«Misokolaki» and other scary tales from Ikaria in comics


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(Ελληνικά στο μπλογκ της Νανάς).
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Finding a moment to advertise this comic art drawings and book exhibition which takes place in Athens next month.

comic art ikaria 1Kavo Papasbar tesera

16 February - 2 April 2009 in Bartesera, 25 Kolokotroni str. Athens
 Opening: 16 April - 8 pm

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misikolaki 2

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Among these stories there's "Misokolaki",
the kid with half his bottom chopped off.

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Misokolaki

– A Greek folktale from Ikaria island –

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misikolaki Ikaria 4

.(«The witch under the pear tree», drawing  by  Thanassis Psaros)

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Once upon a time on a faraway Greek island, an old man and an old woman lived alone in a small house near a forest. The old man was a woodcutter.
One night the old man and the old woman were peeling broad beans and putting them into a pot on the stove.
«If only we had children to bring a little joy and happiness into our lives» the old woman sighed loudly.
«Yes», said the old man. «If only we had children.»
Before they went to bed that night, the woman said a special prayer.
«O God», she prayed, «How I wish that all the broad beans in the pot could become children!»
Early the next morning the woodcutter and his wife were woken by a terrible noise. Their house was full of children. Some were playing, some were singing and some were quarreling. Others were crying out for food. The house was filled with a terrible racket. The old woodcutter was beside himself: the noise was more than he could bear. He grabbed his axe and began to chase the children. The frightened children darted everywhere to escape, jumping out of the windows and pouring out of the door. Within a few minutes they had all gone.
The house was suddenly silent. The old man and the old woman looked at each other in dismay.
«Now we ‘re all alone again», said the old woman.
«Yes», said the old man sadly. «What are we going to do?»
Suddenly a tiny voice came from under the bed. «I’m here», it said. A young boy crept out. He looked a little frightened; half of his bottom had been chopped off by the woodcutter’s axe.
The old lady and the old man looked at him in joy and wonder.
«Oh, little boy», said the old woman. «Don’t be afraid. You can live with us. We will make you well again.»
The young boy was happy to have found a home. The old couple gave him clothes and food, and a bed to sleep in. They called him Misokolaki, which means «Little half-bottom».
The next day the woodcutter told Misokolaki that now that he lived with them, he would have to help them with their work.
Misokolaki’s first chore was to guard the pear tree in the orchard. Every year, when the pears ripened, a cunning old fox would come and steal them. The old man gave Misokolaki a wooden flute to play while he sat in the tree.
Before Misokolaki left for the orchard, the old man warned him: «Be careful of the fox. It’s cunning and it may try to trick you.»
All day Misokolaki sat in the pear tree and played his flute. Then, at dusk, along came the fox. It looked up into the tree where the boy was playing his flute.
«Hey, Misokolaki!» the fox called out. «You play your flute so fair, please throw me down a pear.»
«Go away», said Misokolaki. You can’t have any pears.»
«But my little ones are hungry», the fox said, with tears in its eyes.
Misokolaki felt sorry for the fox and threw down some pears.
«Please, Misokolaki», said the cunning old fox. «Help me find the pears. It’s dark and I can’t see.»
Misokolaki forgot the old man’s warnings and climbed down to help the fox. No sooner had he touched the ground than the fox grabbed him and threw him into a sack. The fox threw the sack over its shoulder and set off for its home.
On the way, the fox stopped by a stream. It put down the sack and went to the water to have a drink.
Misokolaki quickly wriggled out of the sack. He filled it with rocks and prickly bushes and ran away.
When the fox returned, it threw the sack over its shoulder and continued on its way. Soon the fox began to feel something pricking its back
«Stop pinching me, Misokolaki!» the fox kept calling out, all the way home.
When the fox arrived home, its cubs danced about with joy. They were very hungry. They burnt lots of branches in the oven to make it red hot so that they could cook Misokolaki.
But when the fox emptied out the sack, only rocks and prickles tumbled out on to the floor. The fox was angry and it vowed that next time, Misokolaki would not escape.
The next day, Misokolaki again kept watch in the pear tree. At dusk, the fox returned to the orchard. Misokolaki was in the pear tree, playing his flute.
«Hey, Misokolaki!» the fox called out. «You play your flute so fair, please throw me down a pear.»
Misokolaki pretended he couldn’t hear. He kept playing his flute.
The fox began to cry loudly. «My little ones are hungry!» it sobbed. The tears flowed from its eyes like rivers.
Misokolaki felt sorry for the fox and threw down some pears. But the cunning old fox called out: «Please, Misokolaki, help me find the pears. It’s dark and I can’t see.»
The fox’s voice was so sweet that once again Misokolaki forgot all about the old man»s warning. He climbed down to help the fox. No sooner had he touched the ground than the fox grabbed him and threw him into the sack. This time the fox tied the sack very tightly so that Misokolaki couldn’t escape.
The fox carried the sack straight back home, without stopping on the way.
As the fox neared home, it called out to its cubs to light the oven. The fox untied the sack and let Misokolaki out, and the cubs danced around him with glee. They were so hungry that they could hardly wait to eat him.
Misokolaki would have to think quickly if he was to escape from the oven.
Now, the fox’s oven was built into the wall. It was so high off the ground that the fox had to stand on a stool to reach it. As the fox reached up to open the oven door, Misokolaki quickly grabbed its hind legs and with one mighty thrust, he pushed the fox headfirst into the oven.
The cubs scattered in fright and Misokolaki ran all the way home, as fast as his legs could carry him.
The old man and the old woman were overjoyed to see him. They had gone to the orchard to look for him, and were very worried when they couldn’t find him. Misokolaki told them all about his adventure with the fox. The old man called out to his neighbours from the village and invited them to come and celebrate. They were all happy because the fox would never steal their fruit again.
Misokolaki took out his flute and began to play. The villagers sang and danced until the sun rose up behind the mountains in the east.
(From a book by Petro Alexiou, illustrated by Clare Watson, HARCOURT BRACE JOVANOVICH, PUBLISHERS (Australia) © 1989 on behalf of Petro Alexiou ISBN 0 7295 0833 1, ISBN 0 7295 0800 5 (series). The author dedicates to his Ikarian mother who told him this tale.)
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Note:  The original Greek version which has survived in Ikaria is more poignant, rougher and bloodier. The wish for children is not intentional but rather trivial. The ‘broad bean’ children are not just naughty and restless. They cry and yell for food! The woodcutter does not just chase the children out of the house; he actually kills them one after the other with his hatchet! Misokolaki is spared if only he can carry out two tasks: keep the old couple company by playing the flute and climb on that precious pear tree to keep the thieves away. Finally, instead of a fox, there is an evil witch who eats human flesh. There is also the daughter of the witch to who the witch trusts Misokolaki to roast and she leaves, but Misokolaki turns loose, throws the daughter into the oven and he escapes. So when the witch returns, she eats her own daughter’s roasted liver thinking that it is Misokolaki’s. When she realises what has happened, she is furious and she rushes to the pear tree to find Misokolaki and kill him. Misokolaki is there, but the witch can’t climb the pear tree and get him. Blinded as she is by now with furry, she takes Misokolaki’s advice that the best way to shoot up and reach him is to stick a red hot iron bar up her ass! The witch does exactly that and she shoots up to the sky! She falls back on the ground and bursts in pieces. Misokolaki gets home to his step parents. They are very proud of him and they live happily ever after.

misikolaki Ikaria

 

.Comments

(9 total)

Great presentation as always, good witch. What’s your way to shoot up?

Sunday January 25, 2009 – 10:46pm (EET)

Imagination.

Monday January 26, 2009 – 03:44am (PST)

As children, we were not supposed to read such grostesque tales yet they are the tales I remember best! My favorite ones came from a small island called Adakale.

Monday January 26, 2009 – 10:18am (EST)

Tales of warning about hunger! also about family programming -hep;

Monday January 26, 2009 – 10:25pm (EET)

(Pear trees seem to figure in stories a lot.
Take for instance this one:
http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type1423.html#boccaccio
Eat pears, make a hut out of pear-wood, but avoid sitting up in pear trees.)

Tuesday January 27, 2009 – 02:32pm (CET)

(especially if they are like this!:)
thorny sage-leafed pear tree

Tuesday January 27, 2009 – 03:02pm (CET)

@ Can : yes, we are brought up to dislike the gruesome, yet there is truth in the gruesome. Speaking of islands and tales, the same tale exists in Mykonos! Can you imagine?

@ egotoagrimi : ok, but don’t overdo it with programming, ok? Leave some ends loose…

@ Simon G : thanks God you are here! I was worried that the winds in France took you off! Yes, the pear tree seems to be the next best after the apple tree in European lore. And the old varieties must have had quite a lot of thorns. That sheds light to another feat of Misokolaki. He was a fakir like Nana :lol

Tuesday January 27, 2009 – 12:30pm (PST)

It’s a tale about a young fakir?!?

Wednesday January 28, 2009 – 10:39pm (EET)

!!!

Thursday January 29, 2009 – 08:41pm (EET)

UPDATE

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Why why why none of these folktales speak about our  «immortal soul»? Is it only the body then? When somebody dies we have to remember him or her the way he or she looked in flesh and bones. If this is hard!.. Isn’t it better to pay the church to do that?

http://simonsterg.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/the-hunters-five-sons/

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4 σχόλια on “«Misokolaki» and other scary tales from Ikaria in comics”

  1. Ο/Η egotoagrimi λέει:

    Why why why none of these folktales speak about our «immortal soul»? Is it only the body then? When somebody dies we have to remember him or her the way he or she looked in flesh and bones. If this is hard!.. Isn’t it better to pay the church to do that?

    http://simonsterg.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/the-hunters-five-sons/

    Αρέσει σε 3 άτομα

  2. Ο/Η simonsterg λέει:

    Good to be pulled back to this tale again…

    Μου αρέσει!

  3. […] December 17, 2009 at 11:31 pm · Filed under Illustration, Tales, film ·Tagged book, children, fox, Hugh Lupton, Illustration, myth, Niamh Sharkey, storytelling, Tales It’s down below zero, late in the evening, the logs in the fireplace are glowing orange now. Snow is forecaste for tomorrow. Time for a tale. And so that it’s known that foxes aren’t always cunning and deceitful… […]

    Μου αρέσει!

  4. […] made the title of this entry: «Thick with the eerie awe of the uncanny». Because we love ghost stories in Ikaria. How couldn’t we? Just take a look of those shots! Thomas has managed to show that […]

    Αρέσει σε 4 άτομα


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