Sunday, 12 June 2011

Ravens and other Stories

I could spend my life reading Raven stories. I'm pretty familiar with them in Scandinavian mythology, but this week I met the Japanese version for the first time:

(cc) Gullevek
The three-legged Crow-Raven, called Yatagarasu, is always black, and symbolises the intervention of the gods on Earth. If I followed Japanese football I would, of course, know this already - a cartoon version is the Japanese FA symbol, I learned from Muza-chan. Rather more inspiring than Arsenal's cannon, in my opinion! It looks like Yatagarasu is a portent rather than a character as such (I can't find links to any stories in which Yatagarasu speaks or is the central character) but WHAT a portent. I'd sit up and take notice if one of these gents flew past my window.

Last week I discovered a Korean 'Crow' too in the kids section of my local library:

The Crow King in the story - a ogre-like character with hundreds of smaller crow familiars who is beaten by a brave boy in the Underworld - was quite different from what I've read about the majestic Korean Samjok-o, a symbol of power to beat dragons and phoenixes. Are there stories about him? Hopefully I'll find out this week at Storytelling School, where I will live either in the classroom, or the library, for the WHOLE TIME. I can't wait. Only a few hours to go!

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