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Thursday, April 2, 2015

B = Beasts of Battle

The 'Beasts of battle' is a motif found in old Norse and old English literature. It involves three creatures, the Wolf, the Raven and the Eagle. In legend, these accompany warriors and feast on the bodies of the slain. You will find them in the old Norse Poetic Edda as well as several Old English poems.

Such concepts are fascinating to know.  If you are reading, say the Edda, or an old English poem (if you can understand them) You can san "ah=HAH!! Lookee there!  A crow, an eagle and a wolf!  Battle's coming!"  Usually you'll be right and you can either impress everyone or have them rolling their eyes, depending on where you are.  Personally, I seldom have people hanging over me when I'm reading old poetry.
Jeremy the Crow
...But what if you throw in some details?  How does that change things?  What if you have, say, Jeremy the Crow from The Secret of Nimh , Akela the Chief Wolf from The Jungle Book and Sam the Eagle from The Muppet Show

You could have a lot of fun, that's what.  Just imagine the three of them moving along down a road.  Strasbourg (Alsace - France) is behind them and they're heading east into Germany.  They are chatting pleasantly: Akela runs a tight ship and Sam the Eagle believes in correctness. 

Akela the Wolf
Two of the three companions are moving slowly along the winding lane.  Jeremy has been flying forward, performing reconnaissance.  "France is behind us now," says Akela.  How strange: this looks so much like the mountains where the Seeonee Wolf Pack hunted in India. ...I wonder how Mowgli is." 

"I wonder if there's a place we can get some food!" Sam grumbles.
Akela nods thoughtfully.  "There is always that concern..." 

Jeremy comes gliding in.  "I just saw a crowd of people heading this way!" he squawks.  "They look festive!"

Akela lifts his head.  "We can ask about watering holes," he says.

The road straightens just then and they face a crowd of people carrying noisemakers and flowers, singing...  "Germans," Akela says.  "Either that or they have indigestion from the noise they are making..."  He steps forward, his head raised, and speaks with the voice he used at the Pack Councils.  "My friends, if you could, of your goodness, direct us-"

The crowd scrambles to a halt.  Jaws drop, eyes move over the three creatures in the road. 

"Verdammte scheiße!"

"I beg your pardon?" Akela says.

Round eyes, screams,  "Führen Sie für Ihr Leben!" the people turn and run, their forms growing smaller and indistinct through the dust in the road.

Sam shakes  his wing at them.  "You're all a pack of weirdos!" he shouts.

Akela turns away with a sigh.  "You would think they expected us to eat them!" he says.  "Let's turn and go back to France.  The thought of Biftek tartare  appeals to me...

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  1. Hi Diana .. Biftek Tartare Francaise .. that's put me off Steak Tartare .. and I love it!! Ah well - I can see where you're taking our imaginations with the Norse Beasts of Battle .. cheers Hilary

    1. No, no, Hilary! The biftek tartare would not be composed of deceased Francais folks! They would present it on a platter accompanied by a brass rendition of LA Marseillaise! (Thanks for stopping by!)

  2. Love your story! I can picture this scene so clearly. Clever and witty.

    1. Thank you, Luana! My dog was the model for Akela, and he would sign at the thought of any delay accompanying his dearly loved dinner...

  3. Great dialogue, love the motley crew you've assembled. My favorite line is "There's always that concern." From my experience with wolf's domestic cousins, dogs, there is ALWAYS that concern."

    1. Thanks, Beth. I swear that the civilizations of the world could rise and fall, and as long as my dog's dish was filled in a timely fashion, he would not care.

  4. lol I don't know what schieße means, but I can pronounce it. lol I did understand "Run for your lives!" Teehee

    1. Hi, Debra -
      Well... I can't tell you what schieße means, exactly, but I can say that most cities require you to pick it up if you're walking your dog and he deposits it on the sidewalk...