Friday, 18 December 2015

Haunted Armley Mills, Leeds

The Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills
 
Images from an investigation at Armley Mills
Sunday 13th December 2015
 
 
Armley Mills is now home to the Leeds Industrial Museum
 
 
 
The Mills date back to the sixteenth Century
 
 
 
A fire destroyed the original building
 
 
 
after it was bought by Benjamin Gott (1762-1840)
 
 
 
It was re-built in 1805
 
 
 
and was the world's largest woollen mill.
 
 
 
The Mills are Grade II listed
 
 
 
and it closed in 1969
 
 
 
It opened as a museum in 1982
 
 
 
The dark corridors are said to be haunted
 
 
 
Ghosts of children have been seen and heard
 
 
 
The Mills are situated on a bank of the River Aire
 
 
 
and very near to the Leeds and Liverpool canal
 
 
 
Most Haunted's Yvette Fielding, Karl Beattie
 
 
 
Stuart Torevell, Glen Hunt
 
 
 
and their team recently investigated there
 
 
 
The machine rooms were eerily quiet
 
 
 
and nobody else was about
 
 
 
There was a feeling of sadness
 
 
 
as many lives would have been lost in the past
 
 
 
Now silence
 
 
 
where the deafening noise of machines
 
 
 
once affected everyone who worked there
 
 
 
The ghosts were not forthcoming
 
 
 
but their silent presence was undeniable!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, 21 November 2015

PEGAMINA PART TWELVE

 
 
PEGAMINA
BY BARRY VAN-ASTEN

PART TWELVE
 
THE CRYING ROSE

As Peg stood gazing at the lifeless body of the Peacock, that was dangling over the assistant undertaker’s shoulder, its head swaying from side to side, she felt a small hand grip her own and as she looked down she saw the bruised and bleeding face of the fat boy.
‘Does it hurt?’ asked Peg.
‘Immensely!’ uttered the fat boy as they stood in the centre of the Great Hall, surrounded by masked faces and ball gowns twirling to the sound of violins.
‘This way!’ said the fat boy, gently pulling her hand. And they both slipped out of the Great Hall through a doorway into a dark corridor. Along the way, Pegamina learnt that the fat boy’s name was Crocket and he told her about all the ill treatment he suffers at the hands of the kitchen staff and just about anyone he happens to get in the way of.
‘Is there no one that is kind to you?’ Peg said pitifully.
‘I don’t think I know what kind is; does it involve being slapped on the legs for eating too many tarts? Or does it involve being locked in the cupboard for getting caught with my fingers in the treacle jar?’ ‘It doesn’t involve any of those!’ said Pegamina dabbing at his face with a corner of her dress. ‘Kindness is treating other people how one would expect to be treated oneself!’
‘Then I should like kindness to be custard and jam for I should so like to be treated with custard and jam!’
Pegamina laughed and then Crocket laughed though he didn’t know what he was laughing at. When they came to the end of the hallway, Crocket showed Peg a small opening that was hidden behind some hanging tapestry.
‘Where will it take me?’ asked Peg.
‘I don’t know, I’ve never been able to squeeze through but I’m sure you can and you shall be safe there!’ Pegamina kissed Crocket’s fleshy cheek and thanked him for being so kind to her.
‘I don’t know what you’re doing’ he said as she kissed him ‘but it’s very nice!’ and Crocket blushed and ran down the hallway, leaving Pegamina to squeeze through the opening that lay behind the tapestry.
Once inside, she found herself in a white chamber. ‘It’s whiter than the moon’ she thought. And looking round her eyes fell upon the white splendour that seemed to unfold before her. There were beautiful fine laces, delicately embroidered with fabulous and mythological beasts, hanging from ivory pillars encrusted with pearls and opals. And with each careful step across the white marble floor, the lace gently blew about her. And as she pushed her way through the cascades of lace that hung like smoke about the room, she found herself confronted by a large mirror that stood upon a stone altar in the shape of a wolf; and there, on the altar, resting upon a glass orb, filling the chamber with a strange scent of sleep and death, was the deadly hemlock flower. Suddenly, Pegamina heard the sound of weeping, and as she turned to the sound, she saw the beautiful body of a woman, her face turned away behind a lace curtain.
 
 
‘Why are you weeping?’ asked Pegamina. And the woman said in the saddest voice ever to speak:
‘I am woman and I am man and I am the secret of the moon; though I touch no soul but my own, I bear the weight of the morning upon my heart!’
‘Can you not look at me for I wish to see your face?’
‘I cannot, for I am all that is hideous in the heart and I must turn from the mirror for all eternity because I dare not see the terror that lies within my own soul. It asks for much and gives so little in return for I am plague and pestilence and I bear the face of all the hungry children in the world!’
Pegamina turned towards the altar with her heavy hear and without a moment’s thought she swept the ghastly flower from the orb with her hand, and clutching the glass orb, thrust it into the mirror, which shattered and fell like tears upon the marble floor. She hung her head and in looking round she saw that the weeping woman wept no more and had been released from her torment, for she was dead upon the floor! The light dimmed in the chamber and all the beautiful lace fell as dust upon the marble floor and Pegamina could hold her tears no more. And she felt a shattering sadness as she turned away from the woman that lay amidst the decay within the chamber, as she entered a doorway between two stone pillars.
She now found herself stepping into another chamber, a red chamber. ‘It’s redder than the sun!’ she thought as she walked across a mirrored floor that reflected the red silken drapes and the pillars of porphyry stone, encrusted with beautiful rubies and sapphires. Again she pushed between the flowing curtains until she came upon another altar. And she could see, as she had seen before, a large mirror supported upon a stone altar in the form of a unicorn, and there upon the unicorns back, placed upon a piece of scarlet satin, was the orb and the flower, but a different flower for it was the monkshood.
Pegamina turned, as she had done in the white chamber, but not to the sound of weeping, but to the sound of sighing. And there before her, sat the handsomest man she had ever seen and it appeared as if he was looking straight through her.
‘Who are you and why do you sigh?’ she asked. And the man replied:
‘I am man and I am woman and I am the secret of the sun; though I touch no soul but my own, I bear the weight of the evening upon my heart!’
‘Is that why you sigh?’
‘I sigh because I am the love that destroys and breaks hearts and I must turn towards the mirror for all eternity, for it reflects the most beautiful face in the entire world and there is nothing fairer for my eyes to fall upon. It asks for little and gives so much in return, for I am avarice and all that is greed and I bear the face of the entire world’s beauty!’
Although Pegamina was struck by the man’s beauty, she turned towards the altar and picked up the orb and hurled it into the mirror as the flower fell to the ground. The mirror splintered into a thousand pieces and fell like ice upon the mirrored floor. And once again, she turned to the sight of another lifeless body lying upon the floor, still bearing the world’s beauty, but unable to see it for evermore! Then the room went dull and the silk hangings fluttered to the floor in scraps and rags and Peg felt an unbearable sadness grow within her heart!
Then after what seemed like an eternity, Pegamina suddenly remembered what the old gardener, Grudge had said:

Snow shall cover the land of Doom;
Tears will flow in the pool of gloom.
And within a room, within a room, within a room,
The heart of sorrow has built her tomb!

Pegamina looked around her but she could find no entrance into a third room. She carefully examined all the walls for any signs of a concealed doorway, but she found nothing. And so she sat down before the altar, with her head in her hands looking at the shattered fragments of glass and tattered strips of silk strewn about her; then, some sound made her look up. And as she peered into the space where the mirror had been she could hear the faint sound of crying coming from within. She went towards it, and as she got closer she could see that a dark chamber lay beyond and so she climbed up onto the stone unicorn and entered through the mirror’s frame.
Once inside she was unable to see anything. ‘It’s blacker than the night!’ she thought. The floor was of black marble and black velvet drapes hung from ebony pillars depicting fantastic imaginary creatures. As she slowly pushed her way through the drapes that brushed against her face and seemed to be filled by midnight’s fear, she came upon a stone altar in the shape of a turtle with a piece of black satin across its shell upon which stood a single candle. And so Pegamina walked towards it as the sound of crying grew louder.
‘But where is it coming from?’ she thought to herself. It seemed to be coming from the turtle’s shell and so she removed the candle and placed it upon the floor and pushed the satin to one side. Grasping the turtle’s shell, she lifted it carefully, and there inside was the flower of death: the crying rose! It was the whitest rose she had ever seen, but as she looked again, she saw that the rose had become red! ‘What makes you cry so rose?’ Pegamina asked with tears flowing down her face.
‘I cry because I hold the sufferings of sorrow for I am death; though I touch no soul but my own I bear the weight of the night upon my heart! Already I grow weak, for the morning and the evening have fallen and my white petals have become red and welcome the release from an eternity of suffering!’ And here, Pegamina reached into the turtle’s shell and gently lifted the rose from the black satin tomb and cradled it in her hands.
‘The weight of the world’s sorrow is the greatest of all sorrows and I have carried that sorrow since all life began! Let it crumble as I crumble, for death is the only release...’
Pegamina felt a great pain as the rose withered and died between her fingers, never to cry again, as the final curtain lifted from the land of Doom!
And so, with the dying of the rose, all the wickedness of Doom was gone, for indeed Doom did fall and Lord Magnus became a kind and generous man. And as the snow melted and the great walls came down, the gardens were beautiful once again. And in time perhaps happiness would return to Sleepy Sadness. And as for Pegamina, she felt as if a great sadness had been lifted from her heart and she knew that her father loved her more than anything in the whole world, for she was so very loved... she was so very loved!


 
The Flower of Death: The Crying Rose

PEGAMINA PART ELEVEN




PEGAMINA
By BARRY VAN-ASTEN
 
PART ELEVEN
 
THE GREAT DOOM BALL

It was the day of the Great Masked Ball and preparations were underway for its success. Here, someone was bust fastening the gold chains to each of the seventy-two stone pillars that dominate the Great Hall of Doom. And there, someone was tirelessly hanging the one-thousand-one-hundred-and-sixtieth silver lamp with a remaining eight-hundred-and-forty to be hung, all of which to satisfy his Lordship’s whim of outshining the moon! Servants in black velvet tunics with black stockings and black shoes were slowly moving across the floor, like disordered pawns in a one-sided game of chess as they swept and polished the marble floor. And in other rooms (for there are over a thousand rooms at Doom Hall) many hands were busy beating the curtains and folding and unfolding sheets in between the never-ending task of making ancient heirlooms and decorative antiques shine like never before.
Below stairs, the kitchen maids were weeping because the head butler, under the influence of several bottles of his Lordship’s brandy, was taking a little too much pleasure in killing the two large salmon, or ‘unburdening them of life’ as he liked to call it. One met its end under the heel of his shoe as it tried to flap itself across the floor. ‘What a magnificent fish!’ he said as his heel came thundering down upon its head! The other was unceremoniously ‘drummed to death’ on the kitchen table as he sang some filthy bar-room song, dancing quite suggestively with the sorrow-struck salmon and kissing the fish during the choruses! And at the other end of the kitchen, the cook’s were on their knees praying to the great chef in the sky that the stardust pudding would taste of actual stardust! In the corner, a fat boy stirred the honey and in another, an old woman sat picking an almost ceaseless supply of creepy-crawlies from the sauce and the spice bowls. And under the table a little boy was being violently ill, while being hit about the head with a ladle, after tasting nine-hundred different varieties of jam and all before the sun had set over the great stone walls of Doom!
And so it seems that another Great Masked Ball is destined to succeed, despite the fact that Grizzle, the famous mouse-catching cat had fallen into the soup for the third time and that the cooks were wearing more of the culinary delights than actually cooking it, for it is a strange spell cast over Doom on the night of the Great Masked Ball and nothing short of a resounding triumph will do.
Meanwhile, in the garden, Pegamina and the gardener, Grudge, were making their way towards the Hall, stopping at all the lovely flowers that still had the strength to push through the snow. ‘I don’t know what I would do without my little children!’ said Grudge tearfully, referring to the flowers. ‘Each one gives me something that nothing else can! I know them all, and when they die I die a little too, inside!’ And slowly they walked up the stone steps of Doom for the gardener was such an old and frail man, until they came to its impressive entrance. A large stone arch prevailed over the doorway with terrible depictions of souls in torment carved upon it. Grudge led Pegamina to a side entrance where they suddenly emerged into a narrow hallway. Showing her to a small room, the gardener whispered into her ear: ‘do not open the door to anyone but me!’ and she agreed as he shuffled down the passage and was gone.
It was approaching the hour for the Ball to begin, but having no such thing as time it had become a tradition for the mechanical owl (who, having some sort of remembrance of time, though not very accurate) to announce the Ball open, and so, in his official capacity, he hooted: ‘Let the Ball begin!’ as he slid down the banister of the Great Stair followed by a succession of eminent figures, making their entrances from rooms where many nights and days had been devoted upon their personal attire. All the guests wore masks of course, not little fanciful masks shaped like butterfly wings, but large, uninteresting masks without expression or emotion, which covered the whole face. White masks were worn by the ladies and red by the gentlemen and all the other attendants wore black; even the drunken head-butler’s eyes were busy spinning and revolving behind a black mask! In fact, to appear wearing the wrong coloured mask would invoke his Lordship’s intense displeasure, and death would surely follow, as swiftly as night follows day. In making sure all the guests were in their correct masks, a simple rhyme was devised:

‘A white one for the moon;
A red one for the sun
And a black one for the universe
Before it had begun!’

Yet, it was solely his Lordships’ privilege that he should wear a blue mask.
Now, in another part of the Great Hall of Doom an old man was silently shuffling through its corridors that wound through the Hall like veins in a vast corpse, for Grudge was returning to the room in which Pegamina had been waiting, carrying two masks, one white and one red. After entering the little room, Grudge handed Pegamina her white mask and he put on his own red one.
‘Must I wear it?’ said Pegamina.
‘Aye, if you value your life?’ answered Grudge.
‘But why? It feels so uncomfortable to wear!’
‘Because his Lordship will not look upon any face except his own! Some say he is the handsomest man that ever lived and to look at him is to fall in love with him beyond all comprehension! Others say that he is so ugly that to see his grotesque face is to spoil one’s eyes for beauty, forever!’
‘Then I think the truth is better covered by a mask!’ said Peg and they both walked along the corridor, entering many doors, crossing many suites of rooms and descending many flights of wooden stairs.
The festivities in the Great Hall had gotten underway. Wine was being poured from a huge heart-shaped ladle into beautiful crystal glasses, and the musicians began to play (though not completely in time of course and some would argue, the same key!) In one corner of the Hall, Julius the story-teller was entertaining the guests with a perfect rendition of some story about a ghostly skull with opal eyes that can only look at its own reflection in the mirror, until one day a magpie pecks his eyes away and the skull is happy not to see anything, ever again! And of course, there were the usual revelries, like the young earls kicking the courtiers down the steps and the eight sorrowful maidens who think themselves the prettiest things ever to have breathed, trampling over the gardener’s beautiful flowers which would have killed him instantly had he witnessed the slaughter of his ‘children’. And all because no beauty can compete with their own vanity! And then there were his Lordship’s noble cousins: Aquillegia and Alchemillia Despair who were busy rolling the fat boy from one end of the Great Hall to the other, flattening an old Duchess quite speechless in the process, in fact, she fell quite dead! And so this was how the aristocracy enjoyed themselves in Sleepy Sadness, yet never had a room been more full of broken hearts and broken promises!
On the great dining table, the mechanical owl had to be pulled from the punch bowl to perform his duty of announcing his Lordship, ‘Great citizens of Sleepy Sadness, we are gathered here to mourn...’ but before he could finish his speech, he was plunged back into the punch bowl, hooting and protesting. Then in swept his sombre Lordship, Magnus Doom, as if conjured by a wicked magician!
 There he stood in his blue mask and elegant black dinner suit wearing the family insignia and official state regalia of various academic and fraternal institutions, including the famous pendent in the shape of a teardrop, bearing the words: ‘sorrow hath reigned and sleep shall soothe’.
Slowly, Lord Doom descended the stairs and not a sound could be heard except for the mechanical owl, splashing about in the punch bowl. All the guests bowed and his Lordship uttered just one word: ‘Welcome!’
During his Lordship’s grand entrance, Pegamina and Grudge had slipped into the ballroom, unnoticed, and as the music began again, they weaved through the guests, arm in arm, nodding, but never speaking. Pegamina was strangely fascinated by all the elegant costumes; in fact, she stood quite some time just admiring the beautifully dressed guests who talked of elegant things. Two gentlemen were of particular interest to her as she listened to their conversation:
‘In conforming to the single crease, I find that one eliminates all trace of natural character, and as you know, all trace of natural character must be suppressed!’
‘Oh undoubtedly’ said the other gentleman.
‘Individuality sir must be smoothed over for the sake of taste; for the sake of sartorial correctness!’
‘A good suit sir’ said the other gentleman in a loud voice, wishing to be overheard, ‘should contain the universe sir and nothing less! A good suit sir should have the secrets of the cosmos in every pocket and a good tie sir is the very epicentre of the illusion!’
‘Quite!’ was all that the other gentleman said. But Pegamina had lost interest in their talk and all talk for that matter, for Pegamina’s attention was now solely fixed on his Lordship, who sat in a corner, talking to no one yet admired by all.
Without a moment’s notice, all the guests were suddenly lined up and down one side of the ballroom as the great oak doors swung open to reveal a beautiful bird with elegant plumage, in a flood of tears behind its red mask. The bird was tied to a wooden wheel which was rolled into the centre of the ballroom. Then, one of the servants dressed in black velvet walked before the guests with a silver platter, on which were a heap of mouldy, rotten old apples and every guest took one in each hand. A man stepped forward into the centre and announced in a deep voice that the bird was guilty of trespassing on his Lordship’s grounds and that he had been sentenced to a ‘severe pelting’ for shooting at the Lily. Pegamina suddenly realised that the beautiful bird behind the mask was the Peacock, that ‘positive enigma’ whom she had met at the monument. But before anything could be done, the rotten apples went whizzing through the air, and all of them, well aimed found their target! The Peacock’s head hung low and the red mask tumbled to the floor and the sadness still there in his eyes, behind the tears, struck Pegamina most of all, as his little life began to flow away. Doctor Morose (who had participated in the apple throwing) was called and he pronounced that the miscreant Peacock’s heart had quite stopped and he recorded the cause of death as ‘died of shame!’ Pegamina went towards the Peacock’s lifeless body and she sobbed as she took its limp wing in her hand, as Grudge did his best to comfort her, but there was nothing he could do.
During the proceedings no one had noticed his Lordship’s exit from the ballroom, just as no one had noticed that the mechanical owl had drowned in the punch bowl.
‘Yes, a strange case indeed’ said the doctor ‘though nothing surprises me anymore! You know, only three moons ago I was called to the sick-bed of the woodland cuckoo. Very tricky business! Broke its back in a nasty fall! Sixteen breaks don’t you know! Well, there was nothing I could do so I broke it some more and put the poor fellow out of his misery!’ Just then, Glum the undertaker (who had also participated in the slaying of the Peacock) walked towards the dead bird, measuring a wing and tutting, then a leg and tutting some more. Finally, the poor Peacock was flung, without much care, onto the shoulders of the undertaker’s assistant and carried off to a little room in which it would be prepared in order to take pride of place in his Lordship’s collection of rogues and wrongdoers, behind a glass cabinet, beside the tattered remains of the Lily, next to the stuffed corpse of the Don’t Don’t bird!


 
Lord Magnus Doom
 
 
 

PEGAMINA PART TEN


 
PEGAMINA
By BARRY VAN-ASTEN
 
PART TEN
 
DOOM HALL

It was a cold and frosty morning as Pegamina left the grove and the poor lifeless body of the man who loved the sea, as she went in search of Doom Hall. ‘It’s true’ she thought ‘we are so much paper in the wind!’
As she walked along a narrow track that wound through the woods, shaded by overhanging boughs, she could see, beyond the trees, a hillside covered in stone figures. And by a low stone wall she stood and gazed at the desolate and forlorn sight, for she knew that they were memorials to those that had once lived. Now, ancient and broken, they stood like a petrified city of the dead, nestling among the trees. And so she turned and hurried on, for she did not want to see those great white reminders of life’s short passage!
After walking a little distance she came to a great gateway. It was the biggest gate she had ever seen! Two large stone pillars rose into the air, and two very tall and imposing iron gates hung from them, depicting various forms of mythological beasts. And above the gates Pegamina read these simple words in almost hushed tones: ‘Doom Hall’. Just then, she heard a noise from beside one of the pillars. It was a sort of grumbling sound, for her attention had been so fixed on the images on the iron gates that she had failed to notice a great big sleeping bear resting against the stone with its arms folded across its huge belly!
‘What’s this?’ boomed a deep and frightening voice.
Pegamina was so startled that she stepped back, for the bear was so very cross at being woken.
‘I’m sorry if I woke you, really I am!’ Pegamina said to the fearful bear.
‘Sorry! I’ll make you sorry!’ growled the bear before his head fell to his chest and his eyes closed.
Just then, a bee settled on his nose, thinking him some strange and exotic furry flower and the bear woke once more and in his angry, fearful voice he said: ‘Still here?’
 
But Pegamina was so afraid that she could not answer.
‘Do you know what happens when bears are woken?’ he said, rolling his eyes and yawning at the same time.
‘No, I’m sorry I don’t’ said Pegamina, timidly.
‘Then I shall tell you...’ and the bear began to tell her the story of the boy and the bear:

‘Once, long ago, there was a boy. A very kind and courteous boy, for he was always very polite and he always stood up straight! Every evening, this kind little angel of a boy would go to the woods and lay a fish before the sleeping bear for his supper. And every night, a bowl of warm milk was placed next to the bear, for when he should wake and feel thirsty. The boy did this from spring to spring for seven years, without fail, and the boy and the bear became real friends, as far as boy and bear can be! One day, as the boy was placing the fish beside the bear, he accidently trod on the bear’s paw and the bear woke, terribly annoyed and howled with pain!’
‘And what did the bear do?’ asked Pegamina.
But the bear did not answer; he just rubbed his huge belly and licked his lips! And Pegamina was so afraid that she ran and ran, as fast as she could!
‘What an unusual...’ but before the bear could finish his sentence, he had fallen fast asleep again!
And when Pegamina stopped running and looked back towards the gate, she could see the stretched out bear, deep in sleep with his arms folded across his belly once more.
Further on down the lane, Peg’s curiosity began to grow as to what lay beyond the great stone wall of Doom. It was such a high wall; it seemed to reach into the sky, making it quite impossible to know what was on the other side. Not being able to find another entrance, she sat down for a moments rest and thought about the man who saw the sea in the woods. ‘He must be a very cruel Lord’ she said to herself. Just then, a voice seemed to sing above her: ‘Doom shall fall! Doom shall fall!’ it said, and looking up, Pegamina could see a large raven on top of the wall, looking down at her.
 
‘Was that you I heard speak just now?’ shouted Pegamina.
‘Doom shall fall! cwarrr!’ repeated the raven.
‘I don’t know about that, but I do know that I should like to be on the other side of this wall! Is there another way to get in?’ But the raven did not answer and flew down to the ground and walked around Peg in a very noble manner. After it circled her several times, it stopped before her and spoke:
 
‘Pity the raven
On the wings of death,
Where winter’s beak
Can draw no breath!
Soars high to the heavens
And out of the sky –
Pity the raven
For even death may die!’

And after uttering these words, the raven hopped and spread its wings and flew into the air, leaving Pegamina rather confused. But it wasn’t long before the raven returned and with it were a heron and a stork. Before Peg could say a word the heron had gripped her left arm and the stork took hold of her right arm. And the raven took hold of her long hair, and very soon, all were rising into the air! Pegamina looked down and she could see the trees becoming smaller and smaller. She could not imagine such things, not even in her dreams, and so, feeling afraid, she had to close her eyes! Then, all of a sudden, she found herself upon the ground, feeling very cold. And as she opened her eyes, she could see that she was sitting in the snow, on the other side of the wall. She looked up and saw the raven the heron and the stork, all flying in different directions, yet still she heard the strange words returning in the wind: ‘Doom shall fall!’
She stood up and looked around at the white landscape. ‘How peculiar’ she thought ‘that snow should only fall upon this side of the wall’. It was a very beautiful garden indeed, like a magical wilderness with its snow-covered trees. ‘How very enchanting’ she said. Not knowing which way to go, for there were no footpaths, she decided to walk along an avenue and see where it would lead her. She stepped quickly over the snow and eventually came to a picturesque garden grotto, with a circular pool and a stone statue in the centre. And there, beside the pool, sat a very old man with his wrinkled face reflecting in the water.
‘Good day to you sir!’ said Pegamina courteously.
‘By the ways’ replied the old man.
Not understanding, Pegamina began to walk away until the old man said:
‘sit down, come’. And Pegamina sat beside the old man, though she did not know whether to be afraid or not.
‘And what wants you here?’ the old man asked, staring at the statue in the pool.
‘If you mean why am I here, it is because I wish to see the Lord of Doom!’ she replied. And the old man bent his head and scratched his whiskered chin as he laughed to himself.
‘Lord Doom? he won’t see soul nor eyes of anyone!’ he said.
‘But it’s of great importance!’
‘Maybe, but look you, his Lordship sees no one!’ And here the old man shook his head, almost separating it from his neck. And after a pause he looked at Pegamina and said:
‘And what name is it you carry?’
‘My name is Pegamina’ she said.
‘That’s not a name known to me’ he said, scratching his head.
‘Grudge, the gardener, that’s me’ and he pointed to his nose.
‘Pleased to meet you and I must say this is a very beautiful garden; you must work extremely hard!’
‘You should have seen it before!’
‘Before what?’ asked Peg.
‘Before the curse of Doom’ he answered ‘in the radiant days of the garden’s long shadows!’
‘The curse of Doom! Will you tell me about it?’
‘Aye, if your ears be itching?’
Pegamina’s ears were not itching at all; in fact, they could not be further away from itching if they tried, for it was so very cold that her tiny ears were frozen. And so Grudge, seeing that she was shivering, took off his jacket and wrapped it around her as he began to tell her his story:
‘It was a long time ago, when I was a boy’ and he chuckled to himself. ‘I was just beginning my apprenticeship then, and at that time, the present Lord Doom’s father was Lord and a cruel and fearful man he was; no one dared to cross him for he was like a lion, in strength and in looks. Well, to begin, his Lordship had a son named Craven, the present Lord’s youngest brother. Such a strange boy he was. Every minute of the day (when day’s had minutes, of course!) he would spend in the garden, and I would tell him the names of all the flowers, which he so loved. In fact, he didn’t do the usual things that boys do, like climbing trees or playing with little toy soldiers; all the boy seemed to enjoy was sitting here by the pool and gazing at the statue of the stone angel. Well, his Lordship began to worry dreadfully about young Craven, thinking him weak, for it is well known that every seventh son of Doom is born without the wind!’
‘What do you mean, without the wind?’ interrupted Peg.
‘To be born without the wind is to be born a fool!’ And here the gardener began to recite a poem entitled: The Fortunes of the Wind
 
‘If the wind be blowing from the North
The child will grow up true and strong.
And blessed with honour, shall go forth
To right the wrongs of the wrongs!
 
If the wind be blowing from the East
Great riches are foretold to follow.
Fine wines and spice make a hearty feast
But gold and silver bring much sorrow!
 
If the wind be blowing from the South
A child of wisdom here shall grow.
Versed in the arts with a silver mouth
From which sweet songs of love shall flow!
 
If the wind be blowing from the West
The child shall have clothes and be fed,
For a life of toil is poor at best
When life is waiting to be dead!
 
But if the wind does not appear
And no boughs bend on the tree;
If no ripples stir and the stream is clear,
Then he or she a fool must be!’

And the gardener continued with his story:
‘It was a beautiful summer’s day; the birds were singing in the trees and all the flowers were at their fullest bloom, making the garden rich in colour and fragrance. His Lordship, deciding not to go riding that day, took a walk in the garden instead and there by the pool he found his son gazing up at the statue. Well, his Lordship was furious with young Craven and thrashed him there and then until he almost died!’
‘Oh what a horrible man to do such a thing for something as harmless as looking at a statue!’ cried Peg.
‘Yes, but no ordinary statue. The legend of the stone angel is an ancient one and goes back many generations of the Doom family. You see, an angel had fallen in love with the Lord of Doom, one of the present Lord’s ancestors long ago. But there was a witch who had also fallen deeply in love with the Lord of Doom, and she was so jealous of the angel, for she was so very beautiful and pure, that she put a spell on her, which turned her instantly to stone. And the witch made her weep for a hundred years, until the pool around her was filled by her tears. Well, young master Craven fell so in love the stone angel that he would make little gifts from the flowers and put them in a paper boat, which he would push out towards the stone angel. Poor Craven, he had quite lost his heart. And his Lordship despaired and grew sadder and sadder, until he would see no one, for little Craven had become his Lordship’s unmentionable son. And so the great wall was erected around the garden of Doom!’
‘And what happened to the boy?’ said Pegamina, anxiously.
‘Poor boy, he lost his mind and his heart to the angel. Then one day, after seeing the stone angel’s reflection in the pool, he leaned over and tried to kiss her reflection and he fell into the water and was drowned! Early next morning, they found him in the pool, as cold as stone with his eyes wide open and fixed upon the statue. And since that day, Doom has been plagued by a terrible curse:

Snow shall cover the land of Doom;
Tears will flow in the pool of gloom.
And within a room, within a room, within a room,
The heart of sorrow has built her tomb!’
And here the gardener stood up, leaving Pegamina gazing at the statue, for in her heart she had not forgotten about her own, sad little ghost and could not help wondering if she would ever see him again.
‘Come’ said the gardener, holding out his large, rough hand. And Pegamina put her tiny hand in his and they both walked over the snow.



 
The Stone Angel

PEGAMINA PART NINE


 
PEGAMINA
By BARRY VAN-ASTEN
 
PART NINE
 
WHEN THE SEA ROARS

As the sun was setting, Pegamina found herself in a strange wood, and the further into the wood she wandered, the more the trees seemed to huddle together as if they were afraid of something more than the darkness. Deeper she went and darker it grew, and all about her, the sound of the night began to sing. It was the woods of her dreams where she became lost and afraid and where nothing seemed to sleep; where the hoot of an owl is the cry of some forsaken ghost, and a disturbance in the undergrowth is the tread of some nightmarish phantom. All these fears seemed to crowd upon her sense as the last rays of the sun disappeared below the trees.
Night was now upon her and a heavy mist was beginning to settle in the woods. And for a moment, Pegamina stood still and listened to the sound of the wood as it stretched and yawned before her. And as she listened, she heard the faint sound of someone singing, far away in the distance. She walked on and the song grew sad and long and loud, until she could hear plainly, the words that were sung by a shrill voice, drifting through the wood:
 
‘Down below the waves that keep
My restless heart so incomplete;
Wet with kisses from the deep:
Swim with monster fuel, my sweet,
Through the blue energy of aqua-sleep;
Drawn by darkness – kick your feet!
 
In submerged sensuality, she
Is leaving her dread decline,
Under the rolling, galleon-haunted sea
By the light of an incandescent shrine;
Under the water’s dorsal-filled beauty,
Drawn by this great love of mine!
 
Let the pearly chambers of your heart be still:
I am alive and caressing in the liquid blue,
Where the dead dance by a dim-lit oracle,
And where my love waits to pull you through!
Kiss the dark reaches with lips soft and gentle
And by your dreams, I’ll be there too!’

It seemed like the voice of an angel, calling out into the sad and lonely wilderness, and Pegamina took some comfort in this. As she walked on, under the dense, moonlit trees, she heard the sound of crying, not too far away, and it wasn’t long before she found herself standing before a man with his hands against his face, crying into the darkness. In fact he was sobbing so loud that he didn’t seem to notice Pegamina approaching at all.
‘Why are you crying?’ she asked. And the man answered:
‘When the sea roars its song of eternity... these woods are my fathom-filled beauty!’ Pegamina didn’t quite understand what he meant, but she decided to introduce herself but the man of the woods did not answer.
‘Tell me please, what makes you so unhappy?’ she said.
‘Can you not see’ replied the man ‘that I have been tied to this tree and the woods are drowning me... drowning me...!’
‘But who tied you to the tree?’
‘It was my brother’ he said tearfully, ‘Lord Magnus Doom and I am sick of sorrow’s suffering!’
‘Why did he do such a thing, he is your brother, does he not love you?’
‘Magnus, my young brother owns this land including the grove of Lamentation in which I am an eternal prisoner, and which by right was my inheritance!’
‘You mean he stole it from you?’
‘He is my father’s son and he is a noble one!’ and he laughed as if he were possessed by some streak of madness.
‘I shall untie you’ Pegamina said reaching for the rope.
‘It is no use I’m afraid, it is quite impossible. You see, I cannot live and I cannot die’. And Pegamina took the rope in her hands, shaking it, pulling it and even biting it, but it was no good, the rope could not be undone!
‘You see, it is no ordinary rope, but thank you for trying’ he said, hanging his head.
‘Can’t the rope be cut in some way?’ Pegamina asked.
‘Not even with the sharpest axe!’ he replied.
‘Then I don’t know what to do!’ And she sighed and sat down beside the man’s feet, looking thoughtful. A long time seemed to elapse and neither of them said a word. Pegamina looked up into the man’s eyes and could see that he was far away in his thoughts.
‘What are you thinking about?’ asked Pegamina.
‘I’m not thinking of anything, I’m looking!’
‘Looking at what?’ said Pegamina.
‘At the sea, of course, for we are so much paper in the wind!’ he replied. And Pegamina looked about her but she could only see the black, crooked shapes of trees.
‘I can’t see the sea!’ she said, feeling a little puzzled.
‘That’s because you don’t look!’ And Pegamina looked again, but she still saw nothing of the sea!
‘I don’t believe you really can see the sea!’ she said.
‘I see it all the time; it is the only thing I do see!’
Pegamina watched the man for a few moments as he stared into the distance, beyond the grove and beyond the hills and the valleys where, perhaps, he really could see the sea.
‘I have dreamt of the sea too!’ she said.
‘What is dreamt?’ the man asked.
‘Dreamt means to dream, when one is asleep’ she answered.
‘And what is asleep?’ he asked.
‘Sleep is when one closes one’s eyes to dream!’
‘What nonsense! Close one’s eyes to dream! How can one see the sea with one’s eyes closed?’
‘In one’s head, of course!’ she said sharply.
‘The sea, in a head? How absurd!’
‘It’s not absurd, it’s imagination!’
Then they both remained silent until the man said:
‘How can you understand? Knowledge, that’s the tragedy. It’s not powerful at all, it’s dangerous and terribly lonely and we are what we are!’
Pegamina thought the man was very ungrateful; after all, she had tried to undo the rope for him, but she also felt deeply sorry for him, and so she did not speak another word. The grove grew darker and darker, and as Pegamina felt the veil of sleep overcome her, she stretched out and lay before the man and closed her eyes to dream.
During the night, she often opened her eyes to look at the pitiful face above her, white in the moonlight, staring into the darkness, and his eyes like two shiny pearls. For although she was tired she found it somewhat difficult to sleep, what with the noise of the woods and the man sighing above her! Yet she was comforted by the thought that she wasn’t alone. She looked up into the night sky and saw all the bright stars twinkling and she wondered if her little friend, the star, had returned home safely and was twinkling for her. In fact all manner of different thoughts seemed to fill her mind; she even tried to remember the song about the butterfly: ‘O secret of symphony, I know its heart...’ but she fell fast asleep.
The next morning, as she awoke, she opened her eyes to the sad face of the man tied to the tree and greeted him:
‘Good morning! And how is the sea today?’
‘All is calm now but the waves were as high as the clouds during the night, as they crashed together like thunder, as if to say “that is all! That is all!”’
‘I think the sea can be very cruel!’ Pegamina said.
‘When the sea roars its song of eternity... it will find you! All-knowing and all-powerful! And here the man began to sing:

‘O to be on some moonlit isle
Where I can watch the sea;
To watch the rising and falling waves
As they rise and fall in me!
 
To watch the tall ships passing by
Ruled by the laws of the sea,
With the wind in their sails
As the water-world wails
Like fathoms, restless in me!
 
And gently, gently, ever so gently
Into the blue waves of the sea;
Where the salt-born soul
Is measured by the roll
Of the sea, of the sea, of the sea!’

Then suddenly, he closed his eyes and sang no more. And his body that had become so much a part of the tree fell to the ground as the rope broke, setting him free. And a smile seemed to cross his lips, but it was too late, for he was dead and Pegamina knew that he was dreaming of the sea as she wept uncontrollable tears!


 

When the sea roars...

PEGAMINA PART EIGHT


PEGAMINA
BY BARRY VAN-ASTEN

PART EIGHT
 
GOBLIN AND GARGOYL – AN INTERLUDE

Deep in the forest of whispering oaks, by the shores of the Loveless Lake, stood an old monastery in which dwelt a very ancient order of monks whose labours were solely dedicated to the pursuit of love, for this was their God; the one true ideal of their worship. The devotion to which the monks gave to their God was more than just a divine belief in something which may or may not be. In fact, so intense was their devotion that sleep had been forbidden to them on account that it interferes with their holy obligations. And so many of the monks died before they reached adulthood, thus sustaining their pure and innocent beauty into the afterlife! But a short life was a little price to pay in the service of their supreme Lord of all things – Love.
That it was an industrious order there is no doubt, for every day began with a reading of the divine scriptures and a little time was given to artistic pursuits, which were wholly encouraged in the monastery, for art is a labour of love and the creation of beautiful things was seen as the purest manifestation in which love was present; for let us not forget that here, the artistic soul of man was born! In the evenings, the monks attended mass where beautiful songs are sung in praise of love, and where each monk partakes of the sacrament: a rose petal with a single teardrop upon it, to symbolise the pleasure and the pain of love. Then the mass ends with the raising of the bronze cup of love, and with the words of Our Love’s Prayer spoken aloud:

‘Love, be thy word
In sorrow, pity and regret,
For now, tomorrow and always –
Praise the Holy name of Love!’

After a light meal the night is spent in individual contemplation, endlessly turning the pages of long forgotten books in their search to discover the lost language of love, and to find long forgotten answers to questions they cannot forget, such as: what is love? Who is love? Why is love? Where is love? And when is love?
Because the monastery is a closed order the monks are strictly confined within its walls, having nothing whatsoever to do with the nearby villages of Woe and Despair, who think the monks a little sinister in their mysterious ways. It was a grand and ornate monster of a building, surrounded on three sides by woodland, with its remaining side bordering the chilly waters of the Loveless Lake, which sweeps right across to the edge of Despair. The walls of the monastery were taller than the oak trees beyond them and legend says that they were built by one man who lay down and died, having completed the task. Turrets and towers rise above the rooftops of the monastery, displaying fine examples of stone carvings. On one particular tower can be seen the carved figures of a goblin and a gargoyle, that seem to be more functional, in a peculiar sort of way, than decorative, for they were placed so high upon the tower to ward off all hateful thoughts emanating from those who do not believe in love. But it was purely superstition on behalf of the monks.
Each night, the stone goblin and the stone gargoyle would talk by the light of the moon, for as we all know, goblins and gargoyles know nothing of sleep.
‘How the moon becomes you, proud Goblin’.
‘Gargoyle, may I remind you that pride is an ugly word, especially in your mouth, and I will not be associated with ugliness!’ said the goblin.
‘I just meant how noble you look beside the moon, my dear Goblin’.
‘Then that is well, for what mere moon could contain such magnificence as you or I? It is a perfect fright to behold when placed so carelessly beside such handsome fellows as ourselves’.
‘We are beautiful in our gruesomeness, aren’t we Goblin?’
‘Indeed we are, for I believe there is not one soul who can say they have gazed upon our astonishing, and may I say distinguished features and not wept with admiration, when we are met by moonlight’.
‘Then you don’t believe it is the moon that draws tears of admiration?’
‘Of course not Gargoyle, if it were so, then why would those vulgar children from the village throw stones at it and shout ‘’monster!’’?’
‘But they always miss and hit you Goblin’.
‘Ahh, the price one pays for beauty. It is a cruel game that nature plays Gargoyle, to place our beauty before the moon, to shield it from those less fair than ourselves’.
‘Then you don’t believe, perhaps, that our beauty is a little misunderstood, and for some strange reason, those stones are not meant for the moon, but for us?’
‘Ahh, I see you have a heart of stone, dear Gargoyle, a heart of stone...’
It was a long time before another word was said, as both the goblin and the gargoyle were so pre-occupied with their own importance, that each forgot about the others existence. Eventually, the silence was broken by the gargoyle:
‘Goblin, what is love?’
And the goblin replied with genuine surprise – ‘Such a big question in so little words Gargoyle’.
‘But can it be answered Goblin?’
‘You know, everything has an answer Gargoyle, no matter how complex the question’.
‘Then can you answer my question dear Goblin?’
‘I can try Gargoyle, I can certainly try. Let me give you my own theories on love. But there is no one view on the subject, for its character is so perplexing. You have seen for yourself how the monks strive towards this same answer’.
‘I have seen Goblin, yet I have not seen, for they get no closer to knowing for all their words, books and art’.
‘And they will get no closer than you nor I, for love cannot be summoned by a cup, and it cannot be found within the pages of a book, for its name is sorrow and it dwells in the heart. You see, love has many ways and it strikes without warning, or so I have heard, and can depart just as quickly as it strikes’.
‘Then it is not eternal like the stars and the moon our poets have written about?’
‘It lasts but a short breath, and comes in many names, with only one true purpose – to destroy; weaving its charms into the heart only to suck the pitiful heart dry’.
'But does it not bring with it happiness? I was led to believe that love is joyful, is it not so Goblin?’
‘It is true that love is beyond all riches, I’m sure, for it cannot be bought or sold’.
‘Then love has no value?’
‘On the contrary dear Gargoyle, for the price of love is a broken heart’.
‘I should rather an unbroken heart than a broken one, I think. But tell me, why do so many willingly fall into its arms if it causes so much pain?’
‘Because love cannot speak and the awfulness of love, with all its pain, gives those who practice it, the false hope that life is beautiful, and that their existence really does mean something to someone, which of course, it doesn’t. For no matter how deeply one loves, one still cannot become two! We are all as stars in a lonely universe, pretending there is more... but why are your thoughts turned to love, dear Gargoyle?’
‘I have entertained no other thought, dear Goblin’.
‘Then let it be said that love is a bad lot of mischief and in surrendering to its ways a whole heap of despair will follow. For the fact is, love is a delusion, it makes one blind to the truth. Oh initially there is much to be said for it, of course, but nothing is as it appears when one is a victim of love’s arrows’. And here the goblin looked at the gargoyle and they both laughed.
‘Yes’, said the gargoyle, ‘I think I understand a little now, you say love makes one blind to the truth, I think it must be so also, for is it not true, that love makes those who are its slaves, want to give themselves completely and wholly to the object of their love in return for another love and devotion, only to find that it’s not worth having?’
‘You astound me dear Goblin in your lucid wisdom, you are indeed an intellectual sir, and I quite agree. It is better to remain ignorant of such things, than to be a fool under the spell of love’.
‘Yes, indeed’ said gargoyle, ‘it’s better for all who are concerned to live a lie than to die a hopeless liar, for they little know how they tear themselves to pieces’.
‘Never said a truer word dear Gargoyle, for I myself find the cold waters of the lake below more inviting than the warm arms of love, for the result is just the same: death!’
‘Exactly dear Goblin, for death conquers all in the end. And don’t you remember those many long winters ago, how we watched that poor boy build himself a snow maiden in the woods, and how he returned every day to sit with her. I don’t think we had ever seen such devotion before had we Goblin?’
‘No never, it was astonishing’.
‘But how sad it was when he returned one day to find that she had gone, and oh how he searched the woods for her’.
‘Love is cruel Gargoyle’.
‘Indeed it is. And do you remember how the boy returned in the summer and fell in love with the little bluebell at the edge of the wood, and how every day he came and watered it with his tears?’
‘Ahh, how dearly he loved his little bluebell and oh how he cried when he returned to find she had gone. I had never seen so many tears Gargoyle’.
‘And I had never seen such a fragile heart broken in two like that before’.
‘How love ruins the pure and gentle in all of us is truly a crime dear Gargoyle, truly a crime...’
Just then, the monks began to appear below for their midnight praise to the nature of love.
‘Here they come again’, said the gargoyle.
‘What fools they are!’ said the goblin.


 

The Goblin and the Gargoyle

PEGAMINA PART SEVEN




PEGAMINA
By BARRY VAN-ASTEN
 
PART SEVEN
 
THE REMARKABLE NONSENSE BIRD

The sunlight fell through the trees like a beautiful river of golden beams as Pegamina awoke, and she could see through a clearing in the woods the distant shapes of the landscape, all grey and green and sad and lonely. She thought to herself how haunted it all seems, not in the frightening way, but in a strange and romantic sort of way that one often finds in dreams; where everything is so ancient and so full of sorrow. It seemed to go deep into her heart as she stood there at the edge of the wood, looking at the rolling fields and ruinous woodland before her.
While she was deep in these thoughts, she noticed a small bright object on top of a hill, not too far away, but she was unable to see quite what it was. After walking for some time, the light on the hill became brighter and brighter. ‘I wonder what it is?’ she thought to herself. Climbing up the hill she could suddenly see what the bright object was, for there, at the very top of the hill, was a small ball of fire, and it seemed very unhappy!
‘Who are you and why are you so sad?’ inquired Pegamina of the bright object.
‘I’m a star and I’m sad because I fell from the sky!’ it replied.
‘That was very careless of you, wasn’t it?’
‘I know! I’m not a very bright star, in fact, I’m rather dim and clumsy; I’m always bumping into things!’ the star said in some distress.
‘Silly little star. How I wonder what you are!’ laughed Pegamina.
‘Please don’t make fun of me, it hurts and when I’m hurt I lose a little of my twinkle!’ And the star sobbed.
‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Is there no way for you to return to where you came from?’
‘I’ve thought ever so hard about it, so hard that my light has grown dim, and now I don’t know what to do!’ said the poor star with tears in its eyes.
‘Don’t cry star. I will help you, I promise’. And with this the star stopped crying and said ‘you’re very kind, but I don’t know what anyone can do for me!’
Pegamina sat beside the star and thought a very long time over the problem. And every so often, the star would look to Pegamina, as if expecting some answer, but no answer would come. Pegamina felt sad for the star and all she could say was ‘it is so very far away, isn’t it?’
As the shadows lengthened and day was slowly turning into night, they were both startled to hear the sound of singing coming from the woods:
 
‘Have you ever seen such a marvellous fowl?
Have you ever heard such a fearsome growl?
Grrr! Grrr! Grrr! Grrr!
The greatest phenomena in feather and fur!
From the tip of my nose to the ring on my toe,
Talking nonsense wherever I go, don’t you know!’

Now, this odd-looking creature that had been singing was now walking backwards at a fantastic speed up the hill like a steam engine, towards Pegamina and the star. Not noticing the little star, the backwards-walking creature sat upon the poor star’s face and began to read its book!
‘I think you’re on my face!’ said the timid little star.
‘Your face?’ replied the odd-looking creature.
‘Yes, my face’.
‘Oh excuse me I thought it was someone else’s face!’
‘I can assure you it is my face!’
‘My apologies!’ and the strange backward-walking creature stood up only to sit back down with greater force upon the star!
‘Do you mind!’ said the star through its flattened mouth.
‘Oh, was that your face again? I thought it was a bit warm!’
‘Still my face!’
‘Then may I suggest that you remove it from my posterior at once sir, at once... my posterior, sir’ said the strange creature, pointing to its tail. ‘Your face, sir’ it said, pointing to the star. ‘Worlds apart, sir, worlds apart!’ It boomed, expressing the distance with its hands before returning to its book.
‘I think you’re very rude! Who do you think you are?’ said Pegamina quite defiantly. And the creature stood up, releasing the star, and said:
‘I am the remarkable nonsense bird. I have five legs, count them: one, two, three, four and five; and look, one toe. How do I know? Look again!’ and the bird raised one of its five legs to reveal a beautiful toe that was wearing a ring of gold with a sparkling emerald set into it.
‘That’s a beautiful ring!’ said Pegamina, admiring it.
‘Ah yes, but look at the toe, look at the toe; isn’t it the finest toe you have ever seen?’
Pegamina never answered, for as far as toes go, one looks much like another. And so the nonsense bird sat next to the star and returned to its book.
‘What is the book about?’ Pegamina asked, feeling a little awkward.
‘It’s about half-way through!’ answered the nonsense bird.
‘But there are no words in it!’ said the little star, feeling brave.
‘That’s because it has nothing to say!’ then the nonsense bird began to sing:

‘I will not reverse into a world
That is not prepared for me;
I go backwards to see where I have been
Don’t you see, don’t you see, don’t you see!’

‘I think you’re very noisy for such a small thing’ said Pegamina.
‘Nonsense! Don’t you know that noise is silence, only louder!’
‘What silly things you say!’ Peg said wearily.
‘Yes, but I can see in your eyes that you are head over toe in love with me. Oh say you’ll be mine and toe-gether in good and fowl weather, we’ll go to gather wild bluebells and heather, with sweet hand in fine feather, for ever and ever...’
‘No never! No never!’ screamed Peg.
‘Never? What never?’
‘Never! No never!’ And the nonsense bird swooned:
‘O heartless beauty, I die before you. My bruised heart crushed with a careless word; has not a nonsense bird feeling? Has he not two eyes, five legs and a toe? Ohhh, ohhh I am a broken-hearted bird, broken by a careless word! I offered her my love and the use of my toe, to hang pretty things on and still she said “no”. And in time, many will come to this hill and stare at where the remarkable nonsense bird gave his life for a beautiful girl who did not care to be the remarkable nonsense bird’s remarkable nonsense wife!’ And the nonsense bird fell, as if dead, to the ground in one of the greatest and longest performances ever seen in theatrical history, crying ‘I wash my hands of love!’
‘Birds don’t have hands!’ Pegamina said to the pitiful sight of feathers and tears lying on the ground before her, to which the nonsense bird sprang to his feet and said:
‘Oh yes, some handsome birds have some hands and some gruesome birds have yet to grow some!’
Pegamina looked at the nonsense bird and began to feel sorry for it. After all, it can’t help talking complete nonsense, it’s what it does. So Pegamina apologised for hurting its feelings and the nonsense bird said sorry to the star for sitting on its face. Now, surely between the three of them they would find some solution for returning the star to its proper place. And so Pegamina explained the star’s distressful situation to the nonsense bird.
‘How very perplexing, said the nonsense bird, walking backwards in a circle, ‘and how fortunate for you that I should happen to come this way! Now, I shall have to apply all my scientific knowledge to the problem, of course.’
‘Oh of course’ Peg said, letting the nonsense bird feel very important indeed.
‘Let us take the astronomical point of view. Now, our sad, spherical friend here, who has not the sufficient propulsion, nor I might add, the intelligence to return to his celestial orbit, wishes to do so, correct?’
‘Correct!’ answered the star and Pegamina together.
‘Now, if we apply the laws of physics, we can see that his mass is greater than gravity, and there is no way of changing his weight or his dimension for that matter, agreed?’
‘Agreed!’ answered Pegamina and the star.
‘Then let us take the mathematical stance. Logic tells us that by taking the locomotive radius and multiplying it, thus creating an arc of forty-five degrees, one is able, theoretically, of course, to predict the positive energy one needs to propel such an object into motion; and by subtracting the combined mass and adding the total to the molecular structure of the body, in its inert state, of course, the negative will, I calculate, be transformed into a positive flux and thus resolve itself in flight. Of course, one has to divide the horizontal factor by the vertical, that’s very important!’ And here the nonsense bird drew a line in the ground with its toe to demonstrate his theory.
‘That’s all very clever and we are not all blessed with your intelligence so could you make it a little clearer so that we can understand?’ asked Peg, a little bemused.
‘Well, to put it another way – upwards!’
‘Are you saying that it is possible?’ said the star with a faint smile.
‘Oh yes, it’s all a question of advanced mechanics and aeronautics. But let us not forget that it’s also necessary that the wind should be favourable and blowing in the right direction!’
‘And how will we know when we have the right direction?’ Peg said with a yawn.
‘Simple! I stick my toe in the air, thus!’ and the nonsense bird raised one of its five legs a wiggled his toe in the air.
‘It all seems very scientific; couldn’t you make it a little easier to understand?’ Peg said again.
‘Haven’t you heard anything I’ve said?’ the nonsense bird squawked.
‘Oh yes, but we don’t have your great learning, do we star?’ and the star giggled.
‘Well, to put it in simpler terms: what comes down, must inevitably, go up!’
‘How?’ cried the star.
‘How?’ yelled Pegamina.
‘Simple!’ replied the nonsense bird, ‘the star will climb upon my back and I will fly into the air!’
Pegamina clasped her hands and jumped into the air several times, shouting ‘nonsense bird, what a marvellous bird! Have you heard, have you heard of the nonsense bird? From the tip of his nose to the ring on his toe, talking nonsense wherever he goes, don’t you know!’ And the nonsense bird blushed and smiled at Pegamina as the star climbed upon his back with the biggest grin you ever did see!
‘Hold on tight, star!’ shouted Pegamina.
‘I will, and thank you so much! Remember, whenever you look up into the night sky and see my twinkle, you must know in your heart I am twinkling for you and you only!’ Pegamina flung her arms around the star and the nonsense bird and wished them a safe journey, and before she knew it they were both in the air. The star smiled at her as he became brighter and brighter and higher and higher they flew. And the nonsense bird turned his head towards Pegamina and shouted:
‘Look at the toe! Look at the toe! Look at the...’ and they were both gone.


 
Have you ever seen such a marvellous fowl?