Lazarus and the Pink Moon

 

Lazarus 2

My body was rife with boils and scabs, the pain constant, like blue fire to an open wound. My own hands were clamshells, too stiff and weak to aid myself.  My sisters, Martha and Mary, dressed my inflamed skin in cool gauze and oils, yet it did no good. I wished only for death.

“He, Yeshua, the healer,” Martha told me, her young face riddled with lines of worry. “He shall be back. It was his promise to us.”

“You speak of the Rabboni?” I could barely gasp the words. My breath was fast vanishing.

“The Rabboni, Emmanuel, Hosanna,” Mary answered. “Know you, Lazarus, that he has healed many, causing the lame to walk and the blind to see. He will come back to Bethany and heal you as well.”

I moved my stiff body, a near corpse, against the straw mattress. It cut like a blade. No miracle worker could help me, that I knew.  The pox gripped and I was well beyond healing. Yet I had not the heart nor the strength to say this aloud, knowing it would crush my sisters’ hopes.

“It is told the Rabboni has walked on waves in the sea of Galilee,” Mary continued. “He calms the ocean’s storms. In Canaan they talk of the man who has changed water into wine. In Tiberias they talk of the man who fed a multitude with only seven loaves and two fishes.  Such are the miracles of Yeshua bin Joseph, and he has stated his undying love for us.”

Drivel and nonsense! My mind screamed but my voice could not utter it. I was thirsty, very thirsty and my head burned with fever. Martha pressed a wineskin to my lips but its taste was bitter as gall. The liquid burned in my swollen throat. “You must drink brother,” Martha said. “So as to stay quick till the Rabboni arrives. It is then he will cure you and you shall be whole once more.”

I let out a sigh in as much as my breath would permit it.  Whole. Did I want to be whole ever again?

Illness is a mad thing. It steals one’s will. I was a young man, younger than the Rabboni, who was three and thirty years. These miracles my sisters spoke of meant little to me. I followed no god, paid Caesar no tithes, was beholden to no man. Death was inevitable. When my time came I had always known I’d accept it.

Not so with my sisters. Their faith was constant as rise of the sun. They’d not give up hope. Mary sat at the edge of my mat, her hands folded in prayer. “When I am gone,” I began, but could not continue as I saw the tears trickle like silent rain from the corners of her eyes.

“You will not be gone brother,” Martha called. She brought bread from the village and begged me to eat but its taste was dust, my ulcered mouth too weak to chew.

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Night fell. Finally my sisters ceased their fussing and took to bed. I was relieved.

Through the bare windows of our hut I saw the moon rise. The first full moon since change of the season. Desert winds were now calmer and pink phlox grew like spun silk across the land. The heat of summer would not be far behind, yet I knew I’d not live to see it.

I closed my eyes. Sleep enveloped me like a womb.

When I awoke it was yet night, the moon outside the window full and pink as the phlox that grew beneath it.

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Stars twinkled all around. I could feel the breeze, balmy against my bandages. Oh, to breathe that air once again! To stand beneath that full moon. If I had but one last request, that would be it. Yet I had such little strength.

Rising on my blistered feet, I grabbed the wineskin, tried to drink but still the taste was bitter. Martha’s loaf of bread sat upon the table, now covered with locusts. The sight of it turned my stomach.

My breath was heavy.  I longed for the night air. I stood on shaky legs. Although I had been bedridden for weeks I now walked outside, compelled by some force, a force as powerful as the moon’s diamond tides.

It was there in the rich darkness that the woman met me.

She was naked, illuminated in the moon’s glow, her skin and lips pink, with streams of red hair hair that fell to her hips.

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“Lazarus,” she said. “Your time is not yet come. Though your body is diseased and imperfect, you are still a young man. The years ahead are many. Your sisters need you. If you will show but a tiny seedling of faith you shall be healed.”

Such perfection I had never seen in a woman before. “Who are you?” I asked.

“Come nearer,” she answered.

I approached her and when I was cheek press close she whispered in my ear, “Lillith.”

I backed away.  Lillith!  It was she who had cursed the earth, she who had left her husband Adam, she who brought death to one hundred babies each day.  This Lillith, a demon! A vixen!  So said all the holy books. My instincts were to flee. Yet when she spoke again, her voice like rich bells beckoning me, I could not refuse.

She placed her hand upon my forehead. Her touch was cool and soft, like moonbeams themselves. “You’d do well not to believe the legends of men!” she quipped.

She then took me into her bosom, placed her teat to my mouth. “Drink, Lazarus,” she commanded. “This is the milk of life, stronger than any wine.”

Her taste was sweet and as I drank I felt my strength restored.  The boils healed on my skin, the ulcers vanished from my mouth. My fever broke and my head cooled.  My muscles, which had begun to atrophy, now took on a new suppleness and flexibility. I stood to my full height. My vision was sharp and clear.

I looked around me. All the ground seemed brighter, the plants green as pine, the flowers grown to the size of wheat fields.  The colors were dazzling. Silver rivers flowed, sheep grazed, trees were ripe with apples. Far in the distance the landscape sprung with all manner of vegetation, the lavender fields a sea of purple before us.  We were no longer in Bethany.

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“What is the place, my lady?” I asked. My voice was now deep, restored of its full volume and masculinity.

“This is but a fragment of Eden,” she answered. “And you are here for but a fragment of time. Answer when Yeshua calls. He weeps for you. There is so much more of your life to live.”

The next I knew I was in a tomb, rock walls encompassing like a prison around me.  I was clothed in linen, my head wrapped and eyes covered.  This seemed quite absurd as I had never felt fitter in my life.  They had buried me? Buried me alive, no less!  I unraveled the gauze from my eyes.

Just then the tomb’s boulder was moved. A path opened and yellow sunlight poured in.  I heard his voice, sturdy and pleading. “Lazarus, come out.”

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Slowly I stepped from the tomb, earth warm on my bare feet. Mary and Martha ran to my side and embraced me. “Brother,” Mary said. “Never did we lose our faith. Though we buried you four days ago, it is as he promised. You live!” Her face was wet with tears of joy.

Four days? Surely she was wrong, for I had been with Lillith but a moment!  Only long enough to drink the milk from her breasts and glimpse paradise.

“Remove those burial linens and let him go,” Yeshua instructed.

Later, as we dined together at our table he leaned in to me and whispered in my ear, “Tell no one of Lillith.”

“But why, Rabboni?” I asked. The woman Lillith had been a vision, a hope and a miracle. I longed to share my story.

“They will crucify me for this,” Yeshua answered. “If they learn the source from which my power comes it will be even worse. You’ll endanger your sisters. You’ll endanger all of womankind. This world is not yet prepared for the Truth.”

I heeded his words and told none of my visit with Lillith.

My sister Mary then took an alabaster jar filled with our finest perfumed oil. She anointed Yeshua’s feet and dried them with her own hair.

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The men criticized her. The one called Judas Iscariot rose and gestured wildly.  “This fine perfume could have been sold and its money given to the poor!” he bellowed. “Yet Mary has wasted it on the Rabboni’s feet! She is sinful.”

My sister, unperturbed, continued her anointing.

“Leave the woman alone,” Yeshua commanded. “She is preparing me for my burial. The poor will be with you always, but I am destined to leave you soon.”

All were silent at this. He was correct. When the Sanhedrin heard of my resurrection, they became even more suspicious of him. A bounty was put on his head and the one called Iscariot betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver. He was arrested the following Thursday  at the garden of Gethsemane.

The very next day Yeshua bin Joseph was crucified, nailed to a cross with a crown of thorns on his head.  He died at Golgatha and was buried in a nearby tomb.

Like me, he arose from that tomb. Like me, he never told anyone of his encounter with Lillith.

As time went on many were persecuted. Women were burned at the stake, hung and murdered for their gifts of healing , elemental powers and necromancy.  It was not until millennia had passed that the Enlightenment came.

The world was then ready for the Truth.

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Becoming Human

 

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Wanting the legs was my first mistake.

I had watched the humans, admired them from afar. The fishermen who cast nets to the sea, the bathers who took sun on shallow beaches. Their bodies were astounding.  Streamlined hips, parted thighs that fit so gracefully to their knees. The bendable appendages that served them so well upon both land and sea.  But it was only when the young King of Lemuria sailed into Azure Bay with his warships and one hundred armed men that I felt the need to actually become one of them.

King Troy Rosetower of Lemuria was handsome, charismatic and loved by all.  And although his country was in the midst of a devastating war he led his people with grace and hope. I watched from the rocks as the King  de-boarded his ship and rode on horseback with the army of Lemurian  soldiers. They paid him tribute with a line of firing cannons.  Such a leader!  Such a king.

I longed to meet him, and being the headstrong mermaid that I was, I immediately set about making my wish come true.

Becoming human was not really a difficult task. Suria the Sea Witch had a potion for everything, shape-shifting the least of it.  And so I swam to her cave, braved her staff of moray eels and dodged the anemone that surrounded her doors.  When I entered, Suria stood over her percolating  cauldron with her back to me.

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“I know why you have come,” she said without turning around.  “And you are a fool!  To  trade your lovely fish tail for two stumps the humans call legs. It is ridiculous!”

“I have fallen in love with the King of Lemuria,” I said,  knowing all the while this was not much of an argument.

“Love?” Suria scoffed. “What could a child like you possibly know about love?”  She then turned from her cauldron and shrugged. “Nonetheless, your life is your own. You may do as you wish, Undine.”

Suria gave me a potion, a noxious combination of snail juice and whale sperm, along with some other peculiar ingredients which would never be revealed to me.

“Go now and sit on the rock where you first saw the King,” she instructed. “Sleep there beneath the full moon and when you awaken you shall have your legs.”

And so I swam out to the jagged rocks of Azure Bay. From where I sat I could see the whole war camp.  The moon rose like a bright silver coin, shining its light where the soldiers slept in their fortresses.

This war,  it was a long and devastating affair with a death toll in the thousands. The countries of Lemuria and Saxssoar had been fighting for over fifty years in a complicated battle which involved many ideologies and righteous causes. I daresay none could remember how it had even begun.

Being a mermaid, I had little understanding of war, for my race was one of pacifism. (We even named one of our oceans Pacific.)   But one thing I knew was that the humans of the villages were weary of this fight. It brought only death and grief, soldiers returning from battle missing arms, legs or eyes. Never were they given adequate medical attention, for doctors were scarce.  All prayed for the long war’s end, hopeful that King Troy, skilled as he was in diplomacy and strategy, would be the one to bring about peace.  All faith was in the King.

I fell asleep beneath the full moon.

When I awoke it was exactly as I had imagined. My glittering green tail was gone and instead I possessed a set of long slender legs. My new feet were unsteady as I rose on the rocks. By force of habit I dove into the sea. Although I now had less speed without my fins, I was still as strong a swimmer as ever.  I bobbed in the ocean’s waves, imagining how delightful it would be to use my new legs to finally walk upon land!

It was a sailor who sat high in the bosun’s chair of the king’s warship that spotted me first.  The crew, thinking me some drowning victim, scooped me up in a net and carried me on board.

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I lay before them on their deck, fish-naked. The men gawked at me, eyes wide. Some grinned and some blushed. I remembered that humankind were not accustomed to nudity and they probably thought me quite strange.

The king himself then stepped forward and wrapped me in a blanket. He assumed I was sick and waterlogged, and commanded the ship’s doctor to attend to me.  I assured them I was perfectly well but the doctor insisted I sleep in the bunk below deck.

The next day I was given trousers and a navy coat to wear. “This attire is only for the time we are at sea,” King Troy assured me. “When we dock I shall take you to the palace and the maids in waiting will clothe you in the finest attire.”

Aboard ship I proved myself a worthy sailor, for none knows the sea better than a mermaid. Once I got used to my legs I was able to hoist the sails, judge the wind and navigate better than any map reader. The king was quite pleased and took kindly to me.

After three days the ship docked in the port of Shorestone.  With the king’s entourage I was taken to the palace and received by the privy council.  I was given my own suites within the palace and my own servants. My maids clothed me in damask.  I was taken to grand dinners and events where I entertained everyone, shocking them with my siren’s song, for a mermaid’s best gift is her voice.

As time went by the king became more and more fond of me. Finally the day came when he asked me to become his wife. We were married in the grand cathedral followed by a  procession through the town. In the streets the peasants cheered and greeted me with cries of “Queen Undine!”

I was happy they accepted me but my heart was torn, for their poverty was unbearable. The children, so thin their ribs protruded on their chests, wore only rags, bare feet scraping the pavement. Women stood in filthy  kirtles, men toothless with mangy beards.  Their cottages were little more than mud huts and rats the size of terriers scurried  in the unpaved streets.

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“Your Grace,” I said to my new husband.  “These atrocities are most egregious! What, may I ask, is being done to help these wretched people?”

The king smiled and wrapped an arm around me. “Wife,” he said. “Do not worry your pretty little head over such matters. This  place is called Beggar’s Bottom. These peasants know no other way of life.  There will be poor always, pathetically struggling. Their concerns are not  yours and I bid you take no notice.”

My race, the mer-people, had no such class structures. All were equal. We served no king, paid no taxes, answered to no man. All shared the bounty of the oceans.  For the first time since I had taken Suria’s potion, I began to miss my sea home.

Our wedding feast was the finest ever held in the palace. Servants carried steaming trays to the long oakwood tables of the dining hall. There was capon, peacock, beef and hog, so much meat that even the vast assembled crowd could not possibly eat it all. The leftovers would be many.

“Can we not send the leftover dishes to the poor of the village?” I asked my new husband. He popped his eyes in surprise. “Certainly not!” he scoffed. “Those peasants eat only root greens and potatoes. Their pallets are not accustomed to luxury of meat! Surely they could never appreciate it.”  He stuffed his mouth with fish eggs and guzzled his wine.

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This was a most ungenerous answer and left me quite irritated.  Being of the sea, where we shared all manner of kelp and fish, I could not bear to see the waste.  Luckily, Peter, the King’s servant, fulfilled my request, which I made to him behind the King’s back. At my bidding Peter wrapped plates and bundles, the leftover meats and cakes. In the still of the night he carried them to Beggar’s Bottom.  Why Peter took heed of my instructions I could not fathom, but I instantly deemed him a loyal confidante.

Days later, in a grand ceremony I was given my crown of pure gold. I was known ever after as Queen Undine Rosetower of Lemuria.

My life in the palace went well enough, but soon I grew bored with the tedious tasks of my court. I did nothing all day but stitch needlepoint, dine and stroll the gardens. I longed for the sea, missed her salt water, her rising tides and broad storms.  It seemed one could take the mermaid from the ocean, but never the ocean from the mermaid.  If only my husband would give me a position in his royal Navy, a chance to sail again, then  all would be perfect!

“A war is on,” I told my husband. “I am a foreigner to these parts. As such I have broad perspective, and great understanding of many races. Perhaps I could serve the Navy as some type of diplomat?”

King Troy shook his head, furrowed his brow in annoyance.  “No.  Never.  A woman has no place in the affairs of state,” he said. “You must not worry your pretty little head of such matters, Undine.”

Finally I could stand the boredom no longer and, with the help of Peter the servant, I disguised myself as a boy sailor. I wore the britches well enough and still had my waistcoat from my first journey to the kingdom.  With a kohl stick I painted the faintest mustache upon my face and tucked my hair beneath a cap.

“How well do I convince?” I asked Peter, to which he answered, “I’d not recognize you, my lady.  But remember to keep your voice low.”

With that I boarded my husband’s warship, bound for the port of Azure. For some reason it had been decided we depart in the middle of the night, which was quite strange and irregular. King Troy had told me this sojourn was a ‘special mission’, one he was obligated to perform regularly. The adventure of it thrilled me! I cared not that it was night, for the rippling sea holds her beauty most in the darkness.

Once on board I saw the boat’s cargo contained every type of weaponry; crossbows and spears, arrows and daggers, cannons and pistols, gunpowder and bullets. So bountiful was this ammunition I feared our soldiers must have run out of arms.   A fifty year war, and so quick they exhausted ammunition. It must cost the palace a fortune! No wonder the poor of Beggar’s Bottom were starved, as all resources went to the war efforts.

Half way across the Narrow Sea the ship took a detour. We were no longer headed for Azure but toward the Saxssoar coast, to the portal town of Shade Hamlet. I became nervous. What was the meaning of this? Our warship was sailing straight into the arms of the enemy!

None of the crew seemed to mind this fact. Disguised as I was I could not protest.

I immediately reasoned this must be some secret counter attack.  Yet as the ship docked a Saxssoar warlord  came calmly to the pier to greet my husband as though they were old friends.

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I watched in the dark as the two shook hands, exchanging pleasantries.  Soon the men of our crew began to unload the weaponry, setting it all on the piers.  Not knowing what else to do, I joined in.

“A  beautiful sight, ain’t it?” a sailor said to me as he lifted a crossbow.

“What do you mean?” I asked, careful to keep my voice low and husky.

“That there.” The sailor cocked his head toward the bank where King Troy and the warlord engaged in conversation.  “The King,” the sailor continued. “Bringing weapons to the Sax.  All skane-mates, the two of them, like there weren’t no war going on.”

“He’s bringing…” I watched incredulously as the men piled rifles upon the dock.  “But the Saxssoar are our enemies.” I looked desperately at the sailor.  “Why would the King…”

“God’s blood, boy!  Are you daft? You young deckhands are green as the corn in spring! Must be your first trip.”

“Yes sir, it is,” I lied.

“Well then you best get used to it. The King gives weaponry to the leaders of terrorist groups in order to keep this war going. Gives ’em arms, so’s they start up a new skirmish, somewhere distant. Injure  women and children.  Make the people crazy, so once again they all cry for revenge. And on it goes.”

My jaw hung open.

“All of ‘em have done it, whole Rosetower dynasty.” The sailor shrugged. “King Troy’s father before him and his before him and all down the line.”

“But why?” I asked. “Why would he want to keep the war going? His purpose is to END the war. To stop this killing and madness and poverty!”

“The King don’t want no such thing.” The sailor spit on the ground, a gob of yellow mucous that glowed in the darkness. “Point is to keep in going. That way, the Saxssoar keep paying us. Big coin. This country’s got gold, boy!  Lots of it.” He looked closely at me and I was grateful for the darkness. “Aye laddie,” he continued.  “Millions of ducats are to be had for a crew such as us, on King’s special mission!  You’ll see. Do it once and you’ll sail again for the pay.  That’s the King’s brilliant plan, do you see?”

“But why…” I stammered, still unable to believe it.

“Like I said. To keep the coin rolling and the war going.  Only thing that matters in the game.  The soldiers fight, the people starve, but the King?  Ah, the King gets rich.  And you too, laddie will be paid well for your efforts, tho’ a mere fraction of what the King takes in.  Still, it’s better than scrounging in Beggar’s Bottom.”  He paused and glared at me. “Just know.  Keep your mouth shut.  Ain’t nobody knows what we do and ain’t nobody GOING to know. You hear?”

“But I still don’t see…”

“God’s heart, boy! You’re a slow one, ain’t you?  It works like this.  The king has a saying. The King says: ‘War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.’  Savvy that?”

I thought about it. “No sir, NOT savvy,” I finally said, for I could not understand it, this most backward of logic.

“I’ll explain best I can,” he said as he lifted another armful of crossbows.  I did the same and followed him to the dock.

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“War is Peace,” he began.  “Keep these fools fighting for so long they don’t remember no more what it was to have peace.  Freedom is Slavery. Keep this lot so poor,  they don’t remember no more what it was to be free.”

“But the King keeps no slaves, “ I said  as I followed him back to the ship.

“They ain’t slaves, and yet they ain’t  free neither,” the sailor answered. “They are chained to their own poverty and servitude.  Most in Beggar’s Bottom don’t know no better, and most can’t do no better.”

“I disagree, sir! I have seen Beggar’s Bottom. I think the poor are quite capable of…”

“Shut it boy! I’m trying to learn you this lesson and you best listen.” He picked up a case of gunpowder.  “ Now hear this. Ignorance is Strength.  Keep them peasants unlearned.  Don’t know nothing, never will.  That way the King gets stronger.”  He  stopped and glanced at me over his shoulder.  “Now lad.  Do you see?”

“Yes sir I believe I do,” I answered as the horror sunk in.

“Good,” the sailor said. “Otherwise you’ll not be coming on no more of these missions. And I’ll tell you something else.” He set the gunpowder on the dock.  “Don’t get too nosy.  I hear the new Queen is getting nosy and the King don’t like it.  No sir, he don’t like it one bit.  Queen Undine ought stick to her queenin’ duties if she knows what’s good for her.  Do her wifely tasks.” He spat another glob of mucous in the dirt. “In fact,” he continued, now lowering his voice to a whisper. “I hear there’s talk in the palace. If Queen Undine don’t get herself with child soon, the King will send her to the block.”

My heart lurched.

‘That’s right, boy. The block.” The sailor chuckled and stroked a hand across his own throat.  “Off with her head!  Wouldn’t be the first one.  That Queen best mind to her business.  And you laddie, you best mind yours too.”  He gave me a quick punch in the stomach.

“Good to know,” I squeaked.

“I always see fit to help the new crew.”

My head was a muddle. What to do? I could not go back to him. My husband was a monster. I had only one choice. In the still of the night, while all slept, save for one lone driver at the ship’s helm, I jumped into the ocean. So quickly, so silently, none realized I was gone.

Thankful my swimming skills had not left me, I headed straight back to the Sea Witch’s cave.

Suria stood stirring her cauldron as if no time had passed since I last saw her.

“Your adventure with the humans did not go so well.” She grinned, exposing an array of pointed teeth. “Did I not warn you?  Silly child.  And now. I suppose you are back to regain your mermaid’s tale?”

“If it so please you, Suria,” I said humbly.

“Please me? Ha!  Child, you are naïve.  No thing would please me less! Oh no, you’ll not have your tail back.  Not now, not ever.  You’ve begun a mission, and not just that silly weapons mission.  You must finish what you started.”

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“But what will I do?” I pleaded. I could not believe she was refusing me.

She took a ladle to her cauldron, scooped out the hot liquid and filled a large jar. “This,” she said, steam rising to her face, “is the liquid of enlightenment. You must bring it to the King.”

“And what will I do with it?”

“Why, feed it to him of course! Mix a drop in his food. And not just his! All of the kingdom of Lemuria shall have a taste of it, and all of Saxssoar as well.” With this, she grabbed several jars from her cabinet and began to fill them. Gallons and gallons of the enlightenment liquid flowed from cauldron to jar. “Every human upon planet earth shall have a dose,” Suria said.

“What then?” I was almost afraid to ask.

“What then?” She arched an eyebrow. “Why, they will become enlightened, of course. They will no longer be obsessed with war and greed, no longer drunk on their own power! This potion,” she jiggled a jar and gazed on it fondly. “This potion will be the saving of humankind.”

“All of them?”

“Not all. For some are evil to the core and simply cannot be redeemed.”

“But how will I know which is which?” Again I almost dared not ask.

“The potion shall determine it, my girl.” Suria grinned. “All you need do is be the messenger. “

“And if, say, this enlightenment potion does not work on one of them. What then?”

Suria set the jar down upon her table. “What then? What THEN?” She looked at me as though I were an imbecile. “The unenlightened will die. Of course, girl, they shall die! What else?”

I had no choice. With the help of the local octopi, I carried all the jars back to kingdom of Lemuria.

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The enlightenment process was long and arduous, but one well worth doing.

What became of the King, you may wonder?

Suffice it to say that I myself am now the sole ruler of Lemuria. Queen Undine, first of her name, also called Queen of Justice and Queen of Peace.

The long war has been ended. Beggar’s Bottom is no more. Instead there is a thriving village of merchants and tradesman, all means of goods and services, and sellers that take pride in their wares. That village is called Merland.

The Saxssoar tribes now live in peace as well. Their terrorist warlord has been eliminated.  The city of Shade Hamlet is a lovely fishing village where all have learned to share the bounty of the sea. If any speak of the war all they remember is that it was long and hard, with no reason for its beginning nor its end.

My Queendom has no servants and no masters. All are equal and all are free to live their lives as they choose.  As for myself, in time I remarried, for governing is a lonely business. My new husband? He is called Peter, King consort of Lemuria.

My warships no longer carry weaponry and are now used for exploration. Lately the crews tell me they have discovered a new land in the middle of the ocean, which is not so mythical as you might think.

We have decided to call this place Atlantis.

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Harry Potter and the Burning Times

 

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They have tried very hard to ban  Harry.  Time after time.  According to the American Library Association,  Harry Potter is the number one most often banned/ challenged book of the 21st century. Why all the hate?  Especially in a world where I personally have never met anyone who did not love Harry.

The banning craze that developed around Harry Potter books supposedly has its origin in the fear of witchcraft and sorcery. Apparently, many people are concerned that Harry is promoting the occult, and beliefs like Wicca and Paganism that have NO DAMN BUSINESS in the good old You Ess of A .  ( Call in the National Guard!!!!   Witches and Wizards and Students! OH MY! )

This hatred of witches, of course has its origins in the bible. ‘Thou Shalt not suffer a witch to live’. So says Exodus 22:18.

I read that in the original Aramaic language this passage should have been translated as ‘Thou shalt not suffer a ‘m’khashepah’  ( translated as ‘evil doer’ connotation of murderer) to live’. No mention of the word ‘witch’.  (The word ‘witch’ by the way, originally meant ‘wise ‘.)

But the good folks over at  Bible Translation Service, Inc. (also known as Puritans Rope ’em and Grope ’em  —  or  The Spanish Inquisition Burning Machine)  decided to throw in the word ‘witch’.  Just for fun.

 

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That one little mess up of a word caused the deaths of approximately 100,000 men and women throughout Europe and the Americas between the years 1450 -1700. Witch genocide still takes place in Africa and the Caribbean.

But back to Harry.  Is the fear of witches still so prevalent in the US that people go up in arms over a children’s book? Is America still that Puritanical?

Apparently, yes.

Personally I think there may be more to it. Harry’s story itself may be what upsets people.

Harry is a disenfranchised orphan who is left to the mercy of his evil relatives until he discovers his unique and special abilities at Hogwarts.  He happens to be taught by witches and wizards but that is not really the point. The point is empowerment.  Harry undergoes a fantastic transformation.  He becomes capable, powerful, whole.  And the idea of the disenfranchised becoming empowered is enough to scare the be-jesus out of the Powers That Be.

Harry is the every man, the working girl, the average Joe (or Jo) who somehow unleashes potential within him/herself.  And if Harry can do it, maybe we all can do it. This is the true gift of Harry and also the reason why they would ban him.

But in the end Harry wins! That is because you cannot keep the light down.   Go into any public library in the US and chances are you will see Harry. Go into any bookstore and you will find him, sitting on the bookshelf, peering through his little round glasses. Maybe even riding a broom in a game of Quiddich.  He says “Come with me. Do not be stifled by their small view of you!  Unlock your wizardly powers and be free!”

Yep. The most subversive stuff in America.

 

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