Friday, September 28, 2018

Oisin, through Yeats: Irish myth. Eternal youth returns, ages, argues with St. Patrick; and nails it.

Versions of Oisin:  Celtic mythology. From the mists to the startling confrontation, or simple consoling meeting, with St. Patrick.

1.  In old Gaelie mythology, oldest version, not the one seen by casual internet searches, Oisin was a young warrior who, by marrying the king's daughter in Tir na nOg, the land of eternal youth, caused the king's Druidic bewitching, the spell upon her, to lift. Go to this site for oldest tales, non-Disneyed:

Background:  The king had learned from his Druid that he would indeed rule without being displaced, despite the 7-year competition by which he could be toppled from his great chair.  Only his own son-in-law might yet beat him out. The king, then, caused his daughter, named Niamh in later tales, to sprout a pig's head instead of her own, so that none would marry her. 

Thus pig-headed, she went to the now-regretful Druid, who told her what she could do.  She could go to Erin and bring back a husband. She did, found Oisin, he did, and the beauty returned.  He returned with her to Tir na nOg and indeed became king. End of story.

2.  Another version of Oisin is a Rip Van Oisin who returns from the land of eternal youth, Tir na nOg, after hundreds of years, is tainted, and ages.  

2.1  Then what? Pick the simplistic, or the complex account:  Versions differ, for different reasons. In each, the mythic hero, as he dies from the taint of having touched earth on his return for a visit, seeks out St. Patrick who has appeared meanwhile, during Oisin's long absence. 

St. Patrick, 385-461 CE, as a historic figure long post-dates the age of myth.  No problem.  Oisin cannot return to Tir na nOg in time. Changing cultures and religions juxtapose, merge. 

The simplistic view is that Christianity through St. Patrick's listening to Oisin's tale, comforts Oisin, and peace of mind descends upon the dying who has been heard.  That version is the new-culture promoting one:  Oisin and Patrick benignly chat. See

2.2  The complex view, which takes digging, is found in Yeats, and others.

William Butler Yeats reports Oisin's bitterness, at the practices he finds upon returning from the blessed land of the hunt, his love, and the young. Oisin bemoans the fasting and prayers he finds, and hates -- suggesting a sterility that is new to him in his old country, as he ages to death? He gave up Tir na nOg for this? 

Look what St. Patrick's faith has brought. Others also report this confrontation as an argument, not a seeking of peace: See the argument of Oisin against Christianity at
Read Yeats:   His Oisin is not benign.  Scroll down at the epic poem, The Wanderings of Oisin. Find the whole at
"O Patrick! for a hundred years
The gentle Niamh was my wife;
But now two things devour my life;
The things that most of all I hate:
Fasting and prayers."
Fasting and prayers.  This is to replace the joy of life?  Why live, suggests Oisin.

3.  The details: Wonderful.

Envision:  Oisin of Gaelic mythology came back across the seas of Ireland, Scotland, Hebridean islands, after centuries of not aging in a land of ever-youth.  He had ridden there with the princess Niamh, his love of the flowing hair and on he white mare.  The mare could span the seas from here to there, and Oisin stayed with his hunting and joys until, a Gaelic Winkle, he returned, nostalgic, perhaps.  Oisin found everyone long gone, however, and his castle a ruin.  He picked up a clod of earth (did the horse stumble, did he stop to help move a boulder with his great strength, had Niamh warned him against taint), and the protective bubble of youth and health fell away.  He sought out St. Patrick -- in a feat connecting the old beliefs with the new.

4. Ask: Is that meeting in extremis between Patrick and Celtic Oisin for the purpose of consolation and peace on the hero's last journey, a boon to be delivered through Christianity, the new ways? Yes, say the usual translations for public consumption, as Christianity had taken root in Oisin's absence.

Or are those accounts watered down, the pablum of cultural overlay to beef up the current context. Other versions, including that of William Butler Yeats, W.B.Yeats in 1889, say not so.

What other cultures have the story cycle? What does it mean, other than riveting attention to aging itself and the blessing of health and vitality, how fragile that state is, what tables it, what action when it falls, what is the trigger.
  • Think back to Yeats' role, in forging, focusing on preserving Irish identity. In 1889, William Butler Yeats brought Oisin to the fore in his epic poem. The hero, thrown when the white mare falters, picks up a clod of earth to take back with him for his return to the joys he now appreciates. 
  • Morals.  Leave old baggage behind? Follow directives, as Niamh told him, not to bring anything back.  Is that like Greek Persephone who ate the pomegranate seeds, and as a result had to live in the underworld 6 months of every year. 
5. Eternal human issue: Effect of belief and practice on the quality of life. 

Look back at the Irish-early Scot traditions, Hebrides areas, islands, the sea between. Visit in your mind when Oisin, likely of some history and myth, came before Saint Patrick, of some known history and embellished by myth, told Patrick the story of his red-headed love, Niamh, once the pig-headed, say earlier versions. And the listening in itself mattered, without counternarrative. And Oisin's journey, on trust and adventure, and the magical land of Tir na nOg, still makes a difference to people who learn of it, and identify in some way. Once Oisin was finished telling his story to one who actually listened, Oisin crossed out of this lifetime, and he was at last at peace. Stories. Like medicine. Change, take different roots, affect each in his own way.

6.  Cast spells on women, so men can manage their marriages. Can a girl even trust her father, or is his drive to power placed ahead of relationship every time.
Yea. Oyez. Selah.

Hear Yeats, this long-past copyright, in the epie:   Oisin's plaint.

O Patrick! for a hundred years
I chased upon that woody shore
The deer, the badger, and the boar.

O Patrick! for a hundred years
At evening on the glimmering sands,
Beside the piled-up hunting spears,
These now outworn and withered hands
Wrestled among the island bands.

O Patrick! for a hundred years
We went a-fishing in long boats
With bending sterns and bending bows,
And carven figures on their prows
Of bitterns and fish-eating stoats.

O Patrick! for a hundred years
The gentle Niamh was my wife;
But now two things devour my life;
The things that most of all I hate:
Fasting and prayers. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Patronio's Tale: King and Three Imposters, 13th century root of Emperor's New Clothes

Of That Which Happened to a King and Three Imposters,
[See further format of this Chapter VII, more legible]

The Invisible Cloth.
Original author, Don Juan Manuel 1282-1347 (see p. vi, Preface, above).
Here, an abbreviated retelling, with a few liberties.
A list, with itemized similar stories, see

I.  Background

The Invisible Cloth, from 13th Century Spain, lays out, as do other tales in the Emperor's New Clothes type, problems and politics as rulers try to find shortcuts to the business of a reign (who is worthy and who is not).  A root of that tale is the earlier from Count Lucanor, Fifty Stories of Patronio: Of that which happened to a King and Three Imposters, Ch.VII. Read it there in full,  summary here, instead of the usual Hans Christian Anderson Emperor's New Clothes, later, much altered for Scandinavia. The story line is relevant. All leaders have appointments to make, retinue to select. A recurrent scene in cultures around the world.

  • All this here, at this time, to mark a pending Trump milestone:  the Trump or not Electors. His problem is that of all the Emperors, Kings. Everybody knows. Everybody knows. Everybody knows. (Hush, child). It is humiliating when they realize not everyone or everything changes because words are said. How will he fare with the office's need for wise discernment. How will he deal with opinion of those who will not join a bandwagon; and will his advisors follow self-interest, as did those of the Emperors and Kings,  and report what is wanted, then duck out the door. Great story.  
Boxed in and mind bent by all the fakery around him, the Emperor tosses his senses and his royal robes to the winds, is humiliated, and instead of seeing his own error, tries to divert the people's attention by some violence, to take revenge, but the bad guys are long gone, and with the gold and silver. 

  • This story has more detail than the later Emperor's New Clothes, as in Hans Christian Anderson, so glean what you can from this one. The setting:  Count Lucanor is having trouble discerning who is legtimate in his kingdom, and who is not. He wants a shortcut to testing for that. He has a trusted friend and advisor, Patronio.  Count Lucanor asks for advice.  Patronio responds not directly, but with a story within a story, and a surprising moral at the end. 

Of all the flaws of the ruler, in relying on self-reporting of others without vetting, the moral at the end has nothing to do with that.  Instead, the moral has to do with the very beginning where there is confidentiality demanded by the weavers, absolute trust in what they are doing. Start a relationship with a demand for secrecy in vital matters that way, and the fool of a ruler will turn out badly. 

II.  The Tale, Patronio's Tale, a root of the Invisible Cloth. 
(summaries are no substitute for the original)
Count Lucanor is conversing with his advisor, Patronio, and says he was approached by a man with a fine secret to tell to Count Lucanor. That secret would profit him greatly, but no-one else must be told. The man must be trusted completely.  If word spread, Count Lucanor could lose his property and his life.

Despite the warning of confidentiality,  Count Lucanor consulted further with his adviser,  Patronio. [Ask: Was this in itself not a violation of the condition of confidentiality? Or is all a matter of interpretation, as the details of the secret apparently were not revealed.] Only you, said the King, have the skills to tell me if this stranger brings benefit or fraud. How should I act? 
Patronio replied that he could not be so direct, but he could relate the experience of another certain King when confronted with Three Imposters. These three Imposters made claims that the King, if he believed and followed them, could use to his advantage in his rule, but only if he did as he was told. Count Lucano was very interested. 
Patronio's Story
Once there were three men who came to the King and claimed to be weavers, with the ability to weave a cloth visible easily to a man who was the legitimate son of his father, a vital matter to the Moors who inherited only if they were legitimate. But the cloth would be invisible to a man who was illegitimate.  Even if such a one believed himself to be legitimate, the cloth would be invisible if he were somehow mistaken, unawares. But the King had to trust the weavers, and tell noone about the magical qualities of the cloth.
The King was pleased. He could increase his treasures with this knowledge, because in the custom of the day, only legitimate persons could hold positions of power.
But did he need it?  Perhaps. This would be simpler than the long tests I currently use, thought the King.   
So the King ordered that a palace be appropriated, and that the great cloth shall be woven and worked there. That was not a difficult decision. More difficult was trust: Should the King trust, or should he not? He was a cautious man. What if the weavers were deceiving him?
The Invisible Cloth.  The King wrestles with how to determine the legitimacy of his followers, appointees, supporters.

The Weavers' concession.  The weavers understood his dilemma, and even though the King was obligated to trust absolutely and tell no-one of the properties of the loyalty cloth, they offered a concession. The weavers agreed that the King could close them in the special palace, without possible escape, until the cloth-work was complete.  The King was satisfied. 
The King provided quantities of gold, silver, silk and other items that the weavers needed.  The weavers came into the special palace to begin. They were assured of their comforts while they were there. Doors locked behind them. 
Condition of confidentiality repeated.  Days passed. Then, one of the weavers approached the King when the work had indeed commenced, and reported that the cloth surely was most curious, and would the King want to inspect its design and construction. The King was to come alone.  
The King was delighted, but was still uneasy, and wanted another opinion on the matter' How to proceed to follow up his doubts despite his obligation to trust absolutely? Nonetheless, he sent a series of Checkers to check on the progress of the work 
1.  The Checkers.  First, the Lord Chamberlain, then a member of his retinue.  They all looked and looked, and each saw no cloth. None could admit to seeing no cloth, however, because by that time they knew that would mean they were illegitimate. So each returned to the King and said he had seen the cloth, indeed.  The King himself went, and struggled to see, but saw nothing.  All is fine! he said, and sent another emissary, of unspecified title, but from among the King's usual  supporters.  This one also went and viewed, and returned, and with the same report: Yes, I have seen it.
Finally, the King went himself. The King entered the palace and saw the three weavers at work who described the texture of the cloth, the origin of the loom, its design and colors.  All the while, they moved their hands and heads and bodies as though they were working busily.  In reality, however, they were doing nothing.  Hearing the weavers' words so minutely describing the character of the cloth, and seeing the great waving of arms and hands of the three men working about the looms, the King in his own mind was distressed that he himself saw nothing.  He believed to his dismay that those others he sent, had seen it all, and not him!  Was he himself illegitimate? Would he lose his kingdom?  With this in mind, the King began his own praise of the fabric, describing its uniqueness even in the words of the weavers.
And he sent more Checkers, The Justice Minister and the Councilor, who in turn saw nothing, but praised the fabric as though they could.
The dilemma of the King.  The King became even more unsettled, more dismayed at the reports of his Checkers. He knew not what to do with his own worrying mind and the fact that he himself could see none of any cloth. 

The feast Time passed and the time for a fine feast arrived.  The King's subjects clamored for him to wear some of this fine cloth, as they also had heard of its secret.  The weavers displayed the cloth to the King and he ordered the lengths he needed and specified the preparation.
Now the garments were finally made and the feast day came and the weavers brought to the King's chambers a final package. 
The Event.  The King went through the motions of being dressed in the new garment, then mounted his fine horse and rode proudly into the city. As the tale tells, he was lucky that it was summer, but still the people were much surprised at his appearance up and down, fore and aft.  The people by then knew, however, as the King or others had somehow let out, that those who could not see the fine cloth would be considered illegitimate. So they kept their astonishment to themselves in order to preserve their honor. 
The Man.  Not so, however, with a a man of modest means who happened to see the King thus appearing.  He, having nothing to lose, approached the King and said that it mattered not to him whether he is to be seen as legitimate or illegitimate, because he held hold no position of account. So I tell you that you are riding with no clothes.  Upon hearing this, the King began to beat the man who spoke plainly, accusing him, saying he was a bastard, lacking in righteousness, and it was for that reason -- that the man himself fell short --  that the man could not see the cloth.
In no time at all, however, after the poor man had so spoken, others began to rethink:  Is it true, that the King is indeed wearing no clothes? Dare we speak our minds?
The people began to look again, and then say the same as had the humble man; until, finally, even the King himself, and his company with him, also lost their fear of speaking the truth.  All saw through the trick that the weavers, the Imposters, had played upon all of them, rendering them all victims of fraud.
"Find them!" ordered the King to the people and his retinue. "Find the imposter weavers!"
But the weavers had fled by that time, and could not be found, and they cleverly had taken with them the silver, and the gold, and the riches to make the cloth, that they had received from the King to further their imposition. 
The King sought a shortcut to discernment in his reign. Who was legitimate, who was not? Who was trustworthy to help him out?
Back to the Count:

Now you, Count Lucanor, continued Patronius, at the conclusion of the story. As to that man who has presented himself to you and demanded full confidence, take care. You may be deceived, for he has more reason to work for his own advantage than to yours.  And he has no more reason to serve you than those already indebted to you and already in your service.
"Who counsels thee to secrecy with friends
Seeks to entrap thee for his own base ends."
 Patronio's Tale.  The fraudulent weavers put the gold and silver for making the magic cloth into their own pockets, and ran. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Pocahontas in Real life. Pocahontas distortions by Disney and politics. Pocahontas History Timeline.

I.   Overview:  A summary of Pocahontas' life and times.  A story from the records.
II.  The Disney Travesty:  Fiction passing as "fact." Marketing and profit interests supersede.
III.   Pocahontas History Timeline: filling in gaps, The Virginia Company, proprietary colonies, NPS and other research,

I.  Overview: The Real Pocahontas, or close to a historical story.

Relevance:  First, a historical record, then morphed into misleading entertainment, and now used as a pejorative in propaganda, in a war of words,

A.  A substantial and culturally advanced population. Significance of the Native Americans at Jamestown.

Pocahontas was a memorable, courageous, Native American figure born of the substantial Powhatan indigenous group, part of the larger Algonquians, in the Virginia coastal area in 1595-97, see  Her father was leader of the Powhatan subgroup, and was also named Wahunsonacock, a/k/a Powhatan to the whites, see Powhatan and Algonquian Native Americans are now vastly diminished in population and area,  having lived in the now-Virginia, now-Washington DC area for some 4000 years. They knew how to defend their areas, and their archers were formidable and feared even by whites with their loud muskets. An archer could loose many arrows to a musket's one firing.  They did not have the concept of ownership of land that the whites had long developed in Europe, however, leading to no meeting of minds as to the permanence of transactions, is that so?

Her real name was Matoaka.  The Pocahontas is a family affectionate diminutive,

B.  The whites are coming.  The Virginia Company.

Whites from England appeared by ship in about 1607, with a charter from 1606 to gain a foothold in this new world of North America for economic development for the Virginia Company, and permissions granted by the English king.  Their happy landing place was Jamestowne.
C.  Pocahontas' earlier life. Weigh the information.

Pocahontas had been married to one Kocoum,
nps [here, the National Park Service research sites], but the customs were different among the Powhatans, and perhaps wiser than ours. Marriages among Powhatans apparently included a one-year option, with right to renew; but if not renewed, it was extinguished, see at. 
Sounds eminently civilized fostering autonomy of both parties, and they were called heathen?  Where there was a child, the mother would care for the child for several years, before the child entered a form of group care, and the mother was not primarily responsible thereafter. Is that so?  This is my impression from the nps sites. A mother with a child in group responsibility care would be free to be part of whatever other history she chose. Childbirth did not trigger a lifetime of care.

Powhatan culture:   Men and women lived different occupational worlds, divisions of work, matrilineal, but male ledership in tribal matters, hierarchy and tribute keeping peace among Native Americans in area, it appears, but encroachments of enemies led to palisades around villages sometimes always?
  • Childrearing:  Standards. Attitudes. Behaviors. Code of respect, behavior in front of others fostered dignity. High value on self control. No separate "law enforcement" needed because of primacy of self control, devaluing open hostility; but chief could intervene. Nonetheless, overall rule fostered dignity as a public attitude:  no interference, no preaching, no insulting. This also shaped how Powhatans related to non-relatives or persons not trusted, not liked. Hold back if you can.
  • Misunderstandings with the English were not just linguistic. English observed polite listening and concluded the listener agreed with the speaker. Not so. Polite listening was normal behavior in front of others. Tolerance until further tolerance was virtually impossible.
Powhatan Indians: Positive relationship evidence. Extended aid at first to English, food, how to survive. This stopped when the English had overstayed, overreached, exploited, demanded food on and on.

D.  Pocahontas in the middle.

Pocahontas was part of the series of both benign and warlike interactions between the Native Americans and the white fortune-seekers in the area -- that Virginia Company.   She passed from time to time, from the white area to the Native American, with various ups and downs and kidnappings, negotiations, skirmishes, making nice and then more hostage-takings both sides, as the whites nearly starved that first year, except for help from Powhatan, and then distrust developed and so on.

Ultimately she married one John Rolfe, one of The Virginia Company arrivees who came on a later ship in 1610.  The Rolfes had a son, Thomas. 

When the Virginia Company neared bankruptcy, Pocahontas returned to London with John Rolfe and little Thomas Rolfe to promote the success of the venture, reassure investors (it is understood that converted to Christianity before her marriage to Rolfe?), was treated well as the equivalent of royalty, a princess, but then she died. We have no information on how she understood marriage in the white way, but there is not information either on any compulsion in her leaving. Is that so?  In other Native American groups, introduction to western disease resulted in many deaths, even decimation of whole tribes, but we know no specifics as to the immunity or lack of immunty of Pocahontas as part of her death.  She got sick and died in 1617, perhaps of smallpox. She is buried at Gravesend, England, at St George's Church. Where there?  Unknown.  She was so unimportant, is that it? just another curiosity, that her grave either was never re-marked once old markings were lost (the old church burned, apparently), and no one knows where on the grounds she lies now. 

The descendants of the son of the Rolfes succeeded in forging an exception to the miscegenation laws of Virginia in later centuries: thanks to their self-interest, one could be a certain portion (is it 1/32?) descended from the non-white Pocahontas and still count as white. 

II.    The Disney travesty. Pocahontas as entertainment over education, fact.
A family tree, distorted, out of context, twisted.

  • Issue:  Responsibility for what is transmitted to children in order to make money, to persuade those without access to vetting tools that a fiction is "history." Is there an obligation to be fair to them, and nd others affected by beliefs they are lured to adopt, disclosures. Should there not be a requirement, like a disclaimer, that the name of historic person is used in the medium presented, but any likeness thereafter to the real life of the person may not be present at all.  The Fakery Medallion.
Compare history with Disney.  A summary of the Disney fantasy follows, as impressions, fair use of partial phrases, run-on sentences.  See references here to the little children's book, The Pocahontas Story, at  Note the complete absence of John Rolfe, the white man who married Pocahontas, and only John Smith is presented as an actor on this little made-up stage.  Our story begins: all paragraphing artificial --
1. Pocahontas is adventurous, running free in the land she "called" home, in awe of "untouched beauty" of the land, leaps from tall waterfalls, consults in a glade with mystical tree known as Grandmother Willow, Pocahontas was raised to believe spirits all around her would guide her
2. Pocahontas saw sails and thought they were clouds (how do we know that??) , saw men "settlers" on board coming ashore, the men believed they could claim the land for themselves, she saw John Smith among them and he was kind and gentle so she followed him and he saw her, she stepped up even though he was a stranger, a magical breeze blew and they could understand each other, although different they became friends and explored together
3. Pocahontas explained to John Smith about Grandmother Willow and that all things are one (did she now?), introduced John Smith to Grandmother Willow, the great spirit (is this still Grandmother Willow?) affirmed he was a good man and she could trust him,
4. Now enter tensions between her tribe and John Smith group "settlers", there was no mutual trust, she tried to get her father the chief to talk to John Smith but the chief would not listen, then John Smith met Pocahontas in the glade and wanted to protect her and her people, they kissed and had fallen in love, they embraced, her tribesmen found them and captured John Smith, and she visited him secretly, John Smith vows no matter what happens I am with you always, tribe prepares for war, 
5. Pocahontas tells her father she loves John Smith and to hurt him would mean more war, so her father frees John Smith, John was injured and had to go home, Pocahontas wanted to go, too, but knew her tribe needed her, she kisses him goodbye and says she will be with him always  THE END.  
Good.  The End.   Wait a minute.  Where is John Rolfe? Thomas? London?

III.  The Pocahontas Timeline.

Additional information, resources, for historical context, further research. This kind of project has to end as incomplete because the information seems endless. The timeline organization is intended here as a springboard for others' interests, perhaps.

  • Purpose:  Pocahontas has not only been used to make money for Disney, but also as a weapon in politics, see Pocahontas misused in petty wars of words, those puffing displays between rivals to win over the undecided, to persuade, nuggetize an opponent in a pejorative way. Explore instead facts of the era and life Pocahontas, the name of that historical figure now being bandied as a joke -- someone who embraces family stories of a Cherokee forbear, now called by a Powhatan name?  Propaganda may be countered, perhaps, with luck and perseverance and at least some openness, by information. 


1580 - Sir Walter Raleigh attempts to found a colony in Virginia; that settlement disappears, however, and became known as The Lost Colony, see NPS The Virginia Company of London.
Was this under the same kind of economic charter as the later Jamestown? 

1587 - Baby Virginia Dare is born at another English colony at Roanoke, then Virginia; now North Carolina, Outer Banks islands.  Question:  Women were arrivals at the Outer Banks. Was their charter, then, to settle permanently, or was this still another economic venture by the Virginia Company? 

1591 - Roanoke Colony had disappeared, however, by the time Sir Walter Raleigh got back to it.  Note the fertile ground for conjecture:  a centuries-later 1937 hoax news suggested that Virginia Dare and her father died in 1591, in an Indian attack and Mother Elizabeth Dare married an Indian, etc, see


1595-97 - Pocahontas born, Algonquian tribal group, Powhatans.  Father is leader see  Native Americans: Powhatan tribe (also name of the leader, Powhatan as called by the whites), see a scope and history of the Powhatans in Virginia and area, laid out at

______ year unknown:  Pocahontas apparently married to one Kocoum, (researching marriage, if contract, etc)  Note that marriage appears to be a one-year renewable relationship, extinguished if not renewed, see nps at.


1606 -- King James I of England grants a charter to The Virginia Company to settle and derive profit for them from Virginia.  Already off and running elsewhere were The Moscovy Company; and The East India Company,. Shares were sold at 12lbs 10 shillings each,  see NPS Virginia Company. 
See Charter at

1607 - (or was it still 1606?) Three ships of the Virginia Company of English -- all men and boys as employees of the Company, under leaders appointed by the Company, to get their own land in 7 years and in the meantime get weapons, clothes and food from the company store, see NPS Virginia Company.  They arrive, construct settlement Jamestown, now Virginia. The leaders, who were gentlemen and not mere laborers, provided their own "armor and weapons," and were paid in shares, more land, dividends, etc.  Their hope was for a successful cash enterprise that  could fund that settlement and even others, see; and, when gold was not found on the beaches, in time settlers tried glassmaking, tar-pitch production, wine, beer, but had to spend too much time surviving. NPS Virginia Company
  • Leadership problems:  President and appointed council of 7, many disagreements with laborers, and issues of evolving difficulties with area tribe, Powhatans, need for food, bad water, class strife within the group, see NPS Virginia Company.
Third President: Captain John Smith.  Descriptions:  adventurer.
Relations with Powhatans improved.  NPS Virginia.
Note that John Rolfe did not arrive until 1610. See

May:  Circumstances upon landing:
Cultural backgrounds of the men on board, and the indigenous: To be researched further.
Response initially to each other?
Later attack? so say settlers
Instigation?  What was demanded by each side of the other?

December  -- early: John Smith captured
Later -- John Smith brought to Powhatan

Did Pocahontas act to save John Smith in any way? Need details. Contemporary reports?
Descriptions:  heroism; what records are there? With only men on board the ships, how would Pocahontas be treated?

Scholars find a rescue to be unlikely -- see .  Early journals of John Smith to not mention any such rescue, later ones do. See smithtrail-native-americans.

Pocahontas and the English:  see another smithtrail, at


1607 -- The Cherokee, a member of the Iroquoian language group of Native Americans,  lived in lands including southern Virginia, Appalachian Plateau region, see

The Powhatan, a member of the Algonquian language group of Native Americans, lived at coastal-eastern Virginia, see

Native American tribes in the differing linguistic groups had different customs, traditions, beliefs, see centricity site.


1607 --Second charter granted in England by The Virginia Company, NPS Virginia Co.

Soft school site. Did Pocahontas spend days at the settlement, playing with children, making friends?? More Disney-type fiction. At least identify it as conjecture.

1608-09 -- With second charter, some 600 more settlers sail from England NPS Virgina Co.  Virginia Deputy Governor Thomas Gates gets deflected en route, ends in Bermuda, delays.

 John Smith writes a book about his captivity entitled _____

1609 - 1610 -- Starvation period at Jamestown NPS Virginia Co.  What fraction of settlers survived? Small. How small? Financial trauma for company, how to pay for debts, incurred more when sent more settlers.

John Rolfe arrived in 1610. Get site.

Was John Smith hurt in an explosion, leave for England?
Was it for treatment, or other reasons?


Did people tell Pocahontas he was dead? 
Did she stop coming to the settlement?
Was the "death" of John Smith the reason for her absence?  Is this part of chick-flicking history, or did they love each other and how to know?

Conflict between Native Americans and English.
What about?
Was there a small war in 1609 called the Anglo-Powhatan Wars? Saw that specific reference at 

1610 -- Sir Thomas Gates, Deputy Governor for Virginia, arrives.  NPS Virginia Co. By this time, court cases in England against company, big advertising campaigns painted rosy picture, lures for investment, little basis in practicality, appeals to English nationalism, heathens would be converted, the European unemployed would find employment in the New World, and just watch the standard of living for everybody rise and rise.  NPS Virginia Co.

1612 -- Virginia Company debts increased, despite the patriotic influx of ideas, some money.  Journals of John Smith published, see
These journals promoted colonization, and settlers increased, but problems were not solved.

John Smith, Pocahontas,  Powhatan:  See

POCAHONTAS AGAIN FEATURED -- Section to be laid out, reworked in better detail

1613 -- Pocahontas is captured by ____ and brought to Jamestown, when she was visiting friends, see    Kocoum, her husband, is not mentioned. 
Was she tricked? Found that at

Had English and their weaponry been captured by the Native Americans?
Did the English capture Pocahontas to hold her for ransom, to get back the Englishmen and weapons? See Softschools.
Who demanded what? See Softschools.

Pocahontas stays with the English. Voluntarily? Was it because Powhatan refused the demands? See Softschools.

1614 -- big year.  March 1614. Pocahontas, in captivity a year, and upset with her father for not obtaining her release (would not "make the necessary trades")

Virginia governor takes her to her father's territory, to compel him to agree, and meanwhile , decides to stay with the English, see Softschools, and what is the chronology here: .

Pocahontas meets and fell for John Rolfe.

What is the role of negotiation in each culture.  Did the

English sources say they fell in love, see   Need a cultural comparison here, what is what.

April -- Pocahontas converts to Church of England) but only after the English had agreed to peace terms with Powhatan, see nps;

Renamed Rebecca?  See nps.

Pocahontas marries John Rolfe.  Did she understand this as a permanent idea, or just the Powhatan better one of 1-year increments, and if not renewed, it went away, see nps, which also says.
 Powhatan had approved, see approval was tacit, as part of the formal approval for her to remain as child of the governor, see

 _______? Year?  Third Charter for the Virginia Company

Did her relationship with John Rolfe mend relationship between Powhatans and English? npr Probably helped, see


16__ -- Pocahontas and John Rolfe -- have son, Thomas. No contemporary writings about date, see  Rolfe barely mentions her in his writings, see  Was this a duly performed English marriage??

1616 -- Pocahontas and John Rolfe and Thomas sail for England.  Or did John Rolfe not go?  Some inconsistency in emphasis, then it looks like he did go, See

Why?  Go to NPS Virginia Co.  More company woes, gimmicks to recruit despite financial matters nearing disaster, people in England and the settlement were owed land and money, indentured servitude initiated ultimately in order to get labor, investors got land in exchange for financing passage of new settlers, conflict between those wanting trade and profit as focus, and those seeking use of colony to relieve population overcongestion in England -- a "headright" system, that ultimately prevailed over the sheer trade and profit idea. But nobody took advice to diversify, staying with limited crops, and when they failed, trouble again.

Tobacco, however, was doing ok.

The trip was paid for by the Virginia Company who wanted the Rolfes to foster interest in the settlement in Virginia, see

John Smith: Did he write to Queen Elizabeth I asking her to host the Rolfes?

Pocahontas becomes known as Lady Rebecca and sweeps media-people of England

1617 -- Pocahontas, Lady Rebecca, dies of unknown illness in London, see 


Child Thomas (sickly at the time?) is raised in England as a Rolfe, joins his father in about 1637. See

Descendants of John Rolfe and Pocahontas obtained special concession in Virginia's later Racial Integrity Act defining whiteness as to Indians as having less than 1/16 or less of the blood of the American Indian,  This small amount allowed those descendants to claim whiteness.

Meanwhile also 1617:

More on Charters:
This one does refer to religion.  Earlier Charters apparently did not.
"Every Person should go to church, Sundays and Holidays, or lye Neck and Heels that Night, and be a Slave to the Colony the following Week; for the second Offence, he should be a Slave for a Month; and for the third, a Year and a Day." Governor Argall's Decree
1617 --Note change to include religious observance and slavery, with the new charter.

1618 -- Powhatan died, see

When did John Rolfe to back to Virginia.  Did he? Apparently so. See

John Rolfe's cash crop tobacco experiments began to bring results, for the Virginia Company, but to glorify his status as a tobacco farmer at that stage is premature.

1619 - More financial trouble for the company, and the populating idea for the colony led to even more arrivals. See NPS Virginia Co.

Tobacco -- had become the cash crop for the colony, got protected status back in England (tax advantage? what else?) NPS Virginia Co.

More settlements, English, tobacco, and pushing of Powhatans from their lands,

Powhatan boy warns English, Jamestown not what attacked, destroyed? What does "spared" mean?

1621 -- Company still in trouble. Had tried lotteries, but dividends remained unpaid 

1622 - Company abandons the settlement, cannot support it any longer.

At about same time, but not coordinated or with knowledge of the company's problems, and were the settlers also aware? Powhatans attack English, some 1200 settlers of which 350-400 English killed. many Powhatans?

Note breathless (without the figures) statement that the uprising "wiped out a quarter of the English population of Virginia"

1624 -- Fourth charter denied; the Virginia Company had failed as a stockholding enterprise. Virginia to be Royal Colony administered by English Governor, King James I to appoint.

John Smith writes a second book, see

1627-1776 -- Virginia, now governed as a colony, and not just with an economic charter as a proprietary colony, could and did increase its territory and use of resources, and English influence, and challenge Spain as it did.  NSP Virginia Co.

1629 - compare Massachusetts Bay
charter at

Other Proprietary Colonies:  Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania  see The Crown granted land to the proprietors to repay the debts they incurred, see site


1646 -- Chief of Powhatans, then the youngest brother of Powhatan himself, was captured by the English at age nearly100, taken as captive to Jamestown, and there was shot in the back by an Englishman (no orders to do so) ,

Powhatans, prestige and power vastly diminished (tribe held only "tributary" status by then, not primary) and they began to sign treaties with the English, dividing English lands from Powhatan lands, Powhatans could not come on English lands without permission and had to wear a special striped coat (like later jailbirds? in time, badges sufficed) if they did, and then could only do so for some official purpose.

1658 -- Legislature of Virginia establishes a reservation, reservations?  see Virginia Indians: Meet the Tribes  Some 11 tribes are still recognized. 

1677 -- Bacon's Rebellion

And second treaty between Powhatans, other Virginia tribes and English,  setting up a reservation for them, and the requirement of annual tribute to be paid in game and fish to the English for the privilege of living on the little reservations, fully subject to the English More settlements,

1683 -- Same era nearby: Tamanend, Leni Lenape tribe, Pennsylvania area to the north, friend of William Penn, known as affable and honorable, similar cultural orientation to tolerance, self-control,  see 1938 history, The Tammany Legend, Tamanend/ and at

Unlike English in Virginia, William Penn was respectful, began to learn the language, fostered coexistence, keeping of agreements, worked with Tamamend to foster coexistence, see;

Tamanend today (the 2014 version):  Routinely seasonally humiliated at Annapolis Naval Academy


1700 -- Rappahannock tribe loses its reservation. nps.

1718 -- Chickahominy tribe loses its reservation. nps.

1722 -- English reported that many tribes were extinct [source?] nps

Powhatan tribes retaining their reservations, keeping tribal structurre, treaties with Commonwealth of Virginia:  nps
Pamunky (also to today)
Mattaponi (also to today)

Many conversions to Christianity, languages began to disappear, npa.


"That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other."

Virginia Declaration of Rights



"Section I. The opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own...

Section II. We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities."

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom
Jan. 16, 1786


19th Century:  impoverished tribes, pressured by English, began to sell their reservations, English and other whites sought termination of their legal status on reservations  nps. 

1792 -- The Nansemond sell their reservation, to whom?  nps.  Track recurrent destruction of records, difficulty in tracing lineage, Native American groups, see, e.g.,

1830 - Virginia Constitution, see

"No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested or burthened, in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief: but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.

And the legislature shall not prescribe any religious test whatsoever; nor confer any peculiar privileges or advantages on any one sect or denomination; nor pass any law requiring or authorizing any religious society, or the people of any district within this commonwealth to levy on themselves or others any tax for the erection or repair of any house for public worship or for the support of any church or ministry, but it shall be left free to every person to select his religious instructor, and make for his support such private contract as he shall please."

See also


1885 -- A son of one Sarah O. C. Smith, Cherokee, applied for a marriage license.  Family story, rest of family whites, say that the couple eloped because of opposition to a mixed race marriage in the white family, see

1900 Census --

Further Sources:

1. Brief overview --

2. Soft history for children, full of conclusions, opinion,  rosy glasses, but useful for possible detail to be vetted further, see 

3. Relationship of Pocahontas and John Rolfe.  According to English accounts, the two fell in love and wanted to get married. Powhatan gave his approval and, after she was converted and renamed Rebecca, peace was solidified by the marriage of Pocahontas and John Rolfe in April 1614. Within a year the couple had a son, Thomas. In 1616, the Virginia Company paid to send the Rolfe family to England to gain more English interest in Jamestown.

National Park Service site:   The Virginia Company of London 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What happened to the Firebird. Legend of Maryushka. Russian variations.

 What was a nation's golden age. Was it ever. What values are transmitted, and why.

1.  Legend of Maryushka, The Firebird; and
2.  Plot in Stravinsky's score (and ballet) Firebird

Overview. Cultures all seem to look back for a version of a golden age of simple, solid values, but do little to change current mores to make a return to it possible. Stories change as values change, to reflect what the culture wants to pass on.  Look up The Firebird, and find French and other versions, all available easily online and in anthologies.  Many present the usual love-and-quest story, a phoenix with twists.

Then examine an early Russian Firebird:  it exemplifies different values from the male-oriented quest and overcoming obstacles -- a girl's meekness and humility, acceptance of suffering, and as in some of the lives of saints of the day, "peaceful nonresistance to injustice," see Maryushka, the Firebird: Russian legend found in Land of the Firebird, the Beauty of Old Russia, by Suzanne Massie, 1980, reprintings through 2004 so far. Humble aspects in religion suggested through tales, lived out, see page 23.

Fast forward, then, to Stravinsky's The Firebird, and its plot synopsis, see Stravinsky, the Composer and his Works. at page 185.  There is the later form, the quests, and a Firebird separate from the victims of the evil one, here an Ogre.  Or did the forms coexist? speaking to different populations in the culture?

1.  Russian Legend of Maryushka, the Firebird, at Land of the Firebird by Suzanne Massey, above, at pages 18-19.

 Download the story.  Buy. Go to the library. Read it. It is unusual in emphasis on beauty for its own sake, not to be sold for one's own glory.

Summary of the legend in Land of the Firebird:
An orphaned village girl, Maryushka, was a gifted embroiderer who had no interest in the riches she could attain by selling her wares far and wide.  Instead, she wanted to stay in her village, selling to those who found her work to be beautiful, and charging only what was needed for her craft, and the buyer could afford. She would not leave her village. The merchants went away, year after year.  Then the evil sorcerer, Kaschei, learned of her skill, and shape-changed into a handsome youth who went to her cottage and asked her to leave with him, to embroider for him alone, so others could no see, and to be his Queen. She declined. Enraged, he turned her into a bird -- a Firebird. He himself became a black falcon who captured the Firebird in his claws and flew off. Maryushka, aware, sought to "leave a last memory of herself" and plucked her plumage, feather by feather as she was taken away, so each floated and wafted to the earth below. Then Maryushka, the Firebird, died in the claws of the Falcon. But her feathers, rainbows of light, each remained where it landed, never covered, and bright despite winds and rains, beautiful, where they had fallen. They were magic, though, and only those who loved beauty and dedicated themselves to making beauty for others could see them.
Maryushka, or Maryoshka, is also the name given the traditional nesting dolls, but is there any other connection?
  • Vetting the Maryushka-Firebird tale source:  Land of the Firebird cites, in the General bibliography, this Pantheon book, 1973, currently available through a British seller, at  I have from the library another version from 1945, Pantheon, with copyright renewed 1973, the second edition, and do not see this Firebird and Maryushka in it.  Need to see the first edition; then again, not every tale is specifically annotated to the bibliography, and the Maryushka also is not specifically attributed.  Am still looking.

2. Stravinsky.  Another version of the tale is in the Stravinsky score, Firebird, and ballet. Read about the Stravinsky score, The Firebird, and its plot synopsis, see Stravinsky, the Composer and his Works. at page 185:  there, magic, a prince, a fairy, evil, spells, princesses, the whole schmear.

Summary of the Stravinsky Firebird:

The Firebird is a good fairy; immortal Kashchei is an ogre with talons of green, evil incarnate.  He holds innocent girls captive, and turns men into stone. He is vulnerable, however, in that his soul is within an egg, within a casket. Find them, smash the egg, and he must die.  Young Prince Ivan slips into the enchanted garden and sees the Firebird eating apples. He reaches for her, grasping the tail but the Firebird escapes upon forfeiting a single feather, left in the hand of the Prince. Exit Firebird. Prince meanders farther in the Garden, meets enchanted maidens, loves one! learns their plight and follows them into the Palace at dawn. But he is caught by Kashchei's monsters and remembers the feather just in time.  No stone-fellow he. Wave the thing! He does, the Firebird, summoned, appears and tells of the mortality of Kashchei.  Prince finds casket, and egg, smashes egg and Kashchei dies. All spells waste away, all captives are liberated, and Prince Ivan and his Chosen now- un-enchanted lady are betrothed. 

Why read old tales?  Tales are important to a culture, in shaping how a child hearing the story thinks and sees his world.  Find broad categories of plots touching on real-life situations and how the culture sees them, as well as the fabulous, at

3. Similarities

a. A beautiful maiden, one with skills and identity; another without.
b. A dark force, Kashchei: one a shape-changer protagonist but with specific goals of power and greed, another a mere ogre capturing and enchanting young girls, but with a vulnerable immortality.
c. No Prince at all in one, but a developed Protagonist with personality in the other.
d. A Firebird that is the unplanned result of Dark Force Kashchei transforming the beautiful girl into a shape he can dominate but without immortality for it so she can and does die, in the one; in the other a separate Firebird, a fairy in her own right, and separate from captive maidens, and aiding the Prince, in the other;

And then...   and then...

e.  The message of the one is conflict of a non-questing sort, just an overpowering by cheating. The other is a common-theme quest that glorifies the young man who successfully overcomes, even with the Firebird's help. Maryushka:  values creation of beauty for its own sake, autonomy to follow one's own dedications.  Inspirational.  Stravinsky: just another fabulous, dreamy scary lovely story, but nothing to inspire.  Little girls, you have no identity of your own, and should stay inside so Ogres cannot get you.

Conclusion:  Time to go back to legends that represent that idea of beauty for its own sake, that foster following an individual calling, no compulsion to fit in others' ideas and consent to exploitation that only they benefit from.  Do your calling. If you need no others, that is your choice.

Here's to the legend of the Firebird that Massie found.

4.  National, regional differences.

Russia.  The source of this Land of the Firebird version may be part of its Selected Bibliography: It lists Afanas'ev, Aleksandr, comp., Russian Fairy Tales. New York, Pantheon Books, 1973.  Found: at

In process of checking it out.

Why is it an apparently rare version?  Is it because the values in this version of the Firebird legend run counter to today's focus on achievement, rising on rungs of glory, quest, overcoming obstacles.  This legendary Firebird-maiden who dies for her love of beauty and for her unwillingness for beauty to be exploited, is subsumed in power-cultures anywhere.

5. Where but in these few tales of valuing one's own gifts and choices can a child turn in the fairy tale world.  Without them, where does a child go for support in wanting a simple life of service among those who appreciate the work.  Working without focus on profit and glory? Up go the cultural crossed index fingers, is that so.

6.  Extrapolating.  Russia, to a casual visitor (like me recently), seems to approach the childhoods of its citizens in a way that fosters their enjoyment of a golden age, if the family has reasonable means to do so.
For many adults anywhere, memory and the content of childhood tales do intermingle, with the idea that things precious can be and will be lost.  We get that.  How to foster the simple idea of beauty for its own sake, in these days.  Does that have a value for humans in itself?
Despite the loss coming in adulthood, for children of some reasonable means (the very poor may not be included?), their adults do foster childhood. How long?
Childhood as a golden age is not a consistent theme in the West. Our fairy tales pit children against evils and quests, movement to every higher rungs of meeting challenge, but seldom rest at the delight-in-life stage.

Humble house. Maryushka? Her own golden age? from high speed train, Moscow to St. Petersburg, Russia

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Evolution of morality concepts. Migrations from religion to secular. Vices change with agenda, institutional demands.

Vice by Agenda.

How have morality tales, exhortations changed over time.  Despite repetition, they have not worked well. We sense that people are as bad, or greedy, or wrathful, or exploitive, or conflict-mongering, as ever despite centuries of admonitions of deity demands, and punishments. So who has benefited? The institutions that roll on?  Will there be a stop.  Here, explore the transitions of moral ideas in  1) religion (people of the Book overall) laying out required personal behavior, to  2) fairy tales, fables, stories of rewards, cleverness, ferocity and luck; to  3) secular art and admonitions expanding which vices should concern us, in a world governed by now-tainted institutions and money-making preoccupations. And are they really secular. Deep concerns are not surface, merely intellectual.  Details of the evolution of ideas of vice are at FN 1, FN 2. 

1. Religious tales, warnings, lists of bad behavior.

Despite claimed deity demands, nobody has much improved in religions of the Book. The line-up to hell must remain long, and grim.

With lists of inclusions and exclusions in hand, many who did not reform their ways were put to the sword, however, or, just got fleeced or shamed. Time has made little difference. Fear is the main weapon, fear of dreadful consequence. Beheadings and rapes and tortures of some today are like the beheadings and rapes and tortures of yesteryear in earlier branches of Christendom. See  There are harsh enforcers of  Commandments and lists of vices (Seven Deadly Sins and the like). See the various sins and prohibitions listed at FN 1.

The lists begin with the necessities for people living in a formed community, Proverbs, and Ten Commandments.  The lists change, when there is not one community being addressed, but a new diverse community is being forged -- as in the New Testament post-Christ era with Paul's letter to the Galatians.  Lots of new bad acts.  There, dissent becomes a pejorative, and strife itself is a danger.  Then, hundreds of years later when there is a strict canon of the newly forged Christian Church, attention then goes to the individual. The list further narrows and becomes rote, almost, as it repeats through Dante. Meanwhile,  Church violence and fanatics took about 1500 years to play out their drive to kill off the opposition. 

2. Fairy tales and fables.

Fear is also central to fairy tales that lived on long after history of forced conversions to Christianity: fear of the dark, the dark woods, the closet, the bad behavior of trolls and stepmothers and entities like Baba Yaga. The clever prevailed. Quests rewarded the persistent and the brave.  But none of them changed behavior, except to kill off a giant, perhaps. Fate remained in charge.

Grimm's Fairy Tales, Briar Rose, joy of the king followed by vengeance of the thirteenth wise woman, Only a small softening of the doom foretold. My NY 1909, Arthur Rackham illustrator, edition.

Obstacles did cow little children into obedience for a time, and made conformists of adults who indeed avoided the path going by the enchanted well, but adults otherwise kept their own vices. Fairy tales: explore  Other forms, like fables and parables, may affect some individuals for some time, but the systems remain intact. See

3.  Secular and money-making.

With that history, and neither religion or fairy tale able to change systems, try a more secular adjustment to the lists of acts and sins, to expand and include those broader institutions, cultural moneymakers and not just wayward individuals.  Can that make a difference:  is there another motivator other than an angry deity or warts. Will the ideal of protecting children change adult behavior.  Will stories of rewards work if tried just one more time.

Turn to the 2001 sculpture by Mihail Chemiakin, Mikail Shemyakin:  children as victims of adult vices, Moscow. 

This modern and child-focused presentation shows adults in or promoting addiction, prostitution, theft, alcoholism, ignorance, false teaching, indifference, promoting violence, sadism, loss of memory, child labor, poverty and war.  Not the usual seven deadlies, but addressing institutional or overall cultural behaviors as well as the individual.  Conditions are included, such as poverty; which perhaps properly only becomes a vice when one chooses to fail to exert, but that is a stretch and usually justifies the self-satisfaction, entitlement, supremacisms of the better-off.  Some, like loss of memory, can mean a condition without voluntary acts, but it can also mean the mindset that refuses the memory of history. Can it?

Sculpture, Mihail Chemiakin, Mikail Shemaykin, Moscow: Children, victims, adult vices.

Will a verbal call to action work? Chemiakin has tried.  It has not worked yet, even in its city, Moscow -- or ours, if this were here.  The plaque is left to rot.  Children may well be victims of adult vices. So?  Read his words:

Chemiakin's words:
'I created the sculptural composition Children are the victims of adults' vices as a symbol and a call for action to save the living and the future generations. For many years it has been declared and pathetically exclaimed: "Children is (sic) our future!" However, it would take volumes to write down all the crimes of the society against children. I, as an artist, call upon you with this work to turn your beads backward to hear and behold all those sorrows and horrors our children have to suffer nowadays. All sensible and honest people should stop and think before it is too late. Don't be indifferent! Fight and do your best to save Russia's future.'
 The figures in Moscow's installation echo fairy tale and religious concepts as well as the ever-present cash in money bags, or underlying the motivation. Money at the root of all. If that is the case, it is fruitless to attack the behavior without the motivation behind the promoter. 

 We have defenses, say the vices, the promoters of the addiction, prostitution, theft, alcoholism, false knowledge, ignorance, indifference (what difference can I make?),promotion of violence, loss of memory (or choice not to learn from the past?), sadism, child labor, poverty, war.  We need the money, even if the kids see it, the kids will rebound (maybe), we were stressed, we were forced to do it, we can't endanger our own families and lives by taking as stand for others (Indifference). There's money to be made, as all the bad-acting adults and those who foster the bad acts (custom, institution) attest; and that's the way of it, is that so.

Is this the lesson in this morality tale:  that indeed money reward and advantage to self is the only lasting promise that changes people, not threats of hell.  If so, how to deflect it to promote behavior that benefits all, or at least, the children,here blindfolded while vices watch and wait, with open arms. Use money wisely, perhaps, and in that direction.  Can we then let the children see, and be proud.  Details of the sculpture in Moscow: see

 Why the indifference?  It is the central vice, the tall one in the center, like a cross.  Is there no money to be made in fighting losing battles?  Is it easier not to see, to hear.

4..  Thoughts:

As to religion, has Theo left the room. And all those old sins made money for the religions who collected for getting people off the hell list. Now the religions come up short on cash while the money is being made by those engaging in vices or promoting them.  Religion won, in that its adage of money at the root of evil has proven true; it has lost because it dropped the banner.  The banner of highlighting need for change has passed to the roughly secular world, is that so.
The fairy tales also did nothing to change systems, but only to reward the clever children who overcame. Meanwhile, adults continued to starve them, leave them in the woods, slice and dice them.

So the institutions and the mega-financiers and any others who foster vices to protect their own interest have been the winners.  Can any approach turn the tide?

FN 1.   This is a long collection of the lists, not easily seen on mobile devices.  Come back to it, and examine especially old meanings of old texts, and how they change with the agendas of the institutions.  Favorites: a)  the instruction of the father, but the law of the mother.  B7 here.  Why does that get whited out? Guess. and b) adultery gets prohibited early on, sex between a married person and someone not his wife , although the word usually translated wife is really just woman -- thanks, Jerome, who translated the old Hebrew for woman to mean uxor in Latin, and all copied from there.  Point:  fornication is not barred until much later.  Even Paul in Galations only hits on adultery. Two unmarried folk, fine? Until when?  Fine hobby, this: The religion migration, sins, prohibitions, religious history, Western people of the Book.  

The prohibitions early mirrored the deity commandments -- here using a literal translation source, not because the terms here in translating old Hebrew are true above all others, but use the word for word to show the intricacy of old syntax, the difficulties inherent in translations, see for the Hebrew Old Testament; and its corresponding Greek New Testament for the New.


A.  Deuteronomy 5:21ff Commandments.

Very close to Exodus. Exodus 20 Ten Commandments:  See; and then

Here the roughest of summaries of topic from the Exodus cite, for purposes of comparison with later lists of sins, seven deadly etc.

How to act, an individual, within your community.

1) no gods to replace the face of Elohim. [Does that version, if correct, suggest it is acceptable to make the face of Elohim, just not to put another god's face there instead?]
2) make no carving or other representation of heaven, earth, waters under earth;  do not bow down to any such representation or serve them.  [Does that suggest it is the bowing down that is the problem, not the making a representation?] I Jahweh Elohim am a jealous God who visits depravity of the fathers on the sons on third and fourth generations of those hating God and doing kindness to those loving God and following instructions
3) do not use name of God for futility
4) remember the sabbath (rest here is traditional)
5) glorify your father and your mother
6) not you shall murder (A specific form of kill. Does not say do not kill)
7) not you shall commit adultery (sex of a married person with a person not his or her spouse) [so sex among unmarried persons is ok? go, tell it on the mountains]
8) not you shall steal
8) not you shall answer in associate of you testimony of falsehood  [associate , not neigbbor. These were nomads, not in fixed dwellings so as to have neighbors?]
10) not you shall covet house of associate of you not you shall covet woman of associate of you [the term is not "wife", as found also in Genesis, no "wife" -- word is "woman" - no marriage contract? just purchase of property?] and servant of him and maidservant of him and bull of him and donkey of him and any which to associate of you.

B.  Further lists and prohibitions. 

 Old Testament Proverbs 6:16-20; the seven abhorrences.  Visit  Literal translation, find no concern with sex at all -- must be elsewhere?

1)  "abhorrence of soul of him eyes ones being exalted" (proud look);
2) "tongue of falsehood" (lying tongue);
3) "hands ones shedding blood innocent" (hands that shed innocent blood);
4)  heart one-engrossing devisings-of lawlessness (a heart that devises wicked imaginings) [is lawlessness always wicked?];
5)  "feet ones-making-haste to to-run-of to evil" (feet that are swift to run into mischief);
6)  "he-is-puffing lies witness-of falsehood (false witness) and  
7) one-sending (forth) quarrels between brothers" (sowing discord among brethren);
  • Then find (emphases added): a prohibition not just against disobeying instructions of the father, but of the law of the mother:

 "preserve-you son-of-me instruction-of father of-you and must-not (be) you-are-abandoning law-of mother-of-you"
 [So, culturally and religiously,  the father gives instruction but the mother lays down the law -- not patriarchy, that?]  Read on about other prohibitions againast exploiting weakness of the men, diatribes against evil women, etc. 


C.  New Testament Paul's Epistle, Galatians 5:19-21 (see literal translation and that offered as the narrative translation.

 These go beyond personal behavior required as a member of a community.  Here, community standards as a new group of Christians were still evolving and conformity to what conformity the leader said is needed to be a Christian is laid out. To be feared are internal divisions.  See FN 2 for dictionary and other definitions sources:

1) No adultery (sex with someone who is married, unless you are married to the person) (note no prohibition on fornication?)
2) No prostitution (sex for money).
3) No uncleanness.  (follow religious laws for cleanness).
4) No wantonneses. (no infliction of pain or suffering on others, no recklessness)
5) No idolatry. (no worship of an object as though the object were God).
6) No drugging, enchantments (did non-Christians, indigenous cultures, engage in these in rituals?).
7) No enmities (no deep-seated antagonisms.
8) No strifes (Greek ereis) (conflict?).
9) No boilings (jealousy)
10) No Furies (no endlessness, punishments and jealous raging, from the Greek Furies)
11) No strifes (Greek eritheiai) (factions) (divisions or dissensions)
12) No two-stands (Greek dichostasia) dissensions again?
13) No sects (Greek haireseis) (preferences?)
14-17) No envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries

The narrative that evolved from these terms increasingly focus on doctrine and are later the basis for further demarcations on degree of sin: idolatry, sorcery, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, "and such like".[3] Since the apostle Paul goes on to say that the persons who practice these sins "shall not inherit the Kingdom of God", they are usually listed as (possible) mortal sins rather than capital vices.


D.  Post-canonical.  The 4th Century.  Evagrius Ponticus

Evagrius Ponticus was a monk who wrote out a list of eight as evil thoughts. See
And lust is included, but not words for adultery or fornication.

 Ranked from least to most serious in terms of increasing fixation on the self, are
1)  gluttony,
2) lust (intense desire, pleasure, sensuous appetite, see,  What if you don't act it out?
3) avarice,
4) sadness (despair, despondency?) (NEW),
5)  anger,
6). acedia (negligent torpor, listless not caring),
7)  vainglory (ostentatious vanity),  (NEW) and
8) pride.  No sloth, no envy, but he adds the sadness and ostentatious vanity.

Compared to the later Seven Deadly Sins, where is sloth? envy?
  • Sloth. Then again, spiritual sloth was part of acedia, see, so in that sense, sloth was included as a mental state, perhaps a discouragement, just not referring as we may to physical laziness slugabed.  
  • Envy:  sometimes seen as sadness at the good fortune of someone else, so in that sense, sadness may include it here, see Philokalia (4th-15th Century texts from Greek, do an overview at Wiki)
E.  6th Century.  Pope Gregory's list ranks seven flaws from least to most serious by a different criterion: The criterion of Pope Gregory is whether the act offends against love.  Gregory's list:  pride (including vainglory), envy, anger, sadness (including acedia, the torpor), avarice, gluttony, and lust

F.  1265-74.  Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica.  Sins take on an intellectual life of their own, a mind-dance, apart from the sinner and effect on others, see


G.  1308-21 or so. Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy :  traditional list, see

See overviews, generally list stays in same parameters, see Wiki for Seven Deadly Sins. Why not just love your God, if that is your bent; and love your neighbor as yourself? 


H.  Children are still victims of adult vices, despite the words and the teaching. Is it time to shelve the seven deadly sinss, and move from deity wrath to practical consequence: Focus here on needs of children, not benefits to adults, or behavior to be taken as rote.

"*** For the wrong that rouses our angry passions finds only a medium in us; it passes through us like a vibration, and we inflict what we have suffered.” –George Eliot, Janet's Repentance, 1860, at page 142.  Excerpt is from Scenes from Clerical Life, a collection of three stories.

Go back to the Moscow monument, children paying for bad acts of adults, has deep roots in religion, from the western Christian conservative (see to the Orthodox also grappling with the issue, see   Here, see the cultural idea move from the religious context, into the visual secular.

Cultural concepts like these do not necessarily take the form of tales told through generations, but are ideas of moral admonitions or insights that may begin as religious admonitions or warnings, then cross cultural boundaries, through applications of science and art. 

One Orthodox reference notes (in a post disputed for plagiarism, not the issue here) notes larger categories for many of these: forgetfulness, negligence, sinful craving. See


FN 2.  Roots of words.  Translations - all have agendas, in that the translator has a variety of choices.
1) adultery;
2) prostitution (in translation this money-making in sex becomes the more general fornication, any sex outside of marriage, a different matter);
3) uncleanness (morally impure, not permitted by religious law) (no change);
4) wantonness (wantonness means willingness to inflict pain and suffering on others, recklessness, see ): this changes to lasciviousness in translation, meaning specifically lewd or lustful, see
5) idolatry
6) drugging (enchantment). Enchantment idea can be positive, see  This becomes witchcraft; see craft of witches, deriving magic from evil spirits, see
7) enmities.  This deep-seated animosity accelerates into hatred;
8) strifes.  This becomes a reach of authority to include not just conflict, but variances, to include mere divergences, anomalous behaviors even if they are not conflict-ridden
9) boilings (jealousy). This becomes emulations, newer? desire to equal or excel others, old: a jealous rivalry, see, 
10) furies; this becomes merely wrath.  In the Greek (and Roman), the Furies were Allecto, Tisiphone and Megaera, or Endless, Punishment and Jealous Rage:  "female spirits of justice and vengeance" originating in the primeval, not the later usual creation of gods and goddesses, who could drive evildoers mad. They punished in the world, and tortured in the underworld. See
11) factions, another form of strife. This becomes, magically, seditions and heresies both -- suggesting an already formed ideological structure permitting no deviations.  These are clearly later in time, when there is a formed canon, rules against which inclusions and exclusions can be measured and enforced.
11) two-stands (?) or dissensions;  not separately translated. Greek "dichostasiai". Looks same as 'standing apart' or divisions.
12) preferences, or sects.  Not translated; and the rest also are using unchanged translations:
13) envies
14) murders
15) drunkenness
16) revelries
17) and the like
Sculptor and artist Mihail Chemiakin (Shemiakin) is known all over the world today thanks to his hard-working and talented nature rather than to a scar on his face. However, his scar might be a sort of an original token of his art: works by Mihail Shemyakin display deliberate imperfections of their characters, whether you take a wide range of his whimsical long-nosed and humped monsters of homunculi or the sculpture of Peter the Great with a disproportionately small head.
Misha Shemyakin was born in Moscow on May 4, 1943. He grew up in the Eastern Germany where his father served as a commandant, and his mother was an actress. Upon returning to his homeland in 1957 Mihail Shemyakin entered the Repin Art School in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) attached to the Academy of Arts.
Vladimir Vysotsky &  Mihail Chemiakin From 1957 to 1971 he lived in Leningrad. Mihail studied at the Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Leningrad, but was expelled for reasons of ideology. However he went on studying by himself by copying old masters in the Hermitage. In Soviet Russia he participated in six exhibitions all of which were cut short on the second or third day of display. In 1971 he was driven away from the USSR.
For ten years Mihail Shemyakin lived and worked in Paris – that’s where he attained fame. It was in Paris also where dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov acquainted Shemyakin and Vladimir Vysotsky who later became close friends. During that Paris period, in the 1970s, Shemyakin made a great many recordings of Vysotsky singing in his art studio. The famous Vysotsky’s albums from the collection of Shemyakin are re-released till date.
Children as the Victims of Vices of Adults (Moscow) The art of Mihail Shemyakin started returning to Russia in 1989, with his first personal exhibitions in Moscow and Leningrad. His most famous works in Russia today are monuments in St. Petersburg: the double-faced Sphinxes on Robespierre Embankment, the monument to Architects-Founders of Petersburg (at the graveyard of Sampsonievsky Monastery), and the monument to Peter the First by the Peter and Paul Cathedral. In Moscow everyone knows his sculptural composition ‘Children as the Victims of Vices of Adults’ on Bolotnaya square in the city centre.
Monument to Peter the First in Petersburg Monuments and sculptural compositions by Mihail Shemyakin have found place in New York (‘Cybele: the Goddess of Fertility’), Paris (‘The Carnival of St. Petersburg’), and Venice (‘In memory of the 200th anniversary of the death of Casanova’). He is also the author of the gravestone to actor Saveli Kramarov, a Russian emigrant in San Francisco and the monument to Manevich in Petersburg graveyard.
The Gardener Besides, Shemyakin created a memorial to professor Harold Yuker (‘Dialogue between Plato and Socrates’) which is located in the university campus in Hempstead, New York, the USA, and the monument to Peter the First in London.
Mihail Shemyakin is working with a wide range of techniques. His creations vary in themes from theatrical works to metaphysical research.
Besiegers of the City He has created the series ‘Carnival of Saint Petersburg’, ‘Still-Life’, ‘Metaphysical Head’, ‘Angels of Death’, and has recently been working on the sculptural project ‘The Cocoons’, and the sculptural composition ‘Kings and Executioners’ to consist of 50 figures. Besides, the sculptor is preparing a monument to Russian seamen for San Francisco.
Mihail Shemyakin is a participant of over 500 exhibitions and the honored doctor of five universities. His works are displayed in museums and private collections in many countries of the world, including Metropolitan Museum (New York), the State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg), and the Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow).
Since 1995 Mihail Shemyakin has been working in cooperation with ‘The Gallery of Alla Bulyanskaya’. In the 2000s apart from painting and sculpture activities in Russia, Shemyakin conducted his own TV programs and staged a new version of Tchaikovsky’s ballet Nutcracker, for which he designed the costumes, masks and decorations and even worked on the libretto.
Mikhail Shemyakin Mihail Shemyakin is a real workaholic: he is working days and nights, and on several projects at the same time. He is completely immersed in work and if it were possible Shemyakin would have probably abandon sleeping.
Nowadays the artist is living and working in New York and visits Russia for some creative needs. He has recently given up smoking.
- See more at:
The concepts recur, change with agendas, drive to push an ideology. What are the real fairy tales.