Wednesday, 27 June 2007

The Feather of Bright Finist the Falcon (2)

Photograph by Yvonnik Lhomer

This is the version found on Wikipedia.

A merchant asked his three daughters what they want him to bring them from the fair. The older two ask for dresses or shawls, but the youngest wants either the feather of Finist the Falcon or a red flower. In some variants, he went to the fair twice, able to bring back what her older sisters had asked for, but not hers, but she did not vary her request.

In the third or first visit, he found the feather, or else found the flower and must promise that his daughter will marry Finist the Falcon for it. Whether the flower or the feather, the thing brought Finist the Falcon to her at night, and he wooed her. If she was given the flower, he gave her a feather that would magically aid her. Her sisters discovered the visit; they might have spied, or she may have appeared in finer clothing, from use of the feathers, than they knew she had, or she may have appeared in church as a strange woman (like Cinderella at the ball) because of her rich clothing, and not hidden it quickly enough when she returned home. Once they became suspicious, they often listened and, hearing a man's voice, tried to persuade their father that their sister had a lover, but failed.

However they discovered it, the sisters put knives in the window, so that he was injured. He said that she must search for him to find him, which would wear out three pairs of iron shoes, and three iron staves. He did not return. She set out to find him.

She finds a hut with a witch (sometimes referred to as a Baba Yaga), who gives her a gift (such as a silver spinning wheel and a golden spindle), and sends her on to another witch. This witch gives her another gift (such as a silver dish and a golden egg), and sends her on to yet a third witch. This one gives her a third gift (such as a golden embroidery frame and a needle that sewed of itself), and sent her to the castle where Finist was to marry.

In some variants, she found someone trying to wash the blood from Finist's shirt and washed it herself. In all, she managed to trade the witches' gifts to the bride to let her stay a night with Finist. The princess either put a magical pin in his hair to keep him asleep or gave him a sleeping draughter; the third night, either Finist is warned not to drink the draught, or the pin falls out. He woke and knew her.

In some variants, he asked the nobles whom he should marry: the woman who had sold him, or the woman who had bought him. They agreed the woman who bought him should have him.

In other variants, she went home to her father. When he and her sisters went to church, she dressed finely and went with Finist, and her sisters came back with stories of the prince and princess who came to church. The third time, her father saw the carriage stopped at his own door, and the daughter had to confess. She married Finist.

Otherwise here are longer versions of the story

The Feather of Bright Finist the Falcon

As a child I was fascinated by fairy tales. One year, Father Christmas bought me tales from all over the World.

The book from Africa was especially strange as, due to a printing mishap, one out of two pages were blank and I couldn't understand any of the stories. I thought it was due to some kind of secret magic. As of today, tales from Africa make me slightly nervous at first (must be a trick from my reptilian brain). But through this I learnt that you sometimes find mistakes in books. Much later I found out that fairy tales are meant to be told rather than read.

Shalabhajinka (tree spirit) - Bhubaneshwar (Orissa)

Stories from India disconcerted me at first. Especially the ones where at some point two people go to sleep in the forest, have they heads chopped off by a twist of fate, and some goodwilling passer by tries to tidy up the mess but puts the wrong head on the wrong body. I guess this is the root for my political conciousness. As of today I'm still intrigued and thrilled by India and trying to understand their Gods but wouldn't like to wander alone in a forest over there.

I loved the Arabian tales. "The Arabian Nights" was beautifully translated into French in the 18th Century by Antoine Galland and my parents had an old paperback edition with a yellow cover and very soft paper, which I regularly stealed from the family bookshelves. I wished I could have been Sinbad the sailor and wondered about all these palaces hidden in the earth.

One of my favourite books however, was the book of Russian fairy tales, and my favourite story was "The Feather of Bright Finist the Falcon". This one made me cry night after night.

The other day I got this CD by Clarissa Pinkola Estes : "Warming the Stone Child". I was terrified by the stories, especially the one about Mother Moon disappearing in a dark bog. I realised I couldn't turn these stories into something else, yet. Then I found this white bird bead, so American and un-French in my favourite beadshop. It reminded me both about Acey's work on Raven and about my old friend Finist... of course one may say it is a version of the animal-fiancé, just like the Beauty and the Beast or Love and Psyché. Reading it again I found there was an embroidery motive... How interesting !

Illustration by Ivan Bilibin
From this blog

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Work in progress

This is what I'm doing for my June BJP page.
No Coyote in sight so far.

It just occured to me that if I turn the piece it looks like a woman having difficulty breathing. Like Chloé in the Boris Vian book "L'écume des jours", or my grandmother who died of TB or myself who had asthma as a child...

Sunday, 10 June 2007

My first Peyote Effort

This was my first Peyote stitch effort. It was taken from this Mountain Lion pattern by Emily Hackbarth.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

On second thoughts...

I did a nice drawing of a coyote near a fire. I cut some cloth. I began embroidering the coyote. It didn't work out. My technique is obviously not up to my ideas.

However it occurred to me that this is not what I want to do. Maybe I'll do a coyote next May. Or maybe I'll do a coyote just for me. In the meantime, I'll go half improvisationnal. Because following a pattern, feels like doing something dead.

So... I'm just doing flowers... for the moment... lol