Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In ND, the Weather is Important.

Harry Devlin, Parents Magazine Press, 1975

Harry Devlin of the Cranberry Port books writes a book about weather. This is a timely tale considering today is a snow day and the flood waters are rising. Devlin's tales focus on thunder and lightning, but I am guessing there are tales for these other phenomena too.

An excerpt from Devlin's foreword:

"A wild crashing thunderstorm is awesome to us all. But to a child the explosive fury of lightning, followed by thunder's sonorous booms can be a terrifying experience.

By the time we reach adulthood, most of us vaguely understand the causes of electrical storms. We have respect for, but little fear of, the phenomena.

Whether thunder and lightning will frighten or delight a child, however, depends on how that child relates imaginatively to storms. And this, no doubt, explains the folklore collected in this book..."

He goes on to explain how the the 15 tales in the book were collected largely through personal encounters with people from many cultures and bits of those cultures were reflected in the tales. Devlin marvels over how often people from different cultures, separated by many miles often told very similar stories.

The book identifies the cultures and includes a Devlin illustration for each of the 15 tales. The first illustration I included was from the Mayan tale called "The Giant Who Smoked Cigars" which identified lightning as the sparks that flew as one of the gods striking a great piece of flint to light his cigar and the loud noise it made was the first thunder and I suppose the black clouds would be the cigar smoke. Some of the other cultures represented include German, Polish, Nigerian, Peruvian, Irish, Czech and more.

When I was young I believed thunder was "God rearranging the furniture in heaven" which more or less matches the tale from Trinidad below. (click on each image to read the text or see a bigger pic)

I happen to love Norse myth so I included this story here too.

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