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|Raven's Eve - 2005|
Raven lost everything very young, including her soul. She spent years searching for purpose, looking for a way to fill the void within her heart, but finds no relief. She is immortal, but not fully vampire. She was human, but now there isn't a word for what she is. Raven has been a hired assassin...as her void and depression allow her to null out the emotions, and she has fought for justice as well. She is neither good or evil.
Jean de La Fontaine’s verse fables turned traditional folktales into some of the greatest, and best-loved, poetic works in the French language. His versions of stories such as ‘The Wolf in Shepherd’s Clothing’ and ‘The Lion and the Fly’ are witty and sophisticated, satirizing human nature in miniature dramas in which the outcome is unpredictable. The behaviour of both animals and humans is usually centred on deception and cooperation (or the lack of it), as they cheat and fight each other, arguing about life and death, in an astonishing variety of narrative styles. To get a flavour of the fables, here are two taken from Selected Fables by Jean de La Fontaine, translated by Christopher Betts.
The Wolf in Shepherd’s Clothing
A wolf had hunted sheep from local fields,
but found the hunt was giving lower yields.
He thought to take a leaf from Reynard’s book:
disguise himself by changing what he wore.
He donned a smock, and took a stick for crook;
the shepherd’s bagpipes too he bore.
The better to accomplish his design,
he would have wished, had he been able,
to place upon his hat this label:
‘My name is Billy and these sheep are mine.’
His alterations now complete,
he held the stick with two front feet;
then pseudo-Billy gently stepped
towards the flock, and while he crept,
upon the grass the real Billy slept.
His dog as well was sound asleep,
his bagpipes too, and almost all the sheep.
The fraudster let them slumber where they lay.
By altering his voice to suit his dress,
he meant to lure the sheep away
and take them to his stronghold in the wood,
which seemed to him essential to success.
It didn’t do him any good.
He couldn’t imitate the shepherd’s speech;
the forest echoed with his wolfish screech.
His secret was at once undone:
his howling woke them, every one,
the lad, his dog, and all his flock.
The wolf was in a sorry plight:
amidst the uproar, hampered by his smock,
he could not run away, nor could he fight.
Some detail always catches rascals out.
He who is a wolf in fact
like a wolf is bound to act:
of that there ’s not the slightest doubt.
The Fisherman and the Little Fish
A little fish will bigger grow
if Heaven lets it live; but even so
to set one free, and wait until it’s fat,
then try again: I see no sense in that;
I doubt that it will let itself be caught.
An angler at the river’s edge one day
had hooked a carp. ‘A tiddler still,’ he thought,
but then reflected, looking at his prey:
‘Well, every little helps to make a meal,
perhaps a banquet; in the creel
is where you’ll go, to start my store.’
As best it could, the fish replied:
‘What kind of meal d’you think that I’ll provide?
I’d make you half a mouthful, not much more.
I’ll grow much bigger if you throw me back;
then catch me later on; I’d fill a sack.
A full-grown carp’s a fish that you can sell;
some greedy businessman will pay you well.
But now, you’d need a hundred fish
the size that I am now, to fill a single dish.
Besides, what sort of dish? Hardly a feast.’
‘No feast? quite so,’ replied the man;
‘it’s something, though, at least.
You prate as well as parsons can,
my little friend; but though you talk a lot
this evening it’s the frying-pan for you.’
A bird in the hand, as they say, is worth two
in the bush; the first one is certain, the others are not.
Jean de La Fontaine (1621-95) followed a career as a poet after early training for the law and the Church. He came under the wing of Louis XIV’s Finance Minister, Nicolas Fouquet, and later enjoyed the patronage of the Duchess of Orléans and Mme de La Sablière. His Fables were widely admired, and he was already regarded in his lifetime as one of the greatest poets of his age. Christopher Betts was Senior Lecturer in the French Department at Warwick University. In 2009 he published an acclaimed translation of Perrault’s The Complete Fairy Tales with OUP.
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Image credit: Both images are from Gustave Doré’s engravings, which are included in the edition, and are in the public domain.
Felt like it was time for a nice animal idiom.
“Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing:
One would use this idiom to describe a person or thing appearing to be good but is, well, not so much. There seems to be a few different ideas about it’s origin, but here is what Wikipedia has to say about it.
The 11th of February marks the opening of Westminster Kennel Club’s 137th Annual All Breed Dog Show. First held in 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is America’s second-longest continuously held sporting event, behind only the Kentucky Derby. The Westminster Dog Show epitomizes our long-standing tradition of domestication of dogs, but how did we arrive at such a moment in human and dog relations? The Encyclopedia of Mammals, edited by David MacDonald, offers some explanation as to how this species went from being wild prey-hunters to “best in show,” and from defending territories to defending last year’s titles.
The Dog Family
Canids evolved for fast pursuit of prey in open grasslands, and their anatomy is clearly adapted to this life. Although the 36 species and 13 genera vary in size from the tiny fennec fox to the large gray wolf, all but one have lithe builds, long bushy tails, long legs, and digitigrade, four‐toed feet with nonretractile claws.
Life in the Pack
The most striking feature of the canids is their opportunistic and adaptable behavior. This is most evident in the flexible complexity of their social organization. Remarkably, there is in this respect almost as much variation within as between species. Though African wild dogs, and possibly dholes and bush dogs, almost always hunt in packs, gray wolves, coyotes, and jackals feed on prey ranging from ungulates to berries. Partly as a result, they lead social lives that vary from solitary to sociable – gray wolves may live in isolated monogamous pairs, or in packs of up to 20 members.
These species, and some others like red and arctic foxes, live in groups even where large prey does not abound and where they hunt alone. Indeed, there are many other reasons for group living – cooperative defense of territories or large carcasses, communal care of offspring, rivalry with neighboring groups. This is clearly illustrated by the Ethiopian wolf, which lives in packs but almost never hunts cooperatively, its prey being largely rodents.
Dogs under Threat
For all their adaptability, members of the dog family cannot escape the indirect threat of habitat destruction. The small‐eared dog and the bush dog are seen so rarely that there are fears for their futures. The Ethiopian wolf numbers some 500 individuals, the African wild dog 5,000 individuals, and the maned wolf a few thousand in its Argentine and Brazilian strongholds. These species are all threatened. The plight of the sociable canids is especially intense insofar as they are victims of the so‐called Allee Effect – that is, at low numbers they enter a downward spiral to extinction. African wild dogs depend on cooperation, so packs with fewer than about five members enter a vortex of decline because they are too small to simultaneously hunt, defend kills, and babysit. Thus, the African wild dogs are even more threatened than their population of 5,000 might suggest, this being equivalent to no more than 700 viable packs across the continent.
Various origins have been proposed for domestic dogs, and doubtless many different canids have been partly domesticated at one time or another. Even so, the wolf is generally accepted as the most likely ancestor of today’s domestic dogs. Domestic dogs are thus known to science as a subspecies of wolf – Canis lupus familiaris. The earliest known archaeological indication of domestication comes from a single canine jawbone unearthed at a site in Germany. More foreshortened than that of a wolf, with the teeth more closely packed together, this find is thought to be around 14,000 years old. Other early remains of what are believed to be domestic dogs include a specimen from Coon in Iran, which dates back over 11,000 years. These various discoveries demonstrate that the wolf entered into domestic partnership with man before any other animal species and before the cultivation of plants for food. Indeed, recent molecular evidence suggests that dogs may even have been domesticated as much as 100,000 years ago.
The precise circumstances of domestication have been the subject of considerable speculation. Various theories have been advanced that center on our ancestors’ deliberate use of wolves for practical purposes: hunting, guarding, tidying carrion and refuse around settlements, or even as food items. However, it is equally likely that domestication simply came about by accident, with hunter–gatherer societies capturing and raising young wild animals as pets.
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Adapted from the entry on the ‘Dog Family’ in The Encyclopedia of Mammals edited by David MacDonald, also available online as part of Oxford Reference. Copyright © Brown Bear Books 2013. David MacDonald is Founder and Director of Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.
Happy Monday! Here’s a quick watercolor to start off the week. This is a wolf I met at a place called Mission Wolf.Add a Comment
Just wanted to let you know I have opened up an Etsy store called Keri Dawn Studios. I will be selling pocket mirrors, prints, pins, magnets, etc with my illustrations, drawings and designs on them. Take a look and let me know what you think. Here are a few samples of the mirrors:
After some back and forth, I finally dececided on the illustration I wanted to use as my new promo postcard. I finished this piece in the wee hours of Monday morning. I was kind of surprised I sat here Sunday night and worked on this. I rarely paint on Sunday […]Add a Comment
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“Heheee.. Ooh, if you wanna read one of the stories from Shannon-sama’s book when she’s the Huntress and fights monsters with her magical cat named Kishi, you should go see the Call of the Huntress page, ’cause we gots lots of neat stories! Have fun minna!”
This, of course, is just my line drawing for one of Aesops Fables. I'll be working on the color image this weekend. The fable: The Kid & the Wolf. A kid, returning without protection from the pasture, was pursued by a wolf. Seeing he could not escape, he turned round, and said "I know, friend wolf, that I must be your prey, but before I die I would ask of you one favor you will play me a tune to which I may dance." The wolf complied, and while he was piping and the kid was dancing, some hounds hearing the sound ran up and began chasing the wolf. Turning to the kid, he said, "It is just what I deserve, for I, who am only a butcher, should not have turned piper to please you." The moral of the story: In time of dire need, clever thinking is a key or Outwit your enemy to save your skin.
Yey, I've finally finished the painting I started two years ago!
A scene from one of the chapters of the book I’m writing- Alex and Raúl are resting by the stream after a long and tedious trek through the forest, unaware they have ventured into the territory of Mortikye the wolf. Their presence is not welcome…
I’m really pleased with how this turned out considering I did'nt rough it up and more or less painted it as I went along.
I’ve updated the sculpture section of my site with some photos of the pen toppers ive made and sold on ebay. – http://www.elysiumrain.com/Sculpturedpens.html
Val and I have set up a calendar of the picture book 'Alex and Friends' on lulu.com – http://www.lulu.com/content/lulustudio-calendar/alex-and-friends/7079356
We hope to another for the second book when its finished.
And last but by no means least, a little bit for Fi-Fi (not my choice of name lol), my hamster who passed away today.
She was by no means the friendliest critter but she was definitely the cutest. Will miss you lots Fi-Fi mouse X