Saturday, July 6, 2013

Eso's Chronicles 188/2 Clever John & Crazy Jane

Eso’s Chronicles 188/ 2
Clever John & Crazy Jane
© Eso A.B.

4 Dawn of Reality

Clever John explained: “Look, bros. The innkeeper is no angel. Indeed, I’ve heard it said that She is the Mother of the Devil himself. She is angry with you. You fell asleep last night and did not singing praises to her this the morning. She would as soon as….”(here Clever John drew a finger across his throat) “…do this to you”. “Her daughters are no ordinary barmaids as you may think. If they were ordered, they could as easily strangle as pet you.”

“What kind of idiots do you think we are?” replied the brothers. “Our brides purred us to sleep last night. They said they would be happy to marry us?”

“Yes, but that was the price to learn how little you honor their mother.”

The brothers thought that over. The truth dawned on them gradually. “Bros, we are into big doodoo,” said the oldest.

“Here is my plan,” began Clever John in an encouraging voice. “Listen! When the Mother of the Devil bids us good night, she will—just to fool us even more—give each one of us a kiss. She will also hand to each one of us a pillow. Those for her daughters will be white; the ones for us red.”

“Nothing wrong with that,” replied the brothers.

“But that is not all,” continued Clever John. “The Mother will instruct her daughters to sleep on the left side of the isle, while we sleep on the right side.”

Clever John then upturned one of the Devil’s boots he was taking to his mare, and shook out seven cream of milk candies. “These are for our brides,” Clever John said. “If they ask what they are, tell them it is a love potion. They will not mind. Just make sure they eat them. When they do, they will soon be snoring.

“When they are asleep, we will roll them to the right hand side of the isle. Then we will put our red pillows under their heads and put under our heads their white ones—that is if you want to live.”

Clever John looked around to make sure there were no spies, then invited his brothers to listen closely. Their eyes opened wide. They could hardly believe what they heard.

Later, as the brothers were sitting with the bacchantes and having a nightcap, the innkeeper finally came out of her room. Though she was dressed in a red dress, she hardly looked like the Mother of the Devil.  She gave everyone a kiss, gave each one of them a pillow, and bid them all a good night. Then she went back to her room.


The bacchantes and the seven brothers went to the hayloft. Everything happened as Clever John had said (which was only what Crazy Jane had told him). The bacchantes soon were asleep, but the brothers lay with one eye open.


A few minutes after midnight the hatch of the door to the hayloft creaked, and up the ladder climbed the innkeeper. This time she did look like the Mother of the Devil. In her hands she held an axe that was as big as a half moon. She did not waste time, but swung immediately at the heads of all who lay along the right side of the isle and had a red pillow under their head.”


In about a minute’s time, the Mother of the Devil had cut off the heads of all her daughters—including that of Crazy Jane.


After she was done, the Mother of the Devil let go a roar of relief. All seven brothers turned pale. But as soon as the innkeeper had gone back into the Inn, they all jumped out the barn window and run for their horses. They rode like hell was on fire. The Devil’s boots on the horse of Clever John carried him to the head of the pack. Of course, Crazy Jane was not with him, unless she held her head under her arm.


The brothers rode all night, and noted nothing amiss. But toward morning they, nevertheless, noted a strange thing. The night did not seem to want to end. There was no streak of light along the eastern horizon. They passed several farms, but heard no roosters crowing.


Then Clever John had one of his inspirational ideas.


He reined his horse and waved for his brothers to stop also.


“Listen, bros,” he said, “we are out of danger. The witch will not catch us now. But something else strange is going on. It is getting to about four o’clock in the morning, but there is no dawn. This is not how it is usually on Midsummer. As you know, at this time of year, the sky is bright as dawn all night even in the north. It might be a good idea for us to visit the Sun and ask her why she did not show on Johns Day, and why she still delays?”

“Are you crazy, bro?” asked all six brothers. “We just escaped from the Mother of the Devil and are lucky to be alive. We’re not going anywhere but home.”

“I am not crazy,” answered Clever John. “I am as smart as always. I saved you your lives once and may save them again. Trust me. Let’s go.”

“You are crazy all the same,” the brothers insisted. “You promised us brides, and here we are still bachelors. You have no more smarts than there is dirt behind your fingernails.”

5 The Second Adventure

Clever John continued the journey on his own. His mare, who he had named Rocinante  after the name of another famous mare, seemed to know where to go. After riding for a while,  Clever John decided he had done enough riding for the day. Since Midsummer is haying time, he took the Devil’s boots off Rocinante, tied her ankles, and found for himself a hay stack to sleep in.
The next day, after Clever John had dressed Rocinante and they had traveled until about noon, horse and rider came to a tall pine.

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

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

„Ai, be so good, Clever John, and ask mother Sun for how long will I to be tied to this tree.”

Clever John continued his journey. On the following day he came to a sea. He saw a fish as big as the sea itself.

The fish asked: “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 mother Sun when she will untie me from the shore and let me swim free?”

On the fourth day Clever John came to a river. To his surprise, he saw Crazy Jane standing in it up to her knees. She held a bucket with no bottom. As soon as Crazy Jane had put the bucket in the river, she pulled it out empty again. She did so tirelessly, bucket after bucket.

“I wondered what had happened to you, Jane,” Clever John addressed her when he had come close. “What are you doing? I thought that you were dead.”

“The Devil’s and the Sun’s children have ways of coming to life again,” answered Crazy Jane. “I will tell you how it is, Clever John. This is my punishment for trusting you with my mother’s secrets. By the way, where are you going?”

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

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

By the fifth day, Clever John arrived at the Sun Mountain and rode up as high as Rocinante would take him. They came to a castle that gave off light as if all by itself. No guards stood at the gate, but there were lots of towers with bells. Clever John shook them all

As if She knew he was at the gate, the Sun herself came to meet him. She was very kind. She brought Clever John a large iron chair and put around his shoulders the thick pelt of a black bear. After a few minutes Clever John was pouring water like he was a rain cloud. Steam rose from the chair. To help him endure his troubles, a black angel (so he could see her in the bright light) brought him a glass of lemonade.

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

“That is what I came to ask you about,” answered Clever John. “You stuck out of the clouds a few rays on Johns Day morning, but then went away. Everyone was sad to see you go.”

“I know,” answered the Sun. “But you all made me cry. You were not at all like the Latvians that I used to know.”

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

“As long as it is necessary,” answered the Sun. “She will be tied to it as long as  the child of the king’s chambermaid lies dead and unburied. Once the child is buried, the raven is free to go.”

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

“That will be a long time,” answered the Sun. “No fish can be larger than the sea. But if you know how to untie it, go ahead.”

“Thank you, Mother,” answered Clever John. “Crazy Jane wants to know for how long she must bail the river.”

“That may not ever end,” answered the Sun, “if she does not answer why she stole from her father his boots? But if you return the boots to her, she is free to go.”

Clever John was sweating unbearably. As soon as the Sun finished speaking, he sprang to his feet and with many bows and walking backward, he left the court. Once on the back of Rocinante, Clever John

rode down Sun Hill as fast as Rocinante could carry him. When he was finally out of the heat, Clever John was so tired that he decided to spend the night where he was.

To be continued.

Socialist Villages: Chinese concentration camps for Tibetans:


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