to the Sea Mother and Susan, while Susan took off her skirt and her green tunic and folded them nicely, a task made difficult by the water and currents. Then she pulled off her undergarments as well and placed them on the skirt. She put a stone on top of it all to keep it in place and then she waited for the Seahorse to do his bit.
"Dear Sea Mother." he said. "I am here today to bring you a guest from the surface world from whence you came."
"Did I?" she asked. Her voice was sweet and ancient, yet strong and clear. "I do not remember. Who are you?"
The seahorse said its name - a hissing, sibilant string of tones and sounds in Littoral, that the spell did nothing to translate. And satisfied the Sea Mother turned her green eyes to Susan: "What is your name, strange being?" she asked in a friendly voice.
"My name is Susan." she answered truthfully.
"Are you a female of your species?"
"Yes I am," Susan answered a bit surprised.
"I once was like you," the Sea witch said dreamingly, her eyes turning darker, sadder, but more present. "I was a girl like you. I lived in a small village, and I was an apprentice to the witch there. I was on my way to ... somewhere, when I came here .... Those are some of my last memories."
"What is your name?" Susan asked.
"That is one of the things, I have forgotten." The Sea Mother answered. "And each morning I awaken with more holes in my memory. I need to shed many years' worth of sea-growth."
"All right your Majesty," Susan said, but the Sea Mother interrupted her: "Don't call me that! I'm not a queen or some such. I am a witch like you. Only one living under the sea."
"All right, Sea Mother. Look at me and heal." Susan said, as the seahorse had instructed her.

The Sea Mother looked at Susan, and as she looked, her arms grew more arm-like, the billowing skirt became more like a skirt and less like an extra skin. Shortly the Sea Mother looked like an older, more grown up version of what Susan always had imagined mermaids to look like. Not with split fish tails, but humans with fish scales for skin. Her hair was still seaweedy, but now browner and coarser than the red and green strands earlier. "My name is Adele," she said. "Now I remember. I was a witch-apprentice in the town of Borse. I was on my way home from my last exam. Then I ate a Sjóblóm on the day of the blue moon and I turned into a Sea witch, a Sea Mother if you like. Over 400 years ago.
During alll those years my body had changed. It happened gradually. I grew gills to breathe, scales to protect my skin, appendages covered my arms. And so on, and so on. I turned into the thing you saw when you arrived. But I had grown too far from my original form. I did no longer remember how it was to be human. And I have to remember to be the Mother of the sea; to hinder the storms from blowing too violently and to let the fish grow for the fishermen to catch."
"Thank you, my child. Thank you for giving me back myself and my humanity. You may dress again." Susan pulled on the wet clothes, it was hard work as anyone ever trying to put on wet clothes will know, and she was happy to be wearing the school uniform of Unicorn Farm, and not trousers.

When she was done, and Tom had once again turned around, the Sea Mother gave each of them a small coral from the biggest cluster. "Before you return to the surface, I have this tiny gift for you. This is a special form of marine life," she continued. "It cannot do much, but it has some protective properties, and I foresee that you will need those in times to come. And Susan, keep that stone of yours in your pocket always. It might be even better than my gift. And one last thing. If you ever desperately need help from the sea, throw that little piece of coral into the waters. It will be recognized by sea people everywhere."

tirsdag den 19. januar 2021

Words for Wednesday - 20 January 2021

  This meme was started by Delores a long time ago.  Computer issues led her to bow out for a while.  The meme was too much fun to let go, and now Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast.

  Essentially the aim of this meme is to encourage us to write.  Each week we are given some prompts. These prompts can be words, phrases, music or images.
  What we do with those prompts is up to us:  a short story, prose, a song, a poem, or treating them with ignore...
  We can use some or all of the prompts, and mixing and matching is encouraged.

  Some of us put our creation in comments on the post, and others post on their own blog. This fun meme includes cheering on the other participants.
  And the more the merrier goes here as well, so if you are posting on your own blog then please tell us in the comments, so that all other participants, can come along and applaud.




And/or the saying: You can't have your cake and eat it!

Have fun.

mandag den 18. januar 2021

Poetry Monday :: Winnie the Pooh

  Mimi of Messymimi's Meanderings and Diane of On the Border are taking turns supplying us with a topic for this weekly endeavour, sometimes with the help of others. They also write wonderful, funny, thought-provoking, ingenious or  honestly well written verse. Go and read.
  SpikesBestMate often publishes a nice verse in the comments, and helps out at topic supplying.
  Karen of Baking in a Tornado has joined us in this crazy pursuit, and promises us at least a poem a month - we hope for more.
  Jenny at Procrastinating Donkey is taking a break due to her husband's health issue and lately passing from this world. Let's continue to send warm thoughts, good energy, and lots of prayers her way.

  I have something more to ask of you: If you read this and the poetry of others, would you please leave a comment. Half - if not more - the fun of these challenges is receiving the responses of others

This week Diane is asking us to honour "Winnie-the-Pooh Day" which is today. He is not a favourite of mine, I think I was too old when first I read the books. But I am a fan of the poems. Today this one is appropriate:

The more it snows, tiddely-pom,
The more it goes tiddely-pom
The more it goes tiddely-pom

And nobody knows, tiddely-pom,
How cold my toes tiddely-pom
How cold my toes tiddely-pom

And all this snow poetry reminds me of a poem by R.L. Stevenson: Snow Time. If you do not know it, go to Lisa at Are We There Yet? and read it. I know this poem has been translated into Danish. I am trying to find the translation, but as far as I have been able to find out it has only been published in the Pixi book Legeland (no. 117) from 1967. I can't get this book from the library because of you-know-what, and of course I can't buy it anywhere either.

Here's my Danish translation. I'm excited to see how it compares to the Pixi-book version, when I find it.


Først sent står vintersolen op,
en gyldenhåret dovenkrop,
der skinner et par timer kun
for at forsætte så sit blund

Og førend stjernen går sin vej,
før morgengryet, vågner jeg
Og frysende, på bare tæer
klæder jeg mig på ved lampeskær

Jeg sidder tæt på ilden tit
tør mine frosne lemmer lidt.
Så i en rensdyrslæde går
det rundt i verden udenfor.

Før jeg går ud, blir jeg klædt på
får vanter jakke, hue på.
Og vinden svider snart min kind
snor sig som rim i næsen ind

Mod sneen hvid står sorte skridt
min ånde blæses hid og did.
Og træer, huse, hegn og mur
ser ud som kager med glasur.

Next Mondays topic: Our favourite car