by Lillian Csernica on April 20, 2018
Rokurokubi. How’s that for a mouthful? It is a type of yokai that manifests only through women. This is unfortunate as well as being unfair. In many of the stories the men have committed whatever evil deed brings on the curse that transforms the unlucky woman into the creature whose neck extends to impossible lengths, allowing the head to cause all kinds of trouble.
The rokurokubi is born of jealousy that poisons the spirit. This goes a long way toward explaining why rokurokubi are often found in brothels.
In the late Edo period yomihon (illustrated novel), Rekkoku Kaidan Kikigaki Zōshi (列国怪談聞書帖) by Jippensha Ikku the author suggests the elongated necks of rokurokubi originate in the spiritual principle, karma. In Ikku’s work, Kaishin, a monk from Enshū and a woman called Oyotsu elope together. However, when Oyatsu collapsed from an illness, they ran out of money, so he killed her. When Kaishin eventually returned to secular life, he slept with a girl he met at an inn. When they sleep together, the girl’s neck stretched and her face becomes that of Oyotsu, who then told him about her resentment. Kaishin felt regretful his actions and proceeded to tell Oyatsu’s father everything. The girl’s father then told Kaishin that he has also killed a woman before. He stole her money and with it, he opened his inn. He had a daughter was born soon after who, due to karma, became a rokurokubi. Kaishin then reentered the priesthood. He built a grave for Oyotsu, said to be the Rokurokubi no Tsuka (Rokurokubi Mound), which told the story to future generations.
How could such a yokai enter the life of Dr. Harrington and his family? There are a lot of females in and around the household. Constance, Madelaine, Nurse Danforth, Julie Rose, and the housekeeper, Mrs. Rogers. There might be another woman or young lady among the expatriate community who finds herself caught in the eternal struggle of duty vs. emotion. Time will tell how the rokurokubi will find its way to Dr. Harrington’s door!
Filed under #atozchallenge, Blog challenges, cats, doctors, Family, fantasy, Fiction, historical fiction, history, Horror, housework, Japan, Kyoto, legend, Lillian Csernica, love, romance, steampunk, sword and sorcery, travel, Writing
by Lillian Csernica on April 5, 2017
Another common motif in Art Nouveau is the dragonfly, particularly in the creations of master jeweler Rene Lalique. His name is synonymous with all that is best in Art Nouveau.
From The Jewellry Editor:
The dragonfly embodied many of the themes that the Art Nouveau style evoked: nature; sensuality; metamorphosis from one physical form to another; and a more fantastical approach as in the case of Lalique’s dragonflies turning into women.
Sterling silver art nouveau dragonfly ring.
Gold and blue sapphires.
A small, round, moulded-pressed opalescent glass box.
Tiara: enameled dragonflies all flying toward a large aquamarine.
Detailed view of the aquamarine and dragonfly tiara.
Gold dragonfly pitcher by Emile Galle.
There are so many lovely examples of dragonfly art in the world of Art Nouveau. I have room to show only a few. I hope these will encourage you to explore the world of Lalique and his talented contemporaries!
by Lillian Csernica on October 16, 2016
Today is a very exciting day for me!
After the Happily Ever After: a collection of fractured fairy tales is a massive anthology that features more than seventy stories that transform the well-known and strange fables into sweeter, darker, and more fantastical tales. These certainly aren’t the stories we grew up with.
Please take a look at the gorgeous book trailer the wonderful folks at Transmundane Press have put together. On behalf of all my fellow contributors, let me say we appreciate your support!
Filed under classics, creativity, dreams, editing, fairy tales, Family, fantasy, Fiction, historical fiction, Horror, legend, Lillian Csernica, love, marriage, nature, publication, sword and sorcery, Writing