Friday, April 24, 2020

A Deathless Wound

We often expect stories to have a meaning. We are mistaken. "A meaning" is a thing, an object. I believe that stories are verbs; active, dynamic, and living. Stories do not have a meaning, they mean. How a story means depends on where it grows.
For many (many) years, I carried this story in my heart and nurtured it to mean. It means much to me. It draws nourishment from my experience and my questioning. Question is quest after all.
Our stories tangle together forming the mysterious fairy tale woods we wander through.
My question: how did my story come to this entanglement?
The story below is drawn from a Scandinavian folktale, which is linked at the end of this post.
How does your story mean?

I fed the hungry wolf, then let him lead me where he will.
He promised a happy ending.

He brought me to a ruin
by the sea,
arrested in time.
A castle containing a maiden,
in thrall to a heartless ogre.

He could not die.
She could not depart,
though the ogre often left her there
for days.
Still, at night, the ogre returned
to take possession of her.

I came to her as the wolf prompted.
I hid beneath her bed
where she lay with the ogre.

Why would he not die?

She asked.
     (It had to  be her question even if it was also my quest)
He answered:
He could not die
because he had no heart
in his body.
In truth his heart was hidden.
She questioned more:
where is it hid?
He answered deceivingly
    (though perhaps he had lost the memory of his heart's hidden place)
it is in the kitchen.

She went to the kitchen while he was gone
yet found no heart.

She questioned again.
It is under the door stone.
Again it was not found.
Again she questioned.

This time his memory awoke - slowly:
it is far away and long ago
my heart was taken
in the church
far from here in a long past place
on an isle in a sea.
In the church there is a font.
Therein lies my heart
encased in an egg
so long ago.

I left her bed then
and once again called upon my wolf
to take me there so distant.

Long years did I travel
until, with the help of animal relations, mentors, and guides,
I found the errant heart.

My wolf brought me back to her
where she lay
in ruins
in the place where she was stuck.

What then?
I placed the ogre's heart into her hands.
Then, as the ogre watched,
begging for his life within her,
she crushed the frail egg.

When the ogre fell,
there at her feet,
lay her grandfather,

dead at last.

So Time began again.
This was the happy end.

The Giant Who Had No Heart In His Body

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