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stories & fragments' Journal
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Date:2006-09-24 19:32
Subject:the imperial message

The Emperor, so it runs, has sent a message to you, the humble subject, the insignificant shadow cowering in the remotest distance before the imperial sun; the Emperor from his deathbed has sent a message to you alone. He has commanded the messenger to kneel down by the bed, and has whispered the message to him; so much store did he lay on it that he ordered the messenger to whisper it back into his ear again. Then by a nod of the head he has confirmed that it is right. Yes, before the assembled spectators of his death--all the obstructing walls have been broken down, and on the spacious and loftily mounting open staircases stand in a ring the great princes of the Empire--before all these he has delivered his message. The messenger immediately sets out on his journey; a powerful, an indefatigable man; now pushing with his right arm, now with his left, he cleaves a way for himself through the throng; if he encounters resistance he points to his breast, where the symbol of the sun glitters; the way is made easier for him than it would be for any other man. But the multitudes are so vast; their numbers have no end. If he could reach the open fields how fast he would fly, and soon doubtless you would hear the welcomehammering of his fists on your door. But instead how vainly does he wear out his strength; still he is only making his way through the chambers of the innermost palace; never will he get to the end of them; and if he succeeded in that nothing would be gained; he must next fight his way down the stair; and if he succeeded in that nothing would be gained; the courts would still have to be crossed; and after the courts the second outer palace; and once more stairs and courts; and once more another palace; and so on for thousands of years; and if at last he should burst through the outermost gate--but never, never can that happen--the imperial capital would lie before him, the center of the world, crammed to bursting with its own sediment. Nobody could fight his way through here even with a message from a dead man. But you sit at your window when evening falls and dream it to yourself.

-franz kafka

Date:2006-07-11 22:23
Subject:The Walrus and the Carpenter

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright--
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done--
"It's very rude of him," she said,
"To come and spoil the fun!"

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead--
There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."

"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"
"The night is fine," the Walrus said.
"Do you admire the view?

"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
I've had to ask you twice!"

"It seems a shame," the Walrus said,
"To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"The butter's spread too thick!"

"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.


Date:2006-01-10 10:35
Subject:archimedes' wife

this is the way i remember the story.

Archimedes was the greatest philosophy/alchemist/astronomer in the city. The king was tormented with anxiety over the purity of his gold. He summoned Archimedes and implored him to use his knowledge of metals to devise a method of testing the gold. Archimedes thought long and hard, he wandered the city streets and became covered with dust. At home he refused his meals, paced the rooms, annoyed the slaves and generally drove his wife to distraction. They went to bed, but archimedes could not sleep, he would get up and scribble at his desk and mutter to himself, and his poor wife could not sleep a wink either. On the third evening she could bear it no longer. 'Archimedes!' she cried 'for my sake, take a bath!'

So archimedes got into his hot relaxing bath, saw the water level rise, and the rest is classical.


Date:2005-05-23 14:24

the owl used to have the most beautiful voice of all the creatures in the world. at night, when the other birds slept, all the night-creatures brought gold and jewels to the owls to pay them to sing and make the night sweet.
one night, the full moon flew over the earth and heard the owls' song. 'what lovely voices you have!' exclaimed the moon, 'but tell me one thing; why do the animals bring you glittering treasure?' 'To pay for our song', said the owls haughtily. And the moon thought about this hard as she followed the night around the world.
The next time the full moon passed, she whispered a spell and sent the nightingale to earth. The nightingale began to sing in a loud clear voice, and the animals heard and were amazed at the beautiful sound. She sang all night for pure joy, and no one wanted to bring treasure to the owls any more.
As for the owls, they were so enraged they could not sing, only accuse the moon in harsh voices: 'who did this? who? it was you moon! you!'

story from bagpuss.


Date:2005-04-12 23:48
Subject:believe me...

wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near dawn
it was the nightingale, not the lark
that pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear;
nightly she sits in yon pomegranate tree.
believe me, love, it was the nightingale

Romeo & Juliet III, 5

1 tale|tell

Date:2005-01-21 18:33
Subject:The Corpse Bride

**blows dust off** I keep meaning to come by and post more, but you know how that goes. Read this while I was looking into the new Tim Burton movie, and I thought it was definitely worth sharing! I couldn't seem to find any other versions of the story, so it's all lifted from The Tim Burton Collective.

Background: The Corpse Bride is a story based on actual events that occurred in 19th century Russia, at a time when anti-semitism was widespread in eastern Europe. Very often bands of anti-semites would waylay a Jewish wedding party on their way to the wedding. And because the bride would be the one to bear future generations, she would be ripped out of the carriage and murdered.

She would then be buried in her wedding gown.

An old Russian Folktale: The Corpse BrideCollapse )

2 tales|tell

Date:2004-12-26 09:55
Subject:nicholas was

older than sin,
and his beard would grow no whiter
he wanted to die

the dwarfish natives of the arctic cavern did not speak his language
but conversed in their own twittering tongue, conducted incomprehensible rituals
when they were not actually working in the factories

once every year
they dragged him, kicking and protesting, into endless night
during the journey he would stand near every child in the world
leave one of the dwarfs' invisible gifts by its bedside
the children slept, frozen into time

he envied Prometheus and Loki
Sisyphus and Judas
His punishment was harsher;

by neil gaiman, from the collection Smoke and Mirrors


Date:2004-12-03 09:20
Subject:i fear the greeks, even when they bring gifts

The son of Catreus, king of Crete. When an oracle foretold that Catreus would be killed by one of his own children, Althoemenes emigrated with his sister Apemosyne to Rhodes. Here he founded a town called Cretinia, in memory of his homeland, and also a shrine of Atabyrian Zeus on the top of Mount Atabyria from which, on a clear day, Crete could be seen. Soon afterwards he killed his sister: she was desired by Hermes, but when the god pursued her she ran too fast for him, so he spread fresh hides in her path on which she slipped and fell. There he raped her. She told Althoemenes what had happened but he refused to believe her and kicked her to death.

from my Dictionary of Classical Mythology, entry for Althoemenes.

2 tales|tell

Date:2004-12-02 09:34

"That's All I've Got To Say" The Last Unicorn OST

I've had time to write a book
About the way you act and look,
But I haven't got a paragraph.
Words are always getting in my way.
Anyway, I love you.
That's all I have to tell you.
That's all I've got to say.

And now, I'd like to make a speech
About the love that touches each,
But stumbling, I would make you laugh.
I feel as though my tongue were made of clay.
Anyway, I love you.
That's all I have to tell you.

I'm not a man of poetry.
Music isn't one with me.
It runs from me.
It runs from me.

Lir: And I tried to write a symphony
Amalthea: Once when I was searching
Lir: But I lost the melody
Amalthea: Somewhere out of reach
Lir: Alas I only finished half
Amalthea: Far away
Lir: And finish I suppose I never may
Amalthea: In a place I could not find
Lir: Anyway, I love you
Amalthea: Nor heart obey
Lir: That's all I have to tell you
Amalthea: Now that I'm a woman
Lir: That's all I've got to say
Amalthea: Now I know the way
Lir: That's all I've got to say
Amalthea: Now I know the way
together: That's all I've got to say


Date:2004-11-30 12:43

The following ballad is from Hunting Destiny, a story published in Dragonlance: Tales Volume 3, Love and War. I read it when I was thirteen and fell in love with the song.

The Song of Shadow Wood.Collapse )

3 tales|tell

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