Fairy Tale Field Notes: Clever Else

10.05.18 Yellow Rythmic Sun

To begin, a full transcript to Clever Else can be read here.

Three worlds, lower, middle, upper, this tale traverses, starting in the confined bowels of the heroine’s, Else’s, father’s cellar where she’s dispatched to return with beer.  Have you ever been in a cellar?  When we’d go to Iran during the summer months on visits to my paternal family, the cellar is where we’d descend to endure bomb raids.  It was while the Iran – Iraq war was happening, eight long years, the sirens would whine and we’d be on our way down below waiting for the crashes and booms to subside.  When we’d return upstairs, sometimes windows would be blown out, shattered glass strewn about, out on the streets rubble and blasted bits of stone wall, soldiers moving bodies, people picking through the remains.  The cellar was not only used as sanctuary from bombings, it was also where my granny washed the clothes in a giant cauldron atop a fire, then she’d rinse them in the pond outside and hang them up to dry.  The cauldron was also used to cook butter and flour mixed with spices and sugar, the fragrance mouth watering, rising upstairs with the promise of warm, tasty melt in the mouth morsels.  Yet, the only time we’d be allowed into the cellar, her domain along with her trusty manservant, Hodgee Podgee, was during the bombings, and while it should have been terrifying it was not; it was magical and extremely exciting to get to see what was down there, not by peeking in through the upstairs door for a stolen glimpse of flickering light but while being down there in it . . . and the key here, as far as place goes, is a cellar is down there, down, below, underground, dug out of the earth, an underworld, a lower place, a place dark and shadowy, definitely not an everyday place but purposed, often to food and beverage storage and the practice of ancient arts bubbling in cauldrons, spiced with mystery and a sense of the unknown that tantalizes the taste buds with wonder. Continue reading



There is a place called home, far away from Rome, from where we roam and return.

Season’s turning and the garden we seeded and grew this year is drawing near to close.  It gave of itself as a place of pleasure, work and leisure, medicine food and flowers, sitting with butterflies for hours, crooning bees, earth stained knees, and now it’s going to seed. Continue reading


Rainmaker dances, a wild electric dance, she courts thunder to come clap alongside her, she calls her sisters to join her trance.

There are four rainmakers dancing, their electric hair streaming wildly white, black eyes flashing as feet pound minty music.

The sound of rain pouring comes, thunder claps loudly, and black clouds roll their eyes.  They blink and tears stream down, showering daily.

Grasses lay on their side beaten, thunder rattles raising rooftops until the hairs on Mothers arm stand on end. Continue reading

What The Rose Did . . .

What the Rose did to the Cypress, A Persian Tale from The Brown Fairy Book, by Andrew Lang, [1904]

Once upon a time a great king of the East, named Saman-lalposh, had three brave and clever sons—Tahmasp, Qamas, and Almas-ruh-baksh. One day, when the king was sitting in his hall of audience, his eldest son, Prince Tahmasp, came before him, and after greeting his father with due respect, said: ‘O my royal father! I am tired of the town; if you will give me leave, I will take my servants to-morrow and will go into the country and hunt on the hill-skirts; and when I have taken some game I will come back, at evening-prayer time.’ His father consented, and sent with him some of his own trusted servants, and also hawks, and falcons, hunting dogs, cheetahs and leopards. Continue reading

Bit Bit

And just like that, after painting Wood Duck last month, two have returned to the pond to paddle.  Not for long though, as our dog flushes them out and they wing up through cloudy skies, circling round and round to see whether we’re gone.  Every year they come from wherever they’ve been to shape a nest in the woods to lay eggs in; once hatched we’ll see the whole family paddling, ducklings behind mama and papa until dog gives chase and with a flap and a flurry, into the trees they go.



Is it winter as yet?  Sure smells, tastes, and feels like spring.  Three days of rain and the creek flows clearly sweet, burbling and gurgling.  Continue reading


It’s that time of year.  Time for a new broom to ribbon and anoint before sweeping through our rooms.  Give me a broom over a vacuum any day.  I love brooms with their long wooden handles and bundled grassy heads.  We get ours from the farmers coop, where you’ll see truckbeds filled with broomcorn, really a grass related to sorghum, after harvest in the autumn.  They’re beautiful, long stalked with feathery sprays as tops that range from purplish to maroon to creamy and dusky rose.  Continue reading