Κατηγορία: The doll and the horse

The broken woman (from «The doll and the horse»)

Here is the last chapter of the fairy tale embedded in the novella «The doll and the horse».


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

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

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

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

But she would do it in the best possible way: she broke herself into pieces and gave them various human forms so they could mingle with humanity. The transformed pieces of the red woman started then their journey down the slope in a magnificent row moving through the silence, a magical red chorus the misty mountain saw for the first and last time in its immortal life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Θρήνος και Νοσταλγία (Από το «The doll and the horse»)

Valentines Pictures-07

…Και με αυτή τη μέτρια ικανοποίηση αποφάσισε να επιστρέψει στο βασίλειό της στο βουνό, μα αυτή τη φορά για να ζήσει μόνη, αφού οι Αρχικοί της,  ζώντας πια μέσα στο αίμα των ανθρώπων, είχαν για πάντα χαθεί γι αυτήν.

Τότε όμως είχε την ξαφνική επιθυμία να ερευνήσει κάποιες πιο ιδιωτικές ανθρώπινες στιγμές.

«Γιατί να μη ρίξω μια ματιά μέσα στα σπίτια, πριν φύγω; Κανείς δεν θα δώσει σημασία».

Κι έριξε μια ματιά, και δύο και τρεις. Κι έριξε πολλές ματιές, γιατί εκεί, μέσα στα σπίτια, βρισκόταν όλο το θαύμα. Είδε πολλή Σκιά βεβαίως, πολύ πόνο και φόβο και σκληρότητα, όμως αυτό ήταν το αναμενόμενο. Το μη αναμενόμενο, και το πιο καταπληκτικό, ήταν εκείνη η μαγική σχέση ανάμεσα σε δύο άτομα, η εντελώς ελεύθερα επιλεγμένη, που είχε ήδη προσέξει στις αναφορές από το προηγούμενο ταξίδι: εκείνη η σύνδεση ανάμεσα σε δύο πρόσωπα που νοιάζονταν το ένα για το άλλο και περνούσαν μαζί όλα τα ωραία, μα και υπέφεραν μαζί όλες τις σκληρές τους στιγμές .  Η εξαιρετική αυτή ικανότητα φαίνεται πως είχε στο μεταξύ απρόσμενα αναπτυχθεί και εξαπλωθεί σε μεγάλο αριθμό σπιτιών. Η γυναίκα άνοιξε με χαρά το κόκκινό της φόρεμα για να νιώσει στην αγκαλιά της όλο εκείνο το ευλογημένο αίμα της αγάπης που έτρεχε στις φλέβες αυτών που αγαπιούνταν.

Μα η χαρά της δεν θα κρατούσε πολύ. Μετά από λίγο ανακάλυψε ότι αυτό το πιο πολύτιμο από όλα τα συναισθήματα, η αγάπη, ήταν επίσης η αιτία για τον μεγαλύτερο από όλους τους πόνους. Καμιά παρηγοριά δεν μπορούσε να μαλακώσει την αγωνία, να ελαττώσει το πένθος και να ελαφρώσει τη θλίψη του ανθρώπου που έχασε τον αγαπημένο του. Η κόκκινη γυναίκα δεν είχε φανταστεί ποτέ πως μπορούσε να υπάρχει τέτοιος πόνος. Και απελπίστηκε, γιατί δεν μπορούσε να κάνει τίποτα χωρίς συγχρόνως να μικρύνει την ίδια την ικανότητα για αγάπη, πράγμα που δεν σκεφτόταν καν.

Περιπλανήθηκε πολύ προσπαθώντας να βρει μια θεραπεία, ένα αντίδοτο γι’ αυτή την αρρώστια, την αρρώστια της πιο βαθιάς λύπης.  Καθώς περιπλανιόταν συνάντησε μια φορά ένα από εκείνα τα ιδιόρρυθμα ανθρώπινα πλάσματα, τους Ποιητές. Κοιτάζοντάς την με ενδιαφέρον, ο Ποιητής τη ρώτησε γιατί ταξίδευε μόνη.

«Οι αγαπημένοι μου είναι τώρα πια μέσα στις φλέβες των ανθρώπων», απάντησε εκείνη, πράγμα που έκανε τον Ποιητή να αναφωνήσει χαρούμενος:

«Θεέ μου, τι μεταφορά!»

Βρίσκοντάς τον έτσι πολύ παράξενο δεν του είπε τίποτα για το πρόβλημά της. Ωστόσο η συνάντησή τους της έδωσε μια ιδέα: να ακούσει με προσοχή τους ανθρώπινους μύθους, όλες εκείνες τις ιστορίες που είχαν πλάσει οι υπηρετούντες αυτή τη μυστηριώδη οντότητα, την Ποίηση. Και σε αυτές τελικά πράγματι βρήκε κάτι χρήσιμο: πρόσεξε ένα είδος ανακούφισης που είχαν εφεύρει οι λεγόμενες μάγισσες, σύμφωνα με το οποίο όταν μια δύσκολη κατάσταση δεν μπορούσε να ανατραπεί, υπήρχε η δυνατότητα να μαλακώσει με την προσθήκη μιας ειδικής παραμέτρου που θα την έκανε πιο ελαστική και υποφερτή.

Έκανε λοιπόν επίκληση όλης της δύναμης και όλης της φαντασίας της για να εφεύρει έναν τέτοιο καταλύτη, και μια νύχτα, μια πολύ ήρεμη νύχτα κοντά στο ηλιοστάσιο, ευλόγησε το ανθρώπινο είδος με ένα πολύ ιδιαίτερο δώρο – για την ακρίβεια δύο δώρα – που από τότε συνυπάρχουν  με την ανθρωπότητα διαρκώς: τους έδωσε τον Θρήνο και τη Νοσταλγία.

Έτσι κάθε φορά που ένας άνθρωπος πενθούσε για το χαμό αγαπημένου του μπορούσε να θ ρ η ν ή σ ε ι, που σημαίνει να εκφράσει δυνατά τον πόνο του και να κλάψει γοερά, ώστε να τον ακούσουν και να τον συνοδέψουν στο θρήνο και άλλοι, που θα θρηνούν επίσης για το χαμό είτε του ίδιου  είτε και κάποιου άλλου αγαπημένου. Αυτή η δυνατότητά μας, να εκφράζουμε και να μοιραζόμαστε το βαθύ πόνο από τον οποίο κανένα ανθρώπινο πλάσμα δεν μπορεί να ξεφύγει, αποδείχτηκε η μόνη ανακούφιση και σε μερικές περιπτώσεις ακόμα και το άνοιγμα για ένα μελλοντικό άγγιγμα  της αγάπης.

H Νοσταλγία από την άλλη εκπροσωπούσε ένα διαφορετικό είδος έκφρασης, πολύ πιο σιωπηλό, κι επίσης πιο πνευματικό και δημιουργικό. Αφορούσε το συναίσθημα που γεννιέται φυσιολογικά από μια βίαιη αναχώρηση ή εξορία, από αυτή την χωρίς τέλος δυστυχία που στην πραγματικότητα είναι παρόμοια με το χωρισμό από τους αγαπημένους, γιατί στις περισσότερες περιπτώσεις τον περιλαμβάνει. Σ’ αυτή την περίπτωση οι χωρισμένοι νοσταλγούν, που σημαίνει ότι θυμούνται κι αποζητούν ο,τι άφησαν πίσω, αλλά και μοιράζονται το συναίσθημα με άλλους που είναι στην ίδια μοίρα, πράγμα που το κάνει πιο μαλακό και σε κάποιες περιπτώσεις επίσης πολύ δημιουργικό. Από τότε η Νοσταλγία έχει επισκεφθεί μέσα στους αιώνες όχι μόνο μυριάδες ξεριζωμένους αλλά και  μυριάδες εγκαταλειμμένους, και στην πραγματικότητα κάθε ανθρώπινο πλάσμα, αφού το συναίσθημα αυτό δεν προκαλείται μόνο από το χωρισμό στο χώρο μα και από τον χωρισμό στον χ ρ ό ν ο, καταδικάζοντάς μας στην ουσία όλους σε μια εξορία.

Κι έτσι ο Θρήνος και η Νοσταλγία κατάφεραν ως ένα σημείο να ενώσουν τους ανθρώπους, με την εξωτερίκευση και το μοίρασμα της λύπης.

«Ήταν το καλύτερο που μπορούσα, αυτή η επιχείρηση Θήτα-Νι «, σκέφτηκε η γυναίκα εξαντλημένη -και με  διάθεση χιούμορ.

Και με ένα τσίμπημα νοσταλγίας τόσο για το βουνό της όσο και για τον κόσμο των ανθρώπων, πήρε επιτέλους το δρόμο για το σπίτι.


Young (From «The doll and the horse»)


She knew that the students’ supposed impatience to leave class was but a very superficial description of their temperament. Sometimes they were not at all impatient to leave. This was not only because they might not have any interesting place to go to, not even a convenient home out there. It was much more than that: youth has not the same sense of time as adults. Young, with those boundless, everlasting, extremely dangerous moments of theirs – the riding of motors, the consuming of drugs, the hard fighting – are entrapped in a special form of eternity. Young are immortal. Therefore, though sometimes clock minutes are everything to them, some others mean nothing. 


Gods… (From «The doll and the horse»)


The red woman couldn’t make out wether humans experienced Gods by apocalypse – because that was what they often said – or they discovered them or even just invented them. According to humans, Gods created everything – not only every doll and horse but everything with no exception – and could do everything, therefore people adored them, first on slopes and in the forests, afterwards  with primitive structures or sculptures aimed at gathering people around and finally in impressive constructions called temples. Some people believed in many gods (and goddesses), while others only in a few or just one. Concerning this, what was kind of amusing to the red woman was a special belief found in many god systems about a Trinity or a Troika, meaning three different aspects of the same God or alternatively three Gods complementary to each other.

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

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(Sort of) immigrants. (From «The doll and the horse»)

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Mimis the Mohican – who had nothing to do with a Mohican – was born and raised up in a mountain village half-hidden in a small gorge not far from Olympus. The sun touched the grey-stone-roofed houses only a few hours a day, during which Mimis liked to go for a ride with his horse. The horse, a forgotten beauty of a half-blood, was rather semi-wild compared to most horses fed and trained by humans: only a saddle and even that not always. Mimis and the horse used to gallop along the path and down the gorge into a narrow valley with a crystal clear river. A few years later Mimis moved to Kypseli to live with an uncle of his. When he returned to his village for holidays, his horse was no more there. Sold, or so he was told.

That rainy evening in the classroom however there was a different Mimis sitting at the desk beside the window. He was thinking primarily of pills and cannabis, a business he was introduced to not by some suspicious immigrants in his Athenian neighborhood but by his own family – his uncle and some other siblings. Moreover that different Mimis, firstly because of his dealing duty and secondly because he consumed himself some of the merchandized stuff, barely listened to the story about the doll, the horse and the woman, of which conceived  but only random phrases and a distant, uncertain picture of a horse running down a slope.

The teacher on the other hand knew nothing about Mimis and his horse, since most inhabitants of that adventurous, unexplored city had an actual “double life”: they owed a house in a country village, the village of their origin, in whose society a great part of their lives was still involved. Because of that teachers in Athenian schools usually knew but only half (if not less) about their students’ life. From that point of view native Greek students were about the same as non-native ones:  they were also sort of immigrants. 

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The birth of the doll (From»The doll and the horse»)


However she had no choice but to take over her centuries, therefore she started fabricating a simulacrum of herself:  a doll.

 In her very first attempt though with the –unknown to us – stuff, clumsy craftswoman as she was yet, she hurt her hand with the tool so badly she was forced to cut one finger off. Her blood then, which she saw with great surprise, spread all over the cave, turned into a cloth and wrapped around her pale body as a gown to be with her forever, a reminder of the involuntary wound.

The woman waited patiently until she recovered, then she finished the doll. The artifact, a smart, pleasant head on a flexible body, satisfied her, so she gave it life and the power of talking. As soon as the doll was animated she stared at the red woman (from now on we shall call her “red woman” because of the red gown), said “hello” in a vivid friendly manner and declared that, since all that blood had been spilt for her, she would always be loyal. However when she got out of the cave and looked around she felt Things in an unprecedented way, although of course she herself didn’t know it was unprecedented. What happened was that, as she was the first living being not ever co-existing with but born within the world, she brought along two new important-to-be features: the critical question about the world’s being or not really being and the controversial way in which every newborn looks at the world, which is admiring it because it is very o l d as much as because at the same time it is very n e w. 

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Language and its siblings (From «The doll and the horse»)

αρχείο λήψης

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

Language reproduced things and soon this gave humans the power of controlling time and space in a way unparalleled to anything before. But Language had also consequences: because it copied things it made them stronger and people were trapped within them. Soon some humans took advantage of this power and used it to manipulate others. Before long the woman saw (because of course she could see what humans couldn’t) a treacherous misleading entity, a deceptive two-faced spirit growing and getting strong and ironically stable (concerning its unstable nature) among people, always ready to betray and torture: it was Lie.

But Lie submitted soon to the principle of Contrast, thus creating in its turn two new siblings to Language: Truth (a very faint but strangely appealing entity who was recognized as the opposite to Lie) and Poetry. (A special higher Lie or according to others a special higher Truth). Poetry was a tremendously inspiring entity with whose help certain humans, the Poets, combined selected dolly and horsey elements in secret proportions, thus presenting a brand new world of ideal societies and persons.

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

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