Friday, 24 March 2017

A Tulip’s Tale


A Tulip’s Tale




The word tulip was first mentioned in Western Europe, in the context of “Turkish Letters” of a diplomat Ogier Ghiselin de Busbercq in about 1554. This was the time of Ottomans wore typical Turkish tülbend ("muslin" or "gauze"). The correlation between turban and the Tulip flower came about because the tulip in full bloom resembled a turban. The name Tulip is derived from tulipa or tulipant, tulipe by French and tulīpa in modern Latin. 







Did you know that the Tulip can be given as the 11th wedding anniversary flower? It is said that the tulip's velvety black center represents a lover's heart, darkened by the heat of passion. 

Tulips as you well know come in various colors and each carry an important meaning:












Yellow tulips once were associated with jealousy and hopeless love. Lately however, yellow tulips have gained a sunnier disposition; it now represents hope and cheerful thoughts. You may give a yellow tulip bouquet to a good friend as a caring get-well gift. Yellow is also the color of friendship, which makes it great for a just-because floral gift.







White conveys forgiveness. White tulips are the flowers to pick for an apology bouquet. You may also include with it some chocolates as a worthwhile gesture to elicit a favorable response.







Multi-hued tulips, being the most versatile, can express varied messages to that special someone. For instance, striped tulips may symbolize a lover’s beautiful eyes, as do tulips with blotched, multicolored petals. 







Purple represents loyalty. If you want to let her know that she is your queen, choose an arrangement of purple tulips. Purple can also be used to express admiration for a loved one’s accomplishments.








Pink flowers express happiness and confidence. This makes them a very good choice when congratulating a friend on a new job or promotion. The flower meaning of pink tulips is the awakening of love. Pink tulips remind me of the lovely little girl in one of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales: Thumbelina.

Thumbelina is a story about a girl who is born from a tulip flower. One day this thumb-sized girl is kidnapped and was carried far, far away. When the destination was finally reached she was then forced to marry a toad. While in the Toad’s abode however, she comes upon a wounded swallow and with tender loving care, saves him. The ever so grateful swallow, fully recovered, rescues her from her harsh circumstances in return. He then takes her to the Kingdom of Flowers and there she falls in love with and marries the handsome prince of the kingdom. She lives happily ever after.







And finally, Red means perfect love and as well, evokes passion and romance. Did you know that in Persia, people give red tulips when they propose? Red tulips have the meaning of eternal love; therefore it’s an ideal choice for expressing deep affections to that someone special. 







Here’s a Turkish legend that may have contributed to this belief. As the tragic story goes, once a handsome prince named Farhad fell madly in love with a beautiful a maiden named Shirin. Capricious fate however saw to it that Shrin met her untimely demise during the digging of a new replacement well for her village. When Prince Farhad learned of this he was so overcome with grief that he rode his horse over the edge of a cliff. It's said that a scarlet tulip sprang up from each droplet of his blood, giving the red tulip the meaning "perfect love."






Then there is this legend that is told in the Netherlands.

Three knights are enamored by a beautiful girl. Each in turn proposes and presents her with a gift. One gives her a crown which indicates fame. The second one presents her with a mighty sword indicative of power. The third gives her gold which is indicative of property.

The beautiful girl remains in a quandary. As she cannot choose one over the other, she seeks the Queen of Flower’s help. She pleads with Her Majesty to change her into a flower, and being granted this request, the lovely girl is transformed into a Tulip. Here, as one can see, the crown is the flower, the sword is the leaf, and the gold is the eventual transformation to a bulb. 







One of the Greek myths is about tulips:

Once, there was a pretty girl named Tulip. One day, the god of autumn while he is about, spotted this enchanting beauty and fell deeply in love. His infatuation grew with each encounter even though she blatantly resisted his declaration of love.

When yet again chancing on her while she was picking flowers he accosted her. She in desperation ran off and sought help from the God of Virginity. Kneeling before Artemis, she pleaded with the Goddess to rescue her from the pesky lover, which the Goddess did ... by changing her into a tulip.







Last but not least, here’s a lovely English Folk Tale:

The Tulip Fairies

Once upon a time there was an old woman who lived by herself in a little house. She grew a bed of beautiful multi-colored tulips in her garden, which she would cut and bring into the house, to cheer herself up.







One night she was woken up by the sounds of sweet singing and of babies laughing. She looked out of the window and the sounds seemed to be coming from the tulip bed, but she couldn't see anything. The next morning she walked among her flowers, but there were no signs of anyone having been there the night before.







On the following night she was woken up again by sweet singing and the sound of babies laughing. She rose and stole softly through her garden. The moon was shining brightly on the tulip bed, and the flowers were swaying to and fro. The old woman looked closely and she saw, standing by each tulip, a little fairy mother who was crooning and rocking the flower like a cradle, while in each tulip cup lay a little baby fairy laughing and playing.







The old woman was a kind-hearted soul, and so she stole quietly back to her house, and from that time on she never picked another tulip, nor did she allow her neighbors to touch them.







The tulips grew brighter in color and larger in size day by day, and they gave off a delicious perfume, like that of roses. They began to bloom all the year round too. And every night the little fairy mothers caressed their babies and rocked them to sleep in the flower cups.







Eventually, the day came, as it must, when the good old woman died, and the tulip bed was torn up by people who did not know any better, they didn't know about the fairies, they didn't know about the babies, and instead of tulips they planted parsley, but the parsley withered, and died, and so did all the other plants in the garden, and from that time on nothing would grow there.







But the good old woman's grave grew beautiful, for the fairies sang above it, and kept it green - while on the grave and all around it there sprang up tulips, daffodils, and violets, and all the other lovely flowers of spring.







The End.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day






Saint Patrick's Day, celebrated on Mar 17 annually, may have begun as a commemoration of Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity to early 17th century Ireland. It was observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church.








Later still, it evolved into a celebration of Irish heritage and culture. Today however, this day is celebrated by many worldwide regardless of religion or race. On that day everyone plays at being Irish all in good fun. Festivities generally include parades and festivals, cèilidhs, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. 







Those that are religious do attend church services and observe the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol that are lifted for the day. The rest simply have fun dressed up in green, having green parties and lots and lots of drinking. Perhaps it’s because of the Irish people’s legendary fondness for alcohol, particularly Irish whiskey, beer or cider that has fostered this binge; making this an integral part of the celebrations. 







Especially since The St Patrick's Day custom of "drowning the shamrock" or "wetting the shamrock" was historically popular in Ireland and now spreading to the rest of the world. For those of you not in the know, at the end of the celebrations, a shamrock is put into the bottom of a cup, which is then filled with whiskey, beer, or cider. It is then drunk as a toast to St Patrick, Ireland, or those present. The shamrock would either be swallowed with the drink or taken out and tossed over the shoulder for good luck.







The custom of wearing green shamrocks, green clothing, and accessories also has its reasons:

St Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. In pagan Ireland, three was a significant number and the Irish had many triple deities, a fact that may have aided St Patrick in his evangelistic efforts. The shamrock may have been represented because of its regenerative powers and was recast in a Christian context near Easter‍. Icons of St Patrick are often depicted with a cross in one hand and a sprig of shamrocks in the other- a sort of a visual concept to explain the Trinity.








This said; there is now room for some debunking and reveal actual historical facts:


First of all, St. Patrick was British, not Irish. He was born in Scotland in the year 387 when the Roman Empire controlled Britain. At 16 years old he was captured by Irish pirates and forced into slavery for six years before he escaped. He went to Rome where he became a priest. He was subsequently assigned to England but afterwards sent to Ireland as Bishop of the Catholic mission.

The popular belief that St. Patrick achieved sainthood by driving the snakes from the Isle of Ireland is unfortunately false also. It's more likely Ireland never had any snakes; this fact was proven according to National Geographic. For during the Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago, the climate in Ireland was rather inhospitable to the cold-blooded reptiles. So snakes never caught on.

A more likely explanation would be that the "snakes" are an allegory for Druids. Patrick converted the Druids to Christianity and apparently was very successful at it; so successful in fact that in 1946 Pope Paul VI declared Ireland to be the "most Catholic country in the world." 








Have a good St. Patrick Day






Best of luck to you all


Sunday, 5 March 2017

The Tunnel

The Tunnel







Once upon a time in a frontier town the brash young son of a Warrior, named Doku, desiring to experience more of life after the death of his father, left his rigid and regulated circumstance and embarked on a long journey towards the Capital.

He was a agile and strong young man and highly skilled in sword fighting. Halfway to the Capital he came upon a large estate on the periphery of a prosperous town. 









The estate holder, Esquire Zaven’s first wife had died suddenly at childbirth leaving behind a squalling son. The property was enormous with many fields surrounding it that constantly needed tending. The historic mansion perched on a hilltop, supported a large household. As Zaven was always away on business, he’d been forced to re-marry in haste, acquiring a seemingly competent spouse to run the groundskeepers and the household staff in his absence. Doku, carrying exemplary credentials had no trouble securing the recently vacated position of a head Steward. Unfortunately during the course of his stay there he became enamored of the beautiful young wife of Esquire Zaven. Doku was a fetching young man with a fine physique that before long caught the eye of the young wife.











Once when Esquire Zaven was away on business, Doku chanced a clandestine meeting with the lady in which he professed his deep affections for her. She was an easy conquest and the two became instant lovers. The Esquire however returned unexpectedly early from his recent trip and so the illicit affair was exposed. Confronting the enraged husband, the culprit Doku slew the outraged Zaven in self-defense. Faced with this dire circumstance and facing certain death, the two lovers ran away. 


Always on the run and with scant options for survival, Doku became a highwayman. His skill was unmatched and any resistance was swiftly squashed. 













The spoils provided the couple with many luxuries. But still, it was never enough for the former wife. Greed dulled the appeal of this once beautiful woman and her demands, by degrees, caused Doku to grow increasingly disgusted with her. Finally he left her and resumed his journey, but not to the Capital. 







Eventually he settled down to a frugal life in a remote frontier town at the base of a mountain, where he became known as a solitary mendicant.

As he matured he felt increasing remorse for his past sins. Ghosts regularly haunted his dreams calling for him to atone for his crimes, particularly the felony that had started it all. Finally, after all this soul searching, Doku’s thoughts centered on the dangerous cliff road over the mountain and the countless souls it had caused death and injury to.










“Yes, I shall do it.” He nodded resolutely. As his atonement for all his past crimes he resolved to cut a tunnel through the mountain. He knew it would be a most ambitious feat but he desperately needed to accomplish a good turn that may, in part, eradicate some of his sins.

He set to work the very next day. From then on during the daylight hours Doku worked tirelessly doing any sort of labor, no matter how dangerous or loathsome. At night, after a modest meal and a brief repast, he hefted his pick and packed his shovel then travelled on horseback to the foothills. He spent the first several weeks surveying the region’s topography. From a hidden cave opening he started digging the tunnel until daylight broke. He made good use of the existing natural caverns, connecting them by digging short tunnels between them. By the time thirty years had gone by, the length of the tunnel reached 2,280 feet. Doku had almost achieved his goal of creating a secure pathway deep under the mountain. In a two more years he would reach his goal.

Before the work was complete however, the slain Esquire’s son Bron, who had become a skilled swordsman caught up with Doku. Bent on revenge, Bron lay in wait behind a huge boulder on a deserted stretch of path to spring his ambush. Doku with his experience as a highwayman had naturally sensed the presence of danger and dismounted. Holding the reins, Doku took the rocky path in bold strides that caused Bron to hesitate.

Bron paralleled the path for a time waiting for another opportunity to strike, then, brandishing his sword, jumped in front to block Doku’s way. Proclaiming his name, he shouted: “I’m here to avenge my father Esquire Zaven Ko, whom you’ve so foully murdered.  Be prepared to die, vermin!"







On the verge of receiving the death blow, Doku maintained his calm composure and stated his protest, “"I will give you my life willingly; only, let me finish this crucial work first. On the day of its completion, I swear I will stand ready to receive my punishment."

Doku’s courage and earnest demeanor convinced the son to postpone his revenge to a later time. And so Bron temporarily set aside the blistering rage swelling his chest and, night after night, followed Doku to the tunnel and watched him work. In all that time, even with a death sentence hovering over his head Doku’s diligence never once wavered. He removed the rock with his pick and then constructed post and beam supports from the surrounding trees to buttress the walls of the tunnel. In this way several months passed. Doku, even when sick worked hard at the dig.

Eventually Bron grew tired of doing nothing but watch Doku. In order to keep fit and to hasten the end result, he simply showed up with a pick. No words were exchanged as he worked alongside Doku on the dig.

After he had helped for more than a year, keeping a close eye on the other even during the day, Bron gradually came to admire Doku's strong will and steadfast character. Bron witnessed firsthand many of other’s charitable ways: his unwavering assistance to the sick and old and the countless anonymous generous donations to the needy, even though it meant at times going without food and clothing. He took note how Doku most brave in defending the weak: so many lives were spared fending off the local hoodlums and many widows and orphans fared better or survived their harsh circumstance, because of Doku’s cavort aid.

At long last couple hours before dawn the tunnel was finally complete. Now the people could use it and travel in safety. Covered in dust and dirt, Doku now prostrated himself before Bron in readiness for death. 







“Thank you for your patience and help. Now you may cut off my head. I bear you no ill will. My work is done."

"How can I cut off my own teacher's head?" asked Bron lowering his head with tears brimming in his eyes.



The End.

Saturday, 25 February 2017