I've been studying African folk tales this month as an ongoing part of my research into my upcoming Sandman book that I am writing for Sequart Organization. These are bizarre tales; morally dubious and very pragmatic. Given the cognitive environment that the tales were written in, I can't say I'm not surprised. Africa is all about scarcity and resources shorting out. Nomadic people comb the Sahara for food and sustenance, fight one another for food and dominance. This has been going on for thousands of years for all anthropologists know, so the idea that these struggles boil over into indigenous tales is fascinating.
There was this tale, actually, that I recall where a man in need is saved by a heron. This heron saves the man from certain death, only to be captured and nearly eaten. When the wife saves the bird, saying that it was wrong for her husband to capture the bird, the heron is released, but not before gouging out one of the woman's eyes. The moral of that story is so dubious. It seems to chastise the woman for doing good. It punishes altruism, which is difficult to conceive of against the backdrop of Western folklore that generally thwarts might, elevates the righteous, and punishes the wicked. The cultural transference that is undergone when I read these tales is powerful, to say the least.
And, or course, I've been preoccupied with the Sequart intra-web slingin' all this week. Averaging about 3 articles per day to post, I can say that I've finally made good on my goal to "read" more of Sequart. Also, my appreciation for editors has increased. The amount of work that get put into managing this content is incredible. Troubled articles that need to be overhauled, are hour long commitments. They look a lot better when I'm done, but still, it's very under-appreciated work. Mike and I, the Editor in Chief are like Batman and Robin in this business, sans the whole "gay" thing. I'm looking forward to it, especially the epic loot I'll be making! (It's not a lot, but the first cash I've been able to make doing what I love.)
It's Friday, and I have the whole weekend to write, relax, and decompress. I've pretty jazzed. You ought to be to... for me. For being so jazzed, that is!