Last night I finished a book called “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness, I won’t say this is a review per se because it really isn’t – but I would say it is more of a little chat about the characters.
I felt that this book was a huge tear jerker, it certainly got my eyes watering in parts – as for the monster, well to me the monsters in this book aren’t what you think they are, I think this book has a moral and that is “not everything is as it seems and don’t judge a book by its cover” you will misinterpret at the very beginning who the monster/monsters are, trust me, you will only find out in the ending chapters the truth of who the monster really is.
Because it is a twisty turning fabulous book, I won’t give you any spoilers other than what I have already said.
Now, about the characters, the main character is a boy named Conor who is going through a huge amount of trauma at the age of thirteen – but I am more interested in mentioning the supposed monster that comes to visit him at 12:07 every night – why skip the main character? Because he is just a human boy going through a bad time and I am more interested in the fantasy aspect of this book rather than the realism of it. The so-called monster is nothing more than a big brash ancient yew tree that comes alive like an ent from middle-earth to basically have a chat with the young boy and tell him a few stories. I loved this about the book because in the past ten years I have thought off and on about writing a novel about a tree that comes to life as well based on the Germanic folklore of the wood wives, the wood wives according to legend are beautiful female spirits of the forest who are also vampiric, basically vampiric faeries who turn into trees and bring trees to life amongst other things; I am also interested in the yew tree because it is very similar to the avenging birch tree from the short movie “The Birch” which again I believe could have been inspired by the ancient Germanic legend, the wood wives.
So if avenging wrathful trees are your thing, you know what to look out for. I got this book from the library but I have bought a copy along with the DVD from Ebay because I just find it absolutely fabulous! The movie stars Liam Neeson and Sigourney Weaver.
The Kappa – Yokai of Japan
Today’s Inktober is based on a Japanese demon known as The Kappa part of the Yokai demons, he lives in embodiments of water, rivers, lakes and ponds.
Kappas are renowned for their obsession and passion for cucumbers and therefore locals often give offerings of cucumbers at festivals to the kappa’s to keep them from becoming harmful to the villagers.
Kappas have a naturally forming dip at the top of their heads which constantly hold water, if the water was to be accidentally spilled out, the kappa can become extremely weak or die. It is said, if you are by an embodiment of water and you see a large aquatic humanoid which represents a human, frog and tortoise mixed together, sometimes they may seem like half duck and turtle that is a kappa and that if you do not have a cucumber to hand, this creature will either rape you anally and steal a part of your soul or tear your limbs apart as their second favourite form of food; So what do you do to ensure you are safe from this creature if you can’t give it an offering – you bow, these creatures are awfully polite and will bow back at you, spilling the water from their heads and rendering them helpless until they can top the water back up in its head giving you enough time to scarper! Despite how evil all of this sounds, it is also thought that Kappas aren’t always malevolent, in fact often times they can be benevolent and help people who go fishing, particularly if they have been appeased with a cucumber or two.
In old Tokyo many people believed that if you ate cucumbers before going fishing you could prevent an attack, but then this act was banned by law because it was seen to be provoking the kappas to attack all the more!
Yes today is the 5th day of Inktober and as you can see I have chosen a mermaid for my theme of the day!
Everybody knows what a mermaid is, but do you know what they are really like?
They aren’t what you see in Disney movies according certain world folklore and that’s for sure! They don’t go around singing at mortals and wishing they were humans and fall in love you know, well actually they do sing at mortals and when they do it’s a sign you really should block your ears and get out of that ocean and according to some legends, they do sometimes fall in love with mortals too, but it’s not all pearls and coral – oh no!
Mermaids from Ireland were called Merrows and they were supposed to be ugly creatures, with green hair, scales, and claws and were evil critters by all accounts. They had a penchant for falling in love with beautiful human men and would often kidnap them to take them into the sea to drown them so their spirit could live with them in the other realm or they would take on the appearance of a beautiful human woman and breed with him on land and disappear with or without her offspring and the groom.
In Russia they have the Rusalka which can be either benevolent or evil depending upon the individual, you could never tell what a Rusalka would be like if you saw one, so it was best to keep away from them. It is thought they were the spirits of young girls who were horrendously killed or had violent accidents, if their death was caused by a rape and a murder it was said that those would be evil spirits to men, as any man who goes near her in her transformed self would be garrotted to death by her long hair! Sometimes women who are in danger would become protected by the Rusalka from any man nearby who is about to harm her!
The Fin Folk of Norway and the Orkney Islands were often considered using humans as slaves and they only way to escape them were to throw coins of silver into the sea to distract them as they loved silver a lot!
So, the next time you think that mermaids are sweet endearing ladies of the sea, with shrill beautiful voices and you fancy taking your chances to get romantically involved with one – think again!