In addition to this blog, I am also writing a fantasy book, actually a trilogy. The next few blog posts will discuss the story at length and what it is about. I will endeavor to discuss why I wrote each chapter, and why I felt it was important to discuss what I wanted to discuss in the book.
When the Cranes
Return Again in spring: Synopsis
When the cranes return again in spring is a story not just about one person’s quest, but it is about life’s quest in all of us.
Lorevele (Lōr-ĕ-vel) is a city under siege; its king and his daughter are locked in an argument. She has a choice she must make, one that could affect the safety of her kingdom forever, while placing her own life in danger. King Hautered (Haw-těr-id), of Laifetre’ (Lī-ěh-fě-trā) has signed an edict, that a she must marry his son, Gerenoux (zhěr-ěh-nō) within the week, or his mercenary army of 10,000 trolls will march upon Lorevele, and burn it to the ground. Her father, the great King Rosenet (Roz-ă-nĕt), is opposed to this marriage. He feels that his daughter must ride out to the four corners of every distant land, bringing together the peoples of every kingdom they have helped, and rally an Army to drive back Hautered’s army of 10,000 trolls into back Laifetre’. Rosenet’s daughter Anisse (A-nee-săh) is convinced that her duty to her kingdom and her people is to marry Gerenoux, and she only has hours to finalize her decision.
It is rumored that Hautered has made a pact with the troll army. In exchange for their services in securing the kingdoms of Matrimé (Mĕ-trém), Uvalde (Ū-val-děh), and Zoltanne (Zōl-tan), they would receive the kingdom of Lorevele as payment in kind. Stories have come from far and wide, describing the brutality and fierceness of this troll army. Fear has led many families to flee from the kingdom, while others have grimly decided to risk family in defense of their homes.
The debate between father and daughter relaxes for a moment, as Anisse is frightened by the shadows of cranes coming to flight. Rosenet asks his daughter if he ever told her stories related to the annual migration of the cranes returning in spring. It is this question that leads to the introduction of a saga that the king shares with his daughter.
The very introduction to When the Cranes Return Again in Spring is based upon change, and our fears that can sometimes be based on how we deal with change. In asian lore, cranes are considered a sign of longevity.
The cranes’ beauty and their spectacular mating dances have made them highly symbolic birds in many cultures with records dating back to ancient times. Crane mythology is widely spread and can be found in areas such as the Aegean, South Arabia, China, Korea, Japan and in the Native American cultures of North America. In northern Hokkaidō, the women of the Ainu people performed a crane dance that was captured in 1908 in a photograph by Arnold Genthe. In Korea, a crane dance has been performed in the courtyard of the Tongdosa Temple since the Silla Dynasty (646 CE).
In Mecca, in pre-Islamic South Arabia, Allāt, Uzza, and Manah were believed to be the three chief goddesses of Mecca, they were called the “three exalted cranes” (gharaniq, an obscure word on which ‘crane’ is the usual gloss). See The Satanic Verses for the best-known story regarding these three goddesses.
The Greek for crane is Γερανος (Geranos), which gives us the Cranesbill, or hardy geranium. The crane was a bird of omen. In the tale of Ibycus and the cranes, a thief attacked Ibycus (a poet of the 6th century BCE) and left him for dead. Ibycus called to a flock of passing cranes, who followed the attacker to a theater and hovered over him until, stricken with guilt, he confessed to the crime.
Pliny the Elder wrote that cranes would appoint one of their number to stand guard while they slept. The sentry would hold a stone in its claw, so that if it fell asleep it would drop the stone and waken.
Aristotle describes the migration of cranes in The History of Animals, adding an account of their fights with Pygmies as they wintered near the source of the Nile. He describes as untruthful an account that the crane carries a touchstone inside it that can be used to test for gold when vomited up. (This second story is not altogether implausible, as cranes might ingest appropriate gizzard stones in one locality and regurgitate them in a region where such stone is otherwise scarce)
According to Japanese lore, a wish is granted to anyone who folds one thousand paper cranes. Watch the above video from Asia Society’s Education Department to see how schoolchildren at P.S. 154 in Brooklyn, New York, participating in Students Rebuild’s Paper Cranes for Japan project, got to work folding paper cranes,raising hope, and raising money to help Japan rebuild after the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. (2 min., 12 sec.).
It is from these myths and legends that When The Cranes Return Again in Spring begins.
More to come…