Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Fairy post #26 - The Passage Under Rood Khan

Faerie News

Chimera Obscura

Join photographic artist-writer Lorena Carrington to create your own hybrid self-portrait. Using drawings & custom-built camera lucida (earliest version of a camera, invented in 1611!), silhouettes & real objects, you’ll make artwork part otherwordly animal, part you. Brainstorm a backstory. Why do you have horns? How does it feel to sprout wings or branches? After transformation, you won’t be feeling quite yourself…
When: 23rd September, 11am
What: Workshop in the Castlemaine Children's Literature Festival
Where: Phee Broadway Theatre Foyer, Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia
Who: Lorena Carrington is an illustrator & photographic artist, published writer and member of the Australian Fairy Tale Society, who has held many exhibitions around Australia. She mixes raw natural materials (e.g. dried leaves, twigs, bones, roots, spider skin, steam, seed pods) with sophisticated computer technology to create her unique imagery.
Tickets: $10 per child
Age: 10-14 years
Website + Blog

Short Story Workshop

When: 23 October, 10am-1pm
What: Critique workshop with World Fantasy award winning author Angela Slatter. Nine places are available for this 3-hour workshop, entailing submission of a story for critique and discussion. 
Where: Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre, 251 Faraday St, Carlton
Who: Angela Slatter is the author of The Girl with No Hands and Other Tales, Sourdough and Other Stories, The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, Black-Winged Angels, Midnight and Moonshine and The Female Factory. She has won prestigious awards in dark fantasy, horror and YA speculative fiction, holds an MA & PhD in Creative Writing among other qualifications, and in 2013 was awarded an inaugural Queensland Writers Fellowship. Angela is Established Writer-in-Residence at Perth’s Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre. Her novellas, Of Sorrow and Such and Ripper were released 2015. Angela’s urban fantasy novel, Vigil, was released by Jo Fletcher Books in 2016, with sequels Corpselight & Restoration coming 2017 & 2018 respectively. 
Tickets: $150

Storybook trail 

2016 programme in Victoria includes fairy tale and folktale related themes, including: “The Jungle Book” (1st Edithvale Scouts), “The Paper Bag Princess” (Carrum Girl Guides), “Where The Wild Things Are” (Chelsea Primary School) and “The Bat And The Crocodile” (Bonbeach Primary School). 
When: Seniors Month & Education Week, with works set up 3rd -7th October 2016
What, Where & Who: as several groups are involved, across various locations, please check the Chelsea Yarn Art & Crafters Facebook page for more details leading up to October.

Australian Fairy Tale Society - new ezine:

Australian Fairy Tale Society's new ezine is released! Theme of 1st issue is Rumpelstiltskin. I proudly co-editing it with brilliant Gypsy Thornton. Here's a preview of our front cover (above). To dive in, just pay $25 to become an AFTS member - and join a community of fairy tale spinners that is interdisciplinary, intercultural & intergenerational, including writers, illustrators, storytellers, academics, musicians, glass sculptors, quilters, photographers and many more fascinating folk. Once you're a member, you'll receive a password to access & download the ezine.

Vic Fairy Tale Ring next meets in Castlemaine 11th September 2pm. For info, contact me. Our theme will be The Frog King. Non-members are very welcome to join us for a fee of $5. The gathering is free for Australian Fairy Tale Society members. Members have access to special fairy tale research resources before the meeting.

Here is an original fairy tale presented as a poster at Australian Fairy Tale Society's 3rd annual conference in Caulfield, Melbourne, June 2016:

"The Passage Under Rood Khan"

Original fairy tale by 
Zeinab Yazdanfar & Louisa John-Krol
copyright 2016

“What you seek is seeking you.”  - Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

Once upon a time beneath a forest, there was a passage underneath a great, ancient castle called Rood Khan. This ruin was a mystery to all, a place of fear and dread, which prevented people from exploring its deepest tunnels and its farthest reaches, and thus most of it remained mysterious.

Photo from Must See Iran's Facebook page
One day, a child by the name Shadi lost her way in the upper chambers of Rood Khan, taking a wrong turn that led her inexorably downward, far from her friends, so that she could not find her way out. Before long, silence engulfed her. Nobody could hear her cries for help. 

With deepening panic, Shadi screamed, but her cries fell like wings among centuries of dust. The pervading sense of darkness, gloom, neglect and obscurity was terrifying. Becoming disappointed of getting any help, she continued her way through darkness, hands edging along the wall, while she was hoping to find a light. Yet now she was certain she heard a tiny, distant voice calling to her from the shadows. It sounded as if it came from a girl of about her age. Was it a ghost? Taking courage, Shadi ventured toward the call. The stranger in the darkness seemed too frail or too frightened to approach, so Shadi hesitantly reached forth until her hand brushed another hand. In the same instant, a small, beautiful, innocent pale face gazed up at her. Realising the little one was hungry, Shadi instinctively pulled a date from her pocket and handed it to the stranger, who gladly ate the date, whereupon the waif began heading toward the end of the tunnel, holding Shadi’s hand.

At length they emerged into the light of a village that Shadi had never seen before. All around were poor children whose clothes and belongings seemed shabby, torn and dirty. Some were clearly starving, perhaps thirsty too, for the water they drew from wells in wooden pails, was brown. Shadi wondered if all this might be because these villagers were remote, perhaps forgotten, or even entirely unknown to her own people, who had not been brave enough to explore the world beyond their own.

Soon a little boy joined the girl at Shadi’s side. Together, the children led her to their only school: a windblown hovel with no glass for windows, no heating or cooling device, nor proper seating, only mats and a teacher’s desk, where Shadi’s gaze fell upon a book that seemed to shine in a shaft of dust. It was full of stories, with marvelous illumination around its borders. The children were excited to open it, turning its pages proudly. Yet with a sickening feeling, Shadi realised that neither child had any idea how to read. Both were illiterate. In the hours that followed, Shadi learned that there were hardly any other books in that schoolroom or surrounding buildings. These villagers were in desperate need of resources, not only to participate in the world’s communication, but even to remember their own history. 

This is how the ruins of Rood Khan opened a great challenge for Shadi, whose name means happiness. For only now did she understand her life’s purpose. How could she ever be truly happy playing in forests and monuments, if such villagers could not taste the fruits of knowledge?

Zeinab Yazdanfar in a field of forget-me-nots, Olinda
Zeinab Yazdanfar is a Civil Engineer, who is studying PhD at RMIT University. Alongside this, she follows her passion for story writing and literary criticism. She has attended various book reading clubs and creative writing workshops, and attained a Story Writing Certificate. Zeinab has written several short stories in her native language, Farsi.

Louisa John-Krol in Olinda, The Dandenongs
Louisa John-Krol has released acclaimed ethereal CDs and performed at international fairy festivals. Vice President of the Australian Fairy Tale Society, she co-edits its ezine and leads the Vic Fairy Tale Ring. 
Unfolding: The Elderbrook Chronicles 
...with a soundtrack.

Note from Louisa: "Zeinab & I met at a university where I happened to have Shahnameh, The Persian Book of Kings, by Abolqasem Ferdowsi, on my shelf. Our discussion of it sparked a friendship. Thanks for reading our story."