Monday, March 22, 2010

© Eso Antons Benjamins, aka Jaņdžs

93 A Story of Clever John and Crazy Jane (2)

An old Latvian story retold. For the original see
3.A.327.B.460. A.K. Bramanis Rīgas apg. LP,V,36 (3,1).

The following links lead you to think of life with a different entry point in time than the machines that we have made to roar around us enter us in. I recommend you listen and see the links in the sequence as below before reading the story.

The Second Leg of the Journey. After she was done chopping heads, the Mother of the Devil was out of breath and took a rest. This was time enough for the seven brothers to jump out the window of the hay barn and run to the stall for their horses. They then rode like hell was on fire. The boots on the horse of Clever John carried him to the head of the pack.

Half-way home though, Clever John had an idea. He reigned in his horse and waved for his brothers to stop.

“Good brothers,” said Clever John, “we are out of danger. The Mother of the Devil will not catch up with us now. But you know, I have not seen the Sun come out once today. And it has been raining without a stop. Let us go visit the Sun and ask her why She did not come up on Johns Day. Maybe something is wrong”.

“Are you crazy, man?” All the six brothers spoke as one. “We just escaped from the Mother of the Devil and are lucky to be alive. We want to go home.”

“I am smart—as always,” answered Clever John. “I saved you your lives once, and I will save them again. Trust me. Let’s go. It will be alright.”

“You are crazy all the same,” the brothers retorted again in unison. “You promised us brides, and here we are still bachelors. You have no more smarts in your head than the black behind your nail. We are riding home. Who knows where those crazy boots on your horse will take you.”

So it happened that Clever John continued his journey through the world on his own. His horse seemed to know where it was he was to go. They rode on for a while. After a while Clever John decided that it was enough for the day, so he stopped. He took the boots off his horse, tied its ankles to each other, and then found himself a hay stack to sleep through the night.

The next day, after he had dressed his horse and they had traveled to about midday, they came to a tall pine not too far from the road.

At the tip of the pine tree sat a raven and cawed: “Where you going, Clever John?”

“I am riding to ask the Sun why this is the second day that she is not shining,” answered Clever John.

"Ai, be so good, Clever John, and ask the Sun for how long am I going to be tied to this tree.”

Clever John continued on his journey. On the following day he came to a sea. He saw a big fish there. One side of the fish was tied to the shore, the other side was bathed by the sea.

The fish spoke up and said to Clever John: “Where you going, Clever John?”

“I am riding to ask the Sun why this is the third day that she is not shining,” answered Clever John.

“Ai, be so good, Clever John, and ask the Sun when she will untie me from the sea and the shore.”

On the fourth day Clever John came to a river. To his surprise, he saw Crazy Jane standing up to her knees in the river with a bucket in her hand. As soon as Crazy Jane had filled the bucket, she poured it out again. She did it tirelessly, bucket after bucket.

“I was wondering what happened to you, Jane,” said Clever John. “What are you doing here? I thought that you were dead.”

“The Devil’s children have ways of coming to life again,” answered Crazy Jane. “I will tell you as it is. This is my punishment from my mother for trusting you with her and my secrets. Where you going, Clever John?”

“I am riding to ask the Sun why this is the fourth day that she is not shining,” answered Clever John.

“Ai, be so good, Clever John, and ask the Sun when she will allow me to stop bailing water?”

By the fifth day, Clever John arrived to the Sun Mountain and rode up as high as the mountain was. No guards stood at the gate. There were just the usual bells at most gates and other entrances. One has to shake them themselves. Clever John rang the bells.

The Sun came to meet Clever John Herself. She brought him to sit in a large chair and put around his shoulders a thick coat of a black bear fur. After just a few minutes Clever John was perspiring as if he was a rain cloud. To help him, one of the daughters of the Sun brought him a glass of lemonade.

The Sun asked the first question: “Clever John, where are you going? It is five days since the skies are cloudy, and I cannot see what is happening on Earth.”

“That is what I came to ask you about,” answered Clever John. “You just stuck out a few rays on Johns Day morning, and then went away. We were sad to see the rains come.”

“Oh, I know, I know,” answered the Sun. “But clouds also have their place. Your brothers seemed hardly concerned whether I rose in the morning or not. Perhaps the weather will clear up by tomorrow.”

“Thank you, Mother Sun,” said Clever John. “The raven asked me to ask you for how long must he be tied to the pine tree.”

“As long as it is necessary,” answered the Sun. “He will be tied to the tree as long as the room cleaner’s child lies dead and unburied there. Once the child is buried, the raven is free to go.”

“Thank you, Mother Sun,” answered Clever John. “The great fish wants to know for how long she will be tied to the sea and the shore?”

“That will be a long time,” answered the Sun. “It cannot be any other way. However, if you know of a way to untie it, then go ahead.”

“Thank you, Mother Sun,” answered Clever John. “Crazy Jane, the Mother of the Devil’s own daughter, wants to know for how long she must bail the river.””

“That can be an endless task,” answered the Sun. “She must answer the question why she stole from her father his boots and gave them to you? If you return them to her, she is free to go, none the worse for the wear.”

Clever John is sweating under the bear mantle. As soon as the Sun finishes speaking, Clever John springs to his feet and with many bows to toward the Sun, he leaves the court going through the gate backwards.

Clever John’s last words to the Sun are: “Thank you again, Mother Sun, for receiving me.”

Clever John then jumps on his horse and makes it down Sun Hill as fast as the horse can. At the foot of the hill, Clever John is so exhausted that he decides to spend the night where he is. The mantle of the black bear now comes in handy.

The following day, Clever John meets Crazy Jane again. He takes the boots of his horse and hands them to her. “The Sun said that if I gave these back to you, you are free to go.”

“No, I want the other pair, too,” said Crazy Jane. She makes Clever John take off his horse the other pair of boots it is wearing as well. As if by magic, Clever John discovers that he is standing in his bare feet now, not much of prince anymore.

Crazy Jane thanks Clever John. “Clever John,” she tells him, “I love you this moment more than ever. If you ever need my help, just call my name, and I will come running.”

That same day Clever John comes to the sea and the great fish. He pats the fish on the back, gives it a hug, and whispers into her ear mystical numbers and magic words.

The fish thanks Clever John. “Clever John, if you ever need my help just call me, and I will come swimming.”

Clever John meets the raven next. He looks for and finds under the pine tree the body of the unburied child. He buries it. The raven flies off, cawing after her: “Clever John, if you lever need my help just call me, and I will be there.”

(Next blog is the third part of Clever John’s journey.)

Asterisk & Notes of Interest:
On  material depravation in Latvia.
On the theme of “more-equal-than-others”, see Orwell's "Animal Farm".
A recommended read: “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” by Emmanuel Goldstein (A book within a book from George Orwell's "1984").  
Of great interest to me is this and like articles  . It presents some of my reasons for supporting the growing of Johns Grass in Latvia.

These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.
Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum –ONLATVIANPOPULISM vs LATVIJASLABEJIE. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and  

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