Comment on Darklins

  1. Oh, this is lovely. What beautiful writing. So vivid, and so chilling. The 'little scraggety claws', the 'earth all uneasy and sunk through with water', the 'goblins and graspers dried up like empty fish eggs, like stiff little frog-husks on a tarmac road', and the solid weight of comparisons like the bag of coins down a well, the tarmac road, etc that give a sense of immediacy and realism - not just a fairy tale of some distant, unreal past, but a living story, relevant to the present (which is so important in this sort of folklore - it's meant to be real now, not just once-upon-a-time). And bits like the prayers being a rope of words, and the disturbing cold like the jelly of an eye, and the beautiful rhythm of it ... and really, I could just quote the whole thing back at you.

    And then, it's not just beautifully and vividly written, there's substance to it too, so it's not just a memorable image, but something with a point to it, something that takes the original story and adds even more depth and relevance to it. I really love it - thank you!

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    1. Iroh, playing water earth fire air

      Thank you so much! I grew up with this fairy tale (in an illustrated edition which I can't quite remember and which google isn't being very helpful about, alas), and have loved it every since - I hope you don't mind that I got carried away and did two stories! And I had no idea until I started looking it up that it was an old Lincolnshire folktale, because I have family there and although I know intellectually that a lot of it must have been drained, it is hard to fit the landscape of the story together with all those modern miles of, idk, airfields and sugar beet factories (I ... wouldn't say I know Lincolnshire well, I say hastily). So revisiting the story with that in mind was fascinating, and I'm really glad you enjoyed the fic!

      Also, this is actually about the draining of Norfolk, but apparently (and I guess unsurprisingly) there was enough ill feeling about draining the fens that there were numerous 'libellous Songs' (according to antiquary William Dugdale) on the subject:

      Come, Brethren of the water and let us all assemble
      To treat upon this matter, which makes us quake and tremble;
      For we shall rue, if it be true, that the Fens be undertaken,
      And where we feed in Fen and Reed, they’ll feed both Beef and Bacon.

      At least they didn't know about the sugar beet, I suppose? :(

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      1. I just wanted to let you know you are basically my favourite person ever - *four* fantastic stories, any one of which is miles better than I could possibly have hoped to get, and all of which delighted me. Plus you liked Strange Tales, which I love and almost never can convince anyone to look at. So I will be writing you proper replies and generally explaining in more detail just how wonderful I think you are, but I'm completely snowed under with work at the moment, which is why I haven't got back to you yet. (You know the old joke, that working for yourself is great because of the flexibility - you can work any 17 hours of the day you like.) But I love what you wrote, and want to tell you so in more detail, as soon as I've got a little free time.

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