The Amish: Shunned and Misunderstood


Amish People
An Amish family
Amish teenager
An Amish Teenager
Amish Community Holds Its Annual "Mud Sale"
The Amish Community Holds its Annual “Mud Sale” GORDONVILLE, PA – MARCH 12: Amish bidders watch the auction during the Annual Mud Sale to support the Fire Department March 12, 2011 in Gordonville, Pennsylvania. The auctions are held in the spring by the Amish community to raise money for the community. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)

Amish Women

Amish Women in a Buggy
Amish women in a horse-drawn buggy.

The Amish Bride

The Amish - a farming community
The Amish – a peace-loving farming community.
The Amish and the Plain People of Lancaster
The Amish and the Plain People of Lancaster.
Map of the Amish living in the USA.
“The Amish – Shunned”

The Amish (/ˈɑːmɪʃ/; Pennsylvania Dutch: Amisch, German: Amische) are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships, closely related to but distinct from Mennonite churches, with whom they share Swiss Anabaptist origins.


The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress, and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology. The history of the Amish church began with a schism in Switzerland within a group of Swiss and Alsatian Anabaptists in 1693 led by Jakob Ammann. Those who followed Ammann became known as Amish.




What do Amish people believe in?

Shunning is a form of excommunication. If they partake of the “worldly” things, they are shunned by the church people. The Amish believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that He died for their sins, and that He is the way to salvation.


What is the religion of the Amish?

There is no consensus on exactly where the Amish fit within Christianity: Some consider them conservative Protestants. J Gordon Melton, head of the Institute for the Study of American Religion, classifies them as part of the European Free-Church Family along with Mennonites, Brethren Quakers and other denominations.


The Amish are closest to the Anabaptists: Protestant Christians who believe in adult baptism, pacifism, the separation of church and state and the importance of the community to faith. The denomination is closely related to the Mennonites.


Do the Amish use buttons?

The common theme amongst all Amish clothing is plainness; clothing should not call attention to the wearer by cut, color, or any other feature. Hook-and-eye closures or straight pins are used as fasteners on dress clothing rather than buttons, zippers, or Velcro.


When was the Amish founded?

The beliefs and practices of the Amish were based on the writings of the founder of the Mennonite faith, Menno Simons (1496-1561), and on the1632 Mennonite Dordrecht Confession of Faith. The Amish who split from Mennonites generally lived in Switzerland and in the southern Rhine river region.


What is the Amish lifestyle like?

Amish women wear modest, solid-colored dresses, usually with long sleeves and a full skirt, a cape and apron. The clothing is fastened with straight pins or snaps. Hair is never cut and is worn in a bun on the back of the head, concealed by a prayer covering.


What language do Amish people speak?

Regardless of where they live, the Amish speak the Pennsylvania German dialect (popularly known as Pennsylvania Dutch), except in a few communities where they speak a Swiss dialect. English, typically learned in school, is their second language.





Who are the Amish and what are their Beliefs?

(Source: http://www.gotquestions.org/Amish-beliefs.html)

Question: “Who are the Amish, and what are their beliefs?”

Answer: The Amish are a group of people who follow the teachings of Jacob Ammann, a 17th-century citizen of Switzerland. It is a Protestant denomination, closely related to the Mennonites. The Amish, most of whom live in the United States, follow simple customs and refuse to take oaths, vote, or perform military service. They shun modern technology and conveniences. Transportation for the Amish is by horse and buggy. They do not have electricity or telephones in their homes. The men usually wear beards and pants with buttons instead of zippers. The women wear white head coverings and plain dresses, usually without buttons—they use straight pins to fasten the clothing.
The Amish believe that James 1:27 “…and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” means to stay away from things the “world” does—like driving autos, having a TV, going to movies, wearing make-up, and the enjoying the conveniences of electricity and phones. They often use generators to create power to run their equipment and use horses, instead of tractors, to do farm work. The bishop (leader) of an Amish community (district) sets up the rules of conduct allowed for his district. Some bishops are more lenient than others. The Amish have church services in their own homes, taking turns hosting on Sundays, and do not have church buildings. They usually only go to a formal school until age 15.
The Amish groups have problems, just like anyone else. Most of these church groups try to keep their problems concealed from the outside world. The youth are given the opportunity to taste of “the world” in their late teens to determine if they want to join the church. Many young Amish people get involved in drugs, alcohol, sex, and other vices during this time period while they are allowed to own a motor vehicle, but a large number then do give up the vehicle and join the church. Others determine they will not join the church and attempt to fit into the secular world.
Spiritually speaking, the Amish are very similar to the traditional Jews that keep the Old Testament Law. They have a long list of do’s and don’ts. If they fail to keep the list, they are in trouble with the church and are in danger of being shunned. Shunning is a form of excommunication. If they partake of the “worldly” things, they are shunned by the church people.
The Amish believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that He died for their sins, and that He is the way to salvation. However, many Amish also practice a works-based relationship with God. They view their good works as earning favor with God. If their good works outweigh the bad works, they feel God will allow them into heaven. The Amish are basically good, hard-working people, who have to make sure they stay on the right path, so they get final rewards in heaven when life is over. They say “Amish is a lifestyle,” not a religion. They choose to keep the simple life so they can focus more time on family and home, rather than the things that require advanced modern technology.
As a group, the Amish do not believe in the security of salvation. They believe a person can lose his/her salvation if he/she strays from the path, or falls from grace. They do not believe in infant baptism, but do “sprinkle” for adult baptism, rather than immerse in water.
Thankfully, some (or many) members of the Amish church do believe that Jesus paid the full price for their sins, and have truly received the grace so freely given by God. Sadly, others cling to the “works-based” philosophy, believing their salvation is based on their “right” actions. The Amish set a powerful example by literally trying to “keep themselves unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). At the same time, the Bible does not call us to completely separate ourselves from the world. We are called to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20;Acts 1:8). We are not to withdraw and separate ourselves from those who most need to hear the gospel message.
There is much for which the Amish are to be commended. The powerful example of unconditional forgiveness the Amish showed after the 2006 Amish school shooting was a demonstration of the love and grace of God. The Amish are kind, respectful, hard-working, and God-loving people. At the same time, the legalism and works-based faith that is evident in some Amish communities is not to be followed.




What Drives The Amish Culture?

(Source: http://www.exploring-amish-country.com/amish-culture.html)

The Amish Culture is driven by the Amish religion which teaches that they must be separate from worldly sin to receive salvation. Everything Amish people do is pointed toward the goal of maintaining this separate way of life.

To help you get a better insight into the Amish Tradition, imagine that you are Amish.

The Ordnung

Your Amish history dates back to 1693 when your forefathers split from the Mennonites. From that time forward, Amish men and Amish women have had their roles in the church and community dictated to them by the Ordnung, a set of unwritten rules that are based in Scripture.

Since agreement with the Ordnung is voted on yearly by the members of each individual congregation, there are variations from church to church.

The Church

In the Amish culture, the word “church” doesn’t refer to a building, but to the people in the congregation. Since in most sects there is no church building, services are held in individual homes on a rotating basis. This limits the size of the church district to the number of members that can fit in a home, usually thirty to forty households.

Your church services are held every other Sunday. The “off” Sundays are spent visiting or taking it easy. You look forward to these social times along with the occasional wedding, barn raising or other frolics.

The actual service usually lasts around three hours. Afterward lunch is served to the entire congregation in shifts, while those not eating socialize. After their parents depart, young adults stay for the Sunday night singing.

This is a time when they look to pair off with dating partners. Amish dating begins at age sixteen, conforming with the Ordnung.

Conforming for salvation

In the Amish Culture your road to heaven is paved with conformity. The outside world is full of pressures to succeed and stand out from the crowd. But to the Amish, standing out is a sure sign of pride. And pride paves the road to a much hotter place.

You on the other hand, are not pressured with decisions on how to conform and get to heaven. No, your decisions are already made by the Amish Culture. Everything is laid out for you so you know exactly what to do and how to live.

The Ordnung specifies such details as…

  • what clothes are acceptable
  • the color and length of a woman’s dress
  • submission to the will of God
  • education of children
  • use of modern technology
  • no use of insurance
  • transportation

…to list just a few.

The Icon

Everybody knows that the horse and buggy is the icon of the Amish Culture though it has been a symbol of separation for only about the last century.

Prior to that time, driving a buggy was the preferred modern mode of personal transportation. Old order sects all use buggies while some others such as the Beachy sect own cars.

In fact you, also, might have owned a car in the past, before you joined the church and were yoked to the Ordnung.


According to your Amish beliefs, no one can be baptized until they can make an informed decision to join the church. The young Amish teenagers need some way to become informed of the outside world.

So between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one, comes a period known as rumspringa or running around.

This custom, which might include owning a car and partying, lets the young people experience the outside world. Maybe you will find that it isn’t as great out there as you thought. It might actually act as a vaccination against future temptation. At least it allows you to make an educated decision on whether or not to join the church.

The Decision

This educated decision is important because once you join the church, it is for life. If after joining, you decide to leave the church, you will be subjected to shunning. This is usually enough to keep you in the church. It also creates a tightly knitted society.

So should you decide you want to live the modern life, it’s far better to not be baptized. Then, you won’t be shunned because you aren’t a member of the church. You are just a wayward child who might eventually see the light and come back to the open arms of the church where you belong.

Coming back is not such a rare thing.

Leaving the Amish

Imagine for a moment, leaving your Amish community.

You’re on your own. You have only an eighth grade education. And you have lost the support system that you have relied on for your entire life. After a year or two on your own you’ve had your fill of TV and working at dead-end jobs. The future is beginning to look pretty pitiful.

Face it. The modern world doesn’t appear as rosy as it did before you had to make your own way in it. You don’t know who you are or where you’re going. The old security and support systems are starting to look pretty darn good.

So you rush back to the welcoming arms of the Amish community.

The church provides security from cradle to grave for all the members of the congregation. If sickness strikes, church support is there with labor and financial help. Or if calamity hits the farm with a lightning strike and a barn is destroyed, the community is there with a barn raising. The Amish culture provides sense of security that is very hard to give up just to drive a car and have electricity.

Surviving and Thriving

The feeling of belonging, knowing exactly who you are and what is expected of you gives you an inner peace. This contentment probably accounts for the fact that 80 to 90 percent of the children who grow up in the Amish Culture stay and join the church.

The Amish population in has doubled to nearly 230,000 in the last 17 years. These people who seem to give up so much in this modern world, are thriving and will most likely continue to do so in the future.

This brief look gives you a better understanding of the Amish Culture. You can see that the reason for their strange (to us) behavior is to remain separate from the world so that they can go to heaven. They also seek to maintain their tightly knitted communities by making sure that their children grow up to join the church.

The Amish culture is a way of life that the Amish people have been born and bred to live. Most would struggle with the loss of this ingrained identity if they left the church. So they stay. They are a people who know who they are and why they are here. Not a bad place to be in this world of confusion and chaos.


Inside The Amish Family

The Amish family is the foundation of the Amish way of life. The family structure and traditions that seem to be taken from a page out of history, have remained an integral part of the Amish culture.

This is not by accident. They have an unwritten blueprint for Amish living called the Ordnung that guides them through all the details of everyday life.

To us, these rules might seem extremely legalistic. But the Amish consider the Ordnung to be a sacred trust that separates them from the outside world.

It binds them together in their quest for eternal salvation and creates a desire for unity and conformity. When its members live together, work together, worship together and socialize together, the Amish family is made stronger.

The Marriage Relationship

The Amish family is traditionally farming based. As leader of the family, the man makes all the major decisions in regard to the family, farm, and household. The Amish marriage ceremony directs the bride to be submissive to her husband.

Of course marriage is a partnership so the degree to which the husband includes his wife in the decision making process varies from family to family. As with any human relationship, the attitude of the each partner probably determines how much weight the husband gives to his wife’s input.

The man is the primary breadwinner of the Amish family.

In the past the Amish family income was produced on the farm. For nearly 300 years the Amish man has tilled the soil to produce crops and livestock for a living. Most Amish still prefer this lifestyle today.

But in recent decades, the scarcity of affordable farmland has forced many Amish men to seek alternative means of producing income. In some areas, less than half the men farm for a living.

The best alternative to farming is a cottage industry that allows the man to work at home. Businesses such as:

  • Bakery
  • Cabinet shop
  • Furniture manufacturing shop
  • Engine repair shop
  • Greenhouse Bookstore
  • Dry goods store
  • Harness and leather goods shop
  • Clock and watch repair shop
  • Sawmill


A home business keeps the father close to the home. The traditional Amish family depends on having both the parents available to supervise and train the children.

Every family member is indoctrinated into the Amish lifestyle beginning at the earliest age. The home shop, like the farm, becomes a learning laboratory where the children can observe and learn while helping to produce income for the family.

Other possible occupations include the trades. Working in the building industry is a popular choice for many. Carpentry, plumbing, roofing and other trades where the man can work for himself, are considered compatible with the Amish culture.

Working in a factory is the least desirable form of occupation. It is considered a threat to the Amish family. So the church encourages farming or home business whenever possible.

The mother is in charge of running the household.

The Amish woman must be an excellent manager. The efficiency of an Amish family depends upon the skill of the mother in many areas.

She is the head cook and seamstress. The garden is also the mother’s realm. A productive garden is a great asset to the family since Amish food is home grown, when possible.

Mom oversees child care, cleaning, yard work, laundry and food preservation. She might make crafts to sell at a roadside stand. In addition to all that, she often helps with barn chores and harvesting.

She will have help from the older girls. A young Amish girl is expected to hone her skills at running the household so she will be fully prepared when her time comes to run a household of her own.

Amish women make most of the clothing in for the family. Clothes are very plain and of usually solid colors, which is why the Amish are often referred to as plain people. Even Amish wedding dresses are handmade.

Grandparents remain a vital part of the family.

When the grandparents pass the farm down to one of their children, they usually continue to live on the farm in a house that is attached to the main house or in a nearby separate house.

Though retired, the grandparents continue help with chores and contribute to the family in many ways. They might tend a roadside stand to sell food or crafts produced by the family.

The wisdom of the grandparents is a treasured asset to the family. Their advice is often sought and followed.

Contrary to popular belief, the farm is not always inherited by the oldest child. Usually, the parents are not ready to retire until after their entire family has been raised. Then the empty nest is ready to be occupied by a new family. By this time, the older children might have families of their own and be well established elsewhere.

Since there are many children and there is only one farm to inherit, many Amish homes do not include three generations.

Children are also seen as a valuable asset to the Amish family.

There is an average of six children per household. Very young Amish children are pampered as much as children in the outside world. Until about the age of two, the toddler gets away with some behavior that won’t go uncorrected later. After the age of two, Amish children can expect to be spanked for their lapses in good judgment.

For the most part, their very early years are spent playing and interacting with their siblings. Amish toys are very simple and of course, non-electrical.

By the age of five, Amish children are performing simple chores in the house or around the barn. Their workload is increased as they develop the required strength and skills.

The Amish family needs the additional labor of its children. Working on a farm the children get a feeling of accomplishment and actually see the important contribution they are making to their family. They are instilled with the work ethic that prepares them for their life in the Amish community.

Having a large family is also valued by the church because growth comes almost entirely from within. There are very few converts to the Amish religion because outsiders are not equipped to cope with the psychological and physical rigors of Amish life.

Down time

The Amish family works every day. On Sunday, they milk and feed the livestock and any other chores that must be done daily. They then go to church services which are held on alternating Sundays. A light lunch is served after the service. Then the afternoon is spent socializing.

On the “off” Sundays, they visit other families or just stay home and rest. The Amish observe Christmas, Thanksgiving, Pentecost Easter and Ascension Day as a part of their Amish culture and traditions.

The Amish enjoy gathering at occasions such as weddings and auctions. They also enjoy getting together to help their neighbors on occasions like a barn-raising which they might refer to as a frolic.

When a family settles in a new home…

…they usually stay there for life. This is especially true if they settle close to their extended families. If you include both sets of parents and six married siblings with families, there might be eighty to one hundred immediate relatives nearby.

When you add aunts and uncles all with their own extended families, the number of relatives balloons out to hundreds. All these close connections to relatives are a tremendous incentive to stay put.

As the couple grows old, their children will be married and produce thirty to fifty grandchildren of their own and the cycle starts over. Once again, this shows why the large Amish family is such a great asset to the community.

Trouble in Paradise

A problem has surfaced over the last couple of decades. It would seem that the large family has become a threat to the Amish way of life. As population increases in and around the Amish settlements, farmland is becoming scarce.

Even if a young Amish family can find an available farm, they will probably find the price of the land beyond their reach. This poses a potentially devastating problem for the Amish family. Faced with this threat to its very survival, this society must look beyond its traditional farming based culture for other ways to support their Amish life. Many have started cottage industries or become tradesmen.

Others have opted for factory work, a choice that could also threaten the traditional Amish family. Working in the outside world exposes them to the worldly culture.

Working beside non-Amish, often both men and women can influence the Amish man’s point of view. The fact that he can make so much money working only forty hours a week, might tend to make him look at the Amish life in a different, less desirable light.

The father is also away from home during the day and cannot supervise his children. The Amish family is grounded in having the father readily available at home.

Children learn by watching. The father’s absence denies the children a vital role model that teaches the work ethic needed to sustain the rigorous Amish life.

The Amish continue to survive and prosper.

Despite these threats, the Amish population thriving. It continues to almost double every twenty years. As of 2008 there were nearly 230,000 Amish.

The influence of the trend toward a post agricultural lifestyle may eventually change the fundamental identity of the Amish family.

But for now, the Amish family is alive and well.


Amish Clothing Symbolizes
Separation and Identity

Amish clothing provides the plain people with an instant means of separation from the world. From the way Amish dress, you can tell at a glance that they are Amish.

Jakob Ammann, the father of the Amish movement, was a tailor by trade. He observed first hand the influence that clothing had on people. Dress identified a person’s station in life. He saw that success and individual accomplishment were proclaimed by personal appearance.

Ammann’s religion is based upon separation from all that is worldly. So it is only natural that he recognized the need for Amish clothing to be simple and non-conforming to the world.

The Amish uniform would symbolize their separation from the world.

In the 1690’s when Jakob Ammann split from the Mennonites, most of his followers were small farmers that leased their land from large landowners. So the early Amish dress was simple and functional. The Ordnung, which is the Amish culture’s unwritten guideline for living, stressed a very definite dress code of simple clothing that did not conform to the world.

In the 1730’s the Amish began migrating to America along with Mennonites and other groups in search of religious freedom. Along with this freedom came the right to own land. The Amish work ethic, frugality, and farming skills blossomed in this environment and they prospered.

Through the years the Amish have continued to prosper and thrive. They have steadfastly continued their tradition of distinctive Amish Clothes. This has helped them maintain their identity in the ever-changing modern world.

Today in the huge Amish settlements in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, affordable farmland has become scarce. This is forcing the Amish men to find other means of making a living. Factory and construction jobs have forced the Amish to work among outsiders. Amish girls work in restaurants and retail stores. These exposures to the outside world pose a threat to their culture and way of life.

Their Amish dress is a means of separating themselves from the outside world in which they now must work. Amish clothes are considered to be an expression of: 

  • obedience
  • separation
  • humility
  • simplicity
  • non-conformity to the world

Since they do not conform with the world, the Amish must conform with the society in which they live. Plain and simple clothing is a badge of solidarity. When everyone conforms to standard of dress, emphasis is placed on the group instead of the individual. It is a sign of unity.

Most things in the Amish tradition are designed to hold the Church together. The Amish believe that clothing should not be used to distinguish the individual from the group by making that person more “attractive” over others. The person who places emphasis on the individual is much harder to control and more likely to stray from the group. The whole Amish culture is based on placing group over the individual.

It is remarkable that today, Amish clothes remain very consistent across 1700+ local congregations, even though the churches are not connected by any central governing body.

Every year each congregation independently reviews its Ordnung, the unwritten guideline to living Amish. It covers every facet of Amish life including each congregation’s Amish dress code. Still, in any community where they are present their appearance makes it is easy to identify the Amish.

Amish attire has an effect on us outsiders too. In today’s fast paced world, the thought of a culture that isn’t caught up in the rush to personal growth and individual accomplishment is appealing. Whether it is true or not, admirers attribute this trait to the Amish culture. Amish clothes evoke this attitude.

For example, Old Order Mennonites have most of the same conservative beliefs that make the Amish lifestyle so appealing to many outsiders.

Mennonite women might wear dresses made from small print material and though they wear head coverings, they still paint a picture of modern culture when compared to the Amish women in their plain dark homemade Amish attire.

You can test this effect yourself. When you see a small Amish child dressed in miniature adult Amish clothing how do you react? How do the other people around you react to this child? You pass cute kids everyday with maybe a brief smiling glance. But these Amish kids stir a sentimental emotion. Many people react as if they are looking at a living museum piece from our simpler, more peaceful past.

Wearing separate Amish clothing serves an additional purpose of indoctrinating children into the Amish community. When children are dressed like their parents it reinforces the fact that they are different and separate from the outside world. They “feel” Amish. This early influence undoubtedly contributes to the fact that nearly 85 percent of Amish children grow up and join the church.

Amish clothing is a cornerstone of the Amish identity. Jakob Ammann was right. It is one of the glues that holds the Amish culture together and keeps it strong.


Amish Customs Separate and Preserve the Amish Lifestyle

As the Amish constantly battle to keep their identity, they rely on their Amish customs to protect them from worldly influence.

Amish traditions are dictated by the Ordnung, an unwritten set of rules. The U.S. Constitution is sometimes referred to as a living and breathing document. Well, the Ordnung is truly a living and breathing guideline for Amish customs.

Each individual church regularly reviews and if needed, revises their Ordnung to handle changing circumstances. When Amish are faced with advances in technology and lifestyles of the outside world, they must decide how they are to deal with these changes.

How will these changes affect the Amish community? Will these changes threaten their Amish way of life?

For example, there were no rules prohibiting cars or electricity in 1850 because at that time, those things didn’t exist. How can the Amish address the changing world around them?

Why we see different Amish Customs

There is no central governing body for the Amish Church. Therefore, each congregation is left to answer these questions of policy on their own. Inevitably, solutions to identical issues vary from church to church.

Over a long period of time, differences in Amish customs have developed across the whole spectrum of Amish communities and individual congregations.

This explains why you see different types of dress, styles of beards, and different appearance of the horse and buggies as you travel throughout Amish country.

Although customs may differ from church to church they are still easily recognizable as “Amish customs”. Traditions help the Amish preserve their identity and stay separate from the world.

Amish Customs help church growth

The average Amish family has seven children. Birth control is not in the Amish dictionary. They don’t practice it and they don’t want to, thank you very much.

But this alone does not explain the robust growth of the Amish church as a whole. You would think that with all the exposure to the “English” and the outside world, there would be a mass exodus of Amish youth leaving the church.

But wait a minute. Over eight out of ten Amish youth choose to join the church and remain Amish for life. We outsiders wonder how this can be. Well, there are many reasons.

Amish Education prepares youths for the Amish Life

The custom of speaking only their German dialect, commonly referred to as Pennsylvania Dutch, at home creates a strong identity bond among the Amish people. Children are not taught the English language until they start school.

The Amish education begins with the first grade and ends with completion of the eighth grade. The boys then either go into full time farming or apprentice in the trades so that they can work for an Amish shop or business.

Upon finishing school Amish girls work at home or sometimes get outside jobs until they marry and start keeping a home of their own.

Social Amish Customs

Amish social traditions contribute greatly to the retention rate of more than eighty percent. Barn raisings, weddings, and other frolics where the community comes together, provide a feeling of belonging and security that is often absent in the outside world.

After church, on Sunday evening the young people stay for the “Sunday night singing”. This gathering gives the boys and girls a chance to size each other up as candidates for some Amish dating. Choosing an Amish spouse is essential in helping the young Amish decide to join the church.

Many years ago I played in a softball league that included several teams made up of Amish teenagers and young men. They were all driving cars and smoking. This struck me odd behavior for a group of conservative Amish men.

Between games I asked one of the young players how they decided whether or not to join the church. He told me that in many cases, if the girl you wanted to marry was Amish, you joined the church.

Though I hadn’t heard of the term at that time, these Amish guys must have been going through a stage called Rumspringa (Pennsylvania Dutch for “running around”). During Rumspringa young Amish men and women get out and experience the world to see what it is all about before they make their decision to join the church.

Amish Shunning

You had better be able to make an informed decision because when you join the Amish church it is for life. If you join and later decide to leave you will be shunned.

When you are shunned, you are treated as if you total outsider. The Amish Church forbids any member of the Church to give you any social standing.Amish shunning divides families and causes much heartache in the Amish community.

In fact, one of Jakob Ammann’s major issues with the Mennonites was their reluctant use of shunning as discipline for those who disobeyed Church doctrine. This along with several other doctrinal differences caused Ammann to split from the Mennonite church.

Those who followed Ammann became known as Amish Mennonites. Later the “Mennonite” was dropped and the Amish sect was born.

Remaining Separate and Growing

So, how do Amish customs help separate and continue to grow the Amish way of life?

Amish Customs like dressing differently, wearing beards, forbidding the use of electricity, and using the horse and buggy instead of automobiles definitely make a bold statement that the Amish people are different and separate from the world.

Other Amish customs like frolics, where the people gather together in a common cause of helping fellow Amish in need, build a sense of security and identity that is seldom found in the outside world.

The tradition of the Sunday night singing affords the teenage boys and girls an opportunity to pair off with partners for dating. This leads to Amish weddings that add more families to the Amish church.

And last but not least, shunning is one of the most effective of Amish customs for keeping young people in the church once they have joined.

Summing it up

Imagine for a moment that you are an Amish teenager. The time has come for you to make your life decision.

Should you or should you not join the Amish church?

You were raised by Amish parents. You were taught right from wrong according to the Christian and Amish faith. You speak two languages which sets you apart from most people of the outside world.

In the Amish community you feel secure in the knowledge of whom you are and where you belong. You have been dating and plan to marry an Amish partner.

You have gone through Rumspringa and found that the outside world is not all your imagination promised. You’ve had cable TV and the experience of clicking through one hundred channels and finding nothing worthwhile to watch.

You’ve had a car and possibly a job. You have found that your eighth grade education could condemn you to a lifetime of menial labor.

You have been party animal and learned what its like to have a hangover.

When the novelty wears off you’ve discovered that life is not quite as sweet as you expected it to be out in the world. It seems like you don’t fit in.

Those Amish customs that you once thought so constricting don’t look so bad now.

So what’s it going to be? Are you going to join the church or not?

For over eighty percent of all Amish youths the answer is a resounding…Yes!!

Combine this high rate of retention with the threat of shunning and it is clear that Amish customs are truly effective tools for protecting and growing the Amish lifestyle.


Make your trip to
Amish Country more fun!

A great trip to Amish country depends on more than just knowing where to go and what to see. To get the most out of your experience, you need to really understand what you’re seeing or you won’t know what you’re missing.

Take a look the rich history and tradition of these plain people. As you explore this site, you will learn why they are here and why they do the odd things they do. You’ll find out why you see different hat styles, clothing styles and even different styles of beards.

You will also discover…

  • Why they will ride in a car but won’t own one
  • Why they use a phone but won’t have them in their house
  • How and where they worship
  • Where they come from
  • How they educate their children
  • How they became known for their excellent farming and craftsmanship

…and much, much more.

So if you want to really upgrade your next trip, I invite you to dive into this site. Learning about the Amish will give you a whole new point of view. You’ll not only know what to look for, but you’ll truly appreciate what you are seeing.

And don’t worry; I’ll also give you the lowdown on where to go and what to see!

Join me now. Our journey begins here.



We live in a war-torn world – a fact that is as sad and tragic, as it is unfortunate. It is a ruthless and cruel world filled with fear, strife, chaos, hatred, bitterness and vengeance that we live in. The current situation has escalated to such a level of violence that the preferred solution is “tit-for-tat” – a vicious circle of events where violence is countered with more violence; where crimes are countered with more heinous crimes. People live their lives in a constant fear for not only their own lives but for the lives of their families, friends and loved ones. In their prayers, at night, most people pray for Peace on Earth and the Brotherhood of Mankind.



We were born free – why can’t we live free and stay free, for that matter? Is it asking for too much? Is it really so difficult? The solution lies in a simple but long-forgotten philosophy of “Live and let Live.” It is a thought-process, that when translated into action, reflects on the ways of non-interference, non-intervention and non-violence. This philosophy works at most timesexcept in situations where individuals & nations decide to take the law into their own hands and device a crude form of justice of their very own. Many soldiers, of contemporary times, have become like insensitive robots – they have become “like boys, with toys” – the toys, in question, being guns, ammunition and other weapons of warfare. They experience a vicarious thrill in the act of killing and if the situation carries on as such, there will be no end in sight to the untold violence and havoc that is being wreaked in the world.



Here, we are talking of the world at large but the real philosophy of “live and let live” begins at home and in our daily lives. It is a way of stating in an unspoken language – “I’d like to lead my life the way that I want to and you lead yours in the way that suits you best. We will each go our different ways and we will lead parallel lives, with the least interference possible from each other.” This attitude calls for peace, happiness, harmony and brotherhood in no small measure and is not to be taken lightly. It is also a very good idea to remember that “curiosity killed the cat.”



You must be wondering why this author has chosen to write about the Amish Culture – it is simply to demonstrate that even though some people are different and lead their lives according to certain norms dictated by their particular culture, it does not make them ‘strange’ nor are they to be treated like ‘freaks.’ Others never stop their meanness and cruelty towards people who they deem as being different to themselves – however, we all know that this need not be the case.



What is to be said further? Just lead your life and let other people lead theirs in peace – end of story!


Social Networking and the Importance of Netiquette


Source: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/internet.html

Social Networking
Social Networking


means of connecting a computer to any other computer anywhere in the

Social Networking
Social Networking
The pros and cons of social networking.
The pros and cons of social networking.
The Rules of Netiquette on the Web
The Rules of Netiquette on the Web
Netiquette = online etiquette
Netiquette = online etiquette
The Rules of Online Etiquette
The Rules of Online Etiquette

world via dedicated routers and servers. When two computers are connected over the Internet, they can send and receive all kinds of information such as text, graphics, voice, video, and computer programs.

No one owns Internet, although several organizations the world over collaborate in its functioning and development. The high-speed, fiber-optic cables (called backbones) through which the bulk of the Internet data travels are owned by telephone companies in their respective countries.

The Internet grew out of

Cancelling a pending friend request on Facebook
Cancelling a pending friend request on Facebook
Handling awkward friend requests on Facebook
Handling awkward friend requests on Facebook
Cancelling a friend request by blocking the user
Cancelling a friend request by blocking the user

the Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Wide Area Network (then called ARPANETestablished by the US Department Of Defense in 1960s for collaboration in military research among business and government laboratories. Later universities and other US institutions connected to it. This resulted in ARPANET growing beyond everyone’s expectations and acquiring the name ‘Internet.’

The development of hypertext based technology (called World Wide web, WWW, or just the Web) provided means of displaying text, graphics, and animations, and easy search and navigation tools that triggered Internet’s explosive worldwide growth.


Social Network

Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/social-network



a network of friends, colleagues, and other personal contacts:

Strong social networks can encourage healthy behaviors.



  1. an online community of people with a common interest who use a website or other technologies to communicate with each other and share information, resources, etc.:

A business-oriented social network.

  1. a website or online service that facilitates this communication.

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.


Contemporary definitions for social-network


a website where one connects with those sharing personal or professional interests, place of origin, education at a particular school, etc.

Usage Note


Dictionary.com’s 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014 Dictionary.com, LLC




Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/netiquette



The rules of etiquette that apply when communicating over computer networks, especially the Internet.

Origin of netiquette

1980-85; blend of network + etiquette

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.




Online Etiquette Guide

Source: http://madisoncollege.edu/online-etiquette-guide

Online Etiquette (Netiquette)

Good Practices for communicating and participating online

Welcome to the world of online, Web-based courses. If you’re like many people, this is your first experience with an online course. You may have taken some courses before, and you may also have had experience with some form of electronic communication, but a Web-based course is a new area of social interaction, and as such it has its own rules for interacting with others. This guide is intended to be an overview of appropriate etiquette for interaction in this new environment.

A key distinguishing feature of an online course is that communication occurs solely via the written word. Because of this the body language voice tone and instantaneous listener feedback of the traditional classroom are all absent. These facts need to be taken into consideration both when contributing messages to a discussion and when reading them. Keep in mind the following points:

  1. Respect others and their opinions.In online learning students from various backgrounds come together to learn. It is important to respect their feelings and opinions though they may differ from your own.
  2. Tone Down Your Language. Given the absence of face-to-face clues, written text can easily be misinterpreted. Avoid the use of strong or offensive language and the excessive use of exclamation points. If you feel particularly strongly about a point, it may be best to write it first as a draft and then to review it, before posting it, in order to remove any strong language.
  3. Pick the right tone.Since we depend on the written word in online learning, it is especially important to choose the right words to get your meaning across. For example, sarcasm is harder to detect when you read the words rather than hearing them.
  4. Keep a Straight Face.In general, avoid humor and sarcasm. These frequently depend either on facial or tone of voice cues absent in text communication or on familiarity with the reader.
  5. Consider others’ privacy.Ask for permission if you want to forward someone’s email messages to third parties. Keep in mind that all private email mail is considered copyrighted by the original author.
  6. Avoid inappropriate material.
  7. Be forgiving.If someone states something that you find offensive, mention this directly to the instructor. Remember that the person contributing to the discussion might be new to this form of communication. What you find offensive may quite possibly have been unintended and can best be cleared up by the instructor.
  8. Think before you hit the send button.Think carefully about the content of your message before contributing it. Once sent to the group there is no taking it back. Grammar and spelling errors reflect on you and your audience might not be able to decode misspelled words or poorly constructed sentences.
  9. Test for Clarity.Messages may often appear perfectly clear to you as you compose them, but turn out to be perfectly obtuse to your reader. One way to test for clarity is to read your message aloud to see if it flows smoothly. If you can read it to another person before posting it, even better.
  10. Brevity is best.Be as concise as possible when contributing to a discussion. Your points might me missed if hidden in a flood of text.
  11. Stick to the point.Contributions to a discussion should stick to the subject. Don’t waste others’ time by going off on irrelevant tangents.
  12. Frivolous email.Don’t forward jokes, “chain letters” or unimportant email to other students without their permission. Not only does it fill up their mailboxes but may offend people who do not share the same sense of humor or who are tired of these types of email.
  13. Read First, Write Later. Don’t add your comments to a discussion before reading the comments of other students unless the assignment specifically asks you to. Doing so is tantamount to ignoring your fellow students and is rude. Comments related to the content of previous messages should be posted under them to keep related topics organized, and you should specify the person and the particular point you are following up on.
  14. Although electronic communication is still young, many conventions have already been established. DO NOT TYPE IN ALL CAPITALS. This is regarded as shouting and is out of place in a classroom. Acronyms and emoticons (arrangements of symbols to express emotions) are popular, but excessive use of them can make your message difficult to read. Some common ones include:

Acronyms Emoticons FYI = for your information :-) = smiley face: happiness, pleasure B/C = because :-( = frowning face: displeasure W/  = with ;-) = wink BTW = by the way :-0 = shock, surprise F2F = face to face :-/ = skepticism, unease, apologetic FAQ = frequently asked questions.


We live in a world where the internet and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, BBM, etc. reign supreme. Most people don’t seem to think that online etiquette (”netiquette”) is of much significance but one thing is for sure – good manners, whether online or offline, have never gone out of fashion. What many people seem to forget, when dealing with social networking, even though it’s technically a remote and virtual world out there, is the bottom line that it involves real people – real people who live in the real world. The moment that people are involved – one has to realize one very simple premise.  People have feelings and these feelings always need to be taken into consideration. The majority of people will pretend not to admit it but the undeniable fact is that most people are sensitive and ‘softies’ at heart. Strong social networking ties enhance healthy behaviours; enrich friendships and build strong interpersonal relationships.

Let us take the example of Facebook:

  1. a) You receive a friend request on Facebook: 3 options are open to everyone – confirm, ignore/delete or block the person.

I learned this rule through trial and error. I think I’ve become a better person as I’ve aged – frankly, experience and maturity count for a lot! Let’s see how I can help you here.

You’ve received a friend request and for whatever reason you don’t want to confirm the request. In my opinion, the best option, is to leave the request unanswered – believe me, it’s much more polite than an outright deletion or blocking of the person online. An unanswered request gives out a variety of messages and not all are negative! It can mean:

– I am yet to view the friend request;

– I have so many online friend requests that I need at least an hour to go through all of them and I just haven’t made that my priority;

– I don’t know who you are. Please try and understand – it’s an unsafe world out there and I am just protecting myself from unnecessary hassles;

– I’d rather not share my personal information, preferences and photos with someone I don’t know or who barely know;

– I am unable to accept the friend request due to certain formalities and unspoken rules, e.g. the reaction of a boss to a subordinate; doctor-patient relationships, etc.

– I’ve seen your friend request but I am too busy to take the time to study your profile, profile picture, etc.


  1. b) You choose to ignore/delete/block someone’s friend request/contact details, etc:

The reasons are numerous but all I can say is that do it discreetly – don’t go out of your way to tell the other person of the said deletion. It is extremely bad taste to do so – it gives the other person the distinct impression that you are rude, crass, callous, insensitive and uncaring. Always respect other people’s feelings.

You might not realize it, but an online rejection hurts as much as a face-to-face interaction. I would strongly advise you to use it very sparingly.

The reason is simple, yet profound: all people have a sense of self-respect and self-worth. It is noteworthy to make the opposite party feel valued, in whatever interaction it might be – whether it is face-to-face, online or offline interactions.



Paid in Full With A Glass of Milk

Howard Kelly – Paid In Full With A Glass of Milk

Source: http://www.inspiredlivingaffirmations.com/howard-kelly-paid-in-full-with-a-glass-of-milk/

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

– Leo Buscaglia

This is a true story of a boy named Howard Kelly. He was born unprivileged hence, he sells goods from one house to another just to earn a living and pay his education. One day he felt so hungry and decided to ask for something to eat at the next house he is set to visit. However, he lost his guts to ask for a meal when a beautiful young woman opened the door for him.

Instead of asking for a meal, he just asked for one glass of water. But the young lady noticed that he looked hungry. So instead of water she brought him one large glass of milk. He slowly drank the milk and asked “How much do I need to pay”? The lady replied, “You don’t have to pay me anything as mother taught us to never take any pay for kindness”.

He thanked her with all his heart and walked away. However, that little act of kindness made a mark on his heart and made him feel stronger and better. He was ready to give up in his life before that happened but because someone had showed him kindness in a rather unexpected event, he regained his trust in God and man. Then he grew up and became a successful doctor.

Years had pass and the young woman became seriously ill. The local doctors were kind of baffled of her case so they sent her to the hospital in the big city. A specialist is needed to study her rare illness so they consulted Dr. Howard Kelly. He is a renowned Gynecologist who founded the Gynecologic Oncology division at Johns Hopkins University.

When Dr. Kelly heard the name of the town where the patient came from, an inexplicable light filled his eyes. He immediately went to see the patient and recognized her at one glance. Determined to save her, he went back to the consultation room and did his best to save the life of a woman who once made a difference in his life. After a long battle, he finally won.

Dr. Kelly requested the hospital accounts to forward the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it and without any hesitation wrote something on the bill and had it sent to the woman’s room. The woman got the bill and was afraid to open it for she was so sure that the cost is high and would probably take all her life to pay for it. But when she finally opened it, something caught her eye. At the corner of the bill were words she hardly believe her eyes. It was written: “Paid in full with one glass of milk”.


“The Hospital Window”

Source: http://www.toinspire.com/Stories/Inspirational%20Stories.html

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.  One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to receive his daily medical treatment.  His bed was next to the room’s only window.  The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.  The men talked for hours on end.  They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, and where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.  The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by the description of activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a beautiful lake.  Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats.  Young lovers held hands and walked amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow.  Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.  As the man described his view from the window in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing through the park.  Although the other man could not hear the band, he could see the parade in his mind’s eye, as the gentleman by the window developed a detailed picture with his descriptive words.

One morning, the nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.  She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.  Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside.  Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself.  He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.  To his surprise the window faced a brick wall.

The man called for the nurse and asked what could have compelled his deceased roommate to describe such wonderful things outside this window.  The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.  She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

There is tremendous joy in making others happy, despite our own situations.  Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.  If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money cannot buy.  Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present.

Author unknown…


How much does a kind word, a thoughtful action, a considerate attitude and an empathetic outlook cost? Honestly – are you going to have to pay heavily for using any of these in your day-to-day lives? Of course not! The use of these admirable virtues costs nothing and by bringing joy into other people’s lives, it also brings the warmth of goodness into one’s own life. We feel happier when we see that we have managed to make another happy. The joy of kindness brings goodwill, benevolence and a sense of brotherhood not only into the lives of the people that it touches, but into our own lives too.

Even if the opposite party has shown you their thoughtlessness and callousness, still, you ought to go out of your way to be kind and sincere to such people – it may surprise you to know that such inconsiderate people need it the most.


The only obstacle to the use of kindness is False Pride and Ego Struggles. Many people tend to think – “Why should I? It’s not up to me. Let someone else do the good deed!” Yet, we all know that things need not be that way.


Kindness and Empathy cost nothing at all – use them more often and use them in plenty and see how this benevolent attitude enriches your own life, besides the lives of the people that it touches.


The young Dr. Howard Atwood Kelly.
The young Dr. Howard Atwood Kelly.

Two patients lay in 2 separate beds, in the same room of the hospital. One of the patients was facing the window........
Two patients lay in 2 separate beds, in the same room of the hospital. One of the patients was facing the window……..




The Enigma That Was Rasputin: The Notoriety; The Debauchery and The Manipulation

Grigory Rasputin

Source: http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/rasputin.htm

Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin (1872-1916) was the infamous ‘holy man’ whose ability to heal the Tsar and Tsarina’s son Alexis led to his being adopted as a supreme mystic at court.  Growing in influence to the point where he effectively dictated policy he was eventually assassinated by a group of court conspirators in December 1916.

Born in 1872 at Pokrovskoye in Siberia to a peasant family, Rasputin’s limited education left him without the ability to either read or write.  Even at a young age he earned himself such a reputation for devoted debauchery that his actual name of Grigory Yefimovich Novykh was replaced with the surname ‘Rasputin’ – Russian for ‘debauched one’.

Having undergone a form of religious conversion while aged 18 Rasputin embraced the Khlysty sect.  Happily for Rasputin (given his reputation) the sect preached the notion that the closest relationship to God could best be achieved while exhausted from prolonged sexual engagements.

Rasputin married at age 19, to Proskovia Fyodorovna, who bore him four children.  Unsettled, Rasputin left his wife and travelled, variously to Greece and Jerusalem, where he established a reputation (self-created) as a holy man.

Winding up in St. Petersburg in 1903 Rasputin met up with the the Bishop of Saratov, Hermogen.  Since the Romanov court at that time was dabbling in mysticism Rasputin was recommended in 1905 by Hermogen to the royal couple.

However Rasputin’s rise to royal influence dates from his summons to the royal palace in an attempt to try and prevent their son Alexis’s continuing loss of blood (as a haemophiliac).  Where all others had failed Rasputin succeeding in stemming the boy’s loss of blood – probably through hypnotism – and Rasputin’s reputation as a mystic healer was sealed by the immense gratitude of the Tsar and (especially) the Tsarina.

Careful to maintain his pretence of being a humble if mystically talented peasant while in the royal couple’s presence, Rasputin however lost no time in indulging his voracious sexual appetite outside the court.  He shortly afterwards hit upon the satisfying discovery that sexual contact with his own body imbued a healing effect upon women.

The Tsar, informed in detail of Rasputin’s scandalous conduct, initially dismissed the ‘mad monk’ from court; however the influence of his wife, Alexandra, ensured his rapid recall.  Thereafter both Nicholas and Alexandra declined to give credence to further reports of Rasputin’s misbehaviour; indeed, Alexandra positively discouraged criticism of ‘our friend’.

Since news of Alexis’s condition was not allowed to be made general knowledge the public at large, unaware of Rasputin’s chief role as a healer at court, assumed that he was actively seducing Alexandra.  Salacious details of his general conduct, fed and (if it were possible) exaggerated by his many ill-wishers, became the subject of public scandal.

Rasputin’s influence continued into wartime.  Alexandra sought his opinion on a variety of policy matters.  Rasputin, generally ready to offer advice, occasionally offered advice on Russian military strategy, although such advice never proved beneficial.

In one sense Rasputin’s presence, while generally damaging public perception of the Romanovs, nevertheless benefited the Tsar.  Military calamities were often attributed by the Russian public to Rasputin’s baleful influence: as such it therefore deflected direct criticism away from the Tsar himself.

However with the Tsar’s decision to take personal command of his army from the front (thereby reliving his uncle, Grand Duke Nikolai, of the role), disaster beckoned.  Not only was the Tsar thereafter directly associated with the fruits of his army’s efforts (which continued its extended poor run), but in his absence domestic governance of political affairs was effectively left in the hands of the Tsarina and Rasputin (with the Prime Minister, Boris Sturmer, ever willing to defer to the Tsarina’s wishes).

With Rasputin offering advice on the appointment (and dismissal) of public and church officials, and rumour spreading that the Tsarina and Rasputin were in the pay of the Germans, a group of nobles at court, led by Felix Yusupov, determined to resolve the appalling damage inflicted by Rasputin upon the monarchy by arranging his murder.

Yusupov invited Rasputin to dine at his home on 29 December 1916 where he was given poisoned wine and cakes.  Alarmed at Rasputin’s apparent immunity to the poison Yusupov shot him in panic (“A shudder swept over me; my arm grew rigid, I aimed at his heart and pulled the trigger.”, Lost Splendor, 1953).

After a brief period of collapse Rasputin recovered and managed to escape into the courtyard, where he was again shot (by another conspirator, Vladimir Purishkevich).  Finally, presumably to make quite sure of the matter, Rasputin’s body was dropped through a hole in the Neva river, where he finally died by drowning.  His corpse was later discovered on the Neva’s banks.

As an attempt to salvage the credibility of the monarchy Yusupov’s bold move came too late; if anything, the murder of Rasputin removed a buffer between the royal family and their critics: no longer could the nation’s ills be attributed to the mad monk who had prophesied his own demise.


Tsarina Alexandra

Source: http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/alexandra.htm

A tragic if not sympathetic figure, the Tsarina Alexandra (1872-1918) suffered a tragic life that ended with the murder of both her and her family at the hands of the Bolsheviks in July 1918.

Born on 6 June 1872 in Darmstadt, Germany, Alexandra was a granddaughter of Britain’s Queen Victoria and the daughter of Louis IV, the Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt.

Orphaned at the age of six she married Tsar Nicholas II in 1894 and moved to Russia – a country she greatly disliked – there giving birth to four daughters before giving the Tsar a son, Alexis.  Tragically her new-born son proved to suffer from haemophilia.

The Tsarina’s anxious concern for her son’s illness led her to embrace Rasputin, a debauched ‘holy man’ who proved able to stem Alexis’ loss of blood (it has been suggested through hypnosis).

Already unpopular at court – where she firmly held sway over her husband – Alexandra’s unswerving loyalty to Rasputin (whom she believed had been sent by God to save the Russian throne) led her to continually excuse his notorious excesses, and further damaged her reputation both at court and in the public at large (whom she gave every indication of despising).

A fanatical believer in Russian Orthodoxy and a firm believer in the principles of autocratic rule, Alexandra lost no opportunity in asserting her husband’s right to lead his country.  She routinely dismissed her husband’s political advisers, even those who were both competent and remained loyal to the Tsar.

With the Tsarina having helped to engineer the dismissal of Grand Duke Nikolai – the Tsar’s uncle – from his position as Commander in Chief of the army, the Tsar subsequently announced his intention (against all advice) to take personal command of his armed forces.

Her husband having left for the front in August 1915, the Tsarina’s conduct in determining policy became ever more arbitrary and wanting in political judgment.  Vindictive and jealous, Alexandra continued to dismiss from office anyone she deemed disloyal to the Tsar, fairly or otherwise.

In an attempt to halt the seemingly endless stream of scandal emanating from the court, a group of conspirators led by Prince Felix Yusupov resolved to arrange Rasputin’s murder, which consequently took place on 16 December 1916.

Nevertheless it was too late to recover any semblance of credibility let alone popularity for the monarchy, particularly given that the Tsar’s ill-advised gamble in publicly associating himself so closely with the success of his army had backfired, the latter continuing to perform badly in the field.

Unfounded rumours abounded of the Tsarina’s collaboration with Germany (along with Prime Minister Sturmer), further cementing Alexandra’s deep unpopularity in the country.

She was nevertheless surprised by the February Revolution.  She joined her family (including the Tsar) in internal exile and was eventually executed, shot to death, by the Bolsheviks on the night of 16/17 July 1918 at Yekaterinburg.  She was 46.


The Sexual Obsession that drove Rasputin to his death: Countless myths have been woven about him. But a dazzling book, using private diaries, reveals new details of the self-styled ‘Christ in miniature’

  • The Russian mystic had an insatiable sex drive, writes FRANCES WELCH
  • It was even said the cows produced more milk with him around
  • But temptation would lead him to his death at the hands of his enemies


PUBLISHED: 01:37 GMT, 7 February 2014 | UPDATED: 01:37 GMT, 7 February 2014

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2553577/The-sexual-obsession-drove-Rasputin-death-Countless-myths-woven-But-dazzling-book-using-private-diaries-reveals-new-details-self-styled-Christ-miniature.html

For someone who described himself as ‘a Christ in miniature’ and had inveigled his way into Russia’s imperial court as a much-revered ‘Holy Man’, Grigori Rasputin spent his last day alive indulging in an astonishing amount of debauchery.

That snowy morning of December 16, 1916, had seen him staggering into his St Petersburg flat in the early hours, clearly embracing one of his favourite dictums, that wine was ‘God’s own remedy’.

This was by no means unusual according to the police bodyguards who watched over his home on the direct orders of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Tsarina Alexandra, the last rulers of the doomed Romanov dynasty.

Their reports described Rasputin at various times as ‘very drunk’, ‘dead drunk’ and ‘overcome with drink’. Shortly after returning to his flat, the Man of God, known for his shunning of sleep, was back on the street.

A brief lie-down had set him up for his next trip, to his beloved ‘banya’, the bath-house where he would have his genitals soaped by one of the ‘little ladies’, as he called his female followers, after which they would thrash him with twigs. After this rousing session, he was ready for a brisk walk to the nearest church to renounce Satan. As he said repeatedly: ‘Without sin there is no repentance.’

The evening found him back home, where he finished off his 12th bottle of Madeira wine in as many hours, before receiving a visitor, a plump blonde called ‘Sister Maria’.

His niece Anna, who was there, recalled that this was no sister of mercy. ‘She helped him to remove the tension that apparently took hold of him against his will,’ she recalled.

Rasputin and Sister Maria retired to his study where they set about removing some of that tension. But he could not dally with her for too long for he had one more appointment that night, with a beautiful young aristocrat called Princess Irina. He was to meet her at her sumptuous palace in St Petersburg after her dinner guests had gone home. It was an assignation he was looking forward to, yet one to which he should never have agreed.

For it was in that palace that he was about to meet his bizarre and brutal end — poisoned, beaten and ultimately shot by a gang of his enemies. As I discovered after using unpublished memoirs, diaries and letters to research a book on this extraordinary man, the fact that a vague promise of sex should have proved Rasputin’s downfall was unsurprising.

He was, after all, a man who considered the serial seduction of women to be some kind of religious duty.

Born in 1869, the son of a peasant, he grew up in the Siberian village of Pokrovskoye where his mystical gifts were reportedly in evidence by the time he was 12. It was said that the family cows produced more milk when he was around and he once solved a horse theft by prophesying correctly that the stolen animal would be found in the home of the richest man in the village.

After a spell in a monastery in his late 20s, he claimed that by sleeping with women he could take on their sins and thus help them find the ‘grace of God’.

‘I don’t degrade you, I purify you,’ he told his female followers as he led them in energetic dances around incense-fragranced fires in nearby forests, after which he would purportedly ‘rejoice’ with each of them.

With mesmeric eyes and an ability to contract and expand his pupils at will, he had plenty of willing disciples, despite his poor personal hygiene.

Every spring he set off on treks to various holy places and boasted of the privations he suffered en route, once claiming he had gone six months without changing his underwear.

One man who encountered him remarked that he smelled like a goat. Others talked of his foul breath and ‘teeth like blackened stumps’.

This did not deter the groups of young women he frequently brought back from his travels. These acolytes were given distinctly unholy nicknames such as ‘Hot Stuff’, ‘Boss Lady’ and ‘Sexy Girl’.

Remarkably, his liaisons with them were tolerated by his wife, Praskovia, who, three years his senior, had married him when he was 18 and remained loyal to him to the end.

‘He has enough for all,’ she once remarked cryptically, referring perhaps to the legendary size of Rasputin’s endowment.


Many could attest to that, including the two sisters, aged 15 and 20, who were invited to join him at a bath-house in the city of Kiev for a session of ‘rejoicing’.

When he was accosted by their outraged mother, he told her that she should feel at peace. ‘The Day of Salvation has dawned for your two daughters,’ he announced grandly.

He won favour in imperial circles when rumours of his powers reached the Grand Duchess Militza, a gullible woman who had introduced many ‘Holy Men’ to her cousin, the Tsarina. These included a French butcher and ‘mystic’ named Monsieur Philippe who claimed that he could make people invisible.

At a church service in 1903, Rasputin publicly declared the Tsarina would be delivered of a much-longed for male heir within a year and, following the arrival of the Tsarevich Alexei in August 1904, the Grand Duchess arranged for him to meet the proud parents on the first of many subsequent visits to the imperial palace.

A reverence for peasants was fashionable among the Russian aristocracy at that time, and Rasputin’s life‑long illiteracy and habit of eating with his fingers went down well with ‘Papa’ and ‘Mama’, as he took it upon himself to call them. So did what appeared to be a remarkable sixth sense.

Legend has it that on one occasion, Rasputin was talking to the Tsarina about providence when he suddenly interrupted himself, shouting: ‘He’s in the blue room!’

They ran to the palace’s blue billiard room where Rasputin scooped Tsarevich Alexei up just before a falling chandelier landed exactly where he had been standing.

Above all, however, the Tsarina was enslaved by the ‘healing power’ of Rasputin’s prayers.

As it became apparent that her beloved son had haemophilia, the hereditary condition which affects the blood’s ability to clot, he seemed to be the only person who could stop the flow whenever Alexei injured himself.

It has since been suggested that his secret lay in an ability to calm the Tsarevich, lowering his blood pressure and thus easing the bleeding. Or it might have been his distaste for the new wonder-drug aspirin, dished out by the Russian court doctors for pain relief and only discovered in later years to be an anti-coagulant which would have worsened the bleeding considerably.

Whatever lay behind the cures, the Tsarina’s faith in Rasputin was unwavering and his name became known the length and breadth of Russia.

While his wife remained at home in Pokrovskoye, he took a flat in St Petersburg, where the streets outside became crowded with his followers, the so-called ‘Rasputinki’.

Up to 400 of them at a time were known to gather before sunrise, waiting as long as three days to see him.

These devotees came in search of miracle cures or keepsakes, including Rasputin’s fingernail clippings. These were much prized, despite one St Petersburg restaurant manager testifying that the Man of God’s hands were ‘grimy, with bitten, blackened nails’.

Since it was known that he had the ears of the ‘Tsars’, as he called them, favour-seekers would file through the lobby, bearing lavish gifts of wine, carpets and even huge fish. Floral tributes were a favourite: ‘Idiots bring fresh flowers every day. They know I love them,’ he swaggered ungraciously.

Those deemed attractive enough to become one of his ‘little ladies’ would, like Sister Maria, be invited to join him in his study. That contained a sofa so over-used that its back eventually gave way.

Reports of such excesses soon spread through Petersburg and those outside the city had other damning tales. At one monastery, the nuns claimed that Rasputin had been conducting orgies and bathing with novices.

Soon his life was being threatened by outraged clerics, including an unhinged monk called Iliodor whose zeal was such that at one point he had accrued 120 bombs with which to dispatch him.

He never deployed them, opting instead to brandish an axe at Rasputin and threaten to castrate him.

In a similar vein, a crazed dwarf Holy Man named Blessed Mitya first punched ‘the true Christ’, as the Tsar apparently called him, and then attempted to pull off his manhood.

Rasputin survived such assaults, but in the years leading up to his death, there was ever more anger about his growing influence at court.

By claiming divine guidance, he could persuade the Tsarina to do almost anything and this also gave him great influence over the Tsar, a colourless and indecisive man who generally went along with his highly-strung wife’s wishes.

‘Better one Rasputin than ten fits of hysterics a day,’ he would say.

One of those he worked against was the Tsar’s uncle, the Grand Duke Nicholas, who was hugely distrustful of Rasputin and had once threatened to hang him. In 1915, Rasputin urged the Tsar to remove the Grand Duke from command of the country’s million-strong army and this he agreed to do, even though the country was then engaged in World War I.

Rasputin was also said to be exploiting that war to his own financial advantage, charging 2,000 roubles a time (roughly £200 today) for keeping a soldier from the Front

Other gossip accused him of sleeping with the Tsarina. This was unlikely since she was a woman of such modesty that she assiduously covered the lavatory and bath when they were not in use. But Rasputin inadvertently encouraged the rumours during a drunken dinner at a restaurant in Moscow.

On this occasion, his customary bragging about his place in the imperial couple’s affections culminated in him roaring that ‘the old girl’ had slept with him. When diners at another table asked if he was really Rasputin, he dropped his trousers and waved his most famous feature at them, all the while distributing notes saying ‘Love unselfishly’.

Still the Tsarina refused to hear a word against him, preferring to believe that an imposter was posing as Rasputin and misbehaving in public to blacken his name.

This fuelled suspicion that the German-born Tsarina was working with Rasputin to sabotage the Russian war effort.

Indeed, it has been alleged that the bullet said to have killed Rasputin was fired by a British secret service agent, amid concerns he was lobbying for the Russians to make a separate peace with the Tsarina’s homeland.

The agent most frequently referred to as the assassin was Oswald Rayner, who was at Princess Irina’s palace on the morning after Rasputin’s murder and for the next 24 hours.

He had been at Oxford with her husband, Prince Felix Yussoupov, and the idea he could have killed Rasputin is not so outlandish. But Yussoupov had his own reasons for wanting Rasputin dead.

In June 1915, mobs gathered in Moscow’s Red Square calling for Rasputin to be hanged. The governor of the city was Prince Yussoupov’s father, ‘Papa Felix’, and when he complained to the Tsar about the unrest Rasputin was causing, he was sacked on the spot.

The wealthy Yussoupovs were a dangerous family to alienate, and Yussoupov spared no expense in preparing an elaborate trap with which to exact revenge on Rasputin the following year.

Then 29, the Prince was bisexual and not averse to what he called ‘love affairs of a special kind’ even after marrying Princess Irina, an acknowledged beauty, in 1914.

Pretending that he wanted Rasputin’s help in ridding himself of such desires, he drew him still closer by suggesting he should come to the palace late one night for a rendezvous with his wife.

Rasputin was shown into a room in the palace’s basement, safely out of earshot of potential witnesses.

Befuddled by the Madeira he had drunk earlier that day, he was told that the Princess was upstairs and that he could meet her as soon as Yussoupov and his three friends had left. In fact, she was far away in the Crimea.

The conspirators intended to poison Rasputin while he waited for the liaison. But no matter how much cyanide-laced wine and food they plied him with, he showed no ill-effects. Suspecting their victim was being protected by supernatural powers, they shot him.

Even then, after a few hours, he seemed to come miraculously back to life and managed to escape. As he ran across the palace yard, however, he was shot again — though nobody could later agree about who fired the bullet. Even then, one account suggests he was still alive when they inspected his body the next morning.

‘Turning his face up, he groaned and it seemed he rolled his right eye which fixed me, dazed but terrible,’ claimed Vladimir Purishkevich, a politician who was part of the plot.
At the museum in his home village, it’s said men can be cured of impotence simply by sitting on his wooden chair.


Rasputin certainly should have been dead by then. Yussoupov had launched a ferocious attack with a cudgel, beating him so thoroughly and viciously that even his testicles were crushed. His body was found two days later when a sleeve of his fur coat was spotted protruding from the ice on a nearby river.

When the Prince was subsequently implicated in his murder, the Tsar exiled him to one of the Yussoupov family’s far-flung estates, but he dared not punish him further for fear of revolt. Hailed as a hero, the Prince survived the Revolution, and he and Princess Irina lived out their years in the South of France.

The imperial family were not so fortunate, of course, and when they were shot and bayoneted to death by the Bolsheviks in July 1918, their murderers discovered lockets around the necks of the Tsarina and her four young daughters. Each contained a picture of Rasputin.

Others seem to have sought out rather grislier reminders of the mystic-turned-martyr.

An exhibition of erotica at a museum in St Petersburg claimed to be in possession of his pickled private parts, while at the museum in his home village, it’s said men can be cured of impotence simply by sitting on his clumpy wooden chair.

So faith in Rasputin’s healing powers persists even a century after the passion for women which so dominated his life eventually tempted him to his death.


Adapted from “Rasputin: A Short Life” by Frances Welch, to be published this week by Short Books at £12.99. © 2014 Frances Welch.



Darling Rasputin:
elegrams that reveal Tsarina’s love affair with the Mad Monk
By Nigel Reynolds, Arts Correspondent

Source: http://richlabonte.net/exonews/xtra4/darling_rasputin.htm

(Telegraph [UK] March 14, 2000) – The discovery of a 500-page secret file on Rasputin, compiled by the Bolsheviks soon after his murder in 1916 but missing ever since, has cast new light on the myths, sexual conquests and power at the Romanov court of the licentious “prophet”.

Coupled with long-lost photographs, the documents make it appear more likely than ever that Rasputin, a semi-literate peasant, did have an affair with Tsarina Alexandra, the wife of Tsar Nicholas II. The file contains intimate telegrams in which she calls Rasputin “darling”.

One telegram from her to him dated Dec 7, 1914, says: “Today I shall be back in eight days. I sacrifice my husband and my heart to you. Pray and bless. Love and kisses – darling.” Another, two years later, sent only a fortnight before Rasputin’s murder by a nobleman angry at his influence at court, reads: “You have not written anything. I have missed you terribly. Come soon. Pray for Nicholas [her husband]. Kisses – darling.”

The papers also name many of the “Mad Monk’s” mistresses and provide fresh details of his political influence over the Tsar – including influencing senior appointments and how he persuaded the Tsar to delay mobilizing the army against Germany for 24 hours. The huge file contains the testimonies of dozens of friends, who were interrogated about his role at court by the Bolsheviks, anxious to discredit the imperial family after the revolution in 1917.

Lost for more than 80 years, it will be made public in London on Thursday by Mstislav Rostropovich, the Russian émigré cellist and conductor. He acquired the papers, apparently by chance, at auction five years ago. His file forms the backbone of Rasputin: The Last Word, a new biography by the Russian historian and playwright Edward Radzinsky, also published on Thursday.

The biography includes two photographs, never seen before, of Rasputin’s body after it was retrieved from the Neva at St Petersburg, into which he had been thrown, bound, while still alive. Radzinsky says he retrieved the pictures from a long-forgotten police archive. With his arms outstretched, Radzinsky says the pictures indicate that Rasputin was desperately trying to untie his bonds. The biographer uses this evidence to construct a new theory about Rasputin’s murder.

It demonstrates, he says, that the stories spread by the Bolsheviks that Rasputin had almost supernatural powers were just a myth to discredit him and the Romanovs who were in his thrall. Radzinsky also claims that testimonies from the file show that Rasputin’s principal assassin, a scion of Russia’s richest family, the Yusopovs, may have deliberately fluffed the murder because he was a bisexual and had fallen in love with the monk.

The biography also presents the first known authentic photograph – also from police files – of Rasputin and the Tsarina with her children. Rumours of a sexual relationship between the two were rife in pre-revolutionary Russia, but always denied by her close friends. But Radzinsky says he believes that he has come as close as possible to proving that Queen Victoria’s ill-fated granddaughter was in love with and had a sexual affair with the lascivious “mystic”.

Born Grigory Efemovich in Siberia at around 1869 – he acquired the name Rasputin, meaning “debauched one”, later – the monk remains one of the most maligned but enigmatic figures in modern history. He joined a cult that believed spirituality could be attained only through sexual exhaustion.

He arrived at the Russian court in 1908 and was immediately taken up by the imperial family because he appeared to have healing powers that eased the haemophiliac attacks of their son, the Tsaravich Nikolai. His sexual philandering has always been widely known but Radzinsky claims that long-lost testimonies – many of them handwritten by those questioned – from interviews conducted by the post-revolution Commission of Inquiry for the Investigation of Illegal Acts by Ministers and Other Responsible Persons of the Tsarist Regime now disclose their names and confirm Rasputin’s reputation.

The file also contains previously unknown reports by agents hired by the Tsarist ministry of the interior to spy on Rasputin. One report reads: “Rasputin . . . would accost women with vile suggestions.” Another agent observed him hiring three prostitutes in one day.

The commission published a report based on the interrogations but for many years afterwards it was said that it was distorted to blacken Rasputin – one of the interrogators himself even resigned, complaining of bias – as part of a propaganda campaign against the imperial court. More recently, pro-monarchists in Russia have attempted to rehabilitate Rasputin to restore credibility in the court.

“The discovery of the testimonies show that Rasputin was as terrible as he appeared at the time,” said Ion Trewin, the editorial director of Weidenfeld and Nicolson, the publishers of the biography. “I’m afraid that they will bring little comfort to the new pro-monarchist movement. The Empress’s telegrams don’t prove that they slept together but they go as near as it will probably ever be possible to prove that they did. They are quite astonishing evidence of the attraction that she felt for him and go a long way to explaining his power over her.”

The papers shed important light on Rasputin’s murder, organised by Prince Felix Yusopov, on Dec 16, 1916. He and his two conspirators maintained later that they had first poisoned, then shot, then clubbed Rasputin before throwing his body under the ice in the Neva. Radzinsky claims that the murderers put around this story of the almost indestructible Rasputin to cover up their own ineptitude and to further the myth of the dangerous and supernatural “monk” holding Russia in his power.

The biographer says the testimonies of others now show that the poisoning attempt at the Yusopov Palace was not serious. Prince Felix was infatuated with Rasputin and “diluted” a glass of wine containing cyanide to the point where it was ineffectual. The prince then shot several times at Rasputin but he suffered only one minor wound to the body and it was left to one or two other conspirators to bring him down as he tried to escape.

The new testimonies give conflicting evidence on who these were. Some confirm the long-standing story that another nobleman, Vladimir Purishkevich, had shot Rasputin. Others suggest a new name – Grand Duke Dimitry Palovich, a marksman who, officially at least, was not present. But some witnesses claim to have seen him, and Radzinsky believes there was a cover-up because the Grand Duke was a successor if the Tsar was deposed.

The last mystery may be solved later this week. How did Rostropovich, a collector of Romanov memorabilia who was forced to leave the Soviet Union in the Seventies, discover the file? Mr Trewin said: “When he heard Edward was writing the book, Rostropovich offered him the file, saying, ‘I have the great prize you have been looking for’.”

“He said he had bought it at a Sotheby’s auction somewhere on the Continent in 1995. We have tried to track this down but Sotheby’s seems to have no record of it. We know it is genuine. Edward has cross-checked the handwriting and he used a Moscow telephone directory for 1914 to check the identities of the witnesses.

“It may be that Sotheby’s didn’t catalogue it properly or Rostropovich found it among some other papers he bought. We just don’t know and we hope he will tell us on Thursday.”



Czar Nicholas II and family.
Czar Nicholas II and family.
Tsarina Alexandra and her son, Tsarevich Alexei.
Tsarina Alexandra and her son, Tsarevich Alexei.
(Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2553577/The-sexual-obsession-drove-Rasputin-death-Countless-myths-woven-But-dazzling-book-using-private-diaries-reveals-new-details-self-styled-Christ-miniature.html)
Bad smell: One person who encountered him said Rasputin smelled a little like a goat.

I remember the time when I was in Moscow and I had visited one of their huge

Salvation: Often nicknamed the Mad Monk, Rasputin said he was 'purifying' women by sleeping with them.
Salvation: Often nicknamed the Mad Monk, Rasputin said he was ‘purifying’ women by sleeping with them.
Icon: The peasant and mystic has become a cult figure in popular culture, and was immortalised by Tom Baker in the 1971 film Nicholas and Alexandra (with Janet Suzman, left.)
Icon: The peasant and mystic has become a cult figure in popular culture, and was immortalised by Tom Baker in the 1971 film Nicholas and Alexandra (with Janet Suzman, left.)
Christ-like: One myth said Rasputin could enlarge or contract his own pupils at will.
Christ-like: One myth said Rasputin could enlarge or contract his own pupils at will.
Powerful: But his alliance with Tsar Nicholas II (pictured) drew jealousy from Rasputin's enemies.
Powerful: But his alliance with Tsar Nicholas II (pictured) drew jealousy from Rasputin’s enemies.
Rasputin's luck could not last forever - in June 1915, mobs in Red Square (pictured) demanded his hanging.
Rasputin’s luck could not last forever – in June 1915, mobs in Red Square (pictured) demanded his hanging.
Conspiracy theories abound about the murder of Rasputin.
Conspiracy theories abound about the murder of Rasputin.

department/book stores. I recall asking the saleswoman there if they had any copies concerning the life and times of Rasputin. She gave me rather a strange look and I realized belatedly that the lady was deeply ashamed of the notoriety and debauchery surrounding this “mad monk” in the annals of Russian history. As it happened, I never did find any literature concerning Rasputin in St. Petersburg either. Perhaps, I should never have asked for such a book while I was visiting Russia – when I now think back about it. I did find plenty of information on the internet, concerning the same subject, however.


I write this blog, not so much to underline the basic notoriety and debauchery surrounding this enigmatic monk, but rather as a continuation of my two previous blogs that explore the depths of a manipulative mindset.



Read this blog carefully and pick out for yourself the many instances where Rasputin made use of other people, including the Royalty, to further his own devious ends.



Manipulation has had an early birth in the history of mankind and its death is nowhere imminent. Sad – but nevertheless true!


“The Little House:” Probing Into The Darkest Corners of the Manipulative Mindset

“The Little House” (Novel)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

‘The Little House’ is a 1996 psychological thriller novel by British author Philippa Gregory.


After four years of marriage, Ruth and Patrick Cleary, a young English couple, visit Patrick’s parents in Bath. Having been orphaned as a child, Ruth feels isolated and alone in the oppressive, close-knit Cleary family, and her husband seems unaware of her discomfort. She has always longed for a family of her own, and in the early days of their marriage believed she had found it with Patrick, but now, caught up in his career as a journalist, Patrick seems distant and distracted from his wife’s concerns. On an impulse, Patrick buys a cottage near his parents’ isolated manor house and sells the apartment his wife has made her home. After the move, Ruth loses her job and, though she had not intended to become a mother, she falls pregnant. After the birth of her child, she suffers post-natal depression, and Patrick’s mother Elizabeth, the domineering matriarch of the Cleary family, begins to take over Ruth’s role as mother and homemaker. Having been manipulated by her mother-in-law into a stay at a “rest home”, Ruth is so medicated she can barely function, but she rallies, and finally wrests control of her life in a final Gothic twist.


“The Little House”

Philippa Gregory, Author

(Source: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-017670-9)

Gregory’s sixth novel moves from her usual historical fiction (“A Respectable Trade,” etc.) to a contemporary tale that treats familiar, middle-class domestic ground with a horrific tilt.

Every Sunday, Ruth and Patrick Cleary, a young English couple married just four years, visit Patrick’s parents in Bath. Both Ruth and Patrick work in news production, but even in the common area of career the balance of attention tips heavily toward Patrick. Ruth feels like an outsider in the close-knit Cleary family, and Patrick and his parents are oblivious to her pain. Orphaned since childhood, Ruth has always yearned for love and a sense of belonging. In the first flush of passion, Patrick promised these; he even promised to help Ruth recover her lost childhood by traveling back to her childhood home in Boston. Snugly married and absorbed by his career, however, Patrick has lost track of his wife and his promises. When the cottage at the end of the lane from his parents’ manor house comes up for sale, he sells the Bristol condo Ruth loves without a thought.

Ruth soon becomes a poster-girl for co-dependence: she loses her job and unwillingly becomes pregnant. After her son is born, she sinks into depression, allowing her mother-in-law to take over completely. Finally, she is manipulated into a “”rest home”” where she becomes ‘zonked’ on antidepressants. Hitting rock-bottom, Ruth rallies, only to take control of her life in a joltingly, twisted way. Gregory writes smoothly enough, but her insights into the dysfunctional family are only pedestrian, laying fallow ground for a surprise ending that neither horrifies nor enlightens.


Philippa Gregory’s ‘The Little House’ coming to ITV1

9TH NOVEMBER 2009 BY Lisa McGarry

Source: http://primetime.unrealitytv.co.uk/philippa-gregorys-the-little-house-coming-to-itv1/

ITV have announced it has commissioned a drama adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s bestselling novel, The Little House.

Adapted by Ed Whitmore, creator of new ITV drama Identity, the story focuses on the lives of four characters, Ruth, a young woman whose parents tragically died in a car crash when she was a child, her career-minded husband Patrick and his wealthy, all-consuming parents Elizabeth and Frederick.

With no family to call her own, Ruth is carried along on a tide of apparently well-meaning family gestures which leave the previously independent teacher pregnant and living in ‘the little house’ at the end of her in-laws driveway. It’s an idyllic place, and it seems ungrateful to complain when Elizabeth and Frederick have given the picture book cottage to their son and his wife as a generous gift.

Despite initial reservations about moving so close to her in-laws, within months Ruth has, on the surface, settled into her new, apparently perfect life. But she soon realises she’s completely isolated, living in a house she never wanted and with a baby she hadn’t planned to have.

In the early weeks of her baby’s life, Ruth struggles with postpartum depression and the unresolved feelings she has about the premature deaths of her parents. It appears as though her mother-in-law, Elizabeth, is manipulating information and situations to take control of Ruth, Patrick and their new baby. Or is she?

Throughout the drama, the character of Elizabeth and her relationship with Ruth are subtly developed as they both try and take control of their connected lives until, inevitably, and very dramatically, they reach a point of no return.

Consequently, the viewer will continually question: Is Elizabeth playing mind games with Ruth? Could she really be waging psychological warfare on her daughter-in- law? Or is Ruth hysterically distorting events in her own mind?

The Little House has been commissioned by ITV Drama Commissioners, Laura Mackie and Sally Haynes.

“The Little House is a creepy and compelling tale of the power struggles within one family. Ed’s script brilliantly captures the claustrophobia and tension in Philippa’s novel and constantly plays with your perceptions of the two central women. It’s an atmospheric and chilling drama,” said Laura.

The Little House will be produced by TXTV who previously produced the critically acclaimed three part drama, Torn for ITV in 2007 and starred Holly Aird and Bradley Walsh.

“We are delighted to be working with ITV again,” said Jeremy Gwilt who will produce and also executive produce with colleagues Matt Arlidge and Chris Lang. “We know the audience will enjoy The Little House as it promises to be gripping drama.”

Filming for The Little House will take place in May and June 2010.


This blog is solely concerned in gaining a further insight into the manipulative mindset. It is a continuation blog, giving a different perspective, from an earlier blog of mine, entitled, ‘“The House of Stairs:” Probing into the Depths of a Manipulative Mind.’


Manipulators have so many negative qualities in their character and personality that any positive traits that they might possess are far out-shadowed by their basic negativity. It is, indeed, a sorry state of affairs.


  • Manipulators (such as Elizabeth, in the novel mentioned above) hide their true demeanor behind a mask of congeniality, charm and so-called “helpfulness.” Such people can, outwardly be very persuasive and attractive but it is all skillfully planned out in the mind of the manipulator to hide their true nature of being overbearing, high-handed, domineering, autocratic and dictatorial.
  • A person, who can be a “yes-man” to the manipulator, will find that they have little or no problems in getting along with them. The moment that the manipulated person starts to assert himself/herself will be the time when they see the poisonous fangs of the snake lying, supposedly dormant, in the grass. The mask inevitably falls and the manipulator reveals his/her ugly self.


  • The manipulator is very secretive about his/her own life and happenings but will happily seek, every opportunity, to intrude upon the privacy and lives of the people who they manipulate.


  • Manipulators are highly intelligent people who use their intelligence in the wrong way and for all the wrong reasons.


  • They invariably have a hidden agenda and ulterior motives. Their entire behavioral pattern is dictated by these hidden motives.


  • They are very sly, devious and sneaky people; they feel no qualms in ‘making use of another’ to suit their hidden desires. They are equally unscrupulous in ‘dumping’ the manipulated person, once their hidden agenda is revealed. The manipulated person could be just about anyone, but the most likely victims are family members and so-called ‘friends.’


  • Manipulators are pathological liars. They wage a kind of psychological warfare on unsuspecting people and they invariably play ‘mind games.’ Their behaviour speaks of psychological and emotional abuse – their object is to make the opposite party feel thoroughly incompetent and inefficient, which might not necessarily be the case. This is a devious way used by the manipulator to make him/her look highly competent and extremely efficient in the face of the contrived mediocrity of the other – again not necessarily true.


  • Manipulators do have a conscience – they can differentiate, very well, between Right and Wrong but they willfully choose to continue with their destructive and harmful ways because it suits their hidden purposes.


  • They are totally ruthless people and will stoop to the lowest of levels to get what they want.


  • They are extremely selfish, egoistic, self-opinionated, insensitive, callous and narcissistic people. Their whole – and only – concern is to live to the satisfaction of the dictum, “Me, Myself and I.”
  • They like to think of themselves as being very honest and forthright. The truth is that they are invariably blunt, hurtful, cruel and offensive.


  • Manipulators are wholesomely obnoxious people. The best way to deal with manipulators is not to lose perspective and to keep faith in one’s own capabilities and strengths. One needs to speak politely but firmly to such people – the manipulator will invariably not like opposition of any sort but one must learn to maintain a firm stand, in the face of this opposition.


  • Try your best to disassociate yourself from such people: manipulators portray themselves as being well-intentioned but the reality is far from the truth.


The question that finally arises is this one: ‘Can the manipulator be rehabilitated so that they can become better people? The answer never changes: it is a resounding, “YES.”’

“The Little House” – a novel by Philippa Gregory.
“The Little House” – an ITV adaptation of the novel by Philippa Gregory.

The sad truth is that manipulators thrive on destructive behaviour; they have every intention of continuing their harmful ways, for a long time to come because it suits their hidden purposes.

This author is your teacher. But like any other teacher, I can keeping teaching you till ‘Kingdom Come’, but if you don’t make even a single effort to help yourself, there is little that I can do to help.


Philippa Gregory
Philippa Gregory

“The House of Stairs”: Probing the Depths of a Manipulative Mind

“The House of Stairs”

By Ruth Rendell (Writing as Barbara Vine)

(Source: http://www.penguinreaders.com/pdf/downloads/pr/teachers-notes/9781405879620.pdf)

About the author

‘Barbara Vine’ is the pen name of the world-famous crime
writer Ruth Barbara Rendell. Rendell was born in 1930
in London, the only child of an English mother and a
Swedish father. She spent many holidays in Scandinavia
and can speak Danish and Swedish fluently. Although
both her parents were teachers, Rendell chose instead to
become a journalist after leaving high school. She found
a job at a local newspaper, where she met (and worked
under) her future husband, Don Rendell, with whom she
now has a son. However, after writing about a social event
that she hadn’t attended, and discovering later on that the
main speaker had died in the middle of his speech, she
resigned from the newspaper before she could be fired.

Rendell has been writing fiction ever since her hurried
departure from the newspaper. She has been called the
‘Queen of Crime’ and ‘the best mystery writer in the
English language anywhere in the world’. She has written
more than fifty-five novels, as well as several collections of
short stories and a handful of novellas. She published her
first book in 1964 — “From Doon with Death” — a crime
novel featuring Inspector Wexford, who would become
the central figure in her hugely popular detective series.
Rendell has won numerous awards for her books, and
many of her novels and short stories have been adapted for
television. In addition, two of her books have been made
into feature films by French and Spanish directors.

Rendell says that she wrote the first Barbara Vine book,
“A Dark-Adapted Eye” (1986), for fun — to see if she could
write a different kind of detective story. She chose to use
a different name, Barbara Vine, so that she could write a
darker, more complex kind of psychological thriller. She
says that she doesn’t like to be limited to one genre.

In fact, many credit Rendell — along with another successful
English crime writer named P.D. James — with changing
mystery novels from ‘whodunits’ into ‘whydunits’. In
other words, she has helped to shift the focus of mystery
novels from trying to determine who committed the crime
to trying to find out why the person or persons chose to
commit it. Rendell’s detectives don’t just look for external
facts. They also delve into the minds of the criminals and
search for internal reasons. In short, Rendell has added
psychology to the genre of mystery writing.



“The House of Stairs” starts with the narrator of the story,
Lizzie, running into Bell Sanger in a street in London.
Lizzie begins to recount the terrible events leading to Bell
being sent to prison fourteen years earlier. Meanwhile, in
the present-day story, Bell and Lizzie start to renew their
old friendship — a friendship that is fraught with mystery
and intrigue.

In the background story, Bell appeared almost from out
of nowhere. Using her charm and attractiveness, she
managed to win over the affections of Lizzie and her
friend and substitute mother, Cosette. However, Lizzie
and Cosette knew very little about Bell or her background,
and Bell resisted telling them the truth about herself.

In fact, Bell wasn’t who she appeared to be. Inspired by the
story of a well-known book, she had formed a secret, evil
plan through which she hoped to become rich. However,
her plan went terribly wrong and ended in a tragedy that
affected everyone living in the House of Stairs.

More than a decade has passed since the dark days at the
House of Stairs, and Bell has been freed from prison for
her crimes. However, it remains to be seen if she has truly
been rehabilitated — or if she is destined to return to her
old ways.


Background and Themes

Not the usual detective story: The House of Stairs isn’t
a conventional detective story — instead, it is a rich and
complex psychological thriller. Vine explores the series of
events that lead to a murder. The truth about the tragedy
is gradually revealed as the story jumps backwards and
forwards in time. It is dark and mysterious, making it
hard for the reader to stop turning the pages. The book is
psychological in that the author is interested in how things
happen as a result of her characters’ personalities.

She wants to see what it takes to push someone over the edge
and commit a terrible crime. She shows us how seemingly
insignificant events can lead certain personalities towards

A complex read: The House of Stairs is a complex book
because the reader doesn’t know what facts are important
and what facts aren’t — even though he or she has been
given all the information needed to understand the basics
of what is happening in the story. The reader knows
that something is going to happen, but he or she doesn’t
know what, when or to whom. The plot has many layers
to it, and it makes back and forth between the past and
the present, so the reader must always read carefully to
keep up with the twisting and turning storyline. The
complexity of the story compels the reader to want to keep
reading in order to straighten out the story’s plot. In fact,
the story is so complex that it even makes the reader want
to read the book a second time. By reading the book a
second time, the reader can finally put all the pieces of the
puzzle into the right places.

Unreliable narration: One way in which Vine achieves
the psychological tension in The House of Stairs (for which
she is well known) is that she uses a first-person narrator.
However, Lizzie isn’t very reliable as she often interprets
events incorrectly. Although the reader is led to believe
Lizzie, the cleverness of the writing makes him or her
suspect that occasionally the truth may lie elsewhere. For
example, when Lizzie’s father comes and talks about the
future, Lizzie fails to understand Bell’s look.
However, the reader is likely to know exactly what Bell is
thinking because of what he or she already knows about
her character. This technique, in which the reader often
feels that he or she knows more about a character than the
narrator, creates an almost unbearable tension throughout
the story.

Mother-daughter relationships: An important aspect of
the psychology embedded in The House of Stairs is Vine’s
exploration of the mother and daughter relationship and
what happens to people when — through some twist of
fate — their mothers are absent from their lives. Lizzie
and Bell are both ‘motherless’. Lizzie replaces her own
mother, whom she lost to a fatal illness, with Cosette, who
becomes the most important person in her life. However,
even Cosette ends up disappearing, and Lizzie loses a
mother for a second time. Bell’s mother failed to prevent her child from committing an evil crime, starting a pattern of behaviour that is destined to repeat itself throughout Bell’s life. Vine seems to be saying that both characters
have lost their way due to the absence of good mothers. It
raises the question: how would the characters have turned
out if they had grown up with mothers in their lives?

Life imitating art: An interesting theme in The House of
Stairs is the way in which life imitates art. In a calculated
and perhaps cynical way, Bell dresses up as Lucrezia
because she sees that Lizzie will be charmed by seeing the
portrait come to life. However, Lizzie, who is educated
and literate, doesn’t understand how literal an uneducated
person like Bell can be. For Bell, the plot of “The Wings of
the Dove” is a clever idea for making some money, which
she then proceeds to act out in the real world. Lizzie, on
the other hand, recognizes the plot as a good idea for a
novel. The final irony is that at the end of the book, it is
Lizzie — and not Bell — who finds herself in the position
of the life-threatened Milly Theale from “The Wings of the




noun: manipulation; plural noun: manipulations

The action of manipulating something in a skilful manner.

“The format allows fast picture manipulation”

The action of manipulating someone in a clever or unscrupulous way.

“There was no deliberate manipulation of visitors’ emotions”


This blog is solely dedicated to probing the depths of a manipulative mind. Manipulative people, unfortunately, are everywhere – they surround us in our daily lives and interactions, whether we choose to accept this fact or not. We cannot avoid them, but we can learn to recognize such unscrupulous persons for who they are and what they represent and we can learn to deal with them accordingly.

Manipulative people have very many negative qualities and several flaws in their character & personality. Any positive characteristics that such people might possess are invariably overshadowed by the negativity of the entire picture.

  • Manipulators often put on a veneer of charm and charisma to make themselves likeable and attractive to other unsuspecting people – except that when this mask of falsehood inevitably falls, they show their true, ugly selves. Most people thoroughly dislike manipulators and they may even go so far as to hate them.
  • Manipulators feel no qualms in telling lies. They tend to avoid confrontation because they know that in such a circumstance, their lies will give them away.
  • They lure people into their ‘affections’ by affecting false charm and charisma.
  • Manipulators are intelligent people who use their intelligence the wrong way, for all the wrong reasons and always to suit their hidden motives.
  • They tend to be insincere, inconsiderate and mean-spirited people. They feel no qualms in betraying another. In fact, they would happily repeat the same destructive behaviour, again and again, without blinking an eye. They do have a conscience – they are very well able to distinguish Right from Wrong; but they willfully continue with their wrongdoing, without any scruples whatsoever because it suits their hidden agenda.
  • Manipulators have very few (or no) friends or acquaintances, worth the name. The manipulator is actually highly insecure but he/she tends to hide this insecurity by becoming a dominating, control-freak.
  • He/She is, quite often, a cowardly bully and such a negative-minded person is known to actively seek out other people who they can “latch onto:” he/she preys upon the innocent and the naïve, especially people who are perceived as being weak, vulnerable, insecure and gullible.
  • The manipulator is vain and greedy and he/she would like to obtain as much as possible for himself/herself with little or no financial inputs, efforts, etc. from his/her side. They are invariable “free-loaders,” hangers-on” and “time-servers.” They are ruthless people who shamelessly make use of  their unsuspecting victims. Once they realize that their victim has seen through their charade, the manipulators drop them like a ton of bricks, before moving on to look for another unsuspecting individual, who can ‘be of use to them.’
  • They are very selfish, self-centered and self-opinionated people; they like ‘to be seen and heard’ at all times. They like to think of themselves as being extremely honest people – the truth is that their ‘so-called frankness’ invariably borders on bluntness and rudeness. The fact is that they are thoroughly outspoken and are often obnoxious.
  • Manipulators are very secretive about their own lives and happenings. They will seem to be telling the truth outwardly but it will invariably turns out to be a “half-truth” or a complete lie. Their basic inquisitiveness for other people borders on intrusiveness. This behaviour is seen as being highly irritating and offensive to the opposite party because of the lack of flow of equal information from both sides. In that sense, they are unscrupulous opportunists.
  • They have little (or no) feelings for anyone besides themselves; they are extremely narcissistic and cold-hearted people. For them, what matters always is, “Me, Myself and I.”
  • They are evil, devious, sly and sneaky people; they are ‘smooth talkers’ who get by under their mask of attractiveness. They can be extremely persuasive if they so wish – this persuasion is a tool that is often used, by them, to satisfy their own hidden agenda and ulterior motives.
  • Manipulators are always restless; their mind is never at rest nor at peace – they are forever scheming about how they can dupe another and gain from it.
  • Such persons are as enigmatic as they are charismatic. They tend to exude an aura of mystery. Manipulators tend to be very secretive about themselves and the details of their own life but they are very curious and intrusively inquisitive to know all about their ‘victims’ and their lives.
  • Do not expect an apology from a manipulator anytime soon – they rarely, if ever, feel remorse nor do they have a sense of repentance. This destructive lifestyle suits their purposes and they have every intention of continuing in the same way, for a long time to come.
  • Manipulators are, on the whole, wholesomely obnoxious people. The best that you can do is to distance yourself as far as possible from such people because their behaviour is harmful and destructive to themselves and to others.


The question that finally arises is, “Can manipulators be rehabilitated at all?” The answer is a resounding “yes.” The problem inevitably is NOT whether these persons can be made to change their ways and become better people; the problem lies in the fact that the manipulator is very content in his/her destructive lifestyle.

Ruth Rendell

 The House of Stairs

The problem, thus, is not WHETHER manipulators CAN be made to change their ways for the better; the basic issue is whether they WANT TO change for the better.


In the end, it all boils down to one important fact – it is to be noted that NOT everything in Life is about you and what you want; other people matter too. Learn to look beyond the end of your nose. There is a world of people out there, just in case, you failed to notice it.



The Magnificent Pearl


John Steinbeck


(Source: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/pearl/context.html)

John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, in 1902. He was the third of four children and the only son of John Steinbeck, Sr. and Olive Hamilton Steinbeck. Growing up in a rural valley near the Pacific coast, Steinbeck was an intense reader, and both his father, a local government official, and his mother, a former school teacher, encouraged his literary pursuits. In 1919 he graduated from Salinas High School and matriculated at Stanford University, where he studied literature and writing.

In 1925, without a degree, Steinbeck left Stanford to pursue work as a reporter in New York City. He returned to California the following year, supporting his endeavors at writing with a steady income from manual labor. Over the next several years his literary career gained momentum with the publication of his first novels. Although his first three—Cup of Gold, The Pastures of Heaven, and To a God Unknown—were critical and commercial failures, he achieved major success in 1935 with the publication of Tortilla Flat, a collection of stories about the ethnic working poor in California. During this time, Steinbeck began to gain recognition from critics for his short stories.

Steinbeck’s extensive travels in the 1930s partly inspired two of his finest works, Of Mice and Men, in 1937, and The Grapes of Wrath, in 1939. Both novels, fictional portraits of the western United States during the Great Depression, are still read widely. Steinbeck received the Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath in 1940.

Steinbeck’s simple, touching novella The Pearl originally appeared in the magazine Woman’s Home Companion in 1945 under the title “The Pearl of the World.” The story explores the destructive effect of colonial capitalism on the simple piety of a traditional native culture. Set in a Mexican Indian village on the Baja Peninsula around the turn of the century, the novella tells the story of Kino, an Indian pearl diver who discovers a massive, beautiful, and extremely valuable pearl. The pearl fills Kino with a new desire to abandon his simple, idyllic life in favor of dreams of material and social advancement, dreams that run headlong into the oppressive resistance of the Spanish colonial powers that top the social hierarchy of Kino’s world.

While less complex than Steinbeck’s other works, The Pearl ranks among his most popular, and it is certainly one of his most accessible. The novella was originally conceived as a film project (and was in fact made into a motion picture in 1948); it features a simple, visually evocative style that in many ways recalls the narrative flow of a film. Additionally, The Pearls simple prose style echoes the traditional style of a moral parable, particularly the biblical parables of Jesus. The story clearly owes a great deal to the biblical story of the pearl of great price, and to a certain extent the familiar rhythms and easily understandable moral lessons of the novella help to explain its continuing power and its long-standing popularity.

The Pearl is not among Steinbeck’s most critically acclaimed works, but it has exerted a certain amount of influence in American literature. Its evocation of natural beauty and its use of the short, simple parable form may have influenced Ernest Hemingway in writing The Old Man and the Sea (1952). Because of its overwhelming popularity, Steinbeck reissued The Pearl as a single volume in 1947, and it has enjoyed a healthy readership ever since. Other widely read Steinbeck titles include Cannery Row and The Red Pony, both published in 1945, East of Eden (1952), and the unique travelogue Travels with Charley (1962).

Steinbeck was a prolific and popular writer, but few consider him to be an American writer of the absolute first rank. Whereas most of Steinbeck’s contemporaries—Hemingway and William Faulkner, for example—wrote in clear and consistent styles, making it easy to identify their artistry, Steinbeck never stuck with one style, and his choice of narrative form varied greatly from work to work. Nevertheless, Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962, and although the quality of his writing suffered a precipitous drop in his final years, he left behind a body of work that marks him as a significant twentieth-century American voice.


Plot Overview

(Source: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/pearl/summary.html)

Kino, Juana, and their infant son, Coyotito, live in a modest brush house by the sea. One morning, calamity strikes when a scorpion stings Coyotito. Hoping to protect their son, Kino and Juana rush him to the doctor in town. When they arrive at the doctor’s gate, they are turned away because they are poor natives who cannot pay enough.

Later that same morning, Kino and Juana take their family canoe, an heirloom, out to the estuary to go diving for pearls. Juana makes a poultice for Coyotito’s wound, while Kino searches the sea bottom. Juana’s prayers for a large pearl are answered when Kino surfaces with the largest pearl either of them has ever seen. Kino lets out a triumphant yell at his good fortune, prompting the surrounding boats to circle in and examine the treasure.

In the afternoon, the whole neighborhood gathers at Kino’s brush house to celebrate his find. Kino names a list of things that he will secure for his family with his newfound wealth, including a church wedding and an education for his son. The neighbors marvel at Kino’s boldness and wonder if he is foolish or wise to harbor such ambitions.

Toward evening, the local priest visits Kino to bless him in his good fortune and to remind him of his place within the church. Shortly thereafter, the doctor arrives, explaining that he was out in the morning but has come now to cure Coyotito. He administers a powdered capsule and promises to return in an hour.

In the intervening period, Coyotito grows violently ill, and Kino decides to bury the pearl under the floor in a corner of the brush house. The doctor returns and feeds Coyotito a potion to quiet his spasms. When the doctor inquires about payment, Kino explains that soon he will sell his large pearl and inadvertently glances toward the corner where he has hidden the pearl. This mention of the pearl greatly intrigues the doctor, and Kino is left with an uneasy feeling.

Before going to bed, Kino reburies the pearl under his sleeping mat. That night, he is roused by an intruder digging around in the corner. A violent struggle ensues, and Kino’s efforts to chase away the criminal leave him bloodied. Terribly upset by this turn of events, Juana proposes that they abandon the pearl, which she considers an agent of evil.

The next morning, Kino and Juana make their way to town to sell the pearl. Juan Tomás, Kino’s brother, advises Kino to be wary of cheats. Indeed, all of the dealers conspire to bid low on the pearl. Kino indignantly refuses to accept their offers, resolving instead to take his pearl to the capital. That evening, as Kino and Juana prepare to leave, Juan Tomás cautions Kino against being overly proud, and Juana repeats her wish to be rid of the pearl. Kino silences her, explaining that he is a man and will take care of things.

In the middle of the night, Juana steals away with the pearl. Kino wakes as she leaves and pursues her, apprehending her just as she is poised to throw the pearl into the sea. He tackles her, takes the pearl back, and beats her violently, leaving her in a crumpled heap on the beach. As he returns to the brush house, a group of hostile men confronts him and tries to take the pearl from him. He fights the men off, killing one and causing the rest to flee, but drops the pearl in the process.

As Juana ascends from the shore to the brush house, she finds the pearl lying in the path. Just beyond, she sees Kino on the ground, next to the dead man. He bemoans the loss of the pearl, which she presents to him. Though Kino explains that he had no intention to kill, Juana insists that he will be labeled a murderer. They resolve to flee at once. Kino rushes back to the shore to prepare the canoe, while Juana returns home to gather Coyotito and their belongings.

Kino arrives at the shore and finds his canoe destroyed by vandals. When he climbs the hill, he sees a fire blazing, and realizes that his house has burned down. Desperate to find refuge, Kino, Juana and Coyotito duck into Juan Tomás’s house, where they hide out for the day. Relieved that the three did not perish in the blaze, as the rest of the neighborhood believes, Juan Tomás and his wife, Apolonia, reluctantly agree to keep Kino and Juana’s secret and provide shelter for them while pretending to be ignorant of their whereabouts.

At nightfall, Kino, Juana, and Coyotito set out for the capital. Skirting the town, they travel north until sunrise and then take covert shelter by the roadside. They sleep for most of the day and are preparing to set out again when Kino discovers that three trackers are following them. After hesitating briefly, Kino decides that they must hurry up the mountain, in hopes of eluding the trackers. A breathless ascent brings them to a water source, where they rest and take shelter in a nearby cave. Kino attempts to mislead the trackers by creating a false trail up the mountain. Kino, Juana, and Coyotito then hide in the cave and wait for an opportunity to escape back down the mountain.

The trackers are slow in their pursuit and finally arrive at the watering hole at dusk. They make camp nearby, and two of the trackers sleep while the third stands watch. Kino decides that he must attempt to attack them before the late moon rises. He strips naked to avoid being seen and sneaks up to striking distance. Just as Kino prepares to attack, Coyotito lets out a cry, waking the sleepers. When one of them fires his rifle in the direction of the cry, Kino makes his move, killing the trackers in a violent fury. In the aftermath, Kino slowly realizes that the rifle shot struck and killed his son in the cave.

The next day, Kino and Juana make their way back through town and the outlying brush houses. Juana carries her dead son slung over her shoulder. They walk all the way to the sea, as onlookers watch in silent fascination. At the shore, Kino pulls the pearl out of his clothing and takes one last, hard look at it. Then, with all his might, under a setting sun, he flings the pearl back into the sea.


Analysis of Major Characters

(Source: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/pearl/canalysis.html)


Kino, The Pearl’s protagonist, is an extremely simple character, motivated by basic drives: his love for his family, loyalty to the traditions of his village and his people, and frustration at his people’s oppression at the hands of their European colonizers. Kino also possesses a quick mind and a strong work ethic, and he feels a close, pure kinship with the natural world, the source of his livelihood.

At the beginning of the novella, Kino is essentially content with his life. However, two seemingly chance occurrences—Coyotito’s scorpion sting and Kino’s discovery of the pearl—open Kino’s eyes to a larger world. As Kino begins to covet material wealth and education for his son, his simple existence becomes increasingly complicated by greed, conflict, and violence. The basic trajectory of Kino’s character is a gradual decline from a state of innocence to a state of corruption and disillusionment. The forces propelling this decline are ambition and greed. At the end of the novella, Kino’s tranquil relationship with nature has been perverted and reversed, a change signified by the fact that Kino finds the sounds of the animals at night threatening rather than reassuring.

Because The Pearl is a parable, Kino’s character can be interpreted in many ways. It can be seen as a critique of colonial politics, an exploration of how good motives can bring a person to a bad end, or even an attack on the idea of the American dream. But on the most basic level, Kino represents the dangers of ambition and greed. Kino’s ruin, caused by his lust for the pearl, illustrates the extent to which ambition and greed poison and jeopardize every aspect of a human’s familial, cultural, and personal well-being.


Kino’s wife, Juana, is more reflective and more practical than Kino. She prays for divine aid when Coyotito’s wound leaves Kino impotent with rage, and she also has the presence of mind to salve the wound with a seaweed poultice. Juana is loyal and submissive, obeying her husband as her culture dictates, but she does not always agree with his actions. Like Kino, Juana is at first seduced by the greed the pearl awakens, but she is much quicker than Kino to recognize the pearl as a potential threat. In fact, Juana comes to view the pearl as a symbol of evil.

As the novella progresses, Juana becomes certain that the limitations, rules, and customs of her society must be upheld. Whereas Kino seeks to transform his existence, Juana believes that their lives will be better if they keep things as they are. Kino can see only what they have to gain from the pearl, but Juana can see also what they stand to lose, and she wisely prefers to protect what she has rather than sacrifice it all for a dream. Juana thus serves an important function in the novella—she counterbalances Kino’s enthusiasm and reminds the reader that Kino’s desire to make money is dangerous. Juana also symbolizes the family’s domestic happiness; the scene in which Kino beats her for trying to cast off the pearl thus represents Kino’s tragic break from the family he longs to support.

The Doctor

Though he does not figure largely in the novella’s plot, the doctor is an important character in The Pearl because he represents the colonial attitudes that oppress Kino’s people. The doctor symbolizes and embodies the colonists’ arrogance, greed, and condescension toward the natives, whom the colonists do not even try to understand. Like the other colonists, the doctor has no interest in Kino’s people. He has come only to make money, and his greed distorts his human values. As a physician, the doctor is duty-bound to act to save human life, but when confronted with someone whom he considers beneath him, the doctor feels no such duty. His callous refusal to treat Coyotito for the scorpion sting because Kino lacks the money to pay him thus demonstrates the human cost of political conquest rooted in the desire for financial profit. As his interior monologue in Chapter 1 shows, the doctor is obsessed with European society, and European cultural values grip his mind so deeply that he doesn’t even realize how ignorant he is of Kino and Kino’s people.


Themes, Motifs & Symbols

(Source: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/pearl/themes.html)


Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.

Greed as a Destructive Force

As Kino seeks to gain wealth and status through the pearl, he transforms from a happy, contented father to a savage criminal, demonstrating the way ambition and greed destroy innocence. Kino’s desire to acquire wealth perverts the pearl’s natural beauty and good luck, transforming it from a symbol of hope to a symbol of human destruction. Furthermore, Kino’s greed leads him to behave violently toward his wife; it also leads to his son’s death and ultimately to Kino’s detachment from his cultural tradition and his society. Kino’s people seem poised for a similar destruction, as the materialism inherent in colonial capitalism implants a love of profit into the simple piety of the native people.

The Roles of Fate and Agency in Shaping Human Life

The Pearl portrays two contrasting forces that shape human life and determine individual destiny. The novella depicts a world in which, for the most part, humans shape their own destinies. They provide for themselves, follow their own desires, and make their own plans. At the same time, forces beyond human control, such as chance, accident, and the gods, can sweep in at any moment and, for good or ill, completely change the course of an individual’s life. If fate is best represented in the novella by the open sea where pearl divers plunge beneath the waves hoping for divine blessings, human agency is best represented by the village of La Paz, where myriad human desires, plans, and motives come together to form civilization.

Kino and Juana’s lives change irreparably the moment the scorpion, a symbol of malignant fate, bites their child. Their lives then change irreparably again the moment Kino finds the pearl, a symbol of beneficent fate. Nevertheless, it is not fate but human agency, in the form of greed, ambition, and violence that facilitates the novella’s disastrous final outcome, as Kino’s greed and the greed of others lead to a series of conflicts over the pearl. Kino finds himself caught between the forces of fate and the forces of human society, between the destiny handed him by fate and the destiny he seeks to create himself.

Colonial Society’s Oppression of Native Cultures

The doctor who refuses to save Coyotito’s life at the beginning of the novel because Kino lacks the money to pay him represents colonial arrogance and oppression. Snide and condescending, the doctor displays an appallingly limited and self-centered mind-set that is made frightening by his unshakable belief in his own cultural superiority over Kino, and by the power that he holds to save or destroy lives. Steinbeck implicitly accuses the doctor’s entire colonial society of such destructive arrogance, greed, and ambition. The European colonizers that govern Kino and the native people are shown to bring about the destruction of the native society’s innocence, piety, and purity.


Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes.

Nature Imagery

Kino’s physical and spiritual existence is intimately connected with the natural world. He lives in a brush house, and he makes his living as a pearl diver. Not surprisingly, nature imagery is an important element of the novella. Kino observes the world of his garden in the opening scene of Chapter 1 and the world of the ocean in Chapter 2. Kino and Juana’s final journey up the mountain takes place on a dark night full of animal noises and cries.

Steinbeck depicts the natural world as a realm that mirrors or parallels the human world. Overall, the work’s nature imagery reflects both the natural world’s idyllic innocence—the innocence Kino possesses at the beginning of the novella—and the natural world’s darker qualities of struggle and flight—the struggle and flight Kino experiences at the novella’s end.The Pearl’s descriptions of the sea, for instance, subtly emphasize the fact that life in the sea is a struggle for survival from which only the strongest emerge alive—a struggle that mirrors the conflict between Kino and the native people against their colonial rulers. Kino’s two interactions with ants—the first in Chapter 1, the second in Chapter 6—create a parallel between Kino’s relationship to nature and the gods’ relationship to Kino (he towers over the ants in the same way that the gods tower over him).

Kino’s Songs

Throughout the novel, whenever Kino has a particularly powerful feeling or instinct, he hears a song in his head that corresponds to that feeling. When he is happy with his family in Chapter 1, for instance, he hears the Song of the Family. When he senses malice or dishonesty, he hears the Song of Evil. These songs point to the oral nature of Kino’s cultural tradition. The ancient, familiar songs, presumably handed down from generation to generation, occupy such a central place in how Kino’s people perceive themselves that the songs actually give form to their inner feelings. Kino is much less likely to become aware of the sensation of wariness than he is to hear the Song of Danger in his head. Similarly, he is much less likely to take action because of his own conscious judgment than because he associates the song with a certain kind of urgent behavior in relation to the outside world. The songs also point to Steinbeck’s original conception of The Pearl as a film project; in a motion picture, the songs could be played out loud for the audience to hear and thus function as recurring motifs and melodies that would underscore the story’s themes.


Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.

The Pearl

Because The Pearl is a parable, the meaning of the pearl itself—the novella’s central symbol—is never explicitly defined. Nevertheless, though the nature of the pearl’s symbolism is left to each reader’s interpretation, this symbolism seems to shift over the course of the work. At first, the pearl represents a stroke of divine providence. Kino’s people have a prophecy about a great “Pearl That Might Be,” a perfect pearl that exists as a perfect possibility. Kino and Juana’s discovery of the pearl seems to fulfill this prophecy, and it fills them with hope for Coyotito’s future and for the possibility of a life free from the shackles of colonial oppression. The discovery of the pearl seems a happy accident, one that counterbalances the tragic accident of Coyotito’s scorpion sting.

Once the town finds out about the pearl, however, the object begins to make everyone who beholds it, including Kino, greedy. The neighbors call it “the Pearl of the World,” and while that title originally seems to refer to the pearl’s great size and beauty, it also underscores the fact that having the pearl brings the outside world’s destructive influence into Kino’s simple life. As the dealers begin lowballing him, Kino ceases to view the pearl with optimistic delight and instead focuses on its sale with determined ambition. The pearl’s association with good fortune and hope weakens, and the pearl becomes associated more strongly with human plans and desires. Juana and Juan Tomás begin to view the pearl as a threat rather than a blessing.

The pearl elicits more and more greed on Kino’s part, as he begins to devote all his energies and possessions to protecting it (recalling the biblical parable of the pearl of great price). It thus comes to symbolize the destructive nature of materialism. The implication is that Kino’s acquisition of material wealth isn’t enough to save him from the colonists’ oppression, even though such wealth is the foundation of the colonists’ capitalist system. In fact, Kino’s shift in focus from his spiritual well-being to his material status seems to represent the colonists’ ultimate triumph.

The way the pearl is depicted through the course of the novella mirrors the changes that Kino himself undergoes. At first, the pearl is a simple and beautiful object of nature. Once it becomes entangled with notions of material value, however, it becomes destructive and dangerous. The pearl is an object of natural beauty and goodness that draws out the evil inherent in mankind.

The Scorpion

The scorpion that stings Coyotito in Chapter 1 symbolizes a seemingly arbitrary evil that, because it has nothing to do with human agency, must come from the gods. Biblically, the scorpion generally represents the destruction of innocence, and the fact that Coyotito is a baby compounds the Christian symbolism of the event. Coyotito is touched by evil, and this natural destruction of innocence repeats itself in the novella in the destruction of Kino’s innocence by his ambition and greed and in the destruction of the natives’ traditional, natural way of life by the colonists.

Kino’s Canoe

A means of making a living—both pearls and food—that has been passed down for generations, the canoe that Kino uses represents his link to cultural tradition. This culture is deeply spiritual, so it is significant that Kino uses the canoe to find the pearl, which is provided by a divine power that has nothing to do with human agency. It is also significant that Kino’s possession of the pearl leads directly to the canoe’s destruction, in Chapter 5, an event that symbolizes Kino’s devastating decision to break with his cultural heritage because he wishes to pursue material gain.

Parable & the Form of “The Pearl

“If this story is a parable, perhaps everyone takes his own meaning from it and reads his own life into it.”

A parable is a simple story that relays a moral lesson. Frequently, parables are also allegories, stories in which characters, objects, and events hold fixed symbolic meaning. Steinbeck’s focus on the symbolic role the pearl plays in Kino’s life is constant, as is his focus on the symbolic importance of Kino himself. In general, Steinbeck’s overly simplistic portrayal of events is not realistic, or even believable, and it indicates The Pearl’s place as a parable or fable.

Kino is an impoverished native fisherman, but more important is his allegorical role as a man faced with the temptation of wealth beyond his wildest dreams. Because the novella is concerned with Kino’s moral obligation and not his civic obligation, it concludes with Kino’s casting the pearl back into the sea, a renunciation of material wealth that indicates he has learned a moral lesson. It is important that the novella does not conclude with Kino’s arrest or continuing flight from justice, as a realistic novel concerned with civic punishment for ethical transgression might.

Despite the apparent gulf between realism and parable, The Pearl attempts to show how the two are linked through the process of storytelling. Steinbeck suggests that a culture’s collective memory eventually fictionalizes all realistic experience into parable form. “As with all retold tales that are in people’s hearts,” he writes in the novella’s epigraph, “there are only good and bad things and black and white things and good and evil things and no in-between anywhere.” Storytelling gradually transforms real occurrences into simplified parables designed to teach a specific lesson. While everyday life may lack a clear lesson or meaning, the human mind is always in the process of ordering and classifying events in order to make sense of experience. It is a human tendency, and therefore a literary tendency, to classify and simplify experience, to turn reality into parable.

As codified systems of morals that attempt to distinguish good from evil, religions depend heavily on parables. According to the New Testament, Jesus himself insisted on teaching to his disciples in parable form—in fact, the Christian parable of the pearl of great price, which tells the story of a man who gives up everything he has to win a great pearl, likely helped to inspire The Pearl. Steinbeck realizes that the parable form is a central element in world religion and in the cultural history of humankind. As The Pearl illustrates, the imagined is just as vital to humankind’s understanding of life as the real, and, in the form of the parable, the two are inextricably linked.

Although readers may draw a number of messages from The Pearl, a few primary moral lessons do emerge. Some ways of interpreting the allegory of the story include:

The Struggle to Preserve Virtue

If the pearl symbolizes goodness, Kino’s struggle to protect the cherished pearl might represent the human struggle to preserve cherished qualities or attributes—moral virtue, innocence, integrity, the soul—from the destructive forces of the outside world. Just as these destructive forces corrupt and conspire to seize Kino’s pearl, they can work against the virtuous inner qualities that the pearl might represent. According to this reading, Coyotito’s death and Kino’s voluntary relinquishment of the pearl at the end of the novel suggest that the destructive forces of the world are too powerful to be overcome.

The Fallacy of the American Dream

In a way, Kino’s desire to use the pearl to improve his life echoes the traditional narrative of the American dream. He attempts to transform hard work into material wealth, and material wealth into education, comfort, and familial advancement. According to this reading, Kino’s gradual corruption and the story’s tragic conclusion hint at a fundamental flaw in the American dream: it condones sacrifice of virtue for material gain. Additionally, Kino’s gradual disillusionment with the pearl (as he realizes that it won’t make his life better) underscores the fallacy of the American dream itself. Rather than widespread opportunity, Kino finds a world of powerful, greedy men conniving to take his wealth away from him dishonestly.

The Effects of Colonialism on Native Cultures

Because Kino belongs to a native tribe that, centuries after the original Spanish colonization of Mexico, is still under the thumb of the Spanish colonial authorities, the story can be read as a parable about the forces of colonization and the destructive effect those forces have on native cultures and peoples. Kino is originally driven to search for the pearl because of the unhelpfulness of the condescending Spanish doctor; after he finds the pearl, he is cheated and hunted by cynical descendants of colonials who hope to exploit and control him.

Greed Is the Root of All Evil

This moral, preached by St. Augustine and many others after him, is found in the New Testament in Paul’s first epistle to Timothy (1 Timothy 6:10). Kino’s investment of spiritual value in a pearl, an object of material wealth, may be misguided from the start. Juana and Juan Tomás both suspect that Kino is wrong to try to get more for the pearl than the dealers offer, and Juana tries several times to discard the pearl, believing it to be the source of her family’s troubles. This reading interprets the pearl as a symbol of destruction and corruption rather than purity.


Key Facts

(Source: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/pearl/facts.html)

FULL TITLE  ·  The Pearl

AUTHOR  · John Steinbeck

TYPE OF WORK  · Novella

GENRE  · Parable, allegory

LANGUAGE  · English

TIME AND PLACE WRITTEN  ·  1944–1945, California

DATE OF FIRST PUBLICATION  ·  1945 (in serial form, where it was entitled “The Pearl of the World”), 1947 (in book form)

PUBLISHER  · The Viking Press

NARRATOR  · The anonymous narrator writes as if telling an old story he or she knows very well. The narrator frequently alludes to the story’s ending and freely describes the inner thoughts and feelings of various characters. Rather than tell the story in his own voice, Steinbeck chooses to narrate in a stylized voice recalling that of a storyteller from a society like Kino’s, in which stories are handed down from generation to generation, eventually losing their specificities and becoming moral parables, as Steinbeck insinuates in the opening epigraph, by virtue of sheer repetition.

POINT OF VIEW  · The narrator uses third-person, omniscient narration, meaning he or she not only tells us what various characters think and feel but also provides analysis and commentary on the story. The narrator shifts perspective frequently, focusing most often on Kino but occasionally focusing on other characters such as Juana and the doctor.

TONE  · The narrator tells Kino’s story to teach a moral lesson, and so treats Kino above all as a cautionary figure. At the same time, however, the narrator seems to see Kino as a sort of tragic hero, and is moved by the human weakness Kino’s actions reveal. The narrator often shows a certain respect for Kino’s striving to realize his ambitions—even while recognizing the mistakes Kino makes and mourning his ultimate moral downfall.

TENSE  · Past

SETTING (TIME)  · Unclear, possibly late nineteenth or early twentieth century

SETTING (PLACE)  · A Mexican coastal village called La Paz, probably on the Baja Peninsula


MAJOR CONFLICT  · After finding a magnificent pearl, Kino seeks to sell it to acquire wealth. He wishes for his son’s wound to heal, and for his son to obtain an education and become an equal to the European colonists who keep his people in a state of ignorance and poverty. When he tries to sell the pearl, however, Kino quickly meets resistance in the form of other people’s greed. Ultimately, his struggle to acquire wealth places him at odds with his family, his culture, and nature, as Kino himself succumbs to greed and violence.

RISING ACTION  · A scorpion stings Coyotito; Kino discovers a great pearl; Kino’s attempts to sell the pearl are unsuccessful, and he is mysteriously attacked; Kino beats Juana for attempting to discard the pearl.

CLIMAX  · Kino kills a man who attacks him for his pearl, an event that exposes the tension surrounding this object as a bringer of great evil as well as a chance for salvation.

FALLING ACTION  · Kino and Juana flee the village and find themselves chased by trackers; Kino fights with the trackers, not knowing that they have taken Coyotito’s cry to be that of a coyote and shot him; Kino and Juana return to the village and throw the pearl back into the sea.

THEMES  · Greed as a destructive force; the roles of fate and agency in shaping human life; colonial society’s oppression of native cultures

MOTIFS  · Nature imagery, Kino’s songs

SYMBOLS  · The pearl, the scorpion, Kino’s canoe

FORESHADOWING  · Coyotito’s name; the discussion of “The Pearl That Might Be”; Juana’s prayer for Kino to find a great pearl; Juana and Juan Tomás’s warnings to Kino that the pearl is dangerous.


The relatively simple plot of,”The Pearl” by John Steinbeck tells the eloquent story of how greed and lust for power and wealth have the immediate propensity to corrupt one’s mind and one’s innocence, leading to unnecessary  disputes and irrevocable violence and in the end, it only leads to disillusionment. In my humble opinion, the story tells a simple and undeniable truth – what we want is not always what we need.

Wants are desires and luxuries that do not reflect particularly on necessities or needs. HOARDING is to a large extent, a form of greed, as it is an unnecessary accumulation of our wants, rather than our needs. It is amazing how much one tends to hoard in one’s lifetime!

In the context of the novella, Kino thinks that he wants the magnificent pearl – the pearl that could bring him fame and fortune – but it is really not what he needs. He had been happy enough without the complications that it brought in its wake.

The Root of all Evil is Greed – we should, honestly, start at the grass-level to root it out of our lives.


Falling Leaves and a Chinese Cinderella


“Falling Leaves: The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter”

By Adeline Yen Mah

(Source: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54529.Falling_Leaves)

Born in 1937 in a port city a thousand miles north of Shanghai, Adeline Yen Mah was the youngest child of an affluent Chinese family who enjoyed rare privileges during a time of political and cultural upheaval. But wealth and position could not shield Adeline from a childhood of appalling emotional abuse at the hands of a cruel and manipulative Eurasian stepmother. Determined to survive through her enduring faith in family unity, Adeline struggled for independence as she moved from Hong Kong to England and eventually to the United States to become a physician and writer.
A compelling, painful, and ultimately triumphant story of a girl’s journey into adulthood, Adeline’s story is a testament to the most basic of human needs: acceptance, love, and understanding. With a powerful voice that speaks of the harsh realities of growing up female in a family and society that kept girls in emotional chains, “Falling Leaves” is a work of heartfelt intimacy and a rare authentic portrait of twentieth-century China.


“Falling Leaves”

By Adeline Yen Mah

(Source: http://www.penguinreaders.com/pdf/downloads/pr/teachers-notes/9781405879552.pdf)

About the author

Adeline Yen Mah was born in 1937. In August 1952,

she left her family in Hong Kong and went to England

to study. At University College in London, she studied

medicine and became a doctor. She has written two other

books: Chinese Cinderella and Watching the Tree. She lives

with her husband in California and has two children.


Falling Leaves is the true story of Adeline Yen Mah, who

was born in north-east China in 1937 – her parents’ fifth

child. Her mother died as a result of her birth, which left

her father a sad man feeling in need of a new life. Adeline’s

father seemed never to fully forgive her for his wife’s

death. He married again soon after and Adeline’s new

stepmother, a beautiful young woman they called Niang

(a Chinese word meaning mother), strongly disliked

her. Father and Niang had two other children together:

Franklin (who Niang loved) and Susan (who Niang did

not love). Adeline and her brothers and sisters suffered

emotionally and physically from their cruel stepmother’s

words and actions – but Adeline suffered more than the

others. Her story is full of the pain and heartbreak of a

young girl always hoping that her father will be proud of

her. But it is also a story of hope. Adeline works very hard

in school and wins prizes. When she wins a play-writing

competition, her life changes. She goes to England and

studies medicine and becomes a doctor. After a failed

marriage, in which she has a child, she finds real happiness

with her second husband. The lives of all the members

of her family, as seen through the troubles of twentieth

century China, make this an unforgettable and very

interesting story, which begins and ends with the reading

of Adeline’s father’s will. Niang has left him penniless.

She has taken all of his money and property. When Niang

dies, she leaves nothing to Adeline. The relationship

between Adeline and Niang is painful and shocking, but

the Chinese tradition of obedience makes it impossible

for Adeline to be anything other than dutiful towards this


Chapters 1–2: Jun-ling was born in 1937 in China.

Her mother died shortly after her birth, so Jun-ling is

an unwanted child. Jun-ling’s father remarries and Niang,

changes the children’s names.

Chapters 3–4: Adeline’s ( Jun-ling’s) childhood was

unhappy. She was badly treated especially after she stopped

her stepmother, Niang, from beating her daughter Susan.

Her Aunt Baba was kind to her but it was a difficult time

as Niang controlled everyone’s money.

Chapters 5–7: Adeline’s friends come to see her and

she is whipped as a result. She is sent away to school and

becomes ill and nearly dies. Her father visits her once.

The family escape to Hong Kong when the communists

take over.

Chapters 8–12: Adeline wins a writing competition and

goes to England to study medicine. When she returns to

Hong Kong, her father organizes her career. She moves to

America, where she marries Byron and has a son. Byron

is violent and the marriage fails. Susan, Adeline’s sister is

disowned by the family.

Chapters 13–16: Aunt Baba, who stayed in China, has

suffered a lot under communism. Adeline goes to visit her.

Adeline’s father dies and the family finds out that he has

left them nothing. Everything has been put into Niang’s

name. Later Niang develops cancer and dies. Afterwards

Adeline goes back to visit Aunt Baba who is dying too.

Adeline realizes that Aunt Baba loved her and was like a

mother to her. Both women are peaceful at the end of the




Background and Themes

Social and political upheaval: Throughout the

nineteenth century China suffered from rebellion,

war and foreign take-overs. By the end of the century,

the world powers controlled areas in most large cities and

these areas were not considered Chinese. In this story,

Adeline’s father and stepmother move the family to the

French area of Tianjin.

The government at that time was weak and dishonest.

It did, however, try to make some improvements but in

1911 there was a revolution led by Sun Yat Sen, which

saw the start of a republic in South China. In 1912 the

Empress died and Manchu rule ended. This was a time

of great social change and political upheaval. As modern

and democratic ideas spread, young men cut off their long

hair, and women refused to have their feet bound. These

were very daring, and even dangerous things to do.

Communism: In 1921 the Chinese communist party

was formed, and for some time worked together with the

nationalist Kuomintang. Sun Yat Sen even invited advisers

from the Soviet Union to help with the changes. But

after he died in 1925 anticommunists in the Kuomintang

formed a nationalist government under Chiang Kai-Shek

and they began fighting against each other.

War: The Japanese had taken a large area of North China

as a result of the First World War. They soon began to

fight for more land, including Shanghai, which was

heavily bombed in 1937. After the Second World War all

foreign countries gave up their areas in China, but fighting

between the communists and nationalists continued

until the communists drove out the Kuomintang. They

formed the government in Peking (Beijing) in 1949. The

nationalists escaped to the island of Formosa, now Taiwan,

where they claimed to be the real government of China.

The only part of China that remained under foreign

rule was Hong Kong, which had been leased to Great

Britain for ninety-nine years. The communist government

changed many traditional things in China, and not all of

these changes were popular.

Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution: In 1956,

to make the government more popular and to make

people feel they could express views and opinions on the

government, Mao Zedong began the Hundred Flowers

Campaign (sometimes called the Double Hundred

Campaign). This was followed by the ‘Great Leap

Forward’, which aimed to encourage speedy economic

development. There were arguments about both

campaigns in the Communist Party, and Mao himself

was criticized. In 1966, to regain control, Mao began the

Cultural Revolution. He encouraged young students and

workers to form the Red Guards, whose job was to stop all

protest or complaint about the communists. At this time

millions of people, many of them educated intellectuals

and party officials who didn’t support Mao, were sent

to work camps or even killed. The Cultural Revolution

finally ended when Mao died in 1976.


Adeline Yen Mah

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Adeline Yen Mah
Native name Mǎ Yán Jūnlíng
Born Yen Jun-ling
30 November 1937 (age 77)
TianjinRepublic of China
Residence London, UK
California, USA
Other names Adeline Mah, Adeline Yen, Adeline Yen Mah
Education St Joseph’s Primary School,Tianjin
Sheng Xin primary School, Shanghai
Sacred Heart Canossian College, Hong Kong
London Hospital Medical School, London, UK
Occupation Author, Physician
Known for Writing
Notable work “Falling Leaves”, “Chinese Cinderella”
Title Dr. Adeline Yen Mah
Religion Traditional Chinese beliefs
Spouse(s) Byron Bai-lun Soon
Robert A. Mah
Children Roger Mah
Ann Mah
Parent(s) Joseph Yen Tse-Rung
Ren Yong-Ping
Relatives 4 siblings
2 half-siblings
Aunt Baba (paternal aunt)
Jeanne Virginie Prosperi (step-mother)
Yen Shunzhen (great-aunt)
Website www.adelineyenmah.com

Adeline Yen Mah (simplified Chinese: 马严君玲; traditional Chinese: 馬嚴君玲;pinyinMǎ Yán Jūnlíng) is a Chinese-American author and physician. She grew up in Tianjin, Shanghai and Hong Kong and is known for her autobiography Falling Leaves. She is married to Professor Robert A. Mah with whom she has a daughter, and a son from a previous marriage.

Early life

Adeline Yen Mah was born in TianjinRepublic of China on 30 November 1937, to Joseph Yen (Yen Tse-Rung), a businessman, and Ren Yong-ping, an accountant. She had an older sister called Lydia (Jun-pei) and three older brothers, Gregory (Zi-jie), James (Zi-lin) and Edgar (Zi-jun). She has stated in Falling Leaves that she did not use the real names of her siblings and their spouses to protect their identities but she did, however, use the real names of her father, stepmother, aunt and husband, while referring to her paternal grandparents only by the Chinese terms ‘Ye Ye’ and ‘Nai Nai’ .

Yen Mah also writes of her Ye Ye’s younger sister, whom she calls either ‘Grand Aunt’ or ‘Grand Uncle Gong Gong’, and cites as founder and president of the Shanghai Women’s Bank.

When Yen Mah was a year old in 1938, Joseph Yen married a half-French, half-Chinese (Eurasian) 17-year-old woman named Jeanne Virginie Prosperi. The children referred to her as Niang (娘 niáng, another Chinese term for mother), and she is called so throughout the whole book. They had two children, Franklin and Susan (Jun-qing).

Her legal birthday is 30 November, as her father did not record her date of birth and instead he gave her his own (a common practice prior to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949). Two weeks after her birth, her mother died ofpuerperal fever and according to traditional Chinese beliefs, Yen Mah was called ‘bad luck’ by the rest of her family.

Allegations of child abuse

In her autobiography Chinese Cinderella, Adeline Yen Mah talks about the emotional and physical abuse she suffered in her childhood from her parents. They did such things as starve their children, slap them, send them off at the age of 14 to leave and get a job, and did not protect their children during the war. Needless to say, her parents were only half of her parents. Her mother, the ringleader of it all, was actually a step mother. When her father and step mother had new children from the second marriage, they loved, cherished and pampered those children while leaving all the other children out.

Eventually, her parents one by one let an older child come into the “new and better” family, but Yen Mah was never included in this. They left her out because out of all the children they disliked, they disliked her the most. She was the youngest of the first family, and they hated her and abused her the most. She only had 2 relatives who really cared about her, and that was her Ye Ye (Grandfather) and her Aunt Baba.

Aunt Baba and Ye Ye

Aunt Baba and Ye Ye were the only family members who really cared for Adeline Yen Mah. Later in the book, Adeline is not allowed to see Aunt Baba anymore because of her parents’ cruelty and Ye Ye also later dies because of his old age and he is weak. This leads to when Adeline starts writing books and plays from her experiences and wins awards, such as gaining her father’s love and pride. She gets her one wish to go to college and everything has changed from then. She is free from her parents and free to see Aunt Baba and remember Ye Ye.

Shanghai and Hong Kong

After the death of Nai Nai, Yen Mah’s father (Joseph) and stepmother (Prosperi) moved from Tianjin to Shanghai to a house along Avenue Joffre; Yen Mah and her full siblings joined them at the house soon afterward. Two months later, her aunt, Ye Ye, and Susan arrived (the former two delayed moving to observe the hundred days’ mourning period for Nai Nai). When Susan arrived, she was too young to recognise her mother, Prosperi, who thus beat her soundly in frustration. Yen Mah intervened, leading Prosperi to declare that she would never forgive her.

The Yen family later moved to Hong Kong when Yen Mah was eleven, and she transferred to Sacred Heart School and Orphanage (Sacred Heart Canossian College). At the age of fourteen, as her autobiography states, Yen Mah won a play-writing competition for her work Gone With the Locusts, and her father allowed her to study in England with James.


Yen Mah left for the United Kingdom in August 1952, and studied medicine at London Hospital Medical School, eventually establishing a medical practice in California. Before the start of her career in United States, she had a brief relationship with a man named Karl, practised medicine in Hong Kong hospital at the behest of her father, who refused to give her air fare when she expressed plans to move to America. She has stated in an interview with the South China Morning Post that her father wanted her to become an obstetrician in the belief that women wanted treatment only from a female doctor, but as she hated obstetrics she became an anaesthesiologist instead.

Literary career

Her autobiography, Falling Leaves, was published in 1997, shortly after Jung Chang‘s memoir Wild Swans. It made the New York Times Bestseller list, selling over a million copies worldwide and translated into twenty two languages. Beginning with her traumatic childhood under her stepmother’s cruelty, it goes on to recount how, after Joseph Yen died, Prosperi had prevented his children from reading his will until her own death two years later. When the wills were read, Yen Mah had apparently been disinherited. The success of Falling Leaves prompted Yen Mah to quit medicine and devote her time to writing.

Falling Leaves was translated into Chinese for the Taiwan market. It was titled Luoyeguigen (T: 落葉歸根, S: 落叶归根, P:Luòyèguīgēn). Unlike other cases of memoirs, the novel was translated by the original writer.

Her second work, Chinese Cinderella, was an abridged version of her autobiography, and sold over one million copies worldwide. It received numerous awards, including The Children’s Literature Council of Southern California in 2000 for Compelling Autobiography; and the Lamplighter’s Award from National Christian School Association for Contribution to Exceptional Children’s Literature in June 2002.

Published in 2001, her third book, Watching the Tree, is about Chinese philosophy and traditional beliefs (including Traditional Chinese Medicine). A Thousand Pieces of Gold was published in 2002, and looks at events under the Qin and Han dynasties through Chinese proverbs and their origins in Sima Qian‘s history, Shiji.

Children’s literature

Yen Mah has written three further books for children and young adultsChinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society, her first fiction work, is based on events in World War II, and Along the River, another fictional book based on Chinese history.China, Land of Dragons and Emperors is a non-fiction history book for young adults.

In 2004, Yen Mah was voted fourth on the New Zealand children’s best seller lists.

“Falling Leaves Foundation”

Adeline Yen Mah is Founder and President of the “Falling Leaves Foundation,” whose mission is ‘to promote understanding between East and West’ and provides funds for the study of Chinese history, language, and culture. There is also a website dedicated to teaching Chinese over the Internet for free, and the foundation has established a poetry prize at UCLA.


The most basic needs of any human being on this planet – regardless of age, hierarchy, caste, class or creed – are those of love, respect, acceptance, kindness, tolerance and understanding. To deprive any person of these most basic needs is to commit a grave sin. Remember – one cannot hope to receive love, respect, kindness, tolerance and understanding unless one is prepared to give the same to another in equal measure and please do not be miserly in this matter!

Learn to be generous-hearted and kind-hearted in your ways – goodness begets goodness; benevolence begets benevolence and respect begets respect. The world would be a much better to place to live in, if each and every one of us made a conscious and disciplined effort to think and behave likewise. This blog expresses a very simple truth – yet it is amazing how few people take heed of it!

P.S. The staunch campaign of this Blog site is to promote the maximum amount of public awareness in reaching out to all and sundry globally – it strongly endeavours to promote “A Better Tomorrow, Better People and a Better World.” 


These blogs were never created for the sake of general entertainment; they were never conceived for idle pleasure. Continue to re-read them, oft and on. These blogs actively try to make our Earth a better place to live in. Please help me in this regard. So,

Adeline Yen Mah
Adeline Yen Mah
Adeline Yen Mah
Adeline Yen Mah

join me and let us go on an incredible journey whose final destination is a Glorious and Bright Future and at the end of this road, I promise you, lies a truly exquisite rainbow. Come, hold my hand and I will lead you to it.


“Angels and Demons:” Pride Comes Before a Fall

Angels & Demons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Angels & Demons is a 2000 bestselling mysterythriller novel written by American author Dan Brown and published by Pocket Books and then by Corgi Books. The novel introduces the character Robert Langdon, who is also the protagonist of Brown’s subsequent 2003 novel, The Da Vinci Code; his 2009 novel, The Lost Symbol; and the 2013 novel Inferno. Angels and Demons shares many stylistic literary elements with its sequel, such as conspiracies of secret societies, a single-day time frame, and the Catholic Church. Ancient history, architecture, and symbolism are also heavily referenced throughout the book. A film adaptation was released on May 15, 2009. The Da Vinci Code film had been released in 2006.


CERN director Maximilian Kohler discovers one of the facility’s physicists, Leonardo Vetra, murdered. His chest is branded with an ambigram of the word “Illuminati“. Kohler contacts Robert Langdon, an expert on the Illuminati, who determines that the ambigram is authentic. Kohler calls Vetra’s adopted daughter Vittoria to the scene, and it is ascertained that the Illuminati have stolen a canister containing antimatter — a substance with destructive potential comparable to a nuclear weapon. When at CERN the canister is stored in a unique electrical charger which ensures the antimatter’s stability but when removed its back-up battery provides power for 24 hours after which the anti-matter will self-destruct. The canister is somewhere in Vatican City, with a security camera in front of it, as its digital clock counts down to the explosion.

Langdon and Vittoria make their way to Vatican City, where the Pope has recently died. They are told that the four Preferiti, the cardinals who are most likely to be elected pope, are missing. Langdon and Vittoria search for the Preferiti in hopes that they will also find the antimatter canister. Their search is assisted by Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca (the late pope’s closest aide) and the Vatican’s Swiss Guard.

Langdon attempts to retrace the steps of the “Path of Illumination”, a process once used by the Illuminati as a means of inducting new members; aspirants to the order were required to follow a series of subtle clues left in various landmarks in and around Rome. The clues indicate the secret meeting place of the Illuminati. Langdon sets off on the Path of Illumination in hopes of delivering the Preferiti and recovering the antimatter canister.

The Path leads Langdon to four locations in Rome, each associated with one of the primordial elements: ‘Earth’, ‘Air’, ‘Fire’, and ‘Water’. Langdon finds one of the Preferiti murdered in a way thematically related to each location’s related element. The first cardinal was branded with an Earth ambigram and had soil forced down his throat, suffocating him; the second was branded with an Air ambigram and had his lungs punctured; the third was branded with a Fire ambigram and was burned alive; and the fourth was branded with a Water ambigram and was wrapped in chains and left to drown at the bottom of a fountain.

After finding the bodies of the first two Preferiti, Langdon hurries to the Santa Maria della Vittoria Basilica and finds the Preferiti’s abductor in the act of setting the third cardinal on fire. The kidnapper is an unnamed assassin who is working under the orders of the Illuminati master “Janus”, whose true identity is unknown. Commander Olivetti is killed and the assassin kidnaps Vittoria. Langdon escapes and accosts the assassin at the final element’s landmark (Water), but is unable to save the cardinal.

Langdon must complete the Path of Illumination in order to find the assassin and rescue Vittoria. His search leads him to Castel Sant’Angelo, which hides a tunnel leading directly into the pope’s chambers in the Vatican. Langdon frees Vittoria, and together they send the assassin falling several hundred feet to his death. The two hurry back to St. Peter’s Basilica, where they find that Kohler has arrived to confront the Camerlengo in private. Langdon and Vittoria fear that Kohler is Janus, and that he has come to murder the Camerlengo. Hearing the Camerlengo scream in agony from being branded with the Illuminati Diamond, the Swiss Guards burst into the room and open fire on Kohler. Just before he dies, Kohler gives Langdon a videotape that he says to show to the media.

With time running out, the Swiss Guard evacuates the Basilica. The Camerlengo rushes back in, claiming that he has received a vision from God revealing the location of the antimatter canister. With Langdon in pursuit, the Camerlengo ventures into the catacombs and finds the canister sitting atop the tomb of Saint Peter. Langdon and the Camerlengo retrieve the antimatter and get in a helicopter with only minutes to spare. The Camerlengo manages to parachute safely onto the roof of St. Peter’s just as the canister explodes harmlessly in the sky. The crowd in St. Peter’s Square look in awe as the Camerlengo stands triumphantly before them. Because of this “miracle”, the papal conclave debate whether to elect the Camerlengo as the new Pope. Langdon manages to survive the explosion by using a window cover from the helicopter as a parachute, and lands in the Tiber River.

After viewing Kohler’s tape, Langdon, Vittoria, and the cardinals confront the Camerlengo. Shortly before the beginning of the novel, the Pope met with Leonardo Vetra who believed that anti-matter was capable of establishing a link between humanity and God. Vetra’s beliefs caused great discomfort to the Camerlengo. While discussing Vetra, the pope reveals that his support is due to science having given him a son. Without waiting to hear the explanation (that the child was the result of artificial insemination), and horrified that the Pope appeared to have broken his vow of chastity, the Camerlengo plots to “rectify” the situation. He poisoned the pope and, under the guise of an Illuminati master (Janus), he recruited the assassin to kill Vetra, steal the antimatter, and kidnap and murder the Preferiti. The Camerlengo planted the antimatter in St. Peter’s, feigned his last-minute vision from God, and retrieved the canister just in time to save the Vatican from the ensuing explosion. This was in hope to unite the struggling Catholic Church. The Illuminati “involvement” was merely a plot engineered by the Camerlengo to cover his own plans. Upon the discovery and the Camerlengo’s attempts to justify his killing of the Pope, Mortati, Dean of the College of Cardinals, reveals that Carlo Ventresca (the Camerlengo) was in fact the biological son of the late pope, conceived with a nun through artificial insemination. Overcome with guilt, Ventresca soaks himself in oil and sets himself on fire before a crowd of onlookers in St. Peter’s Square. His ashes are recovered by Mortati, who places them in an urn inside his father’s sarcophagus. It is revealed that the Cardinals’ endorsing of him would in fact have made him Pope by acclamation. Mortati is elected his successor by the conclave, and Langdon and Vittoria reunite at Hotel Bernini where they share an extensive meal before making love. The last brand, the long-lost “Illuminati Diamond”, is delivered by a Swiss Guard to Langdon on an indefinite loan, provided he would return it to the other Illuminati brands – long-since owned by the Vatican – through his final will.


The Sin of Pride

(Source: http://www.deadlysins.com/pride/)

“It was Pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” – St. Augustine


The Sin of Pride is said by some to the the foremost of the Seven Deadly Sins. Hubris is the gateway through all other sin enters the mortal soul.

What is it?

Pride is excessive belief in one’s own abilities that interferes with the individual’s recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.

Why you do it?

Well-meaning elementary school teachers told you to “believe in yourself.”

Your punishment in Hell will be?

You’ll be broken on the wheel.

Associated symbols & suchlike

Pride is linked with the horse and the color violet.

Related Resources

Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas said of Pride “inordinate self-love is the cause of every sin (1,77) … the root of pride is found to consist in man not being, in some way, subject to God and His rule.”

The Travelers’ Guide to Hell says that
Pride is ruled by the celestial sign of the Sun. It is “the mother of all sins… the thin line between righteousness and self-righteousness.”

Of the seven deadly sins, pride is the only one with a virtuous side. It is certainly a good thing to have pride in one’s country, in one’s community, in oneself. But when taken too far, as Michael Eric Dyson shows in Pride, these virtues become deadly sins.


The Seven Deadly Sins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, is a classification of vices (part of Christian ethics) that has been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct Christians concerning fallen humanity’s tendency to sin. In the currently recognized version, the sins are usually given as wrathgreedsloth, pridelustenvy, and gluttony. Each is a form of Idolatry-of-Self wherein the subjective reigns over the objective.

The Catholic Church divides sin into two categories: venial sins, in which guilt is relatively minor, and the more severe mortal sins. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a mortal or deadly sin is believed to destroy the life of grace andcharity within a person. Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us – that is, charity – necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and venial sin, a classification of vices (part of Christian ethics) that has been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct Christians concerning fallen humanity’s tendency to sin.

Beginning in the early 14th century, the popularity of the seven deadly sins as a theme among European artists of the time eventually helped to ingrain them in many areas of Catholic culture and Catholic consciousness in general throughout the world. One means of such ingraining was the creation of the mnemonic acronym “SALIGIA” based on the first letters in Latin of the seven deadly sins: superbiaavaritialuxuriainvidiagulairaacedia.

Biblical lists

In the Book of Proverbs 6:16-19, among the verses traditionally associated with King Solomon, it states that the Lord specifically regards “six things the Lord hateth, and seven that are an abomination unto Him”, namely:

  1. A proud look
  2. A lying tongue
  3. Hands that shed innocent blood
  4. A heart that devises wicked plots
  5. Feet that are swift to run into mischief
  6. A deceitful witness that uttereth lies
  7. Him that soweth discord among brethren

Another list, given this time by the Epistle to the Galatians (Galatians 5:19-21), includes more of the traditional seven sins, although the list is substantially longer: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revelling, “and such like”. Since the apostle Paul goes on to say that the persons who practice these sins “shall not inherit the Kingdom of God”, they are usually listed as (possible) mortal sins rather than capital vices.


The modern concept of the seven deadly sins is linked to the works of the fourth-century monk Evagrius Ponticus, who listed eight evil thoughts in Greek as follows:

  • Γαστριμαργία(gastrimargia) gluttony
  • Πορνεία(porneia) prostitutionfornication
  • Φιλαργυρία(philargyria) avarice
  • Ὑπερηφανία(hyperēphania) hubris – sometimes rendered as self-esteem.
  • Λύπη(lypē) sadness – in the Philokalia, this term is rendered as envy, sadness at another’s good fortune
  • Ὀργή(orgē) wrath
  • Κενοδοξία(kenodoxia) boasting
  • Ἀκηδία(akēdia) acedia – in the Philokalia, this term is rendered as dejection

They were translated into the Latin of Western Christianity (largely due to the writings of John Cassian) thus becoming part of the Western tradition’s spiritual pietas (orCatholic devotions), as follows:

  • Gula(gluttony)
  • Fornicatio(fornication, lust)
  • Avaritia(avarice/greed)
  • Superbia(hubris, pride)
  • Tristitia(sorrow/despair/despondency)
  • Ira(wrath)
  • Vanagloria(vainglory)
  • Acedia(sloth)

These “evil thoughts” can be categorized into three types:

  • lustful appetite (gluttony, fornication, and avarice)
  • irascibility (wrath)
  • mind-related (vainglory, sorrow, pride, and discouragement)

In AD 590, a little over two centuries after Evagrius wrote his list, Pope Gregory I revised this list to form the more commonSeven Deadly Sins, by folding (sorrow/despair/despondency) into acediavainglory into pride, and adding envy.  In the order used by Pope Gregory, and repeated by Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) centuries later in his epic poem The Divine Comedy, the seven deadly sins are as follows:

  1. luxuria(lechery/lust)
  2. gula(gluttony)
  3. avaritia(avarice/greed)
  4. acedia(sloth/discouragement)
  5. ira(wrath)
  6. invidia(envy)
  7. superbia(pride)

The identification and definition of the seven deadly sins over their history has been a fluid process and the idea of what each of the seven actually encompasses has evolved over time. Additionally, as a result of semantic change:

  • socordiasloth was substituted for acedia

It is this revised list that Dante uses. The process of semantic change has been aided by the fact that the personality traits are not collectively referred to, in either a cohesive or codified manner, by the Bible itself; other literary and ecclesiastical works were instead consulted, as sources from which definitions might be drawn. Part II of Dante’s Divine Comedy,Purgatorio, has almost certainly been the best known source since the Renaissance.

The modern Catholic Catechism lists the sins in Latin as “superbia, avaritia, invidia, ira, luxuria, gula, pigritia seu acedia“, with an English translation of “pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth/acedia“. Each of the seven deadly sins now also has an opposite among corresponding seven holy virtues (sometimes also referred to as the contrary virtues). In parallel order to the sins they oppose, the seven holy virtues are humility, charity, kindnesspatiencechastitytemperance, and diligence.


Pride (Latin, superbia), or hubris (Greek), is considered, on almost every list, the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins: the source of the others. It is identified as believing that one is essentially better than others, failing to acknowledge the accomplishments of others, and excessive admiration of the personal self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God); it also includes vainglory(Latin, vanagloria) which is unjustified boasting. Dante’s definition of pride was “love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbour”. In Jacob Bidermann’s medieval miracle playCenodoxus, pride is the deadliest of all the sins and leads directly to the damnation of the titulary famed Parisian doctor. In perhaps the best-known example, the story of Lucifer, pride (his desire to compete with God) was what caused his fall from Heaven, and his resultant transformation into Satan. In Dante’sDivine Comedy, the penitents are burdened with stone slabs on their necks which force them to keep their heads bowed.

Historical sins


Acedia (Latin, acedia) (from Greek ἀκηδία) is the neglect to take care of something that one should do. It is translated to apathetic listlessness; depression without joy. It is related to melancholyacedia describes the behaviour and melancholy suggests the emotion producing it. In early Christian thought, the lack of joy was regarded as a willful refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world God created; by contrast, apathy was considered a refusal to help others in time of need.

When Thomas Aquinas described acedia in his interpretation of the list, he described it as an uneasiness of the mind, being a progenitor for lesser sins such as restlessness and instability. Dante refined this definition further, describing acedia as the failure to love God with all one’s heart, all one’s mind and all one’s soul; to him it was the middle sin, the only one characterised by an absence or insufficiency of love. Some scholars have said that the ultimate form of acedia was despair which leads to suicide.


Vainglory (Latin, vanagloria) is unjustified boasting. Pope Gregory viewed it as a form of pride, so he folded vainglory into pride for his listing of sins.

The Latin term gloria roughly means boasting, although its English cognate – glory – has come to have an exclusively positive meaning; historically, vain roughly meant futile, but by the 14th century had come to have the strong narcissistic undertones, of irrelevant accuracy, that it retains today. As a result of these semantic changes,vainglory has become a rarely used word in itself, and is now commonly interpreted as referring to vanity (in its modern narcissistic sense).

The Catholic Seven Virtues

The Catholic Church also recognizes seven virtues, which correspond inversely to each of the seven deadly sins.

Vice Latin Virtue Latin
Lust Luxuria Chastity Castitas
Gluttony Gula Temperance Temperantia
Greed Avaritia Charity (or, sometimes, Generosity) Caritas
Sloth Acedia Diligence Industria
Wrath Ira Patience Patientia
Envy Invidia Kindness Humanitas
Pride Superbia Humility Humilitas

Associations with demons

The Lanterne of Light, an anonymous English Lollard tract often attributed to Wycliffe (with dissent expressed regarding that conclusion), paired each of the deadly sins with a demon who tempted people by means of the associated sin.

According to this classification system, the pairings are as follows:

In 1589, Peter Binsfeld again paired each of the deadly sins with a demon, in a slightly contrasting classification system, whereby the pairings are as follows:


According to a 2009 study by a Jesuit scholar, the most common deadly sin confessed by men is lust, and for women, pride. It was unclear whether these differences were due to the actual number of transgressions committed by each gender, or whether differing views on what “counts” or should be confessed caused the observed pattern.


“Angels and Demons”: A Critical Analysis

(Source: http://angelsanddemonsbookreveiw.blogspot.in/2012/08/angels-and-demonsa-critical-analysis.html)

Introduction to Novel and Report:

The novel is a breathless, real-time adventure. It is exciting, fast-paced, with an unusually high IQ.

The novel covers a fiction-based adventure, occurring in Rome, including all factual places and architecture.

The setting in the novel is all antique Christianity-based art-work including churches, sculptures and paintings all over Rome (Vatican City). The time frame is based on the long-lasting confusion between Science and the religion, increasing in this modern age, where Science is progressing rapidly, influencing our lives.

My report on this novel discusses the aspects stressed by author.

One of the major issues discussed in the story is the ever-lasting conflict between religion and science. The story is sketched between the Roman Papal-dominance and an ancient brotherhood of Science – The Illuminati (the enlightened ones).

Another aspect is the question for the preference of Science or religion on basis of which gives the best suitable answers to the questions the man has, since the very beginning of time. There is again an argument whether Science or religion solves or aggravates the situation.

In the report, character development, continuity and coherence of the events taking place in novel, imagery and details of the ancient Roman art and structure and central dogma of the novel are discussed.

Author’s un-biased flow in the story:

The coherence never breaks in the novel. Author has remained unbiased throughout the story. He has neutrally compared Science and Religion and has left the decision to the reader for the right choice. He has just made a debate for positive and negative aspects and has pictured effects and side-effects of both for the readers.

Tone /mood of the story and writing style:

The author at first seems to be more stuffed with scientific terms as he introduces CERN and explores so many modern devices in there i.e Particle accelerator, HSCT (high speed civil transport), Haz-Mat, the world wide web, Kohler’s electric wheel-chair, anti-matter and specially designed canisters for its storage, annihilation chambers etc.

The writing style of the story is very moving and captivating. At time, while reading, the reader miss a heartbeat. Collectively, it was not a literary novel in terms of writing but the author knew how to end a chapter, keep a book moving and develop some good character.

Writer’s theme / central dogma:

The main purpose of the author to write such a story seems as if he is trying to coincide the ends of Science and Religion, which most of the times is thought to be a distance apart. The author has set a fitction as well as thriller in a historic plot. All the settings in the novel are stunningly superb. It keeps a reader going and also u-to-date with history as well Science. The main objective that author wants to achieve is he is trying to tell a new way how to balance between both the important things for life. He also gives a notion to the readers that Science never confronts the religion rather it reinforces its ideas. He is of the view that Science itself is not bad at all, but who is uses it makes the difference. So is the case with religion. It seems that the story satisfies the dogma and objective that wants to get, so far.

Some differences between the novel and the movie based on it:

  1. In the novel, the anti-matter concept was kept between Vittoria and her father, but this is not mentioned in the movie.
  2. Leonardo Vetra wasn’t found dead in the movie.
  3. Robert Langdon finds everything easily and so quickly in the movie, while in the novel he faces the difficulty of dim-lighting, choking (no air inside the Archives in order to keep ancient scriptures safe from environmental hazards) and complex catalouging.
  4. The annoying tour-guide that Langdon and Vittoria find in the Pantheon is completely absent in the movie.
  5. The BBC reporter and camera-woman, Gunther Glick and Chinita Marci that follow them all throughout the expedition are absent in the movie.

Climax and resolution:

Using the fore-shadowing technique at many places, it may occur to the reader as climax at every such point, but the original climax comes when it is revealed that as the Illuminati plot was engineered by Camerlengo Carlo Vetrensca and no Janus or Illuminati really exist in the whole scene. The fact unveiled at the end that Carlo is the son of late Pope (which he conceived by artificial insemination) can be said another climax.

The point when Carlo pretends to get a revelation or a secret message from God regarding the exact location of anti-matter may also seems to be a climax.

But the actual climax is the one mentioned earlier and the author has superbly resolved it, leaving no confusion in the reader’s mind.

Besides the climax, the story contains a number of scenes where a reader cannot leave the story (that is actually the definition of climax)


“Angels & Demons” is a 2000 bestselling mysterythriller novel written by American author Dan Brown and published by Corgi Books.

The novel introduces the character Robert Langdon. It also shares many stylistic literary elements with its sequel, such as conspiracies of secret societies, a single-day time frame, and the Catholic Church. Ancient history, architecture, and symbolism are also heavily referenced throughout the book.

My initial reaction to this book, having read the cover blurbs was definitely not a positive one. I envisioned an international spy thriller with religious and historical overtones. While a perfectly acceptable premise for a novel, but subject matter that has little interest for me. But I was wrong. While the capsule description on the cover is accurate, Angels and Demons has a much more wide-ranging appeal.

The story itself is very plot-driven and the suspense never seems to end. It is a page turner, thriller-packed from the very beginning. It contains a little bit of everything including a little romance, drama, science fiction and lots of action. But what had my eyes glued to the pages was the amount of mysteries and questions that came with every moment. The reader doesn’t need to worry about getting lost, this book didn’t have so many characters that one couldn’t keep up easily.

It is exceedingly well written. The author makes no mistakes in plotting, and draws the reader’s interest into unfamiliar territory with his accurate prose. Scientific matters are explained in terms laymen can easily understand. The history and customs of the Catholic church are discussed in detail as they relate to the plot. A physical description of the buildings and terrain of Vatican City, worthy of any travelogue, both as it appears today and did historically is presented adding a realistic touch to the novel.

In short, Angels and Demons is a good escapist fiction. Black-hearted villains, a damsel in distress, a reluctant hero, a mystery, a smattering of red-herrings.


The main purpose of this blog is not so much a detailed discussion on the complex plot of “Angels and Demons,” as it is an insight into false pride and arrogance – it is a story of overriding ambition wherein one man (Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca – the late Pope’s closest aide) is totally ruthless, brazenly unscrupulous and highly insensitive in his race to reach the top of the ladder. Some people do not care whose feet (or how many feet, for that matter) they need to trample before winning the race to the top. This is a work of fiction, based on real settings but it amply describes how false pride and arrogance will always have a fall.

This story just goes to prove that the means do not justify the end (or vice versa.) Ambition, in itself, is not wrong – it is noteworthy, provided the pursuit of it does not put others down in the hope of promoting oneself.

It is thus not for nothing that Pride occupies the first place among the Seven Deadly Sins.

Scene from the movie.
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Pride always comes before a fall.

The novel, "Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown.
The novel, “Angels and Demons” by Dan Brown.
The movie, "Angels and Demons"  is based on the novel by Dan Brown.
The movie, “Angels and Demons” is based on the novel by Dan Brown.
Poster of the movie, "Angels and Demons."
Poster of the movie, “Angels and Demons.”

Cause for Celebration! “Hooked on Inspiration’s Blog” hits its First Century!

Hooked on Inspiration’s Blog proudly announces to the world that it has published its 100th blog on 9 August 2015.

Ever since its inception in October 2012, this blog site has strongly endeavoured to ensure maximum public awareness and it aims to provide maximum exposure in its serious attempt to promote a Better Tomorrow; Better People and hence a Better World. This is my website’s staunch campaign and it is no longer just a distant and frivolous dream. It portrays to the world the various objective ways and means that can be artfully used to make this unique dream – OUR dream, a striking reality. With a little effort; with a little time and most importantly, with discipline, this objective can be realised, by one and all, only if one hopes to try and try hard enough.

Let’s promise to make this dream – the Dream of a Better World – our undying legacy for the future generations to come.

Come, join hands with me, let’s work together, united as one, in making our Earth a Better Place to live in!

I sincerely hope that you enjoy reading all my blogs, as much as I’ve enjoyed contributing to them.

So, Cheers to you all!

Hitting a century!
Hitting a century!
A Better Tomorrow
A Better Tomorrow

A Better World
A Better World
United We Stand, Divided We Fall.
United We Stand, Divided We Fall.
Unity is Strength!
Unity is Strength!

Here’s to moving onwards to the second century – Hip, hip hooray!!!


It’s Now or Never

“It’s Now or Never” – Elvis Presley

It’s now or never,
come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling,
be mine tonight
Tomorrow will be too late,
it’s now or never
My love won’t wait.

When I first saw you
with your smile so tender
My heart was captured,
my soul surrendered
I’d spend a lifetime
waiting for the right time
Now that you’re near
the time is here at last.

It’s now or never,
come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling,
be mine tonight
Tomorrow will be too late,
it’s now or never
My love won’t wait.

Just like a willow,
we would cry an ocean
If we lost true love
and sweet devotion
Your lips excite me,
let your arms invite me
For who knows when
we’ll meet again this way

It’s now or never,
come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling,
be mine tonight
Tomorrow will be too late,
it’s now or never
My love won’t wait.


Elvis Presley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as “the King of Rock and Roll”, or simply, “the King”.

Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi as a twinless twin, and when he was 13 years old, he and his family relocated to Memphis, Tennessee. His music career began there in 1954, when he recorded a song with producer Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Accompanied by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley was an early popularizer of rockabilly, an up-tempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and bluesRCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who managed the singer for more than two decades. Presley’s first RCA single, “Heartbreak Hotel“, was released in January 1956 and became a number-one hit in the United States. He was regarded as the leading figure of rock and roll after a series of successful network television appearances and chart-topping records. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines that coincided with the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement, made him enormously popular—and controversial.

In November 1956, he made his film debut in Love Me Tender. In 1958, he was drafted into military service. He resumed his recording career two years later, producing some of his most commercially successful work before devoting much of the 1960s to making Hollywood movies and their accompanying soundtrack albums, most of which were critically derided. In 1968, following a seven-year break from live performances, he returned to the stage in the acclaimed televised comeback special Elvis, which led to an extended Las Vegas concert residency and a string of highly profitable tours. In 1973, Presley was featured in the first globally broadcast concert via satellite, Aloha from Hawaii. Several years of prescription drug abuse severely damaged his health, and he died in 1977 at the age of 42.

Presley is one of the most celebrated and influential musicians of the 20th century. Commercially successful in many genres, including popblues and gospel, he is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music, with estimated record sales of around 600 million units worldwide.[9] He won three Grammys, also receiving the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36, and has been inducted into multiple music halls of fameForbes named Elvis Presley as the 2nd top earning dead celebrity with $55 million as of 2011.


It’s Now or Never (Song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It’s Now or Never” is a ballad recorded by Elvis Presley and published by Gladys Music, Elvis Presley’s publishing company, in 1960. The melody of the song is adapted from the Italian standard, “‘O Sole mio“, but the inspiration for it came from the song, “There’s No Tomorrow“, recorded by U.S. singer, Tony Martin, in 1949. The lyrics were written by Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold. The single is the second best-selling single covered by Presley, and one of the best-selling singles of all time.

In the late 1950s, while stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army, Presley heard Martin’s recording. According to The New York Times, quoting from the 1986 book Behind the Hits, “he told the idea to his music publisher, Freddy Bienstock, who was visiting him in Germany… Mr. Bienstock, who many times found songwriters for Presley, returned to his New York office, where he found songwriters, Mr. [Aaron] Schroeder and Wally Gold, the only people in that day. The two wrote lyrics in half an hour. Selling more than 20 million records, the song became number one in countries all around and was Presley’s best selling single ever… a song [they] finished in 20 minutes to a half hour was the biggest song of [their] career.”

In 1960, “It’s Now or Never” was a number-one record in the U.S., spending five weeks at number one and the U.K., where it spent eight weeks at the top in 1960 and an additional week at number one in 2005 as a re-issue, and numerous other countries, selling in excess of 25 million copies worldwide, Elvis Presley’s biggest international single ever. Its British release was delayed for some time because of rights issues, allowing the song to build up massive advance orders and to enter the UK Singles Chart at number one, a very rare occurrence at the time. “It’s Now or Never” peaked at number seven on the R&B charts.

A live version featuring “‘O Sole mio” is available on the 1977 live album Elvis in Concert. “‘O Sole mio” is sung by tenor Sherrill Nielson.

In early 2005, the song was re-released along with the other Presley singles in the UK, and again reached number one on the UK Singles Chart for the week of 5 February 2005. The song also appears in the TV mini-series Elvis.


“It’s Now or Never” is composed of eloquent lyrics that condemn the oft used bad habit of human beings to postpone and procrastinate in most things, when the matter at hand could easily be completed or settled at the present moment, instead of later. Later, it just might be too late – that is the powerful message of this beautiful song. In the late 1950s, Elvis Presley was stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army. A young soldier is on the threshold of going to fight in the war and he sings a farewell love song to his one true love – it is as they bade each other goodbye that he fervently urges her to proclaim her love for him, before it is too late. He is not prepared to wait for years for her – hence the words, “my love won’t wait.” He had always thought that they had a lifetime to proclaim their love for each other, but now the inevitable moment has presented itself. He states that only deep regret is to be had if a golden opportunity is not grabbed when it presents itself at one’s door – they would weep bitterly, like the weeping willow, at the loss of their “true love and sweet devotion.” He keeps urging her “to strike while the iron is hot” – golden opportunities don’t present themselves every day.


The “Dohas” (couplets) of Kabir

By James Khan

Hindi/Urdu Verse, Translation and Meaning

(Source: http://detoxifynow.com/kabir-dohas.htm)

Dohas are two line poems in Hindi. The translation presented here is a literal translation of the Hindi verses where this is possible, rather than a poetic re-phrasing of the original verses in English.

With this approach, in most cases, the meaning of the verse is conveyed to the reader, which is the most important part, though sadly, much is lost, including the taste and aspects of the meaning. I have, however, added text to further explain the meaning as best I can.

In my view, it is better to learn Kabir’s verse in Hindi, and know its additional meaning from the use and sound of the original words, otherwise the meaning that Kabir wanted to convey is lost. Hindi/Urdu is considered the ideal language for Poetry, but it often does not have equivalent expressions in English, simply because the experience that those expressions contain don’t exist in the English culture, where different experiences exist.

There is power in Kabir’s choice of words, the sounds convey the power and it is well worth learning the sound and meaning of the Hindi words. The same as for example, the verses of Shakespeare, you would need to learn English to start to understand Shakespeare.

A true poetic translation of Kabir into English that keeps the meaning, tone, meter, rhyme and maintains the vocal and psychological power of the words is not possible. You would need a true genius like Shakespeare to do that. Lesser Poets like Tagore have tried, but the end result is way, way short of the original.

Rabindranath Tagore’s work, One Hundred Poems of Kabir, for example, does not even convey the simple, basic meaning of the original, never mind the subtler, spiritual meaning. In addition, his English is lofty, high English, which conveys little to the average English reader, who would not be much impressed by it. Tagore’s language is not the simple, down to earth language used by the ordinary, generally poor person as Kabir’s use of Hindi was. This is because Tagore’s command of common, native, everyday English was poor, because he never lived in the slums of east London for example. Also even Tagore, who is considered a mystical genius, did not have the required spiritual awareness to understand Kabir fully.

Kabir tended to use simple, common, slang words, rather than the high minded Sanskrit words. Kabir was familiar with Sanskrit, but he wanted to reach the ordinary person on the streets, so he used Hindi. Many of Kabir’s words are not in use today in modern Hindi, which makes understanding him more difficult.

For example, ‘Punyah‘ would not be understood in today’s Hindi, Urdu or Punjabi. Punyah is an expression used in Pahati, my native Kashmiri tongue, which contains Hindi, Punjabi and Sanskrit terms. It means ‘under’ as in ‘under the feet’, or ‘floor’ as in ‘sit on the floor.’ In modern Hindi/Urdu, it would be ‘Nicheh‘, in Punjabi it would be ‘Thelah‘, but these do not convey the sense of Punyah:

Kall pereh punya letna, uper gemsi ghass!

(Tomorrow you’ll be laying under feet, on top will grow grass!).

This literally, in simple words explains what Kabir wanted to convey – that tomorrow you will be laying in your grave, on top the grass will grow. There is humour, as well as meaning about the impermanence of life, in Kabir’s simple original, which is conveyed here.

Most Kabir translations available in English (like Kabir: Ecstatic Poems by Robert Bly), are based on Tagore – they improve on Tagore’s English only. Other English translations are no better than Tagore’s for the same reasons.

Here at least the English reader will have a truer understanding of the meaning of Kabir’s poem/verse.

The tradition of Hindi Spiritual songs in India, rather than Sanskrit Bhajans, derives from the songs and dohas of Kabir. They are still sung in India today. Scholars say that Kabir’s influence on the development of the modern Hindi/Urdu language was the same as Shakespeare’s influence on the development of the English language.


Tomorrow’s Work Do Today

“Kaal Kare So Aaj Kar, Aaj Kare So Ub
Pal Mein Pralaya Hoyegi, Bahuri Karoge Kub?”

Tomorrow’s work do today, today’s work do now
If the moment is lost, how will the work be done?


Do the work that needs to be done now. There is no other time than Now.



Kabir Dohas (Couplets)

(Source: http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Content&sd=DohaDetails&DohaID=3)

“Kaal Kare So Aaj Kar, Aaj Kare So Ub
Pal Mein Pralaya Hoyegi, Bahuri Karoge Kub?”


Tomorrows work do today, today’s work now.
If the moment is lost, the work be done how?

My Understanding

This doha is a little difficult to translate, particularly when the words “Pal mein Pralaya Hoyegi”, have been translated by many scholars as the doomsday may come at any moment or in similar words. In my understanding Kabir, would not have meant this. He knew more than anyone else that if God is eternal, his creation is also eternal. Also being a Guru, Kabir would not like to talk about doomsday, as he himself was full of life.

In this Doha, Kabir has clearly tried to explain the human tendency of laziness and procrastination. It is a known fact that we all tend to postpone matters, we are indecisive and given a choice we would like others to be doing work and we simply enjoying a cool time. When it comes to us, we try to get away by saying, “Very busy, no time.” Don’t we?

This lethargy is what Kabir is condemning. Besides, according to me, his emphasis is on now, the present, the moment as it is. Now, that is Life, the moment. It is in the now, in the spontaneity that one gets energized to do, to achieve, to realize. As they say, it is now or never.

Keeping this context in mind, this Kabir Doha clearly teaches us to shed all procrastination and lethargy. It motivates us to do whatever we have to do, and do it now. If we will keep postponing it, then the work will never be done.

By Rajender Krishan

Visual Art by Simi Nallaseth


“Now or Never” is a significant Philosophy of the Mind and of Life, in general, that strongly condemns sloth, laziness and basic procrastination. Why should you postpone to tomorrow that which could easily be accomplished today? This philosophy can be applied to a variety of contexts but the underlying meaning will always remain the same – don’t postpone to next month that which can just as well be completed this week. Do not postpone to tomorrow what you can do today – in fact, do not postpone what you can do today, to what can be done NOW and can be finished in the present moment. This is the philosophy of Life.

I am not going to give you a long list of various contexts where this important rule applies – I am sure that you will realize well enough when the opportunity presents itself. Golden Opportunities will not be knocking at your door often or every day – learn to grab them when they are up, for the taking.

The most significant things that should NEVER be postponed to later are a proclamation of love or the expression/verbalization/acceptance of an apology. Either learn to strike while the iron is hot or forever make your peace with the fact that you never ever got down to doing it. It is true that there is no “statute of limitations” (legal terminology for a fixed and set time-limit) on the expression of love or in offering/accepting of an apology. However, it is equally true that the true efficacy of the expression of love or the expression of an apology get lost forever in the Mists of Time when unequivocal procrastination sets in & when issues concerning a huge ego and false pride arise. All that is to be had from False Pride and Ego issues are deep regret and an inevitable sense of loss. In the case of an apology, never allow anger, hurt, bitterness and hatred to set in – an apology at such a time loses its efficacy and effect and it becomes useless and invalid. LEARN TO APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE, LONG BEFORE IT BECOMES SOMETHING THAT YOU HAD.




Let me give you some very sound advice and it works every single time like a charm. Whenever, I am seething with anger and bitterness, I take a moment to sit back and gage what is more important to me – my false pride and ego or the love that I share for the person involved. LOVE WINS OUT EACH AND EVERY SINGLE TIME.


I sincerely hope that it works out for you this way too, as this manner of thinking and behaviour have certainly contributed in making me a happier and a more contented individual. Why not try it out? It cannot harm you in any way, can it?


“It’s Now or Never” – sung by Elvis Presley.
Sant Kabir Das was a 15th century mystic poet and saint of India, whose writings influenced Hinduism's Bhakti movement and Sikhism's founder Nanak. His early life was in a Muslim family, but he was strongly influenced by his teacher, the Hindu bhakti leader Ramananda.
Sant Kabir Das was a 15th century mystic poet and saint of India, whose writings influenced Hinduism’s Bhakti movement and Sikhism’s founder Nanak. His early life was in a Muslim family, but he was strongly influenced by his teacher, the Hindu bhakti leader Ramananda.
Sant Kabir is known for being critical of both Hinduism and Islam, stating that the former were misguided by the Vedas and the latter by the Quran, and questioning their meaningless rites of initiation such as the sacred thread and circumcision respectively. When he was alive, both Hindus and Muslims he had annoyed, threatened him for his views. When he died, both Hindus and Muslims he had inspired, claimed him as theirs.
Sant Kabir is known for being critical of both Hinduism and Islam, stating that the former were misguided by the Vedas and the latter by the Quran, and questioning their meaningless rites of initiation such as the sacred thread and circumcision respectively. When he was alive, both Hindus and Muslims he had annoyed, threatened him for his views. When he died, both Hindus and Muslims he had inspired, claimed him as theirs.

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley

Paper Roses

“Paper Roses” – The Ray Conniff Singers

Paper roses, paper roses

I realize the way your eyes deceived me with tender looks that I mistook for love
So take away the flowers that you gave me and send the kind that you remind me of
Paper roses, paper roses, oh how real those roses seem to be
But they’re only imitation, like your imitation love for me

I thought that you would be a perfect lover
You seemed so full of sweetness at the start
But like the big red rose that’s made of paper
Ah there isn’t any sweetness in your heart

Paper roses, paper roses…
Like your imitation love for me.


Ray Conniff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Joseph Raymond “Ray” Conniff, also known as “Jay Raye” (November 6, 1916 – October 12, 2002) was an American bandleader and arranger best known for his Ray Conniff Singers during the 1960s.

The Ray Conniff Singers

In 1959 he started The Ray Conniff Singers (12 women and 13 men) and released the album It’s the Talk of the Town. This group brought him the biggest hit he ever had in his career: Somewhere My Love (1966). The lyrics of the album’s title selection were written to the music of “Lara’s Theme” from the film Doctor Zhivago, and the result was a top 10 single in the US. The album also reached the US top 20 and went platinum, and Conniff won a Grammy. The single and album also reached high positions in the international charts (a.o. Australia, Germany, Great Britain, Japan). Also extraordinarily successful was the first of four Christmas albums by the Singers, Christmas with Conniff (1959). Nearly 50 years after its release, in 2004, Conniff was posthumously awarded with a platinum album/CD. Other well-known releases by the Singers included Ray Conniff’s Hawaiian album (1967), featuring the hit song “Pearly Shells;” and Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970), which included Coniff’s original composition “Someone,” and remakes of such hits as “All I Have to do is Dream,” “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” and “Something.”

Musically different highlights in Conniff’s career are two albums he produced in cooperation with Billy Butterfield, an old friend from earlier swing days. Conniff Meets Butterfield (1959) featured Butterfield’s solo trumpet and a small rhythm group; Just Kiddin’ Around (after a Conniff original composition from the 1940s), released 1963, featured additional trombone solos by Ray himself. Both albums are pure light jazz and did not feature any vocals.

Later years

Conniff recorded in New York from 1955 through 1961 and mainly in Los Angeles from 1962 through 2000. Later in the 1960s he produced an average of two instrumental and one vocal album a year.

In 1979, Conniff was hired to re-arrange and record a new version of “Those Were The Days” and “Remembering You”, the opening and closing themes to All In The Family for Carroll O’Connor‘s new spin-off, Archie Bunker’s Place on CBS with a small ensemble, trombone solo, and honky-tonk piano.

Conniff sold about 70 million albums worldwide and continued recording and performing until his death in 2002.


“On Ne Badine Pas Avec L’Amour” (“One Ought Not to Trifle with Love”) by Alfred de Musset

Synopsis of the play:


Camille and Perdican are cousins and they love each other dearly – yet they try desperately to hide their true feelings from each other.


Act I:

Perdican, son of the Baron, a recent title holder of a doctorate and a young bachelor returns to the home of his father in the company of his instructor, Maitre Blazius. Camille, his cousin, accompanied by her governess, Lady Pluche, is equally on her return to the very same chateau. The Baron is very keen in uniting Perdican and Camille in a love knot and he confides this plan of his to Maitre Blazius and to Bridaine, the Bishop of the village. However, the reunion of the two cousins, after such a long period of separation is cold and glacial, at best. Camille remains insensitive and unmoved when her cousin tries to evoke memories of their childhood spent together. Camille opposes Perdican’s nostalgic reminiscences with dry and laconic replies. On an evening that goes contradictory to all expectations, Perdican invites to supper at the chateau, Rosette, Camille’s foster sister and a young peasant girl. The wealthy and powerful Baron learns, to his consternation, that his son is courting a simple peasant girl.

Act II:

Camille announces to her cousin that she wants to and has to leave, “irrevocably.” Camille asks Lady Pluche, her governess, to present a note that invites her cousin to a private meeting. Perdican continues to make Camille jealous with his unceasing courtship of Rosette. He, however, does present himself for the secret appointment set up by Camille. The latter reveals to Perdican that she has been taught at the convent to fear love and claims that the nuns there have put her on her guard against the dangers of passion. Besides, her friend, a nun, from her convent days, had enlightened her on the basic egoism and selfishness of men, in general. Perdican questions Camille’s religious education. He praises passion and the nature of love stating that both have the power to transform human beings and states that true love brings lovers to a level of greater joy and unity than ever before. He pleads, in vain, in favour of love – he states again that love is sacred, godly and sublime – even when one is betrayed, deceived or wounded. Camille announces her final and irrevocable decision to him – she has decided to renounce the world and plans on returning permanently to her life at the convent.

Act III:

Perdican manages to get hold of a letter that Camille has addressed to her friend,  the nun, at the convent. The young woman flatters herself “to have reduced him to despair.” In the grip of a cold rage, Perdican presses ahead and fuels further the jealousy of Camille. He devices of a plan wherein he decides to court Rosette in front of Camille herself – Perdican plans to flaunt his love for Rosette, in the hope that he will rouse anger and insecurity in Camille. Yet, Camille ought to have had the foresight to realize that this whole charade was a ruse to get her undivided attention. Camille watches, as a bystander, when Perdican gets engaged to the young peasant girl. Rosette is head-over-heels in love with the son of the Baron; she is totally enamored by Perdican and believes in her own good fortune and happiness, as far as their union is concerned. But Camille disagrees with this match. She calls for her cousin after having hidden the little peasant girl behind a curtain. After addressing innumerable reproaches to each other, the young couple gives vent to their passion and they fall into each other’s arms. The young peasant girl, Rosette, who witnesses the scene, from behind the curtain, feels herself dying of pain, hurt rising from deception and deep emotion.

However, the conscience of their wrongdoings separates Perdican from Camille forever. Camille leaves Perdican and goes away, for good.


Alfred de Musset

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alfred Louis Charles de Musset-Pathay (French: [al.fʁɛd də my.sɛ]; 11 December 1810 – 2 May 1857) was a French dramatist, poet, and novelist. Along with his poetry, he is known for writing La Confession d’un enfant du siècle (The Confession of a Child of the Century, autobiographical) from 1836.


Musset was born on 11 December 1810 in Paris. His family was upper-class but poor and his father worked in various key government positions, but never gave his son any money. His mother was similarly accomplished, and her role as a society hostess – for example her drawing-room parties, luncheons, and dinners, held in the Musset residence – left a lasting impression on young Alfred.

Early indications of Musset’s boyhood talents were seen by his fondness for acting impromptu mini-plays based upon episodes from old romance stories he had read.[2] Years later, elder brother Paul de Musset would preserve these, and many other details, for posterity, in a biography on his famous younger brother.

Alfred de Musset entered the lycée Henri-IV at the age of nine, where in 1827 he won the Latin essay prize in the Concours général. With the help of Paul Foucher,Victor Hugo‘s brother-in-law, he began to attend, at the age of 17, the Cénacle, the literary salon of Charles Nodier at the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal. After attempts at careers in medicine (which he gave up owing to a distaste for dissections), law, drawing, English and piano, he became one of the first Romantic writers, with his first collection of poems, Contes d’Espagne et d’Italie (1829, Tales of Spain and Italy). By the time he reached the age of 20, his rising literary fame was already accompanied by a sulphurous reputation fed by his dandy side.

He was the librarian of the French Ministry of the Interior under the July Monarchy. During this time he also involved himself in polemics during the Rhine crisis of 1840, caused by the French Prime Minister Adolphe Thiers, who as Minister of the Interior had been Musset’s superior. Thiers had demanded that France should own the left bank of the Rhine (described as France’s “natural boundary”), as it had under Napoleon, despite the territory’s German population. These demands were rejected by German songs and poems, including Nikolaus Becker‘s Rheinlied, which contained the verse: “Sie sollen ihn nicht haben, den freien, deutschen Rhein …” (They shall not have it, the free, German Rhine). Musset answered to this with a poem of his own:“Nous l’avons eu, votre Rhin allemand” (We’ve had it, your German Rhine).

The tale of his celebrated love affair with George Sand, which lasted from 1833 to 1835, is told from his point of view in his autobiographical novel, La Confession d’un Enfant du Siècle (The Confession of a Child of the Century, made into a 1999 film, Children of the Century, and then a 2012 film Confession of a Child of the Century), and from her point of view in her Elle et lui. Musset’s Nuits (1835–1837, Nights) trace his emotional upheaval of his love for George Sand, from early despair to final resignation. He is also believed to be the author of Gamiani, or Two Nights of Excess (1833), a lesbian erotic novel, also believed to be modeled on George Sand.

Musset was dismissed from his post as librarian by the new minister Ledru-Rollin after the revolution of 1848. He was however appointed librarian of the Ministry of Public Instruction in 1853.

Musset received the Légion d’honneur on 24 April 1845, at the same time as Balzac, and was elected to the Académie française in 1852 (after two failures to do so in 1848 and 1850).

Alfred de Musset died in his sleep in Paris on 2 May 1857. The cause was heart failure, the combination of alcoholism and a longstanding aortic insufficiency. One symptom that had been noticed by his brother was a bobbing of the head as a result of the amplification of the pulse; this was later called de Musset’s sign. He was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.


I would like you to try and imagine a rose – it is not very hard to do so. A rose is symbolic of love and passion – there is a sense of everlasting beauty, purpose, resilience, solidity and permanence to it. In that sense, it is symbolic of undying love. Now, try, in the same vein, to imagine a paper rose – again, it is not very hard to do so. There is a sense of fragility, superficiality and transience to a rose that has been crafted out of paper. It is ever so easy to crumple and discard a paper rose as something that has little or no value whatsoever.

In the song, sung by the Ray Conniff Singers, the protagonist protests fervently against the artificial nature of the love that she receives from her lover – she tells him that his love for her is fickle-minded, insincere and superficial – such false love is akin to a paper rose and is as easily destructible. At one time, she had believed in his love for her. But now, she is not so sure of where she stands in this whole parody and charade of “put on” love.

To trifle with someone’s emotions; to mess around with another’s feelings and to fool around in the name of love is equivalent of the commission of a grave sin. It is the irrevocable sin of deception and dishonesty – it concerns lying and cheating; these vices soon lead to the greater vices of betrayal and treachery. Whether it concerns friendship or love, remember well the words of Perdican –“true love is sacred and sublime.” Love is a Many-Splendored Thing and is not worthy of being sullied by any vice. I think that most people will tend to agree with me in this matter.

Learn to live and let live; learn to respect other people and their feelings. Remember – just as you would feel hurt if someone you loved deceived you, so can they. It is about time to start seeing things from the perspective of the opposite party – after all, it never was about you and what you want – other people matter too.

Paper Roses
Paper Roses
Paper Roses are fragile, superfluous and easily destructible.
Paper Roses are fragile, superfluous and easily destructible.
Ray Conniff
Ray Conniff
The Ray Conniff Singers
The Ray Conniff Singers
Ray Conniff and the Singers
Ray Conniff and the Singers
Alfred de Musset wrote,
Alfred de Musset wrote, “On ne badine pas avec l’amour” (One must not trifle with love.)
“On ne badine pas avec l’amour” by Alfred de Musset
“On ne badine pas avec l’amour” – artificial and imitation love is as fragile and destructible as a paper rose.

I Dreamed a Dream

“I Dreamed a Dream” (from “Les Miserables”)
There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung
No wine untasted
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame
He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came
And still I dream he’ll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed
The dream I dreamed.


“Les Misérables”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Les Misérables” (pronounced /leɪ ˌmɪzəˈrɑːb/ or /leɪ ˈmɪzəˌrɑːb/; French pronunciation: ​[le mizeʁabl(ə)]) is a French historical novel by Victor Hugo, first published in 1862, that is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. In the English-speaking world, the novel is usually referred to by its original French title, however several alternatives have been used, including The MiserableThe WretchedThe Miserable OnesThe Poor OnesThe Wretched PoorThe Victims and The Dispossessed. Beginning in 1815 and culminating in the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris, the novel follows the lives and interactions of several characters, particularly the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his experience of redemption.[2]

Examining the nature of law and grace, the novel elaborates upon the history of France, the architecture and urban design of Paris, politics, moral philosophy,antimonarchism, justice, religion, and the types and nature of romantic and familial love. Les Misérables has been popularized through numerous adaptations for the stage, television, and film, including a musical and a film adaptation of that musical.

The appearance of the novel was highly anticipated and advertised. Critical reactions were diverse, but most of them were negative. Commercially, the work was a great success globally.


Volume I – Fantine

The story begins in 1815 in Digne, as the peasant Jean Valjean, just released from 19 years’ imprisonment in the galleys—five for stealing bread for his starving sister and her family and fourteen more for numerous escape attempts—is turned away by innkeepers because his yellow passport marks him as a former convict. He sleeps on the street, angry and bitter.

Digne’s benevolent Bishop Myriel gives him shelter. At night, Valjean runs off with Myriel’s silverware. When the police capture Valjean, Myriel pretends that he has given the silverware to Valjean and presses him to take two silver candlesticks as well, as if he had forgotten to take them. The police accept his explanation and leave. Myriel tells Valjean that his life has been spared for God, and that he should use money from the silver candlesticks to make an honest man of himself.

Valjean broods over Myriel’s words. When opportunity presents itself, purely out of habit, he steals a 40-sous coin from 12-year-old Petit Gervais and chases the boy away. He quickly repents and searches the city in panic for Gervais. At the same time, his theft is reported to the authorities. Valjean hides as they search for him, because if apprehended he will be returned to the galleys for life as a repeat offender.

Six years pass and Valjean, using the alias Monsieur Madeleine, has become a wealthy factory owner and is appointed mayor of a town identified only as M____-sur-M__ (i.e., Montreuil-sur-Mer). Walking down the street, he sees a man named Fauchelevent pinned under the wheels of a cart. When no one volunteers to lift the cart, even for pay, he decides to rescue Fauchelevent himself. He crawls underneath the cart, manages to lift it, and frees him. The town’s police inspector, Inspector Javert, who was an adjutant guard at the Bagne of Toulon during Valjean’s incarceration, becomes suspicious of the mayor after witnessing this remarkable feat of strength. He has known only one other man, a convict named Jean Valjean, who could accomplish it.

Years earlier in Paris, a grisette named Fantine was very much in love with Félix Tholomyès. His friends, Listolier, Fameuil, and Blachevelle were also paired with Fantine’s friends Dahlia, Zéphine, and Favourite. The men abandon the women, treating their relationships as youthful amusements. Fantine must draw on her own resources to care for her and Tholomyès’ daughter,Cosette. When Fantine arrives at Montfermeil, she leaves Cosette in the care of the Thénardiers, a corrupt innkeeper and his selfish, cruel wife.

Fantine is unaware that they are abusing her daughter and using her as forced labor for their inn, and continues to try to meet their growing, extortionate and fictitious demands. She is later fired from her job at Jean Valjean’s factory, because of the discovery of her daughter, who was born out of wedlock. Meanwhile, the Thénardiers’ monetary demands continue to grow. In desperation, Fantine sells her hair and two front teeth, and she resorts to prostitution to pay the Thénardiers. Fantine is slowly dying from an unspecified disease.

dandy named Bamatabois harasses Fantine in the street, and she reacts by striking him. Javert arrests Fantine. She begs to be released so that she can provide for her daughter, but Javert sentences her to six months in prison. Valjean (Mayor Madeleine) intervenes and orders Javert to release her. Javert resists but Valjean prevails. Valjean, feeling responsible because his factory turned her away, promises Fantine that he will bring Cosette to her. He takes her to a hospital.

Javert comes to see Valjean again. Javert admits that after being forced to free Fantine, he reported him as Valjean to the French authorities. He tells Valjean he realizes he was wrong, because the authorities have identified someone else as the real Jean Valjean, have him in custody, and plan to try him the next day. Valjean is torn, but decides to reveal himself to save the innocent man, whose real name is Champmathieu. He travels to attend the trial and there reveals his true identity. Valjean returns to M____-sur-M__ to see Fantine, followed by Javert, who confronts him in her hospital room.

After Javert grabs Valjean, Valjean asks for three days to bring Cosette to Fantine, but Javert refuses. Fantine discovers that Cosette is not at the hospital and fretfully asks where she is. Javert orders her to be quiet, and then reveals to her Valjean’s real identity. Weakened by the severity of her illness, she falls back in shock and dies. Valjean goes to Fantine, speaks to her in an inaudible whisper, kisses her hand, and then leaves with Javert. Later, Fantine’s body is unceremoniously thrown into a public grave.

Volume II – Cosette

Valjean escapes, is recaptured, and is sentenced to death. The king commutes his sentence to penal servitude for life. While imprisoned at the military port of Toulon, Valjean, at great personal risk, rescues a sailor caught in the ship’s rigging. Spectators call for his release. Valjean fakes his own death by allowing himself to fall into the ocean. Authorities report him dead and his body lost.

Valjean arrives at Montfermeil on Christmas Eve. He finds Cosette fetching water in the woods alone and walks with her to the inn. He orders a meal and observes how the Thénardiers abuse her, while pampering their own daughters Éponine and Azelma, who mistreat Cosette for playing with their doll. Valjean leaves and returns to make Cosette a present of an expensive new doll which, after some hesitation, she happily accepts. Éponine and Azelma are envious. Madame Thénardier is furious with Valjean, while her husband makes light of Valjean’s behaviour, caring only that he pay for his food and lodging.

The next morning, Valjean informs the Thénardiers that he wants to take Cosette with him. Madame Thénardier immediately accepts, while Thénardier pretends to love Cosette and be concerned for her welfare, reluctant to give her up. Valjean pays the Thénardiers 1,500 francs, and he and Cosette leave the inn. Thénardier, hoping to swindle more out of Valjean, runs after them, holding the 1,500 francs, and tells Valjean he wants Cosette back. He informs Valjean that he cannot release Cosette without a note from the child’s mother. Valjean hands Thénardier Fantine’s letter authorizing the bearer to take Cosette. Thénardier then demands that Valjean pay a thousand crowns, but Valjean and Cosette leave. Thénardier regrets that he did not bring his gun and turns back toward home.

Valjean and Cosette flee to Paris. Valjean rents new lodgings at Gorbeau House, where he and Cosette live happily. However, Javert discovers Valjean’s lodgings there a few months later. Valjean takes Cosette and they try to escape from Javert. They soon find shelter in the Petit-Picpus convent with the help of Fauchelevent, the man whom Valjean once rescued from being crushed under a cart and who has become the convent’s gardener. Valjean also becomes a gardener and Cosette becomes a student at the convent school.

Volume III – Marius

Eight years later, the Friends of the ABC, led by Enjolras, are preparing an act of anti-Orléanist civil unrest on the eve of the Paris uprising on 5–6 June 1832, following the death of General Lamarque, the only French leader who had sympathy towards the working class. Lamarque was a victim of a major cholera epidemic that had ravaged the city, particularly its poor neighborhoods, arousing suspicion that the government had been poisoning wells. The Friends of the ABC are joined by the poor of the Cour des miracles, including the Thénardiers’ eldest son Gavroche, who is a street urchin.

One of the students, Marius Pontmercy, has become alienated from his family (especially his grandfather M. Gillenormand) because of his liberal views. After the death of his father Colonel Georges Pontmercy, Marius discovers a note from him instructing his son to provide help to a sergeant named Thénardier who saved Pontmercy’s life at Waterloo – in reality Thénardier was looting corpses and only saved Pontmercy’s life by accident; he had called himself a sergeant under Napoleon to avoid exposing himself as a robber.

At the Luxembourg Gardens, Marius falls in love with the now grown and beautiful Cosette. The Thénardiers have also moved to Paris and now live in poverty after losing their inn. They live under the surname “Jondrette” at Gorbeau House (coincidentally, the same building Valjean and Cosette briefly lived in after leaving the Thénardiers’ inn). Marius lives there as well, next door to the Thénardiers.

Éponine, now ragged and emaciated, visits Marius at his apartment to beg for money. To impress him, she tries to prove her literacy by reading aloud from a book and by writing “The Cops Are Here” on a sheet of paper. Marius pities her and gives her some money. After Éponine leaves, Marius observes the “Jondrettes” in their apartment through a crack in the wall. Éponine comes in and announces that a philanthropist and his daughter are arriving to visit them. In order to look poorer, Thénardier puts out the fire and breaks a chair. He also orders Azelma to punch out a window pane, which she does, resulting in cutting her hand (as Thénardier had hoped).

The philanthropist and his daughter enter—actually Valjean and Cosette. Marius immediately recognizes Cosette. After seeing them, Valjean promises them he will return with rent money for them. After he and Cosette leave, Marius asks Éponine to retrieve her address for him. Éponine, who is in love with Marius herself, reluctantly agrees to do so. The Thénardiers have also recognized Valjean and Cosette, and vow their revenge. Thénardier enlists the aid of the Patron-Minette, a well-known and feared gang of murderers and robbers.

Marius overhears Thénardier’s plan and goes to Javert to report the crime. Javert gives Marius two pistols and instructs him to fire one into the air if things get dangerous. Marius returns home and waits for Javert and the police to arrive. Thénardier sends Éponine and Azelma outside to look out for the police. When Valjean returns with rent money, Thénardier, with Patron-Minette, ambushes him and he reveals his real identity to Valjean. Marius recognizes Thénardier as the man who “saved” his father’s life at Waterloo and is caught in a dilemma.

He tries to find a way to save Valjean while not betraying Thénardier. Valjean denies knowing Thénardier and tells him that they have never met. Valjean tries to escape through a window but is subdued and tied up. Thénardier orders Valjean to pay him 200,000 francs. He also orders Valjean to write a letter to Cosette to return to the apartment, and they would keep her with them until he delivers the money. After Valjean writes the letter and informs Thénardier of his address, Thénardier sends out Mme. Thénardier to get Cosette. Mme. Thénardier comes back alone, and announces the address is a fake.

It is during this time that Valjean manages to free himself. Thénardier decides to kill Valjean. While he and Patron-Minette are about to do so, Marius remembers the scrap of paper that Éponine wrote on earlier. He throws it into the Thénardiers’ apartment through the wall crack. Thénardier reads it and thinks Éponine threw it inside. He, Mme. Thénardier and Patron-Minette try to escape, only to be stopped by Javert.

He arrests all the Thénardiers and Patron-Minette (except Claquesous, who escapes during his transportation to prison;Montparnasse, who stops to run off with Éponine instead of joining in on the robbery; and Gavroche, who was not present and rarely participates in his family’s crimes, a notable exception being his part in breaking his father out of prison). Valjean manages to escape the scene before Javert sees him.

Volume IV – The Idyll in the Rue Plumet and the Epic in the Rue St. Denis

After Éponine’s release from prison, she finds Marius at “The Field of the Lark” and sadly tells him that she found Cosette’s address. She leads him to Valjean’s and Cosette’s house on Rue Plumet, and Marius watches the house for a few days. He and Cosette then finally meet and declare their love for one another. Thénardier, Patron-Minette and Brujon manage to escape from prison with the aid of Gavroche. One night, during one of Marius’s visits with Cosette, the six men attempt to raid Valjean’s and Cosette’s house. However, Éponine, who has been sitting by the gates of the house, threatens to scream and awaken the whole neighbourhood if the thieves do not leave. Hearing this, they reluctantly retire. Meanwhile, Cosette informs Marius that she and Valjean will be leaving for England in a week’s time, which greatly troubles the pair.

The next day, Valjean is sitting in the Champ de Mars. He is feeling troubled about seeing Thénardier in the neighbourhood several times. Unexpectedly, a note lands in his lap, which says “Move Out.” He sees a figure running away in the dim light. He goes back to his house, tells Cosette they will be staying at their other house on Rue de l’Homme Arme, and reconfirms to her that they will be moving to England. Marius tries to get permission from M. Gillenormand to marry Cosette. His grandfather seems stern and angry, but has been longing for Marius’s return. When tempers flare, he refuses his assent to the marriage, telling Marius to make Cosette his mistress instead. Insulted, Marius leaves.

The following day, the students revolt and erect barricades in the narrow streets of Paris. Gavroche spots Javert and informs Enjolras that Javert is a spy. When Enjolras confronts him about this, he admits his identity and his orders to spy on the students. Enjolras and the other students tie him up to a pole in the Corinth restaurant. Later that evening, Marius goes back to Valjean’s and Cosette’s house on Rue Plumet, but finds the house no longer occupied. He then hears a voice telling him that his friends are waiting for him at the barricade. Distraught to find Cosette gone, he heeds the voice and goes.

When Marius arrives at the barricade, the “revolution” has already started. When he stoops down to pick up a powder keg, a soldier comes up to shoot Marius. However, a man covers the muzzle of the soldier’s gun with his hand. The soldier fires, fatally shooting the man, while missing Marius. Meanwhile, the soldiers are closing in. Marius climbs to the top of the barricade, holding a torch in one hand, a powder keg in the other, and threatens to the soldiers that he will blow up the barricade. After confirming this, the soldiers retreat from the barricade.

Marius decides to go to the smaller barricade, which he finds empty. As he turns back, the man who took the fatal shot for Marius earlier calls Marius by his name. Marius discovers this man is Éponine, dressed in men’s clothes. As she lies dying on his knees, she confesses that she was the one who told him to go to the barricade, hoping they would die together. She also confesses to saving his life because she wanted to die before he did.

The author also states to the reader that Éponine anonymously threw the note to Valjean. Éponine then tells Marius that she has a letter for him. She also confesses to have obtained the letter the day before, originally not planning to give it to him, but decides to do so in fear he would be angry at her about it in the afterlife. After Marius takes the letter, Éponine then asks him to kiss her on the forehead when she is dead, which he promises to do. With her last breath, she confesses that she was “a little bit in love” with him, and dies.

Marius fulfills her request and goes into a tavern to read the letter. It is written by Cosette. He learns Cosette’s whereabouts and he writes a farewell letter to her. He sends Gavroche to deliver it to her, but Gavroche leaves it with Valjean. Valjean, learning that Cosette’s lover is fighting, is at first relieved, but an hour later, he puts on a National Guard uniform, arms himself with a gun and ammunition, and leaves his home.

Volume V – Jean Valjean

Valjean arrives at the barricade and immediately saves a man’s life. He is still not certain if he wants to protect Marius or kill him. Marius recognizes Valjean at first sight. Enjolras announces that they are almost out of cartridges. When Gavroche goes outside the barricade to collect more ammunition from the dead National Guardsmen, he is shot by the troops.

Valjean volunteers to execute Javert himself, and Enjolras grants permission. Valjean takes Javert out of sight, and then shoots into the air while letting him go. Marius mistakenly believes that Valjean has killed Javert. As the barricade falls, Valjean carries off the injured and unconscious Marius. All the other students are killed. Valjean escapes through the sewers, carrying Marius’s body. He evades a police patrol, and reaches an exit gate but finds it locked. Thénardier emerges from the darkness. Valjean recognizes him, but his filthy appearance prevents Thénardier from recognizing him. Thinking Valjean a murderer lugging his victim’s corpse, Thénardier offers to open the gate for money. As he searches Valjean and Marius’s pockets, he surreptitiously tears off a piece of Marius’s coat so he can later find out his identity. Thénardier takes the thirty francs he finds, opens the gate, and allows Valjean to leave, expecting Valjean’s emergence from the sewer will distract the police who have been pursuing him.

Upon exiting, Valjean encounters Javert and requests time to return Marius to his family before surrendering to him. Javert agrees, assuming that Marius will be dead within minutes. After leaving Marius at his grandfather’s house, Valjean asks to be allowed a brief visit to his own home, and Javert agrees. There, Javert tells Valjean he will wait for him in the street, but when Valjean scans the street from the landing window he finds Javert has gone. Javert walks down the street, realizing that he is caught between his strict belief in the law and the mercy Valjean has shown him. He feels he can no longer give Valjean up to the authorities but also cannot ignore his duty to the law. Unable to cope with this dilemma, Javert commits suicide by throwing himself into the Seine.

Marius slowly recovers from his injuries. As he and Cosette make wedding preparations, Valjean endows them with a fortune of nearly 600,000 francs. As their wedding party winds through Paris during Mardi Gras festivities, Valjean is spotted by Thénardier, who then orders Azelma to follow him. After the wedding, Valjean confesses to Marius that he is an ex-convict. Marius is horrified, assumes the worst about Valjean’s moral character, and contrives to limit Valjean’s time with Cosette. Valjean accedes to Marius’ judgment and his separation from Cosette. Valjean loses the will to live and retires to his bed.

Thénardier approaches Marius in disguise, but Marius recognizes him. Thénardier attempts to blackmail Marius with what he knows of Valjean, but in doing so, he inadvertently corrects Marius’s misconceptions about Valjean and reveals all of the good he has done. He tries to convince Marius that Valjean is actually a murderer, and presents the piece of coat he tore off as evidence. Stunned, Marius recognizes the fabric as part of his own coat and realizes that it was Valjean who rescued him from the barricade. Marius pulls out a fistful of notes and flings it at Thénardier’s face. He then confronts Thénardier with his crimes and offers him an immense sum to depart and never return. Thénardier accepts the offer, and he and Azelma travel to America where he becomes a slave trader.

As they rush to Valjean’s house, Marius tells Cosette that Valjean saved his life at the barricade. They arrive to find Valjean near death and are reconciled with him. Valjean tells Cosette her mother’s story and name. He dies content and is buried beneath a blank slab in Père Lachaise Cemetery.


“I Dreamed a Dream”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I Dreamed a Dream” is a song from the musical Les Misérables. It is a solo that is sung by the character Fantine during the first act. The music is by Claude-Michel Schönberg, with orchestrations by John Cameron. The English lyrics are by Herbert Kretzmer, based on the original French libretto by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel from the original French production.

The song is a lament, sung by the anguished Fantine, who has just been fired from her job at the factory and thrown onto the streets. She thinks back to happier days and wonders at all that has gone wrong in her life. Typically played in the key of E flat major,[ it has also become a jazz standard.

In the 1985 musical, the song occurs after Fantine has been fired, and before “Lovely Ladies”. In the original French production and the 2012 film adaptation, these two musical numbers are swapped around, to place dramatic emphasis on Fantine’s depressing descent into prostitution.

The original French song was very extensively rewritten for the English production by Herbert Kretzmer, adding the prologue (There was a time…) and cutting the last few lines which became the ending to ‘Lovely Ladies’ (‘Don’t they know they’re making love to one already dead’). For the French revival in 1991, the song was loosely translated back from the English version; there are thus two very different French versions of the song.


“Go Dreaming” – Dido

Another summer coming to an end
And I’m still walking on without a care
And even if the birds have flown, the sun has gone
I’ll still be here, here
Oh, I want to walk with kings
Oh, and take a chance on things
And though I may give way to those who could cause me pain
And step aside to threats and bullies
I still believe, I still believe
I’d rather go dreaming, believing in something, better than in me
I’d rather die loving, lost in the feeling of letting go
I’d rather die caring, working for something, seeing it as good
I can let it go, I can let it go
They’re all flying flags and making noise
Bringing on their speeches drinks and boys
But when they’re gone I’ll be standing here
And picking up the mess they left
I still believe, I still believe
I’d rather go dreaming, believing in something, better than in me
I’d rather die loving, lost in the feeling of letting go
I’d rather die caring, working for something, seeing it as good
I can let it go, I can let it go…


This blog is an expression of a wish;  of a hope and of an aspiration for a Better Tomorrow. We cannot stop people from having their dreams and their hopes – sometimes, these dreams and hopes are the only things that keep them going. Each person dreams of a Utopian World where Peace, Harmony and Brotherhood reign supreme – it seemed like a reality, at one time, until the world turned upside down. Each one of us craves to give and receive kindness, love and generosity of spirit – after all, there was a time when such virtues did exist. Every one of us hopes to give and gain respect – except that we see a chaotic world where basic politeness, honesty, loyalty and honour are nothing but distant dreams. We hope for the very best in the future but it seems that the sting of reality is to be forever borne and tolerated.

We can go on endlessly – each one of us dreams of a time when we can make use of the media, newspapers, etc to read solely about goodness, benevolence and pleasant things – except that the only thing that assails our senses, on a daily basis, is corruption and bribery; scams, greed and rampant dishonesty; treachery and disloyalty; extortion and malpractice; underhand dealings and the growing power of the underworld mob; robbery and theft; arson and aggravated assault; terrorism and political power games; rape, incest, pedophilia and murder – to name just a few.

What I would like to say here is simply this fact – don’t expect the world to change for you. It is a matter of the utmost arrogance, short-sightedness and selfishness to assume that others should change – when change for The Better actually needs to come FIRST from WITHIN ONESELF. If each and every single one of us were to make a single-minded, disciplined and concerted effort to become better individuals, we would rapidly witness a distant dream becoming a reality. SO, LET US ALL STAND AS ONE AND MAKE THIS DREAM A REALITY – OUR REALITY.



The character called Fantine from "Les Miserables." (starring Anne Hathaway)
The character called Fantine from “Les Miserables.” (starring Anne Hathaway)


I dreamed a dream - of a Better World of a Better Tomorrow.
I dreamed a dream – of a Better World of a Better Tomorrow.
A Better Tomorrow
A Better Tomorrow
All of us dream of a Better World where Peace, Happiness, Harmony and Brotherhood reign supreme.
All of us dream of a Better World where Peace, Happiness, Harmony and Brotherhood reign supreme.
The character called Jean Valjean from "Les Miserables."
The character called Jean Valjean from “Les Miserables.” (starring Hugh Jackman)
The character called Inspector Javert from "Les Miserables." (starring Russell Crowe)
The character called Inspector Javert from “Les Miserables.” (starring Russell Crowe)
The character called Cosette from "Les Miserables" - as a child.
The character called Cosette from “Les Miserables” – as a child.
The character called Cosette from "Les Miserables" - as a grown woman.
The character called Cosette from “Les Miserables” – as a grown woman.
Dido dreams of a Better Tomorrow.
Dido dreams of a Better Tomorrow.
"The Girl Who Got Away" by Dido echoes similar sentiments to the song, "Go Dreaming."
“The Girl Who Got Away” by Dido echoes similar sentiments to the song, “Go Dreaming.”
"Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo
“Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo
The poster of the movie, "Les Miserables" starring Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman.
The poster of the movie, “Les Miserables” starring Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman.
Fantine sings, "I dreamed a dream" - her life is at its lowest ebb when she sings this song.
Fantine sings, “I dreamed a dream” – her life is at its lowest ebb when she sings this song.

Life for Rent

“Life For Rent” – Dido

I haven’t ever really found a place that I call home
I never stick around quite long enough to make it
I apologize once again I’m not in love
But it’s not as if I mind
that your heart ain’t exactly breaking

It’s just a thought, only a thought

But if my life is for rent and I don’t learn to buy
Well I deserve nothing more than I get
Cos nothing I have is truly mine

I’ve always thought
that I would love to live by the sea
To travel the world alone
and live more simply
I have no idea what’s happened to that dream
Cos there’s really nothing left here to stop me

It’s just a thought, only a thought

But if my life is for rent and I don’t learn to buy
Well I deserve nothing more than I get
Cos nothing I have is truly mine
If my life is for rent and I don’t learn to buy
Well I deserve nothing more than I get
Cos nothing I have is truly mine

While my heart is a shield and I won’t let it down
While I am so afraid to fail so I won’t even try
Well how can I say I’m alive

If my life is for rent and I don’t learn to buy
Well I deserve nothing more than I get
Cos nothing I have is truly mine

If my life is for rent and I don’t learn to buy
Well I deserve nothing more than I get
Cos nothing I have is truly mine
Cos nothing I have is truly mine
Cos nothing I have is truly mine
Cos nothing I have is truly mine.


Dido (singer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O’Malley Armstrong, known as Dido(/ˈdd/, born 25 December 1971), is a British singer and songwriter. Dido attained international success with her debut album No Angel (1999). It sold over 21 million copies worldwide and won several awards, including the MTV Europe Music Award for Best New Act, two NRJ Awards for Best New Act and Best Album, and two Brit Awards for Best British Female and Best Album. Her next album, Life for Rent (2003), continued her success with the hit singles “White Flag” and “Life for Rent“.

Dido’s first two albums are among the best-selling albums in UK Chart history, and both are in the top 10 best-selling albums of the 2000s in the UK. Her third studio album, Safe Trip Home (2008), received critical acclaim but failed to duplicate the commercial success of her previous efforts. She was nominated for an Academy Award for the song “If I Rise“. Dido was ranked No. 98 on the Billboard chart of the top Billboard 200 artists of the 2000s (2000–2009) based on the success of her albums in the first decade of the 21st century.[7] Dido made a comeback in 2013, releasing her fourth studio album Girl Who Got Away, which reached the Top 5 in the United Kingdom.


Life for Rent

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Life for Rent is the second studio album by the British singer-songwriter Dido, released by Arista Records on 29 September 2003. The album was produced by Rollo Armstrong and American songwriter Rick Nowels. Work on the album began in mid-2002. It was certified 7× Platinum by the BPI and sold over 12 million copies worldwide, making it the fourth best selling album worldwide of 2003. The album became the seventh best-selling album of the 2000s on UK, making Dido the only singer to have two albums in the Top 10 list.


  • The title track of Dido’s sophomore album, this was released as its second single with some success reaching the Top 10 in the UK, Ireland and Italy.
  • According to Dido, the meaning of ‘Life For Rent’ is that “my life isn’t really my own, I only rented it for a while, but if I don’t manage to buy it, to own it, then nothing of what I think is mine is really mine.”
  • The song was used to soundtrack pivotal moments in US TV series Smallville and Nikita.
  • Life for Rent was the top selling album in 2003 in the UK with over 2 million sales.
  • Dido recalled the story of the song to Canada.com: “I wrote ‘Life for Rent’ in America,” she said. “I had basically run away from England at that point, for various reasons — I was being chased around a lot by the press and also I had just ended this relationship and stuff — and wrote pretty much the whole album while I was in America. This song was one of the first songs I wrote there and it still resonates with me. There’s a line in there that says I want to live by the sea — well I still do and I still don’t.”

(Source: http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=31508)


The song, “Life for Rent” was an instant runaway success and it hit the top of the charts worldwide, with good reason – it appealed to a wide range of audience globally and it is beset with a deep, underlying meaning – a meaning so deep that it will make you stop for a moment and really think about your life and circumstances. “Is my life for rent?” That is the essential question to be answered here and the crux of the matter is to be found ensconced in the lyrics of the song itself. So, join me and let’s try to gain greater insight into the hidden meaning behind this song.

The protagonist of the song leads an entirely nomadic existence. She is a perpetual vagabond – constantly on the move. She never settles down anywhere long enough to call that place, “home.” Even her personal relationships are transient and almost fickle and superficial in themselves – she is constantly, “in and out” of other people’s lives. She falls in and out of love, as a matter of course. Her life has been such that her existence has not had any great impact on the life of any other person or persons – be it family, friends or even a lover. She does not have many expectations in her life – she takes what comes her way and tries to be satisfied with it.

She reasons that after all, nothing in life is for keeps – Life itself is for rent. She realizes that she needs to make the most of her life, while she is still young and while she is still able to. She knows that nothing that she has or will have will ever be truly her own – when Life itself is for rent then all material luxuries fall in the same category.



When Life is for rent, learn to “buy.” So, take the inevitable plunge – go out and discover the world. Take a chance on love. Learn to trust your gut instinct as far as your career choices go. Make plans for your future even if you’re not sure where you are headed. Do not fear failure. Live the way that you want; learn to be the person that you want to be. Life is just too short for anything else.


She takes some time to reminisce on how she had always wanted to live by the seaside. She dreamed of traveling the world and living a more simple and settled life. She wonders what happened to all these dreams. She never chased her dreams and now she is forced to accept her lot.

If you have a dream, it is your bounden duty – to yourself – to make every possible effort to realize that dream because what is life without a dream for a better future?

Think about these lines – it all starts to make a lost of sense now, doesn’t it?

“If my life is for rent and I don’t learn to buy
Well, I deserve nothing more than I get
’Cos nothing I have is truly mine.”

Dido Armstrong
Dido Armstrong
Dido Armstrong
Dido Armstrong
Dido’s, “Life for Rent.”
Dido’s, “Life for Rent.”
Dido’s, “Life for Rent.”
The lyrics to
The lyrics to “Life for Rent.”
The lyrics to
The lyrics to “Life for Rent.”
The lyrics to
The lyrics to “Life for Rent.”
The lyrics to
The lyrics to “Life for Rent.”
No future, no past, only the present counts. Make it count for something!
No future, no past, only the present counts. Make it count for something!
Take a chance on Love.
Take a chance on Love.
Choose Life because life itself is for rent and nothing that you own is truly yours.
Choose Life because life itself is for rent and nothing that you own is truly yours.
Life is not only about finding oneself. It is also the process of creating oneself.
Life is not only about finding oneself. It is also the process of creating oneself.
“Is your life for rent?”


My Amazon.com Review of “Dido’s Greatest Hits – Deluxe Edition”

Hitting the high notes………though not high enough!, June 4, 2015
By Sherna Bhumgara (Mumbai, India)
This review is from: Greatest Hits: Deluxe Edition (Audio CD)
As I write this review, I’m listening to this very same CD – I find that doing so is highly inspirational. It seems to me that such an activity tends to put greater clarity and lucidity to one’s comments than would otherwise be the case. Well, how shall I put my most salient points across to you, as succinctly as possible? Let’s start with the title itself. This album is entitled “Greatest Hits – Deluxe Edition.” It is correct that there is enclosed a bonus CD of remixed songs and in that sense it has struck a true note in the title that is emblazoned on the cover.

What I object to in this entire compilation is certainly NOT the quality of Dido’s singing – let us make that very clear, from the very beginning. Dido’s rendition of each song is nothing short of impeccable – she hits all the high notes beautifully and her sultry and soulful voice adds to the pleasure of this heightened listening experience.The lyrics of each song are highly meaningful and Dido’s mellow singing voice tends to be extremely articulate and clear so that one need not strain one’s hearing trying to hear each word of any given item – it makes the whole audio experience extremely pleasurable, to say the least.

The objection that I wish to raise here is that the compilation seems to be put together rather hurriedly without any real, careful thought being placed on the items chosen to be viewed and listened to as “greatest hits.” I think that most people who have heard even a reasonable amount of Dido’s music will agree with me wholeheartedly on this point. What happens is that one picks up the CD cover hoping to see a certain favourite song and puts it down in disappointment when it features nowhere on this double CD compilation. How was that ever allowed to happen? This should honestly not be the case – but it tends to be an undeniable fact in this particular album. In short and in totality, this album hits all the high notes correctly but does not reach high enough to be a runaway hit.

As far as the value for money goes, this is a good purchase, on the whole. I doubt very much that you’ll regret buying it except for some small, unfortunate niggling doubts that linger at the back of one’s mind. So, go ahead by all means and buy it!
Dido's "Greatest Hits - Deluxe Edition"
Dido’s “Greatest Hits – Deluxe Edition”

Love is Blue When Jealousy is Green

“Jealousy is a Green-Eyed Monster” – Quote

“Othello – William Shakespeare

– ACT 3, SCENE 3, PAGE 8

Source: http://nfs.sparknotes.com/othello/page_142.html



Nor for my manhood, honesty, and wisdom

To let you know my thoughts.

It wouldn’t be wise, honest, or responsible for me to tell them.

What dost thou mean?


What are you talking about?




Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,

Is the immediate jewel of their souls.

Who steals my purse steals trash. ‘Tis something, nothing:

‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands.

But he that filches from me my good name

Robs me of that which not enriches him

And makes me poor indeed.


A good reputation is the most valuable thing we have—men and women alike. If you steal my money, you’re just stealing trash. It’s something, it’s nothing: it’s yours, it’s mine, and it’ll belong to thousands more. But if you steal my reputation, you’re robbing me of something that doesn’t make you richer, but makes me much poorer.


I’ll know thy thoughts.


I’m going to find out what you’re thinking.


You cannot, if my heart were in your hand,

Nor shall not, whilst ’tis in my custody.


You can’t find that out, even if you held my heart in your hand you couldn’t make me tell you. And as long my heart’s inside my body, you never will.








Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy!

It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock

The meat it feeds on. That cuckold lives in bliss

Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger,

But, oh, what damnèd minutes tells he o’er

Who dotes, yet doubts— suspects, yet soundly loves!


Beware of jealousy, my lord! It’s a green-eyed monster that makes fun of the victims it devours. The man who knows his wife is cheating on him is happy, because at least he isn’t friends with the man she’s sleeping with. But think of the unhappiness of a man who worships his wife, yet doubts her faithfulness. He suspects her, but still loves her.


Oh, misery!


Oh, what misery!



Poor and content is rich, and rich enough,

But riches fineless is as poor as winter

To him that ever fears he shall be poor.

Good heaven, the souls of all my tribe defend

From jealousy!


The person who’s poor and contented is rich enough. But infinite riches are nothing to someone who’s always afraid he’ll be poor. God, help us not be jealous!



“The Divine Image” William Blake (From: “Songs of Experience”)

Cruelty has a human heart,
And Jealousy a human face;
Terror the human form divine,
And secrecy the human dress.

The human dress is forged iron,
The human form a fiery forge,
The human face a furnace seal’d,
The human heart its hungry gorge.


Jealousy” – Janor

Growing by the moment
when hearing fortune
when seeing happiness

Feeling even weaker
when hearing luck
when seeing love

Just by others
never happening to you
never seeing your own good


Jealousy” – MdAsadullah

A green eyed monster within,
in behaviour Satan’s akin.
Other’s possessions are his attraction,
flies on wings of dissatisfaction.
Hopes more for other’s loss than his gain,
can take ugliest of forms without constraint.


“Envy and Jealousy” – David Harris

We walk paths on our own way,
while others try to force us
to walk paths with only them.
Some get ungrateful
if we only walk awhile,
and then help someone else
on their lonely mile.
They get jealous
if we do for others
what you are only expected
to do just for them.
Therefore, it goes on and on,
until one day they look around,
finding their demands
have left them without friends.

They so want to be noticed,
and they’ll do anything they can,
to try to force people
to notice them.
They wonder why
no one listens to their needs.
Wonder why people begin to turn away.
They forget about their demands
they put on others to stay,
they can only see what is good for them,
and not that others have needs to.
So they hurt those they should not,
hoping it will make them feel better.
Instead, it makes them feel worse
for their anger only forces people away.


Envy vs. Jealousy

Source: http://www.diffen.com/difference/Envy_vs_Jealousy

The main difference between envy and jealousy is that envy is the emotion of coveting what someone else has, while jealousy is the emotion related to fear that something you have will be taken away by someone else.

Comparison chart


Envy means “to bear a grudge toward someone due to coveting what that person has or enjoys.” In a milder sense, it means “the longing for something someone else has without any ill will intended toward that person.”

Envy is the emotion when you want a possession someone else has.


Jealous means “apprehensive or vengeful out of fear of being replaced by someone else.” It can also mean “watchful,” “anxiously suspicious,” “zealous,” or “expecting complete devotion.” The last is normally applied to God.

Example I envy her possessions or situation. I am jealous that you like her over me.

Jealousy is the emotion when you fear you may be replaced in the affection of someone you love or desire.


How to Deal With a Jealous Person

Source: http://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-a-Jealous-Person

When things are going right for you, chances are there’s someone in your life who is jealous of your success. You probably wish the person could just be happy for you, but it’s important to remember that jealousy is a natural emotion that we all experience from time to time. You can deal with it by giving the person extra attention, being a little humbler, and putting yourself in his or her shoes. If you want to know how to deal with your jealous friend, sibling, coworker or partner, keep reading.

Part 1 of 3: Understanding Jealousy


Figure out why the person is jealous. Understanding the root of the jealousy will help you decide how to move forward. Sometimes people are jealous for a very concrete reason, while other times the jealousy stems from a vague sense that your life is somehow charmed. Others might get jealous if you’re spending a lot of time with other people instead of focusing your attention on them. Reflect on what factors are at play in your specific situation.

  • It is very common for people in similar fields to get jealous of each other’s accomplishments. For example, if you’re an actor who just landed a great role, your actor friend is probably going to feel a twinge of jealousy – who wouldn’t? This type of jealousy will usually pass fairly quickly.
  • Another common source of jealousy is attention. Your sister might get jealous if you’ve been spending a lot of time with your new best friend. This type of jealousy is often easy to remedy.
  • Some forms of jealousy run deeper and can take much longer to pass. If the jealous person is having a difficult time, he or she might find it impossible to be happy for you until things are looking up.


Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. People who are jealous can be hard to be around. Jealousy is a negative emotion that can cause people to cry out for attention and behave in annoying or selfish ways. However, if you want to preserve your relationship with the jealous person, you need to put yourself in that person’s shoes. Think about a time when you were jealous. Did you feel powerless? Insecure? Inferior? These are the feelings the jealous person is experiencing, and they aren’t easy to deal with. Try to approach the situation from an understanding, empathetic point of view.

Think about what ultimately made you feel better after a bout of jealousy. Is there a way you can help the jealous person by applying what you learned?

Beware manipulative behavior. When jealousy gets out of control, it can lead people to act selfishly to make themselves feel better. The jealous person might try to pit you against someone else, tear you down at work to make you look bad, or subtly wear down your self confidence by being critical and mean. Having empathy is great, but it’s also important to recognize if you’re being harmed by the jealous person, and act accordingly.

  • If you have a jealous significant other, he or she might become controlling. This can quickly get out of hand, so it’s important to nip this sort of jealousy in the bud as soon as possible.

Part 2 of 3: Dealing With It


Don’t brag about your accomplishments too much. It’s possible you are feeding the jealousy by talking up your big raise, or how you aced your finals, or how you have a perfect relationship with your husband. It’s perfectly fine to share positive news and achievements with your friends and family, but try not to take it to far. Be sensitive to what is going on in other people’s lives, and if necessary, censor yourself a bit to save their feelings.

  • For example, if you have a colleague who has been trying to have a baby for years, and you recently became pregnant, try not to talk incessantly about your pregnancy in front of her. Discuss it with people who aren’t as sensitive about this particular issue.
  • Be gracious and humble about your accomplishments. If you’re being rewarded at work, for example, accept the reward and accolades with proper thanks, then move on.

Compliment the person often. Giving praise and complements to a jealous person is an excellent way to undermine his or her negative feelings. Jealousy stems from insecurity, and bolstering someone’s confidence is the perfect antidote. Next time your friend gets asked out on a date, or your colleague makes a big sale, go out of your way to share in the person’s excitement.

  • Be sincere. If you want other people to be sincerely happy for you, you’ve got to find it in your heart to do the same for them.

Give the person a little extra time and attention. A lot of people get jealous when they feel someone no longer has time for them. Maybe you’ve gotten really busy with school and don’t call your friend every other night like you used to. If you want to preserve the friendship, it’s worth taking time out of your schedule to have a coffee date, schedule a phone call, or write an email explaining that your schedule has gotten packed lately.

  • If your friend is jealous that you’ve been hanging out with someone new, try inviting her along so you can go out as a group next time.
  • If your partner feels left out because you spend most of your time at work, set aside a special date night during which you turn off your phone and focus all of your attention on your loved one.

Gently confront the person if necessary. If nothing else is working, it might be time to have a talk with the person who is acting jealous. Owning up to jealousy can be embarrassing, so be careful how you approach the conversation.

  • Instead of saying “I think you’re jealous of me,” point out the person’s behavior. Say you’ve noticed he or she seems distant or upset, and explain that you’d like to know what you can do to help.
  • Tell the person things aren’t always what they seem, and that no one’s life is perfect. Everyone has ups and downs, and you are no exception. Help the person see that you’ve been in his or her shoes before.

Decide to ignore it. If you don’t want to confront the person, you can also choose to simply ignore the behavior and wait for it to go away without your intervention. Let the dark looks and negative comments roll off your back. When life starts getting better for the jealous person, he or she will probably stop being jealous and start being a good friend again.

Part 3 of 3: Knowing How Much is Too Much


Figure out whether the jealousy is toxic. When jealousy becomes an obsession, it can become toxic to a relationship, and even lead to abuse. If the person who is jealous of you becomes mean, controlling, and irrational, there’s not going to be much you can do to change things. The jealous person will experience your accomplishments as personal setbacks, and may work actively to bring you down.

Decide whether the relationship is worth keeping. If a person’s jealousy has become toxic, think hard about whether the relationship is something you want in your life. The jealous person’s behavior has taken a dark turn, and at this point it’s making your life more difficult.

  • If the person is your partner, consider whether you really want to continue being in a romantic relationship with him or her.When extreme jealousy is present in a relationship, there’s a fundamental trust problem at its root.
  • If the person is your friend or colleague, you’ve probably had enough by now. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to stick with it. If you do, some serious repairs are in order.

End it before you get hurt
 To end the relationship, explain that you’ve been seriously hurt by the person’s jealous behavior and you’ve decided the damage is irreparable. After that, stop contacting the person and do your best to move on. Ending a relationship is a hard choice to make, but extreme jealousy is as good a reason as any to pull the plug.


How to Overcome and Abandon Jealousy

Source: http://www.wikihow.com/Overcome-and-Abandon-Jealousy

Jealousy is an angry feeling that stems from a belief that there is only a finite amount of love to go around and that your source of love is being diminished by the presence of another person. This means that it is an emotion that has evolved to protect one’s resources, particularly love and nurturing. It is an unpleasant emotion to experience and is very hard to shake. However, if you want to maintain a great relationship, then you have to learn to overcome your jealousy so that you can focus on what’s important — not on the threats that aren’t really there.


Irrational jealousy can poison any relationship.
 For example, it can ruin good communication between people, causing a downward spiral of unfounded arguments and fights. Clear, sensitive open communication is the key. Talk, express your needs and what you are willing to give. Be a peacemaker. Be a solution finder, not an accuser. Make sure that you are not basing such an unpleasant emotion on insufficient evidence.

Irrational jealousy indicates insecurity in a person’s self-worth and lack of confidence in his or her ability to attract and keep a partner interested. A lover who suspects a partner of unfaithfulness without having real evidence of that could literally “terrorize” him or her by constantly accusing and questioning. This could even lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, being suspicious due to lack of trust, and questioning your partner about his whereabouts in an investigating manner can cause unnecessary fighting and conflicts and eventually break-ups of relationships that otherwise had great potential to develop and prosper. Don’t let this happen to you. If you believe that you subject your partner to your jealousy, start working on eliminating it immediately.


Ironically, some people may develop jealousy when their relationship is great and they are very happy with their partner. Their jealousy and their possessiveness is a side effect of their desire not to lose something that is very special and very precious to them. And the more precious their partner is to them, the more carefully people guard him / her by being jealous. That concern and fear of loss of someone very rare and special leads people to overprotecting it.


Eliminating jealousy is not a quick process. Jealousy is a trait of character, a frame of mind and an emotion, and as such – getting rid of it is a gradual evolution that requires work, self-reflection, patience, and persistence.


The great news is that the rewards of dealing with and overcoming jealousy will likely keep you free of jealousy for the rest of your life and will make your future relationships much more successful.



So, what are the steps that you can take to deal with and overcome jealousy and possessiveness? The first and the most important step in dealing with jealousy is, like with many other issues is recognizing that you have a problem. Most people who have jealousy issues are in denial and refuse to admit that their behavior and perception are irrational and their lack of trust is unsubstantiated by any real facts. Recognizing that you have a problem is essential to your motivation to work on it and to your success in overcoming jealousy. Once you have passed this crucial first step and have recognized that you are jealous, it may be in your best interests to adopt the following, proven-to-be-effective beliefs which will gradually eliminate your jealousy and all of its manifestations.

Become aware and accept the fact that whether you trust the person you are with or not, whether you question his actions or not, and whether you “spy” on him has no positive effect on his behavior and faithfulness. If a man or a woman wants to cheat, he / she will find a way to cheat, and there is nothing you can do to prevent it. So, stop it! Stop assuming the worst about him. Stop wondering where he is and what he is doing at any given moment! Assume the best about your partner and his faithfulness to you until and unless you have real reasons to believe otherwise.

Keep in mind that the only reason, the only thing that keeps your partner around you is his desire to be with you. Nothing else keeps either of you near each other. And his desire to be with you comes NOT from your pressure, your being jealous or your attempts to convince him to be faithful to you but from your other qualities that make you attractive and desirable. Your efforts to keep your partner have no positive effect on your relationship. If anything, it might put excess pressure on that person – something that no one enjoys and tolerates for very long. Remember that the best “leash” is the loose one or even better – a total absence thereof. To remove your mind from jealous thoughts, become a little more selfish. Spend more of your time and your emotional and intellectual resources on building yourself as an individual rather than perceiving yourself as part of the relationship. Work on your career and your other goals. Take a class in a field that you have an interest in, learn a new language, engage in a form of creative art, take a dance class, and do anything else that you have or might have an interest in, so that there is more to your life than just that relationship, and so that your life does not revolve around any given person and his faithfulness to you. Pursuing other objectives of your life will prevent you from obsessing over your partner and will keep you in a much healthier emotional state, free of jealousy.


By getting rid of jealousy, you will exhibit some of the most attractive qualities in you: your common sense, your confidence in yourself and in your ability to attract the other person and maintain his exclusive romantic interest in you, your value as a wise person, and your confidence in your partner’s feelings. Don’t miss out on such an easy way to demonstrate those great qualities by rising far above jealousy.


Remember, there is no insurance policy or collection agency for any relationship and jealousy certainly won’t help make it more stable. Whether you are casually dating someone or are married, whether you have been together for one month or twenty years, it’s possible that your relationship will end at any time for a hundred possible reasons. Not to be negative, but you should be aware of the reality of all relationships. What does this mean to you? This means that you should enjoy and appreciate your relationships as long as they last but at the same time accept and embrace the possibility that any such relationship might be over one day. And if it is, it will be tough, but you will get over it. It will not be the end of the world for you. Your duty is being the best you can be in a relationship that you want to have. The rest is NOT up to you. The rest depends on your partner and you have no control over it, and whatever you have no control over, should not concern you or be a cause of your anxieties.

As you are successfully fighting jealousy, you will start experiencing tremendous freedom – the freedom to enjoy your love life without the taxing pain of jealousy and insecurity and the pleasure of giving your partner a better, wiser, stronger, and happier you!


“Love Is Blue” – Andy Williams / Paul Mauriat

Blue, blue, my world is blue
Blue is my world since I’m without you
Gray, gray, my life is gray
Cold is my heart since you went away

Red, red, my eyes are red
Crying for you alone in my bed
Green, green, my jealous heart
I doubted you and now we’re apart

When we met how the bright sun shone
Then love died, now the rainbow is gone

Black, black, the nights I’ve known
Longing for you so lost and alone
Gone, gone, the love we knew
Blue is my world now I’m without you.


Jealousy is one of the biggest handicaps to any strong and enduring relationship. It is one of the most debilitating factors that has the immense propensity, with the very force of its negativity, to wear down and eat away into the foundations of any given relationship – it is as relentless and heartless as a swarm of white ants. The simple fact is that when jealousy presides supreme, love has absolutely no place of being. When Jealousy is Green, Love is Blue – that is and always shall be the sad truth.

So, get rid of jealousy before it has the chance to eat away into your soul and your very being.

When Jealousy dies, Love presides. Let it stay that way!

Othello and Iago discuss Jealousy. Iago states that Jealousy is a 'green-eyed monster."
Othello and Iago discuss Jealousy. Iago states that Jealousy is a ‘green-eyed monster.”
The definition of Jealousy
The definition of Jealousy
Envy is Green but Jealousy is Greener!
Envy is Green but Jealousy is Greener!
"Jealousy is a Green-Eyed Monster" - a quote from William Shakespeare.
“Jealousy is a Green-Eyed Monster” – a quote from William Shakespeare.
An envious heart makes a treacherous ear.
An envious heart makes a treacherous ear.
The Green Eyed Monster that is Jealousy.
The Green Eyed Monster that is Jealousy.
Count your own blessings, name them one by one. Stop counting other people's' blessings!
Count your own blessings, name them one by one. Stop counting other people’s’ blessings!
A quote on Jealousy - sad but true!
A quote on Jealousy – sad but true!
Another quote on Jealousy.
Another quote on Jealousy.
The Grass always seems to be greener on the other side.
The Grass always seems to be greener on the other side.
Jealousy is a Green-Eyed Monster.
Jealousy is a Green-Eyed Monster.
When Jealousy is Green, Love is Blue.
When Jealousy is Green, Love is Blue.



Viva la Diva: A Tribute to the “Israeli Cher”

Definition of "Diva"
Definition of “Diva”

“Diva” – Dana International

She is all
you’ll ever dream to find
On her stage
she sings her story

Definition of "Diva"
Definition of “Diva”
A Diva is a princess, a queen, a goddess - she can be whatever she wants.
A Diva is a princess, a queen, a goddess – she can be whatever she wants.
Definition of "Diva"
Definition of “Diva”
Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria

Pain and hurt
will steal her heart alight
Like a queen
in all her glory

And when she cries
Diva is an angel
When she laughs
she’s a devil
She is all beauty and love

Viva Maria
Viva Victoria
Viva la Diva
Viva Victoria

Silent tears
drop from these eyes tonight
Tears of prayer
for all those aching hearts

And when she cries
Diva is an angel
When she laughs
she’s a devil
She is all beauty and love

Viva Maria
Viva Victoria
Viva la Diva
Viva Victoria


Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC




noun: diva; plural noun: divas

  1. A celebrated female opera singer.
    • A famous female singer of popular music.

“A pop diva”

  • a woman regarded as temperamental or haughty.

“She is much more the dedicated maverick than the petulant, minxy diva”


The enigmatic Cleopatra
The enigmatic Cleopatra
The Eurovision Song Contest Poster.
The Eurovision Song Contest Poster.

Late 19th century: via Italian from Latin, literally

The Eurovision Song Contest Poster.
The Eurovision Song Contest Poster.
The breathtaking The Eurovision Song Contest.
The breathtaking The Eurovision Song Contest.
The stunning and awe-inspiring Eurovision Song Contest.
The stunning and awe-inspiring Eurovision Song Contest.
Cher - The world-renowned American 'Singing Sensation', actress and entertainer.
Cher – The world-renowned American ‘Singing Sensation’, actress and entertainer.
A stunning pic of Cher - dressed as Cleopatra.
A stunning pic of Cher – dressed as Cleopatra.
Dana International's flamboyant performance at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Dana International’s flamboyant performance at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Dana International's flamboyant performance at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Dana International’s flamboyant performance at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Dana International - The Uncontested Diva!
Dana International – The Uncontested Diva!
Israel's transsexual Dana International celebrates winning the Eurovision Song contest at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham May 9. Dana International won with the song "Diva" ahead of artists from 23 European countries.
Israel’s transsexual Dana International celebrates winning the Eurovision Song contest at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham May 9. Dana International won with the song “Diva” ahead of artists from 23 European countries.



“Diva” is undoubtedly one of the best and most well-known songs that have been sung by Dana International, a world-renowned Israeli pop singer. The song tells the undying story of a famous female pop music singer – this is the story of one who is both a star and a celebrity; one who forever walks in the limelight of fame or notoriety. This singer is surrounded by millions of ‘fans’ – fans whose hearts “ache” to get nearer and closer to their one true love. The diva is never alone but she is – for all intents and purposes – an extremely lonely woman. If she were to look in the mirror, she would see only the reflection of a stranger. Beneath her painted and made-up face lies a very vulnerable human being, capable of both laughter and tears – she longs to be loved truly and for her own sake. The diva can be whatever she wants – an angel or a devil, depending on her moods. She is a  queen; a goddess – the ultimate embodiment of beauty and love.


Queen Victoria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India.

Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke of Kent and King George III died in 1820, and Victoria was raised under close supervision by her German-born mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father’s three elder brothers had all died, leaving no legitimate, surviving children. The United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, in which the sovereign held relatively little direct political power. Privately, Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Publicly, she became a national icon, and was identified with strict standards of personal morality.

Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840. Their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the nickname “the grandmother of Europe”. After Albert’s death in 1861, Victoria plunged into deep mourning and avoided public appearances. As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration.

Her reign of 63 years and seven months, which is longer than that of any other British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history, is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. She was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover. Her son and successor, Edward VII, belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the line of his father.



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aphrodite (i/æfrəˈdti/ af-rə-dy-teeGreek: Ἀφροδίτη) is the Greekgoddess of lovebeauty, pleasure, and procreation. Her Roman equivalent is the goddess Venus.[4] She is identified with the planet Venus.

As with many ancient Greek deities, there is more than one story about her origins. According to Hesiod‘s Theogony, she was born when Cronus cut offUranus‘s genitals and threw them into the sea, and she arose from the sea foam (aphros). According to Homer‘s Iliad, she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione. According to Plato (Symposium, 180e), these two origins were of entirely separate entities: Aphrodite Ourania and Aphrodite Pandemos.

Because of her beauty, other gods feared that their rivalry over her would interrupt the peace among them and lead to war, so Zeus married her toHephaestus, who, because of his ugliness and deformity, was not seen as a threat. Aphrodite had many lovers—both gods, such as Ares, and men, such asAnchises. She played a role in the Eros and Psyche legend, and later was bothAdonis‘s lover and his surrogate mother. Many lesser beings were said to be children of Aphrodite.

Aphrodite is also known as Cytherea (Lady of Cythera) and Cypris (Lady of Cyprus) after the two cult sites, Cythera and Cyprus, which claimed to be her place of birth. Myrtledovessparrowshorses, and swans were said to be sacred to her. The ancient Greeks identified her with the Ancient Egyptian goddessHathor.[5]

Aphrodite had many other names, such as Acidalia, Cytherea, and Cerigo, each used by a different local cult of the goddess in Greece. The Greeks recognized all of these names as referring to the single goddess Aphrodite, despite the slight differences in what these local cults believed the goddess demanded of them. The Attic philosophers of the 4th century, however, drew a distinction between a celestial Aphrodite (Aprodite Urania) of transcendent principles, and a separate, “common” Aphrodite who was the goddess of the people (Aphrodite Pandemos).



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Cleopatra VII Philopator (Greek: Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ; 69[1] – August 12, 30 BC), known to history simply as Cleopatra, was the last active pharaoh ofAncient Egypt, only shortly survived by her son, Caesarion as pharaoh.

Cleopatra was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, a family of Macedonian Greek[ origin that ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great‘s death during the Hellenistic period. The Ptolemies, throughout their dynasty, spoke Greek and refused to speak Egyptian, which is the reason that Greek as well as Egyptian languages were used on official court documents such as the Rosetta Stone. By contrast, Cleopatra did learn to speak Egyptian and represented herself as the reincarnation of an Egyptian goddess, Isis.

Cleopatra originally ruled jointly with her father, Ptolemy XII Auletes, and later with her brothers, Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV, whom she married as per Egyptian custom, but eventually she became sole ruler. As pharaoh, she consummated a liaison with Julius Caesar that solidified her grip on the throne. She later elevated her son with Caesar, Caesarion, to co-ruler in name.

After Caesar’s assassination in 44 BC, she aligned with Mark Antony in opposition to Caesar’s legal heir, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (later known as Augustus). With Antony, she bore the twins Cleopatra Selene II and Alexander Helios, and another son, Ptolemy Philadelphus (her unions with her brothers had produced no children). After losing the Battle of Actium to Octavian’s forces, Antony committed suicide. Cleopatra followed suit, according to tradition killing herself by means of an asp bite on August 12, 30 BC.[6] She was briefly outlived by Caesarion, who was declared pharaoh by his supporters but soon killed on Octavian’s orders. Egypt became the Roman province of Aegyptus.

To this day, Cleopatra remains a popular figure in Western culture. Her legacy survives in numerous works of art and the many dramatizations of her story in literature and other media, including William Shakespeare‘s tragedy Antony and CleopatraGeorge Bernard Shaw‘s play Caesar and CleopatraJules Massenet‘s opera Cléopâtre and the 1963 film Cleopatra.




“Diva” (Dana International song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Diva” (Hebrew scriptדיווה) was the winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 performed in Hebrew by Dana International representing Israel. The music was composed by Svika Pick, and the lyrics by Yoav Ginai. It totalled 172 points in the polling.

The song became the last entry entirely in a language other than English to win the Contest until 2007. The interval act and Dana’s reprise was the last time live music from an orchestra was used in the Contest, as the 1999 Contest lacked the necessary budget and was held in a venue not large enough to hold one. Dana is also currently the only transgender singer to have won the Contest.

The selection of Dana International’s song caused such controversy amongst conservative groups in Israel that upon her arrival in Britain, police escorts and security were required continuously. The performance consisted of Dana International, wearing a silver dress, being backed by four other female singers wearing black, and involved no dancing.

The song was performed eighth on the night, following Poland‘s Sixteen with “To takie proste” and preceding Germany‘s Guildo Horn with “Guildo hat euch lieb!“. At the close of voting, it had received 172 points, placing 1st in a field of 25. This was Israel’s third Contest victory and, as they had not entered the previous year’s Contest, they achieved the unusual distinction of having won a Contest the year after not competing.

After winning the contest, Dana International caused a stir by arriving to the presentation late after a long delay in changing into an extravagant costume designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier adorned with bird feathers before performing the reprise.

The song was chosen in an internet poll conducted by the European Broadcasting Union in 2005 as one of the 14 most popular songs in the history of the Eurovision, and was one of the entrants in the Congratulations 50th anniversary concert inCopenhagenDenmark, held in October 2005. It was re-enacted by Dana International along with six dancers equipped with giant feathered fans and a live orchestra as the original footage was shown in the background. Diva came 13th in the final voting.

The song was succeeded in 1999 as Contest winner by Charlotte Nilsson, performing “Take Me to Your Heaven” for Sweden. It was succeeded as Israeli representative at the 1999 Contest by Eden with “Yom Huledet (Happy Birthday)“.


The song is an ode to the powerful women of history — with Cleopatra in fact being the only real figure named. Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory and Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty are also named.


Dana International

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sharon Cohen (Hebrew: שרון כהן‎), professionally known as Dana International(דנה אינטרנשיונל), born Yaron Cohen ירון כהן) is an Israeli pop singer of Yemenite Jewish ancestry. She has released eight albums and three additional compilation albums, positioning herself as one of Israel’s most successful musical acts ever. She is best known as the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 in Birmingham with the song “Diva“.

Assigned male at birth, Sharon discovered that she was transgender at an early age, and came out as a trans woman when she was 13. She underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1993 and in that year released her first album, Danna International, upon which she based her stage name. After consolidating her initial commercial success with the albums Umpatampa (1994) and Maganuna (1996), she was selected in 1998 to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest with her song “Diva”; after winning the international competition, she came to public attention throughout Europe.

Following this up with the albums Free (1999), Yoter VeYoter (2001), HaHalom HaEfshari (2002) and Hakol Ze Letova (2008), she represented Israel in Eurovision a second time in 2011, this time with the song “Ding Dong“, which failed to make it into the final. The same year, she became a judge on the Israeli television music talent contest Kokhav Nolad.

Dana International has been credited with being one of the world’s best known trans women.

Early life

Sharon Cohen was born in Tel Aviv to a Jewish family of Yemenite and Romanian descent. In an interview, she said her grandfather originated from Transylvania (Romania).[3] Her paternal grandparents lived in Petah Tikva. She was the youngest of three children, and was named after an uncle who had been killed during a terrorist attack.

Though assigned male at birth, she identified as female from a very young age. She wanted to become a singer since the age of eight, when she watched Israeli singer Ofra Haza perform her song “Chai” in the 1983 Eurovision Song Contest. Although the family was quite poor, her mother worked to pay for her music lessons, and she stated that her childhood was happy. She came out as transgender at the age of 13.

Dana International took her stage name from a feminized version of a childhood friend Daniel, who died in a car accident.



1990–93: Dana International

At 18 years of age, Cohen (still legally male) earned a living as Israel’s first drag queen parodying many famous female singers. During one of her performances, she was discovered by Offer Nissim, a well-known Israeli DJ, who produced her debut single “Saida Sultana” (“My Name is Not Saida”), a satirical version of Whitney Houston‘s song “My Name Is Not Susan“. The song received considerable exposure and helped launch her career as a professional singer.

In 1993, Dana International flew to London for male-to-female sex reassignment surgery and legally changed her name to Sharon Cohen.[5] Returning home with her new name, that same year Cohen released her first album, titled Danna International, in Israel. Soon after, the album was also released in several other countries including Greece, Jordan, and Egypt (In Jordan and Egypt the album sold illegally). Sharon’s stage name Dana International comes from the title track of the album, and was originally spelled with two “n:s”. Danna International soon became a gold record in Israel.

1994: Umpatampa and Best Female Artist

In 1994, Dana released her second, Trance-influenced album Umpatampa, which built on the success of her debut and provided further hit singles. The album went platinum in Israel and has sold more than 50,000 copies to date. Because of her popularity and the success of this album, she won the award for Best Female Artist of the Year in Israel.

1995: Eurovision Song Contest

In 1995, Dana attempted to fulfill her childhood dream of performing in the Eurovision Song Contest. She entered the Eurovision qualifying contest in Israel with a song entitled “Layla Tov, Eropa” (“Good Night Europe”) which finished second in the pre-selections, but became another hit single.

In late 1995, Dana released an E.P. called E.P. Tampa with three new songs and four remixes and special versions of her earlier songs.

1996–97: Consolidating popularity

In 1996, Dana released her third album, Maganuna. Although this album was less successful than her previous efforts, it still reached gold record sales in Israel and included the hits “Don Quixote,” “Waving,” and the club favorite “Cinque Milla.” In 1997, Dana collaborated with the Israeli artist Eran Zur on his album Ata Havera Sheli, and together they sang the duet “Shir Kdam-Shnati (Sex Acher)” (“Pre-Bed Song (A Different Kind of Sex)”) which became a huge hit.

1998: Diva and mainstream spotlight

Dana was chosen to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 in Birmingham with the song “Diva“. Orthodox Jews and others with conservative views were opposed to her appointment and attempted to void her participation in the contest. However, in May 1998, Dana performed “Diva” at the Eurovision final and won the contest with 172 points. She became known internationally, and was interviewed by CNNBBCSky News, and MTV among others mostly focusing on her life as a transsexual person before winning the contest. Dana’s own words “the message of reconciliation” were; “My victory proves God is on my side. I want to send my critics a message of forgiveness and say to them: try to accept me and the kind of life I lead. I am what I am and this does not mean I don’t believe in God, and I am part of the Jewish Nation.”

Dana released “Diva” as a single in Europe and it became a hit, reaching number 11 in the UK charts and the top ten in Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

1999–2001: Stage falling, Streisand cover and new albums

In 1999, Dana released “Woman in Love”, a Barbra Streisand cover, but it was not the hit that “Diva” had been. In May 1999, Dana again participated in the Eurovision Song Contest held in Jerusalem. Dana was a part of the interval act and sang the Stevie Wonder song “Free”. She also presented the award to the winners of the contest but accidentally managed to steal their thunder. Whilst she was carrying the heavy trophy, one of the composers of the winning Swedish entry by mistake stepped on the long trail of her dress and she fell over on stage – in front of a television audience estimated be to one billion or more, making it one of the most memorable moments in the 50-year-long history of the contest.

She released her next album Free in Europe in 1999, which enjoyed moderate success. A few months later Dana moved back to Israel and started to work on different projects. Israeli and Japanese editions of Free were released in 2000. That same year, an Israeli documentary film was made about Dana called Lady D.

In 2001, after a break, Dana released her seventh album Yoter Ve Yoter (More and More). The album put her career in Israel back on track and provided two hits called “I Won” and “After All”, which eventually both went GOLD.

2002–06: Fading from the scene and Sony BMG incident

Dana was about to sign with a major label, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, for an international recording contract but something went wrong during negotiations. These were disagreements that led to Sony Music canceling the deal before it was completed. In 2002, she released another album, HaHalom HaEfshari (The Possible Dream), which was a minor chart success. In 2003, she released an exclusive 8-CD box set, containing all singles from The Possible Dream and a new house version of the hit single “Cinque Milla”, titled A.lo.ra.lo.la. A few years later, in 2005, Dana participated in the 50th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest, held in Copenhagen, after “Diva” was selected as one of fourteen songs considered to be the best Eurovision songs. The song did not make it into the final top five but, Dana got the chance to perform both “Diva” and an old Eurovision favourite of hers; Baccara‘s 1978 entry “Parlez-Vous Francais?“. She also recorded the song “Lola” (sung in French), to which she released a video. This video can be found on the CD Hakol Ze Letova, released in 2007 as a bonus CD-rom video.

2007–11: Return to music and Eurovision comeback

After a few years away from show business, together with the relaunch of her official website, a first single of the upcoming album was released in March 2007: “Hakol Ze Letova” (“It’s All For the Best”). The second single to be released from the album, “Love Boy”, became the most played song on Israeli radio in a decade. It also gained a respectable place on the airplay of the Greek radio station FLY FM 89,7. The following album, also titled Hakol Ze Letova, was released on August 15, 2007. “At Muhana” was the third single and “Seret Hodi” (feat. Idan Yaniv)[14] the fourth to be released from the album, which became a bestseller in many ONLINE STORES. The next single released from the album was “Yom Huledet”.

On February 26, 2008, Dana gained an additional achievement when the song “Ke’ilu Kan” written and composed by her and performed by Boaz Mauda, was chosen on Kdam Eurovision to represent Israel at Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in BelgradeSerbia. It came 5th in the semi-final and gained 9th place in the final rank.

Dana also recorded the song “Mifrats Ha Ahava” (“The Love Bay”) for an Israeli version of the TV-show “ParadiseHOTEL“. She also collaborated with the Ukrainian duo NeAngely (Not Angels), recording “I Need Your Love” and releasing a video. In 2009, Dana starred in a mock reality show called Dana Kama/Nama for cellphone provider Cellcom[15]

Dana campaigned for Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni shortly before 2009 legislative elections in Israel. At a women’s political rally in Jerusalem Dana performed a disco song alongside Livni onstage, announcing “I now formally invite you to the diva sisterhood.”[16]

In April 2009, Dana performed in the opening concert of Tel Aviv-Yafo Centennial Year. She performed a cover version ofDanny Robas‘ song “Lo nirdemet Tel Aviv” (Tel Aviv Doesn’t Fall Asleep) in front of 250,000 people.

Also in 2009, Dana International joined the 7th season of “Kokhav Nolad” (the Israeli version of Pop Idol) as a judge, also joining the 8th one in 2010.[17]

Dana made a guest appearance, as herself, in an episode of the second series of UK sitcom Beautiful People, which was set around her Eurovision appearance.

On March 8, 2011, Dana International won the Israeli National Final for Eurovision with the song “Ding Dong“, and represented Israel at Eurovision for a second time. However, she did not make it into the final; she was the first Eurovision winner not to do so.

2013–present: new singles, TV show and album

In April 2013, after a two-year break, Dana released a new single, “Ma La’asot”. It was released digitally worldwide on April 24, 2013. On May 29, Dana released a video clip for the song Loca, to promote the Gay Pride Tel Aviv 2013. Dana will perform on the main event for the Gay Pride on June 7. Her third single for that year, “Ir Shlema”, was released in July. Late in January 2014, Dana’s new music reality show “Yeshnan Banot” premiered. Dana is the main judge on the show, attempting to find Israel’s next girl group.

Also in 2014, Dana was the main attraction aboard the first Jewish boat to participate in the Amsterdam Pride Canal Parade. Dana stated, “I don’t believe in any religion, so I’m here as an Israeli, not as a Jew. But it’s time to end the persecution over religion or national reasons. Just cut out all that shit. That’s my message.” Previously, after she won the Eurovision song competition, a serious religious debate had been held as to whether, and how, Dana should pray in a synagogue, with one rabbinical authority concluding that Dana should be counted in a minyan as a man, but could not sing in front of the community since she was also a woman, according to the rabbi, and that would violate the Orthodox rule of kol isha.

Dana’s Eurovision Records

Year Artist Language Title Writers Final Points Semi Points Kdam
1995 Dana International Hebrew “Layla Tov, Eropa” Dana International Failed to qualify for Eurovision No Semi-Finals 2
1998 Dana International Hebrew Diva Yoav Ginai 1 172 1
2008 Bo’az Ma’uda Hebrew,English The Fire in Your Eyes Dana International, Shay Kerem 9 124 5 104 1
2011 Dana International Hebrew,English Ding Dong Dana International Failed to qualify 15 38 1


Dana International to sing in BBC special

By Raz Shechnik

Source: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4607235,00.html

Sixteen years after winning Eurovision, Israeli diva invited to take part in special program in honor of European song contest’s 60th anniversary.

Sixteen years after winning the Eurovision with her song “Diva,”  Dana International has been invited to take part in a special program produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) ahead of the annual European song contest’s 60th anniversary.

The Israeli diva will appear in the special show alongside some of the competition’s big winners over the years, which the network has yet to reveal.

The program is expected to be watched by more than 100 million people across Europe. In Israel, it will be broadcast on Channel 1.

Dana received the BBC invitation several days ago. She was asked to attend rehearsal on March 31, 2015.

The program, which will air shortly afterwards, will include performances of the Eurovision’s winning songs, as well as a special clip for each participant.

In 2005, Dana took part in “Congratulations,” the Eurovision’s 50th anniversary special, where “Diva” was chosen as one of the greatest songs in this history of the competition.


Dana International, pop diva: ‘I am the Israeli Cher’

‘It’s being on crutches, blind, lame, with your hands cut off and bald – and still alive.’

By Shany Littman | Jan. 21, 2014 | 12:50 AM |

Source: http://www.haaretz.com/life/arts-leisure/.premium-1.569608

Interviewing Dana International is like walking barefoot on a floor littered with shards of broken glass. It probably feels that way because her branding as a diva was very successful, and because her poker face and the distance expressed by her body language when she walks into the apartment of her manager, Shay Kerem, convey that she does not open up easily and would rather be elsewhere.

At 45, Dana has reached a dangerous age for divas, but it is also an age that offers new potential. She’s been in the spotlight ever since winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1998, prompting headlines worldwide for her childhood as a boy (she underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1993).

Deeper into the interview she reveals that she avoids smiling unnecessarily because it causes wrinkles. I get that she is actually a sweet woman, honest and very funny but cautious. She is probably also a bit concerned over the question of how she will maintain her status in the ever-changing world of pop music.

The changing new reality brought her to the realization that it was time to step off the fast track and devote her attention to her new reality show, “Yeshnan Banot” (“There Are Girls”) named after her rendition of a popular Israeli song. As the show’s super-mentor, she selects four women who will end up in a pop band she will be representing. The program, produced by Endemol Israel, will be shown three times a week on Channel 24 starting this week. Leon Rosenberg and male model Michael Lewis of torn underwear fame will host the show together with Dana. The judges will include legendary singer Yardena Arazi, director Tzedi Tzarfati, and Kerem, Dana’s manager. One of the show’s goals, according to Dana, is to help the genre of Israeli pop regain the respect it lost.

Why do you think pop music is neglected in Israel?

“For the same reason that women are neglected in Israel. Because we are in the Middle East. It is the climate, the culture, the fact that women here are not dressed nicely. We are not part of Europe. We are in a country that sanctifies sadness and mourning and bereavement to a terrible degree. Pop music was always in the background and it was very successful, but it never got its niche.”

Dana says that getting Yardena Arazi on board as a judge was a vital step. “Yardena is the queen mother of pop music,” Dana says. “Yardena and I are as different as heaven and earth. She performed during the time known as ‘the beautiful and modest Land of Israel.’ My time was a generation of breaking through the barriers. Now we have reached a generation of strong capitalism. Everybody wants to be a singer.”

Even though “Yeshnan Banot” is a reality show, Dana insists her approach to the path of success is different, and that she hopes to convey that approach to the girls as well. Her idea, she says, is that to attain fame, one has to sweat. “I think the long way is much healthier and makes you stronger. You have to put up with a lot of shit, a lot of nonsense. Everybody has to,” she says. “There is no such thing as an artist who does not have a hard time, and that’s true of even the most successful ones. I read an interview with Barbra Streisand. She hates to perform. Go figure. Take Britney Spears, for example. She has been a workhorse since the age of 12. She will never be Whitney Houston; she hardly opens her mouth in live shows, but she is Britney Spears and she conquered the world. Why? Because as she knew enough to keep her mouth shut, get on the Mickey Mouse Club and sleep only two hours a night, and she knew how to work until it blew up and she went crazy. But she did it by the book all the way.”

‘Love is wonderful — when you have time for it’

When I ask Dana what she learned from her past 20 years in her profession, she begins a heart-rending speech. “I remember how, when I was young, my mind was clean. Everything was innocent. The majority of a singer’s life is filled with anxiety. If I look at it from the sidelines, I’d say it was a miserable profession. I can go to do a show and my dog has just died and my mother is ill, and I have to look happy and waste my energy on keeping up that appearance. I have to smile all the time, sign autographs and be loving. And you have no love at home most of the time because you signed a contract with the devil, not with Cupid, that you’re building a magnificent career.”

But Dana admits that she has not given up on love. “I’m not looking for love, and I don’t miss it. I’ve had many loving relationships. To me, love is wonderful when you have the time and the emotional strength to devote to it. But life is wonderful and full even without it. I’m wild about my dogs — more than anything I’ve loved in my life, and I’ve loved quite a bit. At least half of all human beings don’t know how to raise children and aren’t cut out for it, and it’s a pity that they’re raising children.”

You don’t want children?

“I almost feel sorry for children who would have to be raised by me. I’d be in trouble if I had to get into a situation where I was tough and evil to a child. Because of how I am and what I went through at home, I’d have to have emotional braces so I could learn how to raise a child and love him the way he should be loved. But with the way I was and the way I am, it’s not worth it. I don’t have the responsibility, and I don’t think I deserve to raise children. Also, children adopt their parents’ lifestyle, and I’m too permissive.”

It’s been 15 years since Dana International won the Eurovision competition in 1998 and it seemed that she had proven to Israel and the world, for a moment at least, that we had a chance of becoming a sane, normal place. The breakthrough she accomplished for herself and for the LBGT community in Israel is beyond all question.

Do you think that artists should be more forthright about where they stand politically?

“If only they would! They have to. Saying what’s in their hearts is part of their personality. But we live in a country that doesn’t know how to respect different opinions. I understand artists who don’t want to risk their whole life’s work over a supportive sentence of whatever kind. There are several states within the State of Israel. Politics and Israelis is a scary thing. There are factors beyond music that it’s not a good idea to mess with. And sometimes I want, very badly, to say things.”

Recently, David Grossman attended the African refugees’ demonstration and spoke in their favor. Are there subjects about which you would be willing to express your opinion?

“Of course. Some things are basic: women’s rights, violence against women, and violence against children. When you are on Grossman’s level, you can say anything you want to. But if you’re asking about the refugees — I feel sorry for them. I’m sad that we, as a country, can’t take them in, whether it’s because of racism or the budget. And I hear people saying all the time that we have to deport them, and asking why they came. Humanity has not yet learned that black people are part of the human race. Like all the cultured countries, Israel imports a nation of slaves that is building our country for us.”

‘Madonna sold her soul to the devil’

Do you still feel close to club culture?

“Of course. All my life. That’s where I came from. Even when I’m 80, I’ll be listening to club music. It’s got nothing to do with age; it gives me energy. I start dancing right away.”

What about a career abroad?

“That’s much less important to me. I was miserable abroad. I was homesick, I missed Israel. It got away from me because it was so difficult. It didn’t give me joy or make me happy, and I discovered that I was content with much less. I could appear in the most magnificent hall in Berlin and come back from the show and feel depressed because in another five hours I had to get up to go to the airport and go through security. There are a thousand things you never think about when you only see the glitter.”

Are you jealous of the female pop singers who have made it big in the world?

“I decided that my career would be managed according to my temperament. Make no mistake — I work very hard. But I will never be Madonna. Madonna sold her soul to the devil. What she wanted was to be the most successful female pop singer on earth. That means that you’re working non-stop from morning till night. When Madonna produces a new show, she spends months and months on every hand motion, every stage light, every word that comes out of her mouth. I don’t have that kind of perfectionism or investment. I guess I am not as emotionally deprived”.

“If you were to tell me tomorrow that all I had to do was press a button and I would bounce around the world like Rihanna, I’d tell you: Absolutely not. The money and status are tempting, but the end result and the places where these girls get to and go crazy — there’s a reason they become alcoholics and drug addicts. You need to learn how to cope with success in just the same way that you need to learn how to deal with failure. There were days when I was ashamed to go out into the street because I was so successful. I didn’t want anyone to see me or compliment me.”

Is there any singer who is a model for you?

“In the world? Cher. It’s being on crutches, blind, lame, with your hands cut off and bald — and still alive. I see myself as the Israeli Cher.”



Finally, last but not least……this is how Dana International – the Uncontested Diva –  sees herself and the world in which she lives  –

I’m standing for a liberal Israel, an Israel which accepts the human being no matter how you are, no matter how you look like and no matter what sex or race you are”

-Dana International



Source: http://www.dana-international.net/indexeng.html)



Suspicion Torments the Heart; Suspicion Keeps Us Apart; Suspicion, Why Torture Me?

“Suspicion” by Elvis Presley
Ev’rytime you kiss me
I’m still not certain that you love me
Ev’ry time you hold me
I’m still not certain that you care
Though you keep on saying
you really, really, really love me
do you speak the same words
To someone else when I’m not there
Suspicion torments my heart
Suspicion keeps us apart
Suspicion why torture me

Ev’rytime you call me
and tell me we should meet tomorrow
I can’t help but think that
you’re meeting someone else tonight
Why should our romance just
keep on causing me such sorrow?
Why am I so doubtful
whenever you’re out of sight?
Darling, if you love me,
I beg you wait a little longer
Wait until I drive all
these foolish fears out of my mind
How I hope and pray that
our love will keep on growing stronger
Maybe I’m suspicious
’cause true love is so hard to find.


Elvis Presley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as “the King of Rock and Roll”, or simply, “the King”.

Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and when he was 13 years old, he and his family relocated to Memphis, Tennessee. His music career began there in 1954, when he recorded a song with producer Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Accompanied by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley was an early popularizer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and bluesRCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who managed the singer for more than two decades. Presley’s first RCA single, “Heartbreak Hotel“, was released in January 1956 and became a number-one hit in the United States. He was regarded as the leading figure of rock and roll after a series of successful network television appearances and chart-topping records. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines that coincided with the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement, made him enormously popular—and controversial.

In November 1956, he made his film debut in Love Me Tender. In 1958, he was drafted into military service. He resumed his recording career two years later, producing some of his most commercially successful work before devoting much of the 1960s to making Hollywood movies and their accompanying soundtrack albums, most of which were critically derided. In 1968, following a seven-year break from live performances, he returned to the stage in the acclaimed televised comeback special Elvis, which led to an extended Las Vegas concert residency and a string of highly profitable tours. In 1973, Presley was featured in the first globally broadcast concert via satellite, Aloha from Hawaii. Several years of prescription drug abuse severely damaged his health, and he died in 1977 at the age of 42.

Presley is one of the most celebrated and influential musicians of the 20th century. Commercially successful in many genres, including popblues and gospel, he is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music, with estimated record sales of around 600 million units worldwide.[9] He won three Grammys, also receiving the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36, and has been inducted into multiple music halls of fameForbes named Elvis Presley as the 2nd top earning dead celebrity with $55 million as of 2011.


Shall We Dance? (2004 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Shall We Dance? is a 2004 American film that is a remake of the award-winning1996 Japanese film of the same name.The film made its US premiere at theHawaii International Film Festival.


John Clark (Richard Gere) is a lawyer with a charming wife (Beverly, played bySusan Sarandon) and loving family, who nevertheless feels that something is missing as he makes his way every day through the city. Each evening on his commute home through Chicago, John sees a beautiful woman staring with a lost expression through the window of a dance studio. Haunted by her gaze, John impulsively jumps off the train one night, and signs up for ballroom dancinglessons, hoping to meet her.

At first, it seems like a mistake. His teacher turns out to be not Paulina (Jennifer Lopez), but the older Miss Mitzi (Anita Gillette), and John proves to be just as clumsy as his equally clueless classmates Chic (Bobby Cannavale) and Vern (Omar Miller) on the dance-floor. Even worse, when he does meet Paulina, she icily tells John she hopes he has come to the studio to seriously study dance and not to look for a date. But, as his lessons continue, John falls in love with dancing. Keeping his new obsession from his family and co-workers, John feverishly trains for Chicago’s biggest dance competition. His friendship with Paulina blossoms, as his enthusiasm rekindles her own lost passion for dance. But the more time John spends away FROM HOME v:shapes=”_x0000_i1025″>, the more his wife Beverly becomes suspicious. She hires a private investigator to find out what John is doing, but when she finds out the truth, she chooses to discontinue the investigation and not invade her husband’s privacy.

John is partnered with Bobbie (Lisa Ann Walter) for the competition, although his friend Link (Stanley Tucci) steps in to do the Latin dances. Link and Bobbie do well in the Latin dances, and while John and Bobbie’s waltz goes well, John hears his wife and daughter in the crowd during the quickstep, and is distracted by trying to find them. He and Bobbie fall and are disqualified, and John and Beverly argue in the parking structure. John quits dancing, to everyone’s dismay.

Paulina, having been inspired by John to take up competing again, is leaving to go to Europe, and is having a going-away party at the dance studio. She sends John an invitation, but he’s not convinced to go until his wife leaves out a pair of dancing shoes that she bought him. He goes and meets Beverly at work, convinces her that while he loves dancing, he still loves her just as much, and they dance. They go to the party and John and Paulina have one last dance before she leaves.

The end scene shows everyone afterwards: Link and Bobbie are now together; Chic, who was actually homosexual, dances at a club with his partner; Miss Mitzi finds a new partner, and they are happy together; John and Beverly are back to normal and dance in the kitchen; Vern, newly married to his fiancée, dances with her at their wedding; the private investigator that Beverly hired, Devine (Richard Jenkins), starts up dance lessons; and Paulina, with a new partner, competes at Blackpool, the competition that she had lost years before.





Source: http://creative.sulekha.com/suspicion-a-short-story-by-vikram-karve_28654_blog


The moment I saw the telephone booth I decided to ring up my wife in Pune. I wish I hadn’t. But then you wouldn’t be reading this story. At that precise point of time I should have been just out of Mumbai harbour, sailing on the high seas, but my ship’s departure was suddenly  postponed by a day as some cargo documents were not in order and whilst the ship-chandlers and agents were on the job, obtaining the necessary clearances, I decided to see a movie at the Regal cinema and then kill time window-shopping on Colaba Causeway.

Having enjoyed the afternoon show, I was lazily strolling down Colaba Causeway when I saw the telephone booth. I wasn’t carrying my cell-phone – never do when sailing. I looked at my watch: 6.45PM.

Priya, my wife, should be home in Pune by now. I dialed our home number. The phone at the other end started ringing. Five rings. No one picked up. Ten rings. Twenty. And suddenly it cut-off. I tried again. No one picked up. I tried her cell-phone – ten rings, cut-off, she didn’t answer.

Walking towards Marine Drive, I wondered why Priya was late coming home. Her office finished at five, and it was just half-an-hour’s scooter drive to our home. Priya was always home by 6 PM. 6.15 at the most!

I looked at my watch : 7.15PM. Suddenly I spotted another phone booth. There was a proliferation of these nowadays. I went in and dialed. No reply. I dialed again and again. Both our home landline number and her mobile number. I must have dialed both numbers at least ten times and every time the story was the same – ten rings and cut off.

As I walked by the sea in the enveloping darkness, strange thoughts began entering my brain. Maybe Priya had an accident. I wished I had never bought her that scooter. It was so dangerous driving a two-wheeler in the chaotic evening traffic of Pune. And Priya’s driving was so rash. I had warned her so many times about her reckless driving. But she just wouldn’t listen. Stubborn! That’s what she was. Like she insisted on buying the latest two-wheeler model with powerful pick-up, so she could zip around town. I’d suggested she use the car, but she said it was impossible for her to drive a car in the frenzied traffic on the narrow roads of Pune. And, of course, she was tired of traveling by bus. Besides it was below her dignity.

At first I was angry with her; then gradually my anger turned to anxiety. An accident. A distinct possibility. Maybe I was imagining things. Getting worried for nothing. Priya must be home by now!

“Please can I use your mobile phone?” I asked a stranger sitting on the parapet on the seaface.

“Sure,” he said, “tell me the number. I’ll try.”

I told him. He dialed. Once, twice. Then with a knowledgeable look on his face he told me what I already knew, “No one is picking up.”

I looked at my watch : 7.45PM. I felt a tremor of trepidation. Instinctively I knew that something was wrong. I tried to calm myself and think rationally.

“Anything wrong?” the stranger asked looking intently at me.

“No,” I said trying to wipe out the anxiety on my face, smoothening my worried look into a grin. “I’m trying to get my wife.”

“Why don’t you try some other number? Her friend. Office,” he said holding out his cell-phone.

Yes. Her office. Priya’s office. How come I didn’t think of it before?

I dialed Priya’s office number.

“Hello,” said a male voice.

“I want to speak to Priya Ranade,” I said. “I’m her husband speaking from Mumbai.”

“Oh,” the voice said,” Just a minute.”

There was long pause. The silence was killing. Then suddenly the sound of someone picking up the phone.

“Hello, Mr. Ranade, Godbole here.” Godbole was Priya’s boss. “Your wife left at five, as usual,” he said. “In fact even we are winding up now. It’s almost eight.” I could her some conversation in the background. “Just hold the line please,” Godbole said. After a few seconds Godbole spoke, “You’re speaking from Mumbai, are you? Anything wrong? Any problem?”

“No one is picking up the phone at my house,” I said.” Even her mobile.”

“I see,” Godbole said. “Why don’t you check up with Ashok Pandit. They left office together. Maybe your wife is at his place.”

“Yes.” The word escaped my mouth.

“Just a second,” Godbole said. “I’ll give you Ashok Pandit’s residence number.”

“Thanks, sir. I’ve got it,” I said, switched off and looked beseechingly at the stranger.

“Go ahead,” he said, got up and walked away to give me privacy.

Almost immediately I dialed Ashok’s number. I knew it by heart. After all, Ashok was one of my best friends, besides being Priya’s colleague at office.

Anjali, Ashok’s wife, came on the line.

“Hi, Anjali. Vinay here.”

“From the ship?”

“No. From Mumbai.”

“Anything wrong?”

“No. Is Ashok there?”

“No. He’s not come back from office.”

“But it’s eight o’clock,” I said.

“Ashok told me he’d be late,” Anjali said. “Some important business meeting. Dinner with a client or something. He told me not to wait for dinner. Why don’t you try his mobile?” She sounded so nonchalant that I decided not to delve any further.

“I just rang up to say goodbye,” I said and hung up.

So this was what going on the moment my back was turned. Under the garb of platonic friendship. And to think I had left Pune only yesterday, and they were having a good time already.

It was only yesterday morning that Ashok had come to see me off on the Deccan Queen. I’d asked him to take care of Priya while I was away at sea. And do you know what he said? “Don’t worry. Vinay. I’ll take good care of Priya. I’ll look after her so well that she won’t even miss you.”

Sure! She wasn’t missing me! I should have known. The familiar way they talked to each other; their ‘harmless’ jokes. Platonic friendship my foot! I had been a fool blinded by trust. Deep down I felt terribly betrayed. I was so angry, so full of hate, that I could feel the venom rising within me. I cannot begin to describe the intense emotions I experienced, but a strange force took charge of me impelling me to act, propelling me toward the nearest taxi. “Dadar,” I told the taxi driver, “Poona Taxi Stand.”

Something vibrated in my hands. Shit! I had forgotten to return the stranger’s cell-phone. I should have turned back, returned the mobile, but I do not know what bizarre force overwhelmed me that I just switched it off.

Soon I was on my way to Pune, having hired an entire taxi to myself owing to the urgency of my mission. Also I did not want any company. As I closed my eyes in self-commiseration, I saw both halves of my life, my marriage and my career, side by side, as I had never seen them before, and I tried to fathom how I could be so stupid in one and so capable in the other.

The voice of the taxi-driver shook me out of my thoughts, “Sir, we’ll stop at the Food-Court before climbing the ghats. You can have a cup of tea or eat something.”

I decided to give Priya her last chance. I dialed her cell number. Our home number. It was the same story. Ten rings.  No one picked up. I looked at my watch. 10 PM. I dialed Ashok Pandit’s home number. A few rings.

“Hello,” It was Ashok’s wife Anjali again.

“I want to speak to Ashok Pandit,” I said curtly.

“He’s not home,” Anjali said. I could sense the irritation in her voice. “Who’s speaking? Vinay? Why don’t you try his mobile?”

I tried Ashok’s mobile. ‘Out of coverage area’: a recorded message said. Must have gone to his farmhouse in Panshet.

There was no doubt about it now. Too much of a coincidence.  Unfaithful woman. Devious friend.  Making a cuckold of me. Having a good time at the farmhouse on the very night of my departure! As if they were waiting for me to go. Just imagine what they would be up to during my six month absence away at sea. I felt tormented by the torrent of anger flowing within me. There was no going back now. I had to get the bottom of this.

The taxi took two hours to reach Pune – the longest two hours of my life. As I entered my apartment block I noticed that Priya’s scooter was parked at the usual place.

So there had been no accident. My suspicions were true! I ran up the steps to my second floor flat.

There was no lock on the door. So she had come back. I rang the bell. Once. Twice. Priya opened the door. She was looking at me as if she had seen a ghost. I stepped inside and quickly went to the bedroom. There was no one there.

“What’s wrong?” Priya exclaimed. “Why have you suddenly come back?”

“Where were you?” I asked ignoring her question. “I’ve been ringing up all evening.”

“You were supposed to be sailing.”

“The sailing got postponed,” I said irritably. “Answer my question. Where were you? I rang up at least five times.”

“I was right here,” Priya said.

We stood facing each other. I saw a flicker in her eyes. I knew she was hiding something. Then she spoke, trying to keep her voice calm, “There is something wrong with our phone. Even Ashok said he couldn’t get me.”

“When?” I snapped.

“He came to check in the evening. I told him to make a complaint.”

“He came here? Why? You could have rung up on your mobile.”

“I lost my cell-phone.”


“I don’t know. Maybe in the office. Or on the way, the market.”

“You expect me to believe that! Lost cell-phone! Phone dead! And Ashok’s mobile out of coverage.” “Ashok. You rung up Ashok?”

“You think I am dumb. You liar, you cheat…..” I screamed  incoherently in furious rage.

“What’s wrong with you?” Priya shouted. “You suddenly land up at midnight and….”

Before she could complete her sentence the telephone started ringing. I rushed and picked it up.

“Priya, what’s wrong with Vinay?” It was Ashok’s voice. “He’s been ringing Anjali from Mumbai. There is a missed call on my mobile too.”

“It’s me!” I said angrily to Ashok and put the phone down. And then I looked at Priya squarely in the eye and said, “And now what do you have to say?  This phone suddenly comes to life. With Ashok at the other end. Ringing you at midnight! Wow! What coincidence!”

She had no answer. Adulterous cheat! Deep down I felt terribly betrayed.

I did not return to my ship. Just couldn’t. Everyone  tried to convince me that I was imagining things. But I am not convinced. They took me to the telephone exchange. But tell me, do they repair faults at midnight? And next day Ashok turned up with Priya’s cell-phone claiming that it was found lying in the office conference room. And expected me to believe it!

Ashok swore that he was innocent in the presence of his wife. Priya did likewise. But deep down within me is sown the seed of mistrust, growing day by day. Proliferating. Burgeoning into a massive tree of suspicion.

I have to make a decision. Soon. Once and for all. Clear everything. This way or that way!

I’ve read somewhere. The underlying principle of decision-making in uncertainty: “Suspend judgment till all possibilities are considered.”


So till this very day I am living in a state of suspension, considering all possibilities. And the more I think, the more the possibilities grow. Oh yes! The possibilities are endless!

I’ve got the sack for deserting my ship. And risk being blacklisted even by other companies if don’t return to the sea fast. And worse – they’ve tracked down the stranger’s mobile cell-phone and have filed a theft case against me and I am out on bail.

But I’m still waiting. Doing nothing. My judgment suspended. While I consider all possibilities. Till I reach a conclusion.

My wife wants me to consult a therapist – get some counseling.  She thinks I’ve gone crazy. Everyone think I’ve gone crazy. Do you?








noun: suspicion; plural noun: suspicions

  1. 1.

a feeling or thought that something is possible, likely, or true.

“she had a sneaking suspicion that he was laughing at her”

synonyms: intuitionfeelingimpressioninklingsurmiseguessconjecture,speculationhunchfancynotionsuppositionviewbeliefidea,conclusiontheorythesishypothesis;


informalgut feeling, feeling in one’s bones, funny feeling, sixth sense

“she had a strong suspicion that he did not like her”

antonyms: certainty
  • a feeling or belief that someone is guilty of an illegal, dishonest, or unpleasant action.

“police would not say what aroused their suspicions”

  1. 2.

cautious distrust.

“her activities were regarded with suspicion by the headmistress”

synonyms: misgivingdoubtqualmwariness, chariness, reservationhesitation,scepticism, lack of faith, uncertaintyquestionquestion mark,leeriness, distrustmistrust

“I confronted him with my suspicions and he admitted everything”

  1. 3.

a very slight trace.

a suspicion of a smile”

synonyms: tracetouchsuggestionhintsoupçontingeshadewhisperwhiff,bittrifledropdashtincturesprinklingbreathtastescentshadow,glimmerscintillaspecksmackjotmiteiotatittlewhit

“it tasted like wine with a suspicion of bitters”


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French suspeciun, from medieval Latin suspectio(n-), from suspicere ‘mistrust’. The change in the second syllable was due to association with Old French suspicion (from Latin suspicio(n- ) ‘suspicion’).


The object of this blog is to bring forth the idea how ridiculous misplaced suspicion can be. It is, for all intents and purposes, the work of the Devil’s Workshop and only serves in displacing Trust and creates instead seeds of niggling doubt that gnaw away at the foundation of any relationship.

This essay is not about people suspected of having carried out a misdemeanor, felony or crime; it is not about guilty people “under suspicion” but it is, to a large extent, about trustworthy souls who are “above suspicion” (yet, probed under the microscope of mistrust and false speculation.)

The two stories (mentioned above) express the futility of suspicion – the suspicions of adultery, expressed by one partner for the other, prove to be totally unfounded and lack any proof of solid evidence of the same.

Seeds of suspicion are easily sown when the foundation of any relationship lacks the solid base of Trust. It’s true that Trust is like Virginity – once it is broken, it is irretrievably shattered with no hope of repair. But it is equally true that suspicion is extremely dangerous because it eats away at the foundations of Trust – it creates unnecessary misgivings and qualms where there ought to be none. If suspicion is given a free reign, it holds sway and there is little that can be done to stop it. The idea is NOT to give in to suspicion, unless there is solid evidence of it.

What better way is there to end this blog than with this highly appropriate song sung by Elvis Presley. Enjoy it…..keep your suspicions aside!


"Suspicion" by Elvis Presley.
“Suspicion” by Elvis Presley.
"Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley.
“Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley.

“Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley

We’re caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Why can’t you see
What you’re doing to me
When you don’t believe a word I say?

We can’t go on together
With suspicious minds
And we can’t build our dreams
On suspicious minds

So, if an old friend I know
Drops by to say hello
Would I still see suspicion in your eyes?

Here we go again
Asking where I’ve been
You can’t see these tears are real
I’m crying

We can’t go on together
With suspicious minds
And we can’t build our dreams

"Shall We Dance?" - a film starring Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon.
“Shall We Dance?” – a film starring Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon.
Scenes from the movie, "Shall We Dance?" starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez.
Scenes from the movie, “Shall We Dance?” starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez.
Vikram Karve - author of the short story, "Suspicion"
Vikram Karve – author of the short story, “Suspicion”
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion

On suspicious minds

Oh let our love survive
Or dry the tears from your eyes
Let’s don’t let a good thing die

When honey, you know
I’ve never lied to you
Mmm yeah, yeah

Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Suspicion
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust
Quote on Trust

Dust in the Wind

“Dust in the Wind” by Kansas
close my eyes only for a moment, and the moment’s gone
All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity

Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind

Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see

Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind

Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away, and all your money won’t another minute buy

Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind (all we are is dust in the wind)
Dust in the wind (everything is dust in the wind), everything is dust in the wind (the wind.)


Kansas (band)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kansas is an American rock band that became popular in the 1970s initially on album-oriented rock charts and later with hit singles such as “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind“. The band has produced eight gold albums, three sextuple-platinum albums (LeftoverturePoint of Know ReturnThe Best of Kansas), one platinum live album (Two for the Show) and a million-selling single, “Dust in the Wind“. Kansas appeared on the Billboard charts for over 200 weeks throughout the 1970s and 1980s and played to sold-out arenas and stadiums throughout North America, Europe and Japan. “Carry on Wayward Son” was the second-most-played track on classic rock radio in 1995 and No. 1 in 1997.


Kansas’ two most popular songs, “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind,” have been covered by other artists, and featured on film and television soundtracks.

“Dust in the Wind” has been covered by Sarah BrightmanScorpions (Acoustica), Christian artists Acappella and Billy Smileyprogressive trance DJs Gabriel & Dresden, former New York Yankees Center fielder and jazz guitarist Bernie Williams (The Journey Within), and ex-Kansas lead singer John Elefante (2006). It was sung by Will Ferrell during the movie Old School. It was prominently featured in several episodes of the television series Highlander and was referenced in the film Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. It gained additional exposure when used as the music for a Subaru commercial. Comedian Tim Hawkins did a parody of the song called “A Whiff of Kansas” which is on the Pretty Pink Tractor album and the Insanitized live DVD. A music video to the song which mirrors the actual “Dust In The Wind” music video is featured on the Insanitized DVD.


Dust in the Wind

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dust in the Wind” is a song recorded by American progressive rock band Kansas and written by band member Kerry Livgren, first released on their 1977 album Point of Know Return.

The song peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 the week of April 22, 1978, making it Kansas’s only top ten Billboard Hot 100 charting single. The 45-rpm single was certified Gold for sales of one million units by the RIAA shortly after the height of its popularity as a hit single. More than 25 years later, the RIAA certified Gold the digital download format of the song, Kansas’s only single to do so certified as of September 17, 2008.

Background and writing

A last-minute addition to the track lineup for Point of Know Return, “Dust in the Wind” would also be its greatest success.

The guitar line for the song was written by Kerry Livgren as a finger exercise for learning finger picking. His wife, Vicci, heard what he was doing, remarked that the melody was nice, and encouraged him to write lyrics for it. Livgren was unsure whether his fellow band members would like it, since it was a departure from their signature style. However he did offer it to them and the song was accepted and then recorded.

“Dust in the Wind” was one of Kansas‘s first acoustic tracks; its slow melancholy melody and philosophical lyrics differ from their other hits such as “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Point of Know Return“. A meditation on mortality and the inevitability of death, the lyrical theme bears a striking resemblance to the well-known biblical passage Genesis 3:19 (“…for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”), as well as to the famous opening lines of the Japanese war epic The Tale of the Heike (“…the mighty fall at last, and they are as dust before the wind.”) and from a book of Native American poetry, which includes the line “for all we are is dust in the wind.”[Also, the 1973 song, “Karn Evil 9 (3rd Impression)” by Emerson, Lake & Palmer has repeated ‘dust’ and ‘wind’ themes, and uses exactly the same phrase “dust in the wind”.

The guitar track comes from two guitarists playing six-string guitars in unison, one in standard tuning and the other in Nashville tuning, to create a chiming sound similar to a twelve-string guitar. The instrumental bridge contains a distinctive melodic line and harmony for violin and viola.

Kansas also released a live version of the song on their album Two for the Show and a symphonic version on Always Never the Same.


“Dust in the Wind” is one of the many songs of contemporary times that has beautiful and meaningful lyrics.

The protagonist of this song contemplates on the transient and fleeting nature of Life. It is true that Life comes with no guarantees or with any certainties. The only certainty that comes with birth is death. All men are mere mortals and are born to die someday. The only thing that remains constant are the seas and the skies. No amount of money can buy Time. Time and Tide wait for no mortal. Life seems to fly by so fast that even a dream can’t be held onto for a moment; it flies by and remains as nothing but a curiosity. The fate of all human beings is “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” We come with nothing into this world and leave this world with nothing. Each human being is like a drop in the ocean – we are just one among a million others. Each one of us should learn the art of simplicity, modesty and humility. It is also a lesson to us all to treasure each moment of our existence on this Earth – it is through God’s Immense Grace that we are blessed with health and the Immeasurable Gift of Life. We should all – at some time or other – learn to count our blessings instead of wasting so many years of our lives on useless property disputes and legal wrangles, especially those battles concerned with one’s inheritance and money, in general – the latter only feeds Greed and serves no good purpose.


"Dust in the Wind" by Kansas
“Dust in the Wind” by Kansas
"Dust in the Wind" by Kansas
“Dust in the Wind” by Kansas
Lyrics of "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas
Lyrics of “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas
Lyrics of "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas
Lyrics of “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas
Lyrics of "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas
Lyrics of “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas
Lyrics of "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas
Lyrics of “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas
"Time and Tide wait for no man" - Geoffrey Chaucer
“Time and Tide wait for no man” – Geoffrey Chaucer
"Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust"
“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust”
"Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust"
“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust”
"Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust"
“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust”
"Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust"
“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust”
The Futility of Property Disputes
The Futility of Property Disputes
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility
Quote on Humility

Queen Lear: The Celebrity; The Enigma; The Living Legend!

The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt
The Great Sphinx of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt
The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt
The front of The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt.
The front of The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt.
The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt
The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt
Egyptian God,  Ra, by Tutankhamun
Egyptian God, Ra, by Tutankhamun
Amanda Lear - "Super 20" album cover.
Amanda Lear – “Super 20” album cover.
Amanda Lear - Autograph
Amanda Lear – Autograph

“The Sphinx” – Amanda Lear

I wish I could be like the king
who said to his people: my friends
this is now the end
if we lose the battle
we shall live forever.
The people of the sun will remember this day
and give us immortality
long after I’ve gone
long after the sun.

I want to be like this king
But I can’t stand the pain
My friends
And I keep looking for all the faces I had
Before the world began.

I’ve only known desire and my poor soul will burn
into eternal fire
and I can’t even cry
A sphinx can never cry.

I am standing in the sun
I wish that I could be
A silent sphinx

Amanda Lear - "Brief Encounters" album cover.
Amanda Lear – “Brief Encounters” album cover.
"Amanda Lear Sings Evergreens" (Germany) album cover.
“Amanda Lear Sings Evergreens” (Germany) album cover.
Queen Lear!
Queen Lear!
Amanda Lear - "With Love" album cover.
Amanda Lear – “With Love” album cover.

I don’t want any past
Only want things which cannot last
And I can’t even cry
Through God knows how I try
A sphinx can never cry
And sphinxes never die.

I’m famous or am I infamous?
It doesn’t matter much any more
Phony words of love or painfully truth
I’ve heard it all before
Appraisal or critics and even politics

A conversation piece

A woman or a priest

It’s all a point of view.
I am standing in the sun


Songwriters: MONN, ANTON

The Sphinx lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group


What is the Great Sphinx?

Source: http://www.ancientegypt.co.uk/pyramids/about/sphinx.html


The Great Sphinx is a large human-headed lion that was carved from a mound of natural rock. It is located in Giza where it guards the front of Khafra’s pyramid.

Legends have been told for many years about the Great Sphinx. These stories tell about the powers and mysteries of this sphinx. Some people even believe that there are hidden passageways or rooms underneath the Great Sphinx, but nothing has been found yet.

The beginning of one story about the Great Sphinx is written on a stele between the sphinx’s paws.

The story reads that one day, a young prince fell asleep next to the Great Sphinx. He had been hunting all day, and was very tired. He dreamt that the Great Sphinx promised that he would become the ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt if he cleared away the sand covering its body (the Great Sphinx was covered up to its neck).

The rest of the story is gone, so you will have to use your imagination to work out the ending. This stele was put up by the Pharaoh Thutmosis IV who lived around 1400 B.C.

This is part of the beard of the Great Sphinx. The beard was added during the New Kingdom– hundreds of years after the Great Sphinx was first carved.


Great Sphinx of Giza

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Great Sphinx of Giza (Arabic: أبو الهول‎ Abū al-Haul, English: The Terrifying One; literally: Father of Dread), commonly referred to as the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx (a mythical creature with a lion‘s body and a human head) that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in GizaEgypt. The face of the Sphinx is generally believed to represent the face of the Pharaoh Khafra.

It is the largest monolith statue in the world, standing 73.5 metres (241 ft) long, 19.3 metres (63 ft) wide, and 20.22 m (66.34 ft) high.[1] It is the oldest known monumental sculpture, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom during the reign of the Pharaoh Khafra (c. 2558–2532 BC).

Origin and identity

The Great Sphinx is one of the world’s largest and oldest statues but basic facts about it, such as when it was built, and by whom, are still debated. These questions have resulted in the popular idea of the “Riddle of the Sphinx,” alluding to the original Greek legend of the Riddle of the Sphinx.

Pliny the Elder mentioned the Great Sphinx in his book, Natural History, commenting that the Egyptians looked upon the statue as a “divinity” that has been passed over in silence and “that King Harmais was buried in it.”


The Great Sphinx Facts

Source: http://sacredsites.com/africa/egypt/great_sphinx_facts.html

Facts about the Great Sphinx of Egypt

The Sphinx has been a symbol of Egypt from ancient times to the present. It has inspired the imaginations of artists, poets, adventurers, scholars and travelers for centuries and has also inspired endless speculation about its age, its meaning and the secrets that it might hold.

A Description of the Great Sphinx

  • The Great Sphinx of Gizais an immense stone sculpture of a creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. The greatest monumental sculpture in the ancient world, it is carved out of a single ridge of limestone 240 feet (73 meters) long and 66 feet (20 meters) high.
  • The Sphinx sits in a shallow depression to the south of the pyramid of the Pharaoh Khafre (also known as Chephren) at the west bank of the Nile River near the city of Cairo.
  • The rock stratum out of which the Sphinx has been made varies from a soft yellowish to a hard grey limestone. The massive body is made of the softer stone, which is easily eroded, while the head is formed of the harder stone.
  • To form the lower body of the Sphinx, enormous blocks of stone were quarried from the base rock and these blocks were then used in the core masonry of the temples directly in front and to the south of the Sphinx.
  • Despite the hard quality of the stone of the head, the face is badly damaged, and not only by natural erosion. The nose is missing altogether and the eyes and the areas around them are seriously altered from their original state.
  • Some scholars believe that the Great Sphinx originally had a beard. Pieces of this beard discovered by excavation are in the British Museum in London and the Cairo Museum. These pieces, however, may be dated to the New Kingdom times of
    1570-1070 BCE.
  • The Sphinx is part of a complex of structures that also contains the Sphinx temple. This temple, like the Great Pyramid and the Oseiron temple at Abydos in Southern Egypt, may also date from Pre-dynastic times.
  • Napoleon’s artillerymen have been blamed for using the face of the Sphinx for target practice.

The History of the Sphinx

  • According to orthodox Egyptology the Sphinx was constructed in the 4th Dynasty (2575 – 2467 BCE) by the Pharaoh Khafre. However, an accumulating body of evidence, both archaeological and geological, indicates that the Sphinx is far older than the 4th Dynasty and was only restored by Khafre during his reign.
  • There are no inscriptions on the Sphinx, or on any of the temples connected to it that, that offer evidence of construction by Khafre. The so-called ‘Inventory Stele’ (uncovered on the Giza plateau in the 19th century) tells that the Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops) – Khafre’s predecessor – ordered a temple built alongside the Sphinx, meaning of course that the Sphinx was already there, and thus could not have been constructed by Khafre.
  • A much greater age for the Sphinx has been suggested by R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz, based upon geological considerations. Schwaller de Lubicz observed, and recent geologists (such as Robert Schoch, Professor of Geology at Boston University) have confirmed, that the extreme erosion on the body of the Sphinx could not be the result of wind and sand, as has been universally assumed, but rather was the result of water.
  • Geologists agree that in the distant past Egypt was subjected to severe flooding. Wind erosion cannot take place when the body of the Sphinx is covered by sand, and the Sphinx has been in this condition for nearly all of the last five thousand years – since the alleged time of its 4th Dynasty construction.
  • If wind-blown sand were responsible for the deep erosion of the Sphinx, we would expect to find evidence of such erosion on other Egyptian monuments built of similar materials and exposed to the wind for a similar length of time. Yet the fact of the matter is, that even on structures that have had more exposure to the wind-blown sand, there are minimal effects of erosion, the sand having done little more than scour clean the surface of the dressed stones.
  • The purpose of the Sphinx is not known. Some orthodox archaeologists assume that it was a memorial to a Pharaoh or that it functioned as some sort of talisman or guardian deity. Other scholars, however, believe the Sphinx functioned as an astronomical observation device that marked the position of the rising sun on the day of the spring equinox in the time of Leo the Lion, which lasted from 10,970 to 8810 BCE. This interpretation is given support by the leonine shape of the Sphinx.
  • In 1798, when Napoleon came to Egypt the Sphinx was buried in sand up to its neck. Between 1816 and 1858, a series of adventurers and antiquarians, including Giovanni Caviglia, Auguste Mariette and Gaston Maspero, attempted to clear the sand from around the body of the Sphinx but were each forced to abandon the project due to the enormous amount of sand. Finally, between 1925 and 1936, the French engineer Emil Baraize was successful in clearing the sand to reveal the base of the Sphinx.

The Mystery of the Sphinx

  • Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) the ‘sleeping prophet’ had the ability to put himself into a deep trance. He stated in some of his trances that Egypt was the repository for records of the alleged civilization of Atlantis, about 10,500 B.C. This repository was an underground library, called the Hall of Records,” that contained the wisdom of Atlantis. Cayce claims that the Sphinx points in the direction of the “Hall of Records.” His reading states: “There is a chamber or passage from the right forepaw of the [Sphinx] to this entrance of the Hall of records, or chamber.”
  • In the 1980’s and 1990’s the Edgar Cayce Foundation conducted research in Egypt around the Sphinx to verify Cayce’s reading. Although researchers from all over the world have begun to look for this chamber with very sophisticated instruments, they have not found the Hall of Records.”
  • There are three passages into or under the Sphinx, two of them of obscure origin. The one of known cause is a short dead-end shaft behind the head drilled in the nineteenth century. No other tunnels or chambers in or under the Sphinx are known to exist. A number of small holes in the Sphinx body may relate to scaffolding at the time of carving.

The Pre-Dynastic era age of the Sphinx

  • Evidence suggesting a construction period for the Sphinx – greatly predating the 4th Dynasty – may perhaps be indicated by the astronomical significance of its shape, being that of a lion. Roughly every two thousand years (2160 to be exact), and because of the precession of the equinoxes, the sun on the spring equinox rises against the stellar background of a different constellation. For the past two thousand years that constellation has been Pisces the Fish, symbol of the Christian age. Prior to the age of Pisces it was the age of Aries the Ram, and before that it was the age of Taurus the Bull. It is interesting to note that during the first and second millennia BC, approximately the Age of Aries, ram-oriented iconography was common in Dynastic Egypt, while during the Age of Taurus the Bull-cult arose in Minoan Crete. Perhaps the builders of the Sphinx likewise used astrological symbolism in designing their monumental sculpture. Geological findings indicate that the Sphinx may have been sculpted sometime before 10,000 BC, and this period coincides with the Age of Leo the Lion, which lasted from 10,970 to 8810 BC.
  • Further support for this vast age of the sphinx comes from a surprising sky-ground correlation proven by sophisticated computer programs such as Skyglobe 3.6. These computer programs are able to generate precise pictures of any portion of the night sky as seen from different places on earth at any time in the distant past or future. Graham Hancock explains in Heaven’s Mirror that, “computer simulations show that in 10,500 BC the constellation of Leo housed the sun on the spring equinox – i.e. an hour before dawn in that epoch Leo would have reclined due east along the horizon in the place where the sun would soon rise. This means that the lion-bodied Sphinx, with its due-east orientation, would have gazed directly on that morning at the one constellation in the sky that might reasonably be regarded as its own celestial counterpart.”

Restoration of the Sphinx

  • Repairs to the Sphinx have been made over the centuries by the Pharaohs Tuthmosis IV and Ramesses II, and also during the Roman era. Restoration attempts have continued to the present time yet the Sphinx continues to deteriorate because of the relentless wind, humidity and the ever-increasing smog from nearby Cairo.
  • In the 1980’s, during a six-year period, more than 2000 limestone blocks were added to the body of the Sphinx and various chemicals were injected in the hopes of preventing its further deterioration. This treatment was not successful and in fact contributed to the deterioration. In 1988 the left shoulder crumbled and blocks fell off. Present attempts at restoration are under the control of the Supreme Council of Antiquities’ archaeologists.


Ra – The Sun God of Egypt

Source: http://www.ancient-egypt-online.com/egyptian-god-ra.html

Ra is the Sun God of Egypt. Many people call him “rah” but the correct pronunciation is “ray” (that’s why his name is also written as “Re”). He is considered the father of Gods, and was the most important and worshipped king of Gods.

Ra is usually depicted with the body of a human and the head of a falcon.

Ra’s wife is called Ratet and his daughter Hathor, aka Eye of Ra.

The Sun God

The sun was first worshipped as Horus, later as Ra. He is associated with the mid-day sun (other deities represent other positions of the sun).

The sun was the primary element of life in ancient Egypt and represented:

  • light
  • warmth
  • growth

This is why sun deities were very important in ancient Egypt.

Father of Gods

Ra is known as the father and grandfather of Gods. He rose in the beginning of creation and spit forth the first godly couple:

  • Shu (symbolizes air)
  • Tefnut (moisture)

They bore:

  • Geb (earth)
  • Nut (sky)

Ra bore several other offspring; amongst those was his son, the king.

The Symbolism of Ra

Ra embodies the Egyptian beliefs of order and truth.

In Egyptian mythology, he signifies the cycle of birth, life and death. That’s why he is known as the father of creation:

Ra is perpetually resurrected in the mornings, he rides across the sky during the day and at sunset he is swallowed by the goddess Nut, only for her to give birth to him in the morning.

The most common symbol associated with the ancient Egyptian God Ra is the sun. He is depicted in a wealth of symbols, but they all are formed around the theory of Ra representing creation and nature. Most of his symbols were shared with other solar deities, mainly Horus.

  • In Egyptian art, Ra is usually seen as a man with a pharaoh’s crowns on his head and a sun disk above it.
  • Ra is often depicted with a falcon head, just like Horus.
  • The winged sun disk: the primary symbol of Ra, a very ancient symbol that signifies the “Sun of Righteousness with healing in his arms.” It also represents the creative elements of nature.
  • Wedjat: (aka utchat, eye of Ra, eye of Horus) is a sacred eye symbol (see below).
  • Phoenix: Ra rose in the shape of a phoenix from the primordial ocean of Nun and landed on a single mound of dry land and then let the sun’s rays shine forth.
  • Lotus Flower: Ra formed himself from the chaos of Nun and emerged from the lotus petals.

The History of the Sun God Ra

The ancient Egyptians have numerous Gods in there culture and they feel that the Gods walk among them, invisibly on Earth. Ra is the most central God of the Egyptian Pantheon and doesn’t dwell on earth, but watches his children and kingdom from the sky.

At sunrise, Ra is a young boy called Khepri, mid-day he becomes the falcon-headed man and at sunset he becomes an elder called Atum. He travels in a sun boat and had to be defended against Apep, a giant serpent that tries to eat the sun boat every night.

Ra changed greatly over the course of ancient Egyptian history. In dynastic times he was merged with Horus and became Re-Horakhty. He then ruled over sky, earth and underworld and was the creator of the world.

Ra developed through the second and fifth dynasty. In the fourth dynastypharaohs were known as “sons of Ra”. Ra was upheld the most in the fifth dynasty, where he became more associated with the king then the pharaoh. Kings erected pyramids that were considered solar temples and aligned them with the rising and setting sun in his honor.

During the Middle Kingdom, Ra was more and more combined with other deities like Osiris and Amun.

In the New Kingdom, Ra became more and more popular, which resulted in a kind of monotheism.

The worship of Ra as a religious and cultural figure has significantly deteriorated over years due to the rise of Christianity.

The Eye of Ra

The Eye of Ra

The name has changed over generations but the meaning is still the same. The Eye of Ra was once known as the Eye of Horus or Wedjat. It is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection and the divine royal power. It is a powerful force that is linked with the fierce heat of the sun and was passed on to each Pharaoh. The Eye is considered the all-seeing eye and protects the king and thwart off evil.

This Egyptian symbol appears on the Great Seal of the United States, and on every United States dollar bill. The eye within the pyramid represents Ra awaiting rebirth. Even though he is enclosed in the pyramid his soul remained alive and watchful, as indicated by the open eye.

The ancient pyramid texts state: Perfect is the Eye of Horus. I have delivered the Eye of Horus, the shining one, the ornament of the Eye of Ra, the Father of the Gods.”


Amanda Lear

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Amanda Lear (née Tapp; born 18 June or 18 November in 1939, 1942, 1946 or 1950) is a French singer, lyricist, painter, television presenter, actress and former model.

Lear grew up in the South of France and in Switzerland, and studied art in Paris and at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London. She began her professional career as a fashion model in the mid-1960s and went on to model for Paco Rabanne and Ossie Clark among others. Around that time she met the Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí and would remain his closest friend and muse for the next 15 years. Lear first came into the public eye as the cover model for Roxy Music‘s album For Your Pleasure in 1973. From the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, she was a million-album-selling disco queen, mainly in Continental Europe and Scandinavia, signed to Ariola Records. Lear’s first four albums earned her mainstream popularity, charting in the Top 10 on European charts, including the best-selling Sweet Revenge (1978). Her biggest hits included “Blood and Honey“, “Tomorrow“, “Queen of Chinatown“, “Follow Me“, “Enigma (Give a Bit of Mmh to Me)” and “Fashion Pack“.

In the mid-1980s Lear positioned herself as one of the leading media personalities in mainland Europe, especially in Italy and in France where she hosted many popular TV shows. She had also developed a successful painting career, regularly exhibiting her works in galleries across Europe for the next three decades, and continued to make music, earning minor hits such as “Incredibilmente donna” and “Love Your Body“. Amanda’s 1980s musical output saw her experimenting with different genres and trying to revive her career by re-recording earlier hits to various levels of success. 1980s also saw her release two books: an autobiography My Life with Dalí and a novel L’Immortelle.

Since the 1990s her time has been divided between music, television, movies and painting. Despite frequent album releases, she failed to achieve success on charts with her music. However, her television career remained successful, with Lear hosting numerous prime time TV shows, occasionally making guest appearances in French and Italian TV series. She has also performed acting and dubbing roles in independent as well as major film productions. In the late 2000s Lear would reinvent herself as a theatrical actress, performing in long-running stage plays in France. To date, she has sold over 25 million singles and 15 million albums worldwide. Lear is also a widely recognized gay icon.


At the court of Queen Lear

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2000/dec/24/focus.news

A close friend of Salvador Dali and an object of rock-star desire, Amanda Lear kept her myth and her private life apart. Last week tragedy struck. Andrew Anthony charts her bizarre career.

Back in the sixties and Seventies, Amanda Lear was a stalwart of London’s demi-monde , an exotic name on the nightclub circuit. She was linked, as they say, with a string of rock stars, a kind of up-market groupie with her own cachet. Although never as well-known as Bianca Jagger or Marianne Faithfull, she was a regular fixture in the gossip columns. And then she disappeared. Unlike many of her friends from that period, she didn’t become a junkie or an embittered nobody, and she didn’t die. Instead she made it big in Italy.

When her name reappeared in the news last week, it was because her house in southern France, which contained a number of works by Salvador Dali, had burnt down. The house also contained her husband, Alain-Philippe Malagnac d’Argens and his 20-year-old friend, Didier Dieufis, a cat breeder. But in the reports the deaths of these two men seemed almost incidental, merely the surreal background to the main tragedy, the damage to a few surrealist paintings.

Thus the weirdness overshadowed the horror, as if to imply there was more to the story than a simple fatal accident. But then everything about Lear’s life appears to have been shaped by distortion and disbelief. Some observers have even gone so far as to suggest that not only was the former model and pop singer Dali’s devoted protégée , but also the late artist’s strangest creation.

Lear’s background remains a mystery. She has variously let it be known that her mother was English or French or Vietnamese or Chinese, and that her father was English, Russian, French or Indonesian. She may have been born in Hanoi in 1939, or Hong Kong in either 1941 or 1946. Once she said she was from Transylvania. And to this day, it is a matter of conjecture as to whether she was born a boy or a girl.

Lear came to notice in Britain shortly after she moved here from France in the mid-Sixties, when she hitched up with the Chelsea girl set that kept company with fashionable hangers-on. ‘The sort of people,’ says writer Jonathan Meades, ‘who once shared a line with someone who once shared a line with a Rolling Stone.’

Lear went one better and developed a friendship with the Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones. It was through Jones, according to Lear, that she met Dali in 1965. He told her she had a ‘beautiful skull’. Yet the story that Meades heard, and which followed Lear around London, is that two years earlier Dali had paid for her sex-change operation, which was carried out in Casablanca by Dr Bourou, who was at the cutting edge of transgender surgery.

Lear has never confirmed these details, although she was happy to trade on the notoriety they generated. ‘It makes me mysterious and interesting,’ she said. ‘There is nothing the pop world loves more than a way-out freak.’

Later, however, she denied she was ever a man, insisting it was never anything more than a myth to gain publicity, a PR campaign whose architect, she said, was Dali. Or David Bowie. Or herself.

April Ashley, the transsexual who had once been George Jamieson, a Liverpudlian seaman, has long claimed she worked with Lear in the Fifties at Le Carrousel, a transvestite revue in Paris. In her book, April Ashley’s Odyssey , she recalls a man named Alain Tapp, whose stage-name was Peki d’Oslo, later to become Amanda Lear. According to Ashley, Dali met Peki at Le Carrousel in 1959.

Whatever the origin of the relationship, Lear and Dali were to remain close for the next two decades. ‘I knew nothing when I first met him,’ she admitted before Dali’s death. ‘He taught me to see things through his eyes.’ Between summer stints at Dali’s home in Cadaques, she would return to London. ‘I was a bit disenchanted,’ she observed, ‘because I had just left a genius and found myself passing the joint with someone in the King’s Road who was talking nonsense about changing the world.

Lear, who once acknowledged her interest in one-night stands with the comment ‘five hours is all you need with anyone’, went on from Jones to move in with David Bowie. In fact, Bowie is one of the few men whom Lear has ever referred to as a ‘lover’. Subsequently she was also linked with Bryan Ferry, having appeared as the cover girl on Roxy Music’s For Your Pleasure album

For a brief period in the early Seventies, the glam-rock years, sexual ambiguity was highly fashionable. Lear represented what Freudians like to call the Other, and back then everyone who was anyone wanted a bit of the Other. But there was little space for Lear’s camp glamour in British subculture with the advent of punk.

By that time, though, she had reinvented herself as Euro Disco Queen. She credits Bowie with encouraging her to be more than a model, although she has said he was only attracted to her as an album cover. ‘I realised after a while that he was in love with a picture, not with me.’ Her first album was knowingly titled I Am A Photograph.

While she made little impact on the British charts, by the end of the Seventies she was a notable success in other parts of Europe with her brand of deep-voice disco pop. Lear’s assessment of her appeal was as cynical as it was clever.

‘In Italy I’m big because they’re all so sex-obsessed. In Germany I succeeded because they’ve been waiting for someone like Marlene Dietrich to come along ever since the war. I played on their need for a drunken, nightclubbing vamp. And I’ve won the gays, who are crucial because they have all the best discos, entirely because of the extraordinary legends about me.’

She also appeared naked in Playboy, in a series of photographs designed to end the rumours, and hosted a chat-show in Italy, where she enjoyed her most lasting fame. ‘I am,’ she explained, ‘the Italian Janet Street-Porter.’

With her ahistorical self-invention and ironic contempt for old-fashioned concepts like the ‘truth’, Lear has been in many ways the prototype of the postmodern celebrity age. Meades recalls her driving ambition to be famous, without any specific plans about what shape that fame should take: ‘She wanted to be famous for being Amanda Lear.’

Duncan Fallowell, co-author of April Ashley’s Odyssey, says that in his experience few transsexuals harbour dreams of being a ‘normal’ woman. ‘They aspire to this sort of glamourised ideal of womanhood.’ He also suggests that in making, as it were, a public spectacle of themselves, transsexuals often have a paradoxical need for an intensely private life.

Lear did find a private life with her husband, Alain-Philippe, a former record producer whom she married in 1979 in a ceremony in Las Vegas at which Twiggy and Sacha Distel were said to be the witnesses. Lear and Malagnac d’Argens settled in the small village of Saint-Etienne-du-Gres, not far from St-Remy-de-Provence.

When Meades visited the house in 1985, he described it as ‘a shrine to herself and, in a smaller way, to Dali’. He remembers Lear’s husband as a shy man who preferred to stay in the background, and Lear herself as very much in charge. ‘She didn’t drink or take drugs and she was very regimented about exercise. The impression I got was that she wanted to be in total control of her environment.’ But one woman who stopped by to see the couple was surprised to find such a domesticated setting. ‘She was really very homely.’

Having spent decades moving around, erasing herself as she went, Lear had found a permanent role at home. Now that home is in ruins and her husband is dead. While she was away on a brief trip to Italy, the life that she spent years carefully building, her real life, her private life, turned suddenly, and horribly, public.



By Marco Pantella

Source: http://www.thegroundmag.com/amanda-lear-an-interview-with/




Je suis… Amanda! (I am…..Amanda!)

During a conversation in Paris at the iconic Hotel Meurice, Amanda Lear defined herself by her accomplishments. She has been a mouthpiece for the gay community. Her music from the Munich disco scene conquered the world, and she never slowed down after many decades in the show business (model, actress, writer, painter and TV presenter). I am curious to find out more about her flamboyant life, her latest adventure in theatre, and how she managed to defy time without being afraid to take on different roles.

London’s Swinging Sixties are over, Andy Warhol’s dead, and Studio 54 had shut his doors, but Amanda Lear is a woman with a strong and charismatic personality that never loses her focus and integrity. She may have been Salvador Dalí’s muse and had dated David Bowie, but she never lived in anyone’s shadow; she is the ultimate storyteller of her own life and an inspiring, self-made woman who can only be labeled with one word: Amanda.

Talking with a unique, deep, trademark voice that makes her songs strangely ambiguous and exciting, the first thing I notice about Lear is her enchanting smile, her pink birkin Hermès bag, and how incredibly fun she is. Sipping coffee and eating macaroons, she tells me her explicit video for “La Bete et la Belle” was shot in the same room where Salvador Dalí used to stay in when in Paris. She was excited to tell me how theatre recently filled her artistic career and after touring extensively with “Lady Oscar,” Amanda is now rehearsing for her upcoming show “Divina,” a comedy with costumes designed by her friend, Jean Paul Gaultier.

“It all started three years ago,” she says, “and it was love at first sight. My life will be on stage from now on and I hope to bring my show over to Italy and the UK as well, where, unfortunately, people still think of me solely as a singer.”

In her previous show, Amanda describes her role as “this hateful character just like Anna Wintour; did you see me on the catwalk for Gaultier? Doing it in front of her, Grace Coddington, and all those mean, fashion ladies have been a personal vendetta for me.” As outspoken as I expected her to be, this time around, she will play a successful TV presenter whose career is endangered. As the real Amanda, she will find her way back on top, reinventing herself. Amada as, “singing or hosting a TV show are just other ways to act. I never had a voice like Barbra Streisand; in fact, my career as a singer was more about acting than anything else.” When she talks about theatre, she does it with passion, but also with real commitment and respect. She says, “People need comedy at the moment. It is such a tragic, historical period so they pay to laugh, but I would love to play something more serious like Tennessee Williams as soon as my reputation as an actress grows.”

“When I act, I like to be someone else,” Amanda says, but also in terms of music, she changes her demeanor frequently. “There has always been music in my life. In France, they always put this label on me – ‘disco queen’ – and it bothers me because after so many albums, I would like to change and sing more melodic songs. People always like to shake their boots on the dance floor and that’s okay, but I titled my album, ‘I Don’t Like Disco’ for this reason.’”

To my surprise, she nonchalantly opens up about her new project, the first-ever Elvis Presley cover album recorded by a woman. I unexpectedly notice that she refers to herself in third person, just like Salvador Dalí used to do, and the conversation skips from music to her modeling career when I mention the song, “I Am a Photograph” and a vibe of glamour travels across our Louis XVI-style suite.

“It is one of the first songs I have ever written; when you do that job, photographers are always telling you what to do, and I felt frustrated because I like to express myself and you are nothing more than a piece of paper. David Bowie actually fell in love with me because of my picture on the cover of ‘Roxy Music,’ not with who Amanda really is. It is an awful job but you know, I was young and skinny,” Amanda says as she laughs with pleasure while recalling those New York City memories. “I was introduced to Diane Vreeland [columnist]. We talked business, but Vogue was only paying $15-$20 [per photo]. Lingerie pictures after 6 P.M., on the other hand, were paid double, so I said, ‘I go for it!’ I did not have this snobbish American mentality where everyone wanted to be featured in Vogue; I didn’t give a damn!” Besides, she was partying every night with Andy Warhol and friends at Max’s Kansas City, a gathering spot for musicians, poets, artists, and politicians. “Do you even think I could have been ready and spotless by 8 A.M. as they wanted me to be?”

Every part of Amanda’s life opens up a world of its own; but where did it all start? Ambiguity is a thick layer she has always worn and played with, but before even trying to remove it from our conversation, she honestly tells me about all these not-a-chance meetings. “Some people plan their career. I didn’t. Everything happened out of destiny. Destiny sent me Dalí, Bowie, Brian Ferry, Berlusconi back in Italy, do you see what I mean? I let destiny play its part without forcing anything. Thanks to Dalí, I met Warhol, Maria Callas, Rostropovich, people I’ve never dreamt I could meet.”

Amanda lived for 16 years with Dalí and Gala, and it was a perfect triangle. Dalí was in love with Gala. Amanda recalls, “They always say that I am Dalí’s widow but I am not! I am just the only survivor who is not dead or in prison to tell people about him.” As we laugh again, I try to understand who was “Le Dalí d’Amanda,” a book she wrote about her personal experience with the painter. Amanda says, “I met him when I was young, and he profoundly affected my life. He taught me how to provoke the media and make people talk about me. He was crazy all the time, and he looked like a rock star.” Amanda also clears something up on being his muse: “People do not understand that being a muse is a matter of being physically present. It is not about posing all day; it’s about sharing everyday life. He truly believed he was the best painter on earth, I told him I loved Picasso many times but he did not care, you know?” Could there possibly be anyone else she would have loved to meet? Amanda answers, “Leonardo da Vinci of course – he was such a mysterious and fascinating character like [Johannes] Vermeer. His [Leonardo] life is a dark question mark. And inventors like Einstein.”

Living a surreal life can make one want to change reality, and Amanda does it when she holds a brush. Her first real and constant love is painting. Recently, she had been involved in the exhibition on Salvador Dalí in Paris at the Centre Pompidou, and during the summer, “Visions”, was a retrospective of her own work at Milan’s Art Gallery. “It [paintings] never paid the rent,” she remarks sadly, “For me, it is like psychotherapy. Some people drink, others use drugs, and I paint. It helps me [in] dealing with my inner world, my rage, and my dreams and in order for me to keep a balanced life, I need to paint.”

I can almost picture her with Andy Warhol, discussing lithographic reproductions and Jeff Koons. She says, “He [Jeff Koons] does not even make one fucking drawing. Everything is so industrial at the moment and this is not art in my opinion. At least, Andy had an idea behind it. Painting is a very physical work, a long ritual, and I love it because you have to be alone in front of the white canvas. Show business, on the other hand, is all about teamwork.” What is Amanda’s favorite color? “Joachim Patinir’s blue. It drives me mad!”

Despite witnessing many changes in society, Amanda is not surprised by today’s obsession for youth and perfection, teenagers asking for a new nose on their birthdays, and even Madonna’s new pair of cheekbones. People heat up for news like Jodie Foster’s coming out.

“Many girls only care about the spotlight. They are manipulated and don’t want to take risks or deal with failure. This is why they all end up making the same music,” Amanda says. What does it feels like for a woman in a man’s world? “People always want you to stay the same way for the rest of your life. Why do we have to choose? Jean Cocteau was a director, a poet and a painter, but when I try to say this, people tell me ‘oh that’s different. He was a genius!’ It is frustrating when they limit you and this is why I titled one of my books, ‘I Am Not What You Think I Am,’” Amanda explains.

Would things be different in the next lifetime? She doubts it: “If I could choose, I would be a man. Women are still slaves in certain countries. For the next few centuries, I’d rather live as a man.” After joking about reincarnating into David Beckham, she continues, “Men though, do not understand that even a powerful woman has to be reassured and protected. We always feel unsafe, and this condition is terrifying.”
Childhood is an off-limits topic. “Nobody cares about it!” Amanda exclaims, “Am I 60? 70? It doesn’t matter. I don’t even celebrate my birthdays; it is a psychological thing pretending that age does not exist, but believe me it works.” Maybe absolute certainty is the reason why she emanates a bright energy that makes me feel like everything is possible. “I would have never believed it if someone told me that one day I’d sell millions of records. Can you imagine [that] with my voice? When I started on Italian TV, I couldn’t even speak Italian properly. It was ridiculous, and yet, it worked out. Now it is the same with theatre, but you never know in life. Maybe one day I will be a famous chef.”

I ask her how she would install an exhibition to represent herself. She says it would include one of her paintings, which is a huge self-portrait similar to the ones seen in royal castles. Amanda adds, “I hold a microphone in my hand as I wanted to say, ‘here is the disco queen you are talking about!’” It would also include a song, ‘The Sphinx,’ where Amanda sings about the desire to remain a mystery.

Sometimes, a closer look into an artist’s body of work can reveal the most intimate, 360-degree view of the artist’s mind, life, feelings, and identity. Most of the time, it happens while paying attention to a song that may not have been a global success, but it means the world to the performer. Amanda still remains as a mystery, “a conversation piece, a woman, a priest or a point of view” as the lyrics of “The Sphinx” indicates. However, there is nothing ambiguous about Amanda’s intentions when she looks into a person’s eyes and declares what really excites her is what tomorrow will bring.


“The Sphinx” – Amanda Lear

I wish I could be like the king
who said to his people: my friends
this is now the end
if we lose the battle
we shall live forever.
The people of the sun will remember this day
and give us immortality
long after I’ve gone
long after the sun.

I want to be like this king
But I can’t stand the pain
My friends
And I keep looking for all the faces I had
Before the world began.

I’ve only known desire and my poor soul will burn
into eternal fire
and I can’t even cry
A sphinx can never cry.

I am standing in the sun
I wish that I could be
A silent sphinx eternally.
I don’t want any past
Only want things which cannot last
And I can’t even cry
Through God knows how I try
A sphinx can never cry
And sphinxes never die.

I’m famous or am I infamous?
It doesn’t matter much any more
Phony words of love or painfully truth
I’ve heard it all before
Appraisal or critics and even politics

A conversation piece

A woman or a priest

It’s all a point of view.
I am standing in the sun


Songwriters: MONN, ANTON

The Sphinx lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group


So, let’s go back to where it all started.


“The Sphinx” is by far one of Queen Lear’s best songs – the lyrics included. A slow song – it still manages to convey all the vitality of grace and movement. The protagonist of the song is Amanda Lear herself. This is the mystical story of a person who is enigmatic obsessive but a Living Legend nonetheless. Lear has always been an extremely private and reserved individual – she wishes, till her dying day, to have lived a life shrouded in mystery. Yet, she wishes her name to be immortalized in the annals of Music History and so it shall undoubtedly be the case – I can foresee it even now! She compares herself to the Enigma that is the Sphinx. In her mind, the Sphinx thinks about the immortality of the spirit, long after one is dead and gone. The Sphinx is an inanimate object – while it can never cry; it can never die either. She displays humility when she states that she has known all the vices known to mankind – especially that of Desire and she concedes that she is a mortal in that respect. She has known of hypocrisy, deceit and betrayal in her own life and for these reasons, she would dearly like to sit herself down and have a good cry. But as a starlet and a celebrity, she has to forever put forth a smiling persona when she is in the public eye. She can never cry in public – but for sure, she will never die either – not for a million years, at least! She did very well indeed in comparing herself to the rock-solid Sphinx in that respect.





“Deception” (2008 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Deception is a 2008 drama/thriller film, directed by Marcel Langenegger and written by Mark Bomback. It stars Ewan McGregorHugh Jackman, and Michelle Williams. The film was released on April 25, 2008 in the United States.


Timid accountant Jonathan McQuarry (Ewan McGregor) is an auditor working out of New York. One night while working late in a boardroom he meets a charismatic lawyer, Wyatt Bose (Hugh Jackman), who befriends him over a joint. After a long conversation, Jonathan takes the subway home where he has a brief encounter with a blonde woman (Michelle Williams) while waiting on the train. Upon returning home he notices a pipe in his bedroom is leaking and leaving a stain.

Jonathan contacts Wyatt the next day and they play tennis after work. They meet again for lunch the next day and upon leaving, Wyatt takes Jonathan’s mobile phone instead of his own, forcing a trade. He mentions he will be in London on business for the next few weeks. When Jonathan realizes the phones have been switched he attempts to contact Wyatt but does not reach him. He is soon contacted by a woman (Natasha Henstridge) who asks if he is free that night. He informs her that he is and agrees to meet her. When she arrives, they proceed directly to a hotel room upstairs and have sex. In the morning, Jonathan realizes that Wyatt must be on some type of exclusive sex club list.

When Wyatt calls the next day, he encourages Jonathan to stay on the list. Jonathon has an encounter with an older woman (Charlotte Rampling) who explains more of the list’s rules: the initiator pays for the room, no names are exchanged; there is no rough play. Participants are always anonymous, although Jonathan later spots the older woman on the cover of Forbes. Over the next few weeks, he has anonymous encounters with several women.

One night after initiating another encounter, Jonathan is surprised to find that his partner is the blond woman he met while waiting for the train. He tells her that they had met once before, and instead of having sex, they order room service and talk for hours. The woman does not say her name, but Jonathan assumes that it begins with an “S” because of an S-shaped pendant on her handbag. The next day Jonathan rejects other callers from the list but when “S” calls again they agree to meet for dinner in Chinatown. They then proceed to a hotel where she requests some ice. When Jonathan returns to the room she is gone and there is blood on the bedsheets. Someone knocks him out from behind, but when he wakes up again the bed has been made. He contacts the police and explains to the Detective (Lisa Gay Hamilton) that “S” is missing but that he has little to no information about her. She doubts his story, thinking that he is delusional. Jonathan tries to trace Wyatt, but Wyatt’s boss and landlady claim not to know him.

Upon returning home Jonathan is surprised to find Wyatt waiting for him and demanding that he steal $20 million from an investment firm he will begin to audit in a few days. Jonathan agrees to do so, fearing for the safety of “S”. The following night at work, Jonathan receives a call asking if he is free. The woman calling is named Tina (Maggie Q), an investment banker who once introduced Wyatt to the exclusive sex club list. She reveals that Wyatt’s real name is Jamie Getz, and that they met when he was attending a private corporate event as a guest of Rudolph Holloway, an investment banker with whom Getz played tennis. Jonathan finds out through research that Getz murdered Holloway, strangling him with tennis strings, and also served three years in prison for insurance fraud and arson. Jonathan is later notified by the detective that a blond woman matching his earlier description was discovered dead. When he comes in to identify her, he sees that it is actually the first woman who called him, and that she was also strangled by tennis strings.

Jonathan goes on to complete a wire transfer to a bank in Spain in his name, but secretly adds Wyatt’s name as co-signer. When he returns home he notices that a picture Wyatt had sent of “S” being held captive was taken in his apartment before the pipe started leaking. He realizes that she must have been a conspirator and wisely avoids his apartment which explodes when the superintendent enters to fix the pipe.

Now in Madrid, Wyatt impersonates Jonathan and attempts to withdraw the funds from the bank, but he is denied access because of the co-signer. Jonathan approaches Wyatt outside the bank and agrees to help him withdraw the funds if Wyatt splits it with him. Swapping identities, Jonathan and Wyatt cash in the $20 million in two $10 million suitcases. (A deleted scene reveals that Jonathan encountered a black market operator in Chinatown, who offered a variety of items, including fake passports; Jonathan presumably obtained a passport with his image in the name of Wyatt Bose and used this in his scheme to obtain half of the money). After the transaction is complete, Jonathan offers Wyatt half of his money if Wyatt tells him where “S” is. Wyatt pretends to agree and lures Jonathan to an uncrowded area where he draws a gun on Jonathan. Before he is able to shoot Jonathan, Wyatt is shot by “S” who leaves quickly. Jonathan pursues her, leaving a dying Wyatt and the money behind. He begs her to talk to him but she’d rather call it off, apologizing to him as she did not know Wyatt’s intent to kill Jonathan. “S” gets into a cab and leaves as Jonathan watches her go.

In Madrid, Jonathan again crosses path with “S” and they exchange smiles. The film comes to a close as Jonathan walks to her and she stands waiting for him.


Critical reception

The film received substantially negative reviews from critics. Review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes reported that 14% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 96 reviews – with the consensus that the film is “a middling, predictable potboilerwith mediocre dialogue and ludicrous plot twists.” Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 31 out of 100, based on 23 reviews.

Box office

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $2.3 million in 2,001 theaters in the United States and Canada, averaging only $1,155 per theater and ranking #10 at the box office.[3] As of September 22, 2009, the film has grossed $4,598,506 in the United States and Canada while grossing $13,114,439 in foreign countries adding to a total of $17,712,945.



By Judith Michael

From the husband-and-wife writing team of Judith Michael comes this potboiler which plays on one of the oldest fantasies in the book: What if you not only had a twin, but decided one day to trade places… just for a little while. What begins as a lark for sisters Stephanie and Sabrina quickly turns into so much more in this surprisingly satisfying read in which, perhaps not surprisingly, we are taught to be grateful for what we have for the grass is not always greener on the other side. For most of us, the perhaps unconscious thrill lies in the story of Stephanie, the twin whose life in suburbia has become almost stifling, especially when compared to that of her exotic, exciting twin sister, Lady Sabrina Longworth. Quicker than you can say, “Hey, what if we traded places?” Stephanie is living the high life, while Sabrina is trading cocktail parties for backyard barbeques. This is classic Judith Michael, who for several years stirred the imagination by taking classic cases of “what if” and spun them into fanciful, frothy books. “What if… you won the lottery?” (Pot Of Gold) “What if… you found out that your newly deceased husband had a rich, secret family he never told you about?” (A Ruling Passion) But with Deceptions, the novel that started it all, the authors crafted perhaps their best “what if” scenario by playing on a theme nearly every one of us has pondered at one time or another.


“Deceptions” Book Review Summary

Source: http://allreaders.com/book-review-summary/deceptions-28164

Sabrina and Stephanie Longworth are twins. Sabrina married a wealthy English aristocrat and divorced him. She now runs a successful antiques business in London. Stephanie married Garth Anderson, a scientist and university professor. She stays at home in the suburbs with their two children and envies her sister’s jet set lifestyle. Stephanie’s desire for a more exciting life is putting a strain on her marriage.

Stephanie gets Sabrina to switch places so she can have some fun but does not want Garth to know. Garth did not like Sabrina when he met her and thinks she is the cause of Stephanie’s dissatisfaction with her life. Sabrina quickly adjusts to Stephanie’s home life, and gets to know and like Garth. Stephanie finds she is good at the antiques business. But just before they are to switch back, Sabrina breaks her leg and the deception has to continue. Stephanie does not mind because she has started an affair with one of Sabrina’s friends. Nor is Stephanie upset when Sabrina confesses she could not say no when Garth wanted to make love. The longer Sabrina lives with Garth, the more she falls in love with him. Garth feels like he is falling in love with his wife all over again as she takes an interest in his work and encourages his dreams instead of wanting him to make more money.

Then Stephanie is killed when her lover’s yacht explodes. Sabrina cannot bring herself to tell Garth it was really Stephanie and she tries to carry on the deception because she loves Garth too much to have him leave her once he learns the truth.

(The review of this Book prepared by L. Watson)


“The Parent Trap” Movie Review Summary

Source: http://allreaders.com/movie-review-summary/the-parent-trap-7003

The Parent Trap (1998 Version) takes place in the 1990’s, and contains a fun variety of comedy, drama, and romance. Eleven-year-olds Annie James and Hallie Parker (both played by Lindsay Lohan) meet at a summer camp and at first become great enemies. When sent to an “Isolation Cabin” as a punishment for their growing rivalry (the teasing and tricks they play on each other are actually quite funny), they discover through photos and facts that they are identical twins separated at birth. Annie lives in London with her mother (Natasha Richardson) and Hallie lives in Napa, California with her father (Dennis Quaid). They soon create a plan to switch places because of their mutual quest to meet their other parent. When Annie goes to California, she not only meets her father, but his new 20-year-old fiancée! Annie despises this woman’s often snotty attitude. The twins decide they must get their parents back together as soon as possible in fear that their father might marry this young, obnoxious woman.
The movie continues on with the clever twins creating many schemes and twists to have their parents fall in love once again. The Parent Trap was first created in 1961, with Hayley Mills playing both twins. If you loved that Disney classic, you will surprisingly appreciate the remake as well.

(The review of this Movie prepared by Lauren)


“People may forget what you said and they might forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”



The moment that I read this profound statement somewhere, a long time ago, I was immediately struck by its depth of meaning and by the depth of truth hidden behind it. As I normally do in such cases, I deliberately moved this thought from my short-term memory store to my cupboard-full of long-term memories. I consider it as being a thought worth remembering and so should you. This statement can be seen from two different angles and two different perspectives: some people are benevolent; others are malevolent and downright wicked and evil – there can be no denying of this fact!

Benevolent people strongly believe in and actively practice on the basic principles of Good Words, Good Thoughts and Good Deeds – they bring out The Best in other people because they project their inner benevolence onto them, in no small way. What we then see is simply a reflection of this benevolence in the other person.  However, some people are evil mischief-makers; they thrive on creating and perpetuating trouble, grave discomfort, worry, panic, anxiety, chaos and havoc. Such people are malevolent and it is a very good idea to maintain a sufficient distance from such mischief-mongering individuals. The latter thrive on deceit and its aftermath. Keep away from such people!

The act of deception ranges from fairly innocent pranks to deceit, as an act of downright evil, with grave consequences. The latter is an act of sheer malice, spite, viciousness and vindictiveness. The most common prank that immediately comes to mind is the innocent pranks and jokes that get passed around on the 1st of April of any given year (“April Fool’s Day.”) Such deception is carried out specifically in the spirit of true fun and enjoyment – it is not malicious, spiteful or vindictive in its very origin. Some acts of deception have even been known to have a happy outcome. Whatever the motive behind an act of deception, it is to be remembered that it is quite a different scenario when one is at the ‘receiving end’ of deceit. It is not a pleasant feeling to know that one has been “used,” taken for granted and in short, been taken for a fool. What most people tend to forget when they are in the act of deceiving another, is how they would feel themselves if they were in the other person’s place instead.

The message here is simple – don’t play “games” – don’t play with people’s feelings and emotions. An act of deception is still always an act of deceit – it can make the other have a felling of being let-down or it can be engendered as an act of betrayal. The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from strangers – it comes as ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ – it comes from persons posing as so-called friends.

Let me repeat – the message here is simple – don’t play “games” with other people’s lives, especially where it involves Love; don’t play with people’s feelings and emotions. It serves no good purpose. There comes a point when it is no longer funny.

In the end, what else is left to say except: “People may forget what you said and they might forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

"Deception" 2008 film
“Deception” 2008 film
"Deception" 2008 film
“Deception” 2008 film
"Deceptions" - 1985 film. Story by Judith Michael.
“Deceptions” – 1985 film. Story by Judith Michael.
"The Parent Trap" starring Lindsay Lohan.
“The Parent Trap” starring Lindsay Lohan.
Deception Quote 1
Deception Quote 1
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Deception Quote 2
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Deception Quote 3
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Deception Quote 4
Deception Quote 5
Deception Quote 5
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Deception Quote 7
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Deception Quote 9
Deception Quote 9
"People may forget what you said and they might forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou
“People may forget what you said and they might forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou
Deception Quote 11
Deception Quote 11
Deception Quote 10
Deception Quote 10

My ‘Amazon.com’ Customer Review of “Disco Megamix” – Performed by Enigma

As a potential customer on Amazon, let me advise you that it is always a good idea to be open-minded about one’s purchases. Go in with an open mind and with the least of expectations regarding the product and you’re less likely to be disappointed, in the long run. When I perused this item on this site, there were no customer reviews to guide me but there was a notification from Amazon, to the effect, “Only 1 left in stock; order soon!” The latter is a very good indication that an item is fast-moving and is likely to be fairly popular. Enigma is known for its mystical music; I, personally, have never heard of this group as having created any disco megamixes. This philosophy, at once, made this product enigmatic and well-worth a second glance. It seemed to be quite a risky purchase since it was an almost unknown quantity as CDs go – yet, I suppose that is part of the thrill of the chase. That’s how it came into my possession.

Let me spell it out clearly for you, if you are expecting the enigmatic tones and the mystical beats of Enigma, you are likely to be sorely disappointed. However, as Disco Megamixes go, this is as good as any other and to be honest, I love it! I tend to be a big fan of the Disco Era and this CD is highly reminiscent of that well-loved era. Since the performer is Enigma, the songs are all “cover versions” of the originals (naturally!) but they are very like the originals. Some popular items featured here are Donna Summer’s “Wanderer” and “Hot Stuff” “Love Train, The Hustle,” “I Will Survive,” of Gloria Gaynor fame, Blondie’s “Rapture,” Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough,” and it even features some favourite oldies such as “Y Viva España,” “Una Paloma Blanca,” Boney M’s “Rasputin,” “D.I.S.C.O.,” “Que Sera Mi Vida,” Copacabana” and Born To Be Alive.”

As a Disco mix, it is a non-stop, foot-tapping megamix and it will certainly make you want to get up and groove to the music. You can safely take my word for it – for any die-hard fan of the Disco Era, this is a ‘must-have.’ Go in with an open mind, when you make this purchase and you’ll soon see how your happiness levels spike. Well-worth it, is what I say!

"Disco Megamix" - Enigma CD Cover Art.
“Disco Megamix” – Enigma CD Cover Art.
The Enigma Mix
The Enigma Mix
Enigma - the music group that is famous for its enigmatic, 'Gregorian-sounding' and mystical music, with 'catchy' drum beats and  foot-tapping background sounds.
Enigma – the music group that is famous for its enigmatic, ‘Gregorian-sounding’ and mystical music, with ‘catchy’ drum beats and foot-tapping background sounds.

Just Another New Day; Just Another New Year

“Happy New Year” – Abba

No more champagne
And the fireworks are through
Here we are, me and you
Feeling lost and feeling blue
It’s the end of the party
And the morning seems so grey
So unlike yesterday
Now’s the time for us to say…
Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbour is a friend
Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don’t we might as well lay down and die
You and I
Sometimes I see
How the brave new world arrives
And I see how it thrives
In the ashes of our lives
Oh yes, man is a fool
And he thinks he’ll be okay
Dragging on, feet of clay
Never knowing he’s astray
Keeps on going anyway…
Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbour is a friend
Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don’t we might as well lay down and die
You and I
Seems to me now
That the dreams we had before
Are all dead, nothing more
Than confetti on the floor
It’s the end of a decade
In another ten years time
Who can say what we’ll find
What lies waiting down the line
In the end of eighty-nine…
Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbour is a friend
Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don’t we might as well lay down and die
You and I


I think that most of you must be wondering why this author has chosen a relatively sad song to write about, just as a New Day and a New Year dawns. We go about our lives and cheerily wishing each other – “A Happy and Prosperous New Year to you and yours;” “Here’s wishing you and yours a Fabulous New Year 2015” and so on and so forth. The good wishes that circulate around the world are endless and a mood of great cheer, contentment and happiness settles upon one and all, regardless of class, caste or creed. There is a great feeling of optimism – to the extent of being Utopian – there is a feeling of good faith all around that all is well with the world and that all will be well henceforth in the future years to come too. While it is all very well to be optimistic and idealistic, the few of us who wish each other well just like many others do, can’t help being realistic and pragmatic. From whichever angle you choose to view the situation, the answer that stares into one’s face is simply this – the fact remains that ALL IS NOT WELL WITH THE WORLD and it is not likely to be so in the near future unless we all make a concerted effort to make our world a better place to live in.


This is – for all intents and purposes – just another dawn; just another day and just another new year – like any other. Nothing concrete has changed for the better – there is still grave poverty, illiteracy and various forms of heinous crimes against humanity are still rampant in today’s day and age. Crimes can be committed against persons or property but all crimes are punishable by law. The crimes that are still rampant in contemporary times are assault, arson, battery, bribery, burglary, child abuse, child pornography, cyber crimes, conspiracies to overthrow governments, credit card fraud, disorderly conduct, domestic violence, drug cultivation, drug manufacturing, drug possession and drug trafficking, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, fraud, harassment, hate crimes, identity theft, insurance fraud, kidnapping, money laundering, murder, cruelty to human beings and animals, perjury, prostitution, rape and statutory rape, robbery, sexual assault, shop-lifting, solicitation, stalking, tax evasion, theft, pedophilia, necrophilia and various other forms of perversion, incest, vandalism, wire fraud, genocide, white collar crimes, vandalism, cyber bullying, ragging and terrorism are all thriving in today’s day and age. The question is what are we doing to better an already bad situation?





35 Ways to Prevent Crime

Source: https://www.justgive.org/donations/prevent-crime.jsp



There are many ways you can take control and help prevent crime in your home, in your neighborhood, and at your local schools. It’s a matter of communication, commitment, and time.

Other Ways to Give » 35 Ways to Prevent Crime

  1. Work with public agencies and other organizations — neighborhood-based or community-wide — on solving common problems.
  2. Make sure that all the youth in the neighborhood have positive ways to spend their spare time, through organized recreation, tutoring programs, part-time work, and volunteer opportunities.
  3. Set up a Neighborhood Watch or a community patrol, working with police. Make sure your streets and homes are well lighted.
  4. Build a partnership with police, focused on solving problems instead of reacting to crises. Make it possible for neighbors to report suspicious activity or crimes without fear of retaliation.
  5. Clean up the neighborhood! Involve everyone – teens, children, senior citizens. Litter, abandoned cars, and run-down buildings tell criminals that you don’t care about where you live or each other. Call the city public works department and ask for help in cleaning up.
  6. Ask local officials to use new ways to get criminals out of your building or neighborhood. These include enforcing anti-noise laws, housing codes, health and fire codes, anti-nuisance laws, and drug-free clauses in rental leases.
  7. Work with schools to establish drug-free, gun-free zones; work with recreation officials to do the same for parks.
  8. Develop and share a phone list of local organizations that can provide counseling, job training, guidance, and other services that neighbors might need.
  9. Report a crime if you witness it or something you suspect might be a crime. Agree to testify if needed.
  10. Learn about hotlines, crisis centers, and other help available to victims of crime. Find out how you can help those who are touched by violence to recover as quickly and completely as possible.
  11. Recognize that it’s already your problem if violence is about to erupt in your neighborhood.
  12. Consider an event that lets children turn in weapons, especially those that might be mistaken for real firearms, in exchange for public thank-yous, donated non-violent toys, books, or coupons from local merchants.
  13. Start a discussion of neighborhood views on weapons in the home, use of toy weapons by children in play, children and violent entertainment, and how arguments should be settled.
  14. Learn your state and local laws on firearms. Insist that these laws be enforced vigorously but fairly. Support police, prosecutors, judges, and other local officials who enforce laws designed to prevent gun violence.
  15. Emphasize prevention as the preferred way to deal with violence. Ask what schools, law enforcement agencies, public health agencies, libraries, workplaces, religious institutions, child protective agencies, and others are doing to prevent, not just react to, violence. What policies do they have to prevent weapons-related violence? How can they help the community?
  16. Volunteer to mentor young people who need positive support from adults. Programs ranging from Big Brothers and Big Sisters to Adopt-a-School include mentoring as a central ingredient.
  17. Talk with children in the neighborhood about what worries or scares them and about where and how they have felt threatened by violence. Interview teachers, school staff, crossing guards, and bus aides.
  18. Promote public service advertising that offers anti-violence programs and services. Get several groups to cooperate in this effort. Include programs to help kids headed for trouble.
  19. Protect domestic violence victims (and their children) through policies as well as laws that offer them prompt and meaningful response to calls for help and appropriate legal recourse.
  20. Organize to help clean and repair the parks and to report suspicious and illegal activity to the police. Well-kept play equipment and organized activities can attract people back to the parks in large enough numbers to discourage illegal activities. Residents should insist that local government maintain parks, immediately repairing vandalism or other damage.
  21. Adopt a school. Help students, faculty, and staff to promote a sense of community in the school and with the larger community through involvement in a wide range of programs and activities.
  22. Urge adoption of anti-violence courses that help children learn ways to manage anger without using fists or weapons. Second Step, from The Committee for Children, Resolving Conflict Creatively, from Educators for Social Responsibility, and We Can Work It out!, created through Teens, Crime, and the Community, are only three of many such courses.
  23. Join with school and law enforcement in creating and sustaining safe corridors for students traveling to and from school. Help with efforts to identify and eliminate neighborhood trouble spots.
  24. Help students through such opportunities as job skills development, entrepreneurship opportunities, and internships.
  25. Encourage employees to work with students in skills training, youth group leadership, mentoring, coaching, and similar one-to-one and small group activities. Make your facilities available for these activities when possible.
  26. Provide anger management, stress relief, and conflict resolution training for your employees. They can help build an anti-violence climate at home, at school, and in the community. You might gain a more productive working environment, too!
  27. Speak up in support of funding and effective implementation of programs and other resources that help schools develop an effective set of violence prevention strategies.
  28. Offer your professional skills in educating students on costs and effects of violence in the community (including their school). Public health personnel, trauma specialists, defense and prosecuting attorneys, and judges are among those with important messages to deliver.
  29. Help employees who are parents to meet with teachers by providing flexible hours or time off; encourage employee involvement in sponsoring or coaching students in school and after-school activities.
  30. Develop an anti-violence competition, including speech, dance, painting, drawing, singing, instrumental music, acting, play-writing, and other creative arts. Get youth to help suggest prizes. Make it a community celebration.
  31. Report crimes or suspicious activities to police immediately. Encourage employees and families to do the same.
  32. Establish business policies that explicitly reject violent behavior by employees or others on the premises.
  33. Report any crime immediately to school authorities or police.
  34. Help to strengthen links between school services and the network of community services that can help students and families facing problems.
  35. Enlist children from elementary grades to senior high in solving the violence problems in the school and community. Encourage them to teach violence prevention to younger children, reach out to educate peers, work with adults on community-wide problems, and identify and tackle community conditions that they are concerned about.




How to Reduce Crime in Your Neighborhood

Source: http://www.wikihow.com/Reduce-Crime-in-Your-Neighborhood

While we don’t like to talk about it – or even think about it – crime is on the increase in America, and throughout the world. The number of burglars, muggers, auto thieves, robbers, purse snatchers and other crimes is growing at an alarming rate. Now you, as a resident, working with neighbors can help reduce the crime rate.



  1. Organize and/or join a neighborhood program in which you and your neighbors get together to learn how to protect yourselves, your family, your home and your property.Working together, you can get the criminals off your block and out of your area.
  1. Stay in groups.There’s safety in numbers and power through working with a group. You’ll get to know your neighbors better, and working with them you can reduce crime, develop a more united community, provide an avenue of communications between police and citizens, establish on-going crime prevention techniques in your neighborhood, and renew citizen interest in community activity.
  1. Use the “Citizens Safety Projects”.They are set up to help you do this. It is a joint effort between private citizens and local police. Such programs have been started all over the country. Maybe one already exists in your community. These organizations don’t require frequent meetings (once a month or so). They don’t ask anyone to take personal risks to prevent crime. They leave the responsibility for catching criminals where it belongs – with the police. This is not a “vigilante” group: These groups gather citizens together to learn crime prevention from local authorities. You cooperate with your neighbors to report suspicious activities in the neighborhood, to keep an eye on homes when the resident is away, and to keep everyone in the area mindful of the standard precautions for property and self that should always be taken. Criminals avoid neighborhoods where such groups exist.


  1. Learn what you need to know.Through cooperation with local law enforcement agencies, some of the things you will learn – and all free – are:
  • What to do in an emergency.
  • How to best identify a suspicious person.
  • How to identify a vehicle being used in a suspected criminal activity.
  • Signs to watch out for before entering a house or apartment that may be in the process of being burglarized.
  • What to do in case of injury.
  • What to do about suspicious people loitering on your street.
  • How to identify stolen merchandise.
  • How to recognize auto theft in progress.
  • How to protect your house or apartment.
  • How to recognize a burglary in progress.
  • How to protect yourself and family – and much more.
  1. All you have to do is contact your neighbors and arrange a date, place and time for the first meeting.Hold the meetings at your home or that of a neighbor. Try to plan a time that is convenient to most of your neighbors – preferably in the evening. Then, call your local police department. They will be happy to give your group informal lectures, free literature – and in many instances, window stickers and I.D. cards.


  1. Remember, police officers can’t be everywhere.Your cooperation with them is for the benefit of you, your family, your neighbors and your neighborhood.



What most people seem to forget is the very first thing that we can ALL do to better an already dreadful situation: we can all endeavour to become better individuals ourselves.

I have written extensively on this subject, since the inception of this blog – you would do very well in reading (and in re-reading) all the blogs, from the very beginning, for detailed information on how A BETTER TOMORROW can not only be made into a possibility, but it can be made into a reality – OUR REALITY.

It is easy, for us all, to blame the leaders and the politicians of a nation for failing to control the ever-inflating rise and frightening increase in the crime-rate, within any country worldwide. However, there is only so much that any one person can do. We cannot expect the world to change for us when we make little or no attempts at becoming better people ourselves. It is extreme arrogance, on our part, to expect the world to change for us – we need to take the initiative to be humble, modest and unassuming ourselves and we need to be the ones to change ourselves – from within – for the better first.  Learn the Art of Benevolence, the Art of Forgiveness and the Art of Generosity of Spirit and you’ll be surprised, how soon, Peace of Mind and Joy are yours for the taking.

So, instead of making a lot of mundane resolutions in the New Year, the resolution that ought to be your Number 1 priority is on concentrating on becoming a better person yourself.



If each and every one of us were to make a concerted and determined effort in this regard, it would surprise you to know how we can make, in this way, the world a much better place to live in.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Crime in the World?
What Can Be Done to Prevent Crime in the World?
What Can Be Done to Prevent Crime in the World?
What Can Be Done to Prevent Crime in the World?
What Can Be Done to Prevent Crime in the World?
What Can Be Done to Prevent Crime in the World?
What Can Be Done to Prevent Crime in the World?
What Can Be Done to Prevent Crime in the World?
Working Together to Prevent Crime
Working Together to Prevent Crime
Learn to Enjoy the Simple Things in Life.
Learn to Enjoy the Simple Things in Life.
With whom should one associate?
With whom should one associate?
"You can change your world by changing your words......." - Joel Osteen
“You can change your world by changing your words…….” – Joel Olsteen
You are in complete control of your own happiness.
You are in complete control of your own happiness.
Becoming a Better You
Becoming a Better You
Be the best you can be!
Be the best you can be!
"Become A Better You" by Joel Osteen
“Become A Better You” by Joel Osteen
"Happy New Year" by Abba
“Happy New Year” by Abba
The Different Faces of Abba
The Different Faces of Abba
What Can Be Done to Prevent Crime in the World?
What Can Be Done to Prevent Crime in the World?
What Can Be Done to Prevent Crime in the World?
What Can Be Done to Prevent Crime in the World?
What Can Be Done to Prevent Crime in the World?
What Can Be Done to Prevent Crime in the World?
What Can Be Done to Prevent Crime in the World?
What Can Be Done to Prevent Crime in the World?

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

“It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” – Josh Groban
It came upon a midnight clear
That glorious song of old
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold
Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled
And still the heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world
Peace on the Earth
Goodwill to men
From Heaven’s All Gracious King
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing
Hear the angels sing
Peace on the Earth
Goodwill to men
From Heaven’s All Gracious King
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing
Hear the angels sing
Hear the angels sing
Hear the angels sing
On a midnight clear.


Christmas Day in the Morning

By Pearl S. Buck

He woke suddenly and completely. It was four o’clock, the hour at which his father had always called him to get up and help with the milking. Strange how the habits of his youth clung to him still! Fifty years ago, and his father had been dead for thirty years, and yet he waked at four o’clock in the morning. He had trained himself to turn over and go to sleep, but this morning it was Christmas, he did not try to sleep.

Why did he feel so awake tonight? He slipped back in time, as he did so easily nowadays. He was fifteen years old and still on his father’s farm. He loved his father. He had not known it until one day a few days before Christmas, when he had overheard what his father was saying to his mother.

“Mary, I hate to call Rob in the mornings. He’s growing so fast and he needs his sleep. If you could see how he sleeps when I go in to wake him up! I wish I could manage alone.”

“Well, you can’t, Adam.” His mother’s voice was brisk. “Besides, he isn’t a child anymore. It’s time he took his turn.”

“Yes,” his father said slowly. “But I sure do hate to wake him.”

When he heard these words, something in him spoke: his father loved him! He had never thought of that before, taking for granted the tie of their blood. Neither his father nor his mother talked about loving their children–they had no time for such things. There was always so much to do on the farm.

Now that he knew his father loved him, there would be no loitering in the mornings and having to be called again. He got up after that, stumbling blindly in his sleep, and pulled on his clothes, his eyes shut, but he got up.

And then on the night before Christmas, that year when he was fifteen, he lay for a few minutes thinking about the next day. They were poor, and most of the excitement was in the turkey they had raised themselves and mince pies his mother made. His sisters sewed presents and his mother and father always bought him something he needed, not only a warm jacket, maybe, but something more, such as a book. And he saved and bought them each something, too.

He wished that this Christmas when he was fifteen, he had a better present for his father. As usual he had gone to the ten-cent store and bought a tie. It had seemed nice enough until he lay thinking the night before Christmas. He looked out of his attic window, the stars were bright.

“Dad,” he had once asked when he was a little boy, “What is a stable?”

“It’s just a barn,” his father had replied, “like ours.”

Then Jesus had been born in a barn, and to a barn the shepherds had come…

The thought struck him like a silver dagger. Why should he not give his father a special gift too, out there in the barn? He could get up early, earlier than four o’clock, and he could creep into the barn and get all the milking done. He’d do it alone, milk and clean up, and then when his father went in to start the milking he’d see it all done. And he would know who had done it. He laughed to himself as he gazed at the stars. It was what he would do, and he musn’t sleep too sound.

He must have waked twenty times, scratching a match to look each time to look at his old watch — midnight, and half past one, and then two o’clock.

At a quarter to three he got up and put on his clothes. He crept downstairs, careful of the creaky boards, and let himself out. The cows looked at him, sleepy and surprised. It was early for them, too.

He had never milked all alone before, but it seemed almost easy. He kept thinking about his father’s surprise. His father would come in and get him, saying that he would get things started while Rob was getting dressed. He’d go to the barn, open the door, and then he’d go get the two big empty milk cans. But they wouldn’t be waiting or empty, they’d be standing in the milk-house, filled.

“What the–,” he could hear his father exclaiming.

He smiled and milked steadily, two strong streams rushing into the pail, frothing and fragrant.

The task went more easily than he had ever known it to go before. Milking for once was not a chore. It was something else, a gift to his father who loved him. He finished, the two milk cans were full, and he covered them and closed the milk-house door carefully, making sure of the latch.

Back in his room he had only a minute to pull off his clothes in the darkness and jump into bed, for he heard his father up. He put the covers over his head to silence his quick breathing. The door opened.

“Rob!” His father called. “We have to get up, son, even if it is Christmas.”

“Aw-right,” he said sleepily.

The door closed and he lay still, laughing to himself. In just a few minutes his father would know. His dancing heart was ready to jump from his body.

The minutes were endless — ten, fifteen, he did not know how many — and he heard his father’s footsteps again. The door opened and he lay still.


“Yes, Dad–”

His father was laughing, a queer sobbing sort of laugh.

“Thought you’d fool me, did you?” His father was standing by his bed, feeling for him, pulling away the cover.

“It’s for Christmas, Dad!”

He found his father and clutched him in a great hug. He felt his father’s arms go around him. It was dark and they could not see each other’s faces.

“Son, I thank you. Nobody ever did a nicer thing–”

“Oh, Dad, I want you to know — I do want to be good!” The words broke from him of their own will. He did not know what to say. His heart was bursting with love.

He got up and pulled on his clothes again and they went down to the Christmas tree. Oh what a Christmas, and how his heart had nearly burst again with shyness and pride as his father told his mother and made the younger children listen about how he, Rob, had got up all by himself.

“The best Christmas gift I ever had, and I’ll remember it, son every year on Christmas morning, so long as I live.”

They had both remembered it, and now that his father was dead, he remembered it alone: that blessed Christmas dawn when, alone with the cows in the barn, he had made his first gift of true love.

This Christmas he wanted to write a card to his wife and tell her how much he loved her, it had been a long time since he had really told her, although he loved her in a very special way, much more than he ever had when they were young. He had been fortunate that she had loved him. Ah, that was the true joy of life, the ability to love. Love was still alive in him, it still was.

It occurred to him suddenly that it was alive because long ago it had been born in him when he knew his father loved him. That was it: Love alone could awaken love. And he could give the gift again and again. This morning, this blessed Christmas morning, he would give it to his beloved wife. He could write it down in a letter for her to read and keep forever. He went to his desk and began his love letter to his wife: My dearest love…

Such a happy, happy Christmas!


The Little Match Girl

By Hans Christian Andersen

Most terribly cold it was; it snowed, and was nearly quite dark, and evening– the last evening of the year. In this cold and darkness there went along the street a poor little girl, bareheaded, and with naked feet. When she left home she had slippers on, it is true; but what was the good of that? They were very large slippers, which her mother had hitherto worn; so large were they; and the poor little thing lost them as she scuffled away across the street, because of two carriages that rolled by dreadfully fast.

One slipper was nowhere to be found; the other had been laid hold of by an urchin, and off he ran with it; he thought it would do capitally for a cradle when he some day or other should have children himself. So the little maiden walked on with her tiny naked feet, that were quite red and blue from cold. She carried a quantity of matches in an old apron, and she held a bundle of them in her hand. Nobody had bought anything of her the whole livelong day; no one had given her a single farthing.

She crept along trembling with cold and hunger–a very picture of sorrow, the poor little thing!

The flakes of snow covered her long fair hair, which fell in beautiful curls around her neck; but of that, of course, she never once now thought. From all the windows the candles were gleaming, and it smelt so deliciously of roast goose, for you know it was New Year’s Eve; yes, of that she thought.

In a corner formed by two houses, of which one advanced more than the other, she seated herself down and cowered together. Her little feet she had drawn close up to her, but she grew colder and colder, and to go home she did not venture, for she had not sold any matches and could not bring a farthing of money: from her father she would certainly get blows, and at home it was cold too, for above her she had only the roof, through which the wind whistled, even though the largest cracks were stopped up with straw and rags.

Her little hands were almost numbed with cold. Oh! a match might afford her a world of comfort, if she only dared take a single one out of the bundle, draw it against the wall, and warm her fingers by it. She drew one out. “Rischt!” how it blazed, how it burnt! It was a warm, bright flame, like a candle, as she held her hands over it: it was a wonderful light. It seemed really to the little maiden as though she were sitting before a large iron stove, with burnished brass feet and a brass ornament at top. The fire burned with such blessed influence; it warmed so delightfully. The little girl had already stretched out her feet to warm them too; but–the small flame went out, the stove vanished: she had only the remains of the burnt-out match in her hand.

She rubbed another against the wall: it burned brightly, and where the light fell on the wall, there the wall became transparent like a veil, so that she could see into the room. On the table was spread a snow-white tablecloth; upon it was a splendid porcelain service, and the roast goose was steaming famously with its stuffing of apple and dried plums. And what was still more capital to behold was, the goose hopped down from the dish, reeled about on the floor with knife and fork in its breast, till it came up to the poor little girl; when–the match went out and nothing but the thick, cold, damp wall was left behind. She lighted another match. Now there she was sitting under the most magnificent Christmas tree: it was still larger, and more decorated than the one which she had seen through the glass door in the rich merchant’s house.

Thousands of lights were burning on the green branches, and gaily-colored pictures, such as she had seen in the shop-windows, looked down upon her. The little maiden stretched out her hands towards them when–the match went out. The lights of the Christmas tree rose higher and higher, she saw them now as stars in heaven; one fell down and formed a long trail of fire.

“Someone is just dead!” said the little girl; for her old grandmother, the only person who had loved her, and who was now no more, had told her, that when a star falls, a soul ascends to God.

She drew another match against the wall: it was again light, and in the lustre there stood the old grandmother, so bright and radiant, so mild, and with such an expression of love.

“Grandmother!” cried the little one. “Oh, take me with you! You go away when the match burns out; you vanish like the warm stove, like the delicious roast goose, and like the magnificent Christmas tree!” And she rubbed the whole bundle of matches quickly against the wall, for she wanted to be quite sure of keeping her grandmother near her. And the matches gave such a brilliant light that it was brighter than at noon-day: never formerly had the grandmother been so beautiful and so tall. She took the little maiden, on her arm, and both flew in brightness and in joy so high, so very high, and then above was neither cold, nor hunger, nor anxiety–they were with God.

But in the corner, at the cold hour of dawn, sat the poor girl, with rosy cheeks and with a smiling mouth, leaning against the wall–frozen to death on the last evening of the old year. Stiff and stark sat the child there with her matches, of which one bundle had been burnt. “She wanted to warm herself,” people said. No one had the slightest suspicion of what beautiful things she had seen; no one even dreamed of the splendor in which, with her grandmother she had entered on the joys of a new year.


Papa Panov’s Special Christmas

By Leo Tolstoy


It was Christmas Eve and although it was still afternoon, lights had begun to appear in the shops and houses of the little Russian village, for the short winter day was nearly over. Excited children scurried indoors and now only muffled sounds of chatter and laughter escaped from closed shutters.

Old Papa Panov, the village shoemaker, stepped outside his shop to take one last look around. The sounds of happiness, the bright lights and the faint but delicious smells of Christmas cooking reminded him of past Christmas times when his wife had still been alive and his own children little. Now they had gone. His usually cheerful face, with the little laughter wrinkles behind the round steel spectacles, looked sad now. But he went back indoors with a firm step, put up the shutters and set a pot of coffee to heat on the charcoal stove. Then, with a sigh, he settled in his big armchair.

Papa Panov did not often read, but tonight he pulled down the big old family Bible and, slowly tracing the lines with one forefinger, he read again the Christmas story. He read how Mary and Joseph, tired by their journey to Bethlehem, found no room for them at the inn, so that Mary’s little baby was born in the cowshed.

“Oh, dear, oh, dear!” exclaimed Papa Panov, “if only they had come here! I would have given them my bed and I could have covered the baby with my patchwork quilt to keep him warm.”

He read on about the wise men who had come to see the baby Jesus, bringing him splendid gifts. Papa Panov’s face fell. “I have no gift that I could give him,” he thought sadly.

Then his face brightened. He put down the Bible, got up and stretched his long arms to the shelf high up in his little room. He took down a small, dusty box and opened it. Inside was a perfect pair of tiny leather shoes. Papa Panov smiled with satisfaction. Yes, they were as good as he had remembered- the best shoes he had ever made. “I should give him those,” he decided, as he gently put them away and sat down again.

He was feeling tired now, and the further he read the sleepier he became. The print began to dance before his eyes so that he closed them, just for a minute. In no time at all Papa Panov was fast asleep.

And as he slept he dreamed. He dreamed that someone was in his room and he knew at once, as one does in dreams, who the person was. It was Jesus.

“You have been wishing that you could see me, Papa Panov.” he said kindly, “then look for me tomorrow. It will be Christmas Day and I will visit you. But look carefully, for I shall not tell you who I am.”

When at last Papa Panov awoke, the bells were ringing out and a thin light was filtering through the shutters. “Bless my soul!” said Papa Panov. “It’s Christmas Day!”

He stood up and stretched himself for he was rather stiff. Then his face filled with happiness as he remembered his dream. This would be a very special Christmas after all, for Jesus was coming to visit him. How would he look? Would he be a little baby, as at that first Christmas? Would he be a grown man, a carpenter- or the great King that he is, God’s Son? He must watch carefully the whole day through so that he recognized him however he came.

Papa Panov put on a special pot of coffee for his Christmas breakfast, took down the shutters and looked out of the window. The street was deserted, no one was stirring yet. No one except the road sweeper. He looked as miserable and dirty as ever, and well he might! Whoever wanted to work on Christmas Day – and in the raw cold and bitter freezing mist of such a morning?

Papa Panov opened the shop door, letting in a thin stream of cold air. “Come in!” he shouted across the street cheerily. “Come in and have some hot coffee to keep out the cold!”

The sweeper looked up, scarcely able to believe his ears. He was only too glad to put down his broom and come into the warm room. His old clothes steamed gently in the heat of the stove and he clasped both red hands round the comforting warm mug as he drank.

Papa Panov watched him with satisfaction, but every now and then his eyes strayed to the window. It would never do to miss his special visitor.

“Expecting someone?” the sweeper asked at last. So Papa Panov told him about his dream.

“Well, I hope he comes,” the sweeper said, “you’ve given me a bit of Christmas cheer I never expected to have. I’d say you deserve to have your dream come true.” And he actually smiled.

When he had gone, Papa Panov put on cabbage soup for his dinner, then went to the door again, scanning the street. He saw no one. But he was mistaken. Someone was coming.

The girl walked so slowly and quietly, hugging the walls of shops and houses, that it was a while before he noticed her. She looked very tired and she was carrying something. As she drew nearer he could see that it was a baby, wrapped in a thin shawl. There was such sadness in her face and in the pinched little face of the baby that Papa Panov’s heart went out to them.

“Won’t you come in,” he called, stepping outside to meet them. “You both need warmth by the fire and a rest.”

The young mother let him shepherd her indoors and to the comfort of the armchair. She gave a big sigh of relief.

“I’ll warm some milk for the baby,” Papa Panov said, “I’ve had children of my own- I can feed her for you.” He took the milk from the stove and carefully fed the baby from a spoon, warming her tiny feet by the stove at the same time.

“She needs shoes,” the cobbler said.

But the girl replied, “I can’t afford shoes, I’ve got no husband to bring home money. I’m on my way to the next village to get work.”

Sudden thought flashed through Papa Panov’s mind. He remembered the little shoes he had looked at last night. But he had been keeping those for Jesus. He looked again at the cold little feet and made up his mind.

“Try these on her,” he said, handing the baby and the shoes to the mother. The beautiful little shoes were a perfect fit. The girl smiled happily and the baby gurgled with pleasure.

“You have been so kind to us,” the girl said, when she got up with her baby to go. “May all your Christmas wishes come true!”

But Papa Panov was beginning to wonder if his very special Christmas wish would come true. Perhaps he had missed his visitor? He looked anxiously up and down the street. There were plenty of people about but they were all faces that he recognized. There were neighbors going to call on their families. They nodded and smiled and wished him Happy Christmas! Or beggars- and Papa Panov hurried indoors to fetch them hot soup and a generous hunk of bread, hurrying out again in case he missed the Important Stranger.

All too soon the winter dusk fell. When Papa Panov next went to the door and strained his eyes, he could no longer make out the passers-by. most were home and indoors by now anyway. He walked slowly back into his room at last, put up the shutters, and sat down wearily in his armchair.

So it had been just a dream after all. Jesus had not come.

Then all at once he knew that he was no longer alone in the room.

This was not a dream for he was wide awake. At first he seemed to see before his eyes the long stream of people who had come to him that day. He saw again the old road sweeper, the young mother and her baby and the beggars he had fed. As they passed, each whispered, “Didn’t you see me, Papa Panov?”

“Who are you?” he called out, bewildered.

Then another voice answered him. It was the voice from his dream- the voice of Jesus.

“I was hungry and you fed me,” he said. “I was naked and you clothed me. I was cold and you warmed me. I came to you today in everyone of those you helped and welcomed.”

Then all was quiet and still. Only the sound of the big clock ticking. A great peace and happiness seemed to fill the room, overflowing Papa Panov’s heart until he wanted to burst out singing and laughing and dancing with joy.

“So he did come after all!” was all that he said.



The Other Wise Man

By Henry Van Dyke

You know the story of the Three Wise Men of the East, and how they traveled from far away to offer their gifts at the manger-cradle in Bethlehem. But have you ever heard the story of the Other Wise Man, who also saw the star in its rising, and set out to follow it, yet did not arrive with his brethren in the presence of the young child Jesus? Of the great desire of this fourth pilgrim, and how it was denied, yet accomplished in the denial; of his many wanderings and the probations of his soul; of the long way of his seeking and the strange way of his finding the One whom he sought–I would tell the tale as I have heard fragments of it in the Hall of Dreams, in the palace of the Heart of Man.


In the days when Augustus Caesar was master of many kings and Herod reigned in Jerusalem, there lived in the city of Ecbatana, among the mountains of Persia, a certain man named Artaban. His house stood close to the outermost of the walls which encircled the royal treasury. From his roof he could look over the seven-fold battlements of black and white and crimson and blue and red and silver and gold, to the hill where the summer palace of the Parthian emperors glittered like a jewel in a crown.

Around the dwelling of Artaban spread a fair garden, a tangle of flowers and fruit-trees, watered by a score of streams descending from the slopes of Mount Orontes, and made musical by innumerable birds. But all colour was lost in the soft and odorous darkness of the late September night, and all sounds were hushed in the deep charm of its silence, save the splashing of the water, like a voice half-sobbing and half-laughing under the shadows. High above the trees a dim glow of light shone through the curtained arches of the upper chamber, where the master of the house was holding council with his friends.

He stood by the doorway to greet his guests–a tall, dark man of about forty years, with brilliant eyes set near together under his broad brow, and firm lines graven around his fine, thin lips; the brow of a dreamer and the mouth of a soldier, a man of sensitive feeling but inflexible will–one of those who, in whatever age they may live, are born for inward conflict and a life of quest.

His robe was of pure white wool, thrown over a tunic of silk; and a white, pointed cap, with long lapels at the sides, rested on his flowing black hair. It was the dress of the ancient priesthood of the Magi, called the fire-worshippers.

“Welcome!” he said, in his low, pleasant voice, as one after another entered the room–“welcome, Abdus; peace be with you, Rhodaspes and Tigranes, and with you my father, Abgarus. You are all welcome. This house grows bright with the joy of your presence.”

There were nine of the men, differing widely in age, but alike in the richness of their dress of many-coloured silks, and in the massive golden collars around their necks, marking them as Parthian nobles, and in the winged circles of gold resting upon their breasts, the sign of the followers of Zoroaster (Zarathustra.)

They took their places around a small black altar at the end of the room, where a tiny flame was burning. Artaban, standing beside it, and waving a barsom of thin tamarisk branches above the fire, fed it with dry sticks of pine and fragrant oils. Then he began the ancient chant of the Yasna, and the voices of his companions joined in the hymn to Ahura-Mazda:

“We worship the Spirit Divine,         all wisdom and goodness possessing,  Surrounded by Holy Immortals,         the givers of bounty and blessing;  We joy in the work of His hands,         His truth and His power confessing.   We praise all the things that are pure,         for these are His only Creation  The thoughts that are true, and the words         and the deeds that have won approbation;  These are supported by Him,         and for these we make adoration.  Hear us, O Mazda!  Thou livest         in truth and in heavenly gladness;  Cleanse us from falsehood, and keep us         from evil and bondage to badness,  Pour out the light and the joy of Thy life             on our darkness and sadness.   Shine on our gardens and fields,         shine on our working and waving;  Shine on the whole race of man,             believing and  unbelieving;  Shine on us now through the night,  Shine on us now in Thy might,  The flame of our holy love      and the song of our worship receiving.”

The fire rose with the chant, throbbing as if the flame responded to the music, until it cast a bright illumination through the whole apartment, revealing its simplicity and splendour.

The floor was laid with tiles of dark blue veined with white; pilasters of twisted silver stood out against the blue walls; the clear-story of round-arched windows above them was hung with azure silk; the vaulted ceiling was a pavement of blue stones, like the body of heaven in its clearness, sown with silver stars. From the four corners of the roof hung four golden magic-wheels, called the tongues of the gods. At the eastern end, behind the altar, there were two dark-red pillars of porphyry; above them a lintel of the same stone, on which was carved the figure of a winged archer, with his arrow set to the string and his bow drawn.

The doorway between the pillars, which opened upon the terrace of the roof, was covered with a heavy curtain of the colour of a ripe pomegranate, embroidered with innumerable golden rays shooting upward from the floor. In effect the room was like a quiet, starry night, all azure and silver, flushed in the cast with rosy promise of the dawn. It was, as the house of a man should be, an expression of the character and spirit of the master.

He turned to his friends when the song was ended, and invited them to be seated on the divan at the western end of the room.

“You have come tonight,” said he, looking around the circle, “at my call, as the faithful scholars of Zoroaster, to renew your worship and rekindle your faith in the God of Purity, even as this fire has been rekindled on the altar. We worship not the fire, but Him of whom it is the chosen symbol, because it is the purest of all created things. It speaks to us of one who is Light and Truth. Is it not so, my father?”

“It is well said, my son,” answered the venerable Abgarus. “The enlightened are never idolaters. They lift the veil of form and go in to the shrine of reality, and new light and truth are coming to them continually through the old symbols.” “Hear me, then, my father and my friends,” said Artaban, “while I tell you of the new light and truth that have come to me through the most ancient of all signs. We have searched the secrets of Nature together, and studied the healing virtues of water and fire and the plants. We have read also the books of prophecy in which the future is dimly foretold in words that are hard to understand. But the highest of all learning is the knowledge of the stars. To trace their course is to untangle the threads of the mystery of life from the beginning to the end. If we could follow them perfectly, nothing would be hidden from us. But is not our knowledge of them still incomplete? Are there not many stars still beyond our horizon–lights that are known only to the dwellers in the far south-land, among the spice-trees of Punt and the gold mines of Ophir?”

There was a murmur of assent among the listeners.

“The stars,” said Tigranes, “are the thoughts of the Eternal. They are numberless. But the thoughts of man can be counted, like the years of his life. The wisdom of the Magi is the greatest of all wisdoms on earth, because it knows its own ignorance. And that is the secret of power. We keep men always looking and waiting for a new sunrise. But we ourselves understand that the darkness is equal to the light, and that the conflict between them will never be ended.”

“That does not satisfy me,” answered Artaban, “for, if the waiting must be endless, if there could be no fulfilment of it, then it would not be wisdom to look and wait. We should become like those new teachers of the Greeks, who say that there is no truth, and that the only wise men are those who spend their lives in discovering and exposing the lies that have been believed in the world. But the new sunrise will certainly appear in the appointed time. Do not our own books tell us that this will come to pass, and that men will see the brightness of a great light?”

“That is true,” said the voice of Abgarus; “every faithful disciple of Zoroaster knows the prophecy of the Avesta, and carries the word in his heart. `In that day Sosiosh the Victorious shall arise out of the number of the prophets in the east country. Around him shall shine a mighty brightness, and he shall make life everlasting, incorruptible, and immortal, and the dead shall rise again.'”

“This is a dark saying,” said Tigranes, “and it may be that we shall never understand it. It is better to consider the things that are near at hand, and to increase the influence of the Magi in their own country, rather than to look for one who may be a stranger, and to whom we must resign our power.”

The others seemed to approve these words. There was a silent feeling of agreement manifest among them; their looks responded with that indefinable expression which always follows when a speaker has uttered the thought that has been slumbering in the hearts of his listeners. But Artaban turned to Abgarus with a glow on his face, and said:

“My father, I have kept this prophecy in the secret place of my soul. Religion without a great hope would be like an altar without a living fire. And now the flame has burned more brightly, and by the light of it I have read other words which also have come from the fountain of Truth, and speak yet more clearly of the rising of the Victorious One in his brightness.”

He drew from the breast of his tunic two small rolls of fine parchment, with writing upon them, and unfolded them carefully upon his knee.

“In the years that are lost in the past, long before our fathers came into the land of Babylon, there were wise men in Chaldea, from whom the first of the Magi learned the secret of the heavens. And of these Balaam the son of Beor was one of the mightiest. Hear the words of his prophecy: ‘There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall arise out of Israel.'”

The lips of Tigranes drew downward with contempt, as he said:

“Judah was a captive by the waters of Babylon, and the sons of Jacob were in bondage to our kings. The tribes of Israel are scattered through the mountains like lost sheep, and from the remnant that dwells in Judea under the yoke of Rome neither star nor sceptre shall arise.”

“And yet,” answered Artaban, “it was the Hebrew Daniel, the mighty searcher of dreams, the counsellor of kings, the wise Belteshazzar, who was most honoured and beloved of our great King Cyrus. A prophet of sure things and a reader of the thoughts of the Eternal, Daniel proved himself to our people. And these are the words that he wrote.” (Artaban read from the second roll:) ” ‘Know, therefore, and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore Jerusalem, unto the Anointed One, the Prince, the time shall be seven and threescore and two weeks.”‘

“But, my son,” said Abgarus, doubtfully, “these are mystical numbers. Who can interpret them, or who can find the key that shall unlock their meaning?”

Artaban answered: “It has been shown to me and to my three companions among the Magi–Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. We have searched the ancient tablets of Chaldea and computed the time. It falls in this year. We have studied the sky, and in the spring of the year we saw two of the greatest planets draw near together in the sign of the Fish, which is the house of the Hebrews. We also saw a new star there, which shone for one night and then vanished. Now again the two great planets are meeting. This night is their conjunction. My three brothers are watching by the ancient Temple of the Seven Spheres, at Borsippa, in Babylonia, and I am watching here. If the star shines again, they will wait ten days for me at the temple, and then we will set out together for Jerusalem, to see and worship the promised one who shall be born King of Israel. I believe the sign will come. I have made ready for the journey. I have sold my possessions, and bought these three jewels–a sapphire, a ruby, and a pearl–to carry them as tribute to the King. And I ask you to go with me on the pilgrimage, that we may have joy together in finding the Prince who is worthy to be served.”

While he was speaking he thrust his hand into the inmost fold of his, girdle and drew out three great gems–one blue as a fragment of the night sky, one redder than a ray of sunrise, and one as pure as the peak of a snow-mountain at twilight–and laid them on the outspread scrolls before him.

But his friends looked on with strange and alien eyes. A veil of doubt and mistrust came over their faces, like a fog creeping up from the marshes to hide the hills. They glanced at each other with looks of wonder and pity, as those who have listened to incredible sayings, the story of a wild vision, or the proposal of an impossible enterprise.

At last Tigranes said: “Artaban, this is a vain dream. It comes from too much looking upon the stars and the cherishing of lofty thoughts. It would be wiser to spend the time in gathering money for the new fire-temple at Chala. No king will ever rise from the broken race of Israel, and no end will ever come to the eternal strife of light and darkness. He who looks for it is a chaser of shadows. Farewell.”

And another said: “Artaban, I have no knowledge of these things, and my office as guardian of the royal treasure binds me here. The quest is not for me. But if thou must follow it, fare thee well.”

And another said: “In my house there sleeps a new bride, and I cannot leave her nor take her with me on this strange journey. This quest is not for me. But may thy steps be prospered wherever thou goest. So, farewell.”

And another said: “I am ill and unfit for hardship, but there is a man among my servants whom I will send with thee when thou goest, to bring me word how thou farest.”

So, one by one, they left the house of Artaban. But Abgarus, the oldest and the one who loved him the best, lingered after the others had gone, and said, gravely: “My son, it may be that the light of truth is in this sign that has appeared in the skies, and then it will surely lead to the Prince and the mighty brightness. Or it may be that it is only a shadow of the light, as Tigranes has said, and then he who follows it will have a long pilgrimage and a fruitless search. But it is better to follow even the shadow of the best than to remain content with the worst. And those who would see wonderful things must often be ready to travel alone. I am too old for this journey, but my heart shall be a companion of thy pilgrimage day and night, and I shall know the end of thy quest. Go in peace.”

Then Abgarus went out of the azure chamber with its silver stars, and Artaban was left in solitude.

He gathered up the jewels and replaced them in his girdle. For a long time he stood and watched the flame that flickered and sank upon the altar. Then he crossed the hall, lifted the heavy curtain, and passed out between the pillars of porphyry to the terrace on the roof.

The shiver that runs through the earth ere she rouses from her night-sleep had already begun, and the cool wind that heralds the daybreak was drawing downward from the lofty snow-traced ravines of Mount Orontes. Birds, half-awakened, crept and chirped among the rustling leaves, and the smell of ripened grapes came in brief wafts from the arbours.

Far over the eastern plain a white mist stretched like a lake. But where the distant peaks of Zagros serrated the western horizon the sky was clear. Jupiter and Saturn rolled together like drops of lambent flame about to blend in one.

As Artaban watched them, a steel-blue spark was born out of the darkness beneath, rounding itself with purple splendours to a crimson sphere, and spiring upward through rays of saffron and orange into a point of white radiance. Tiny and infinitely remote, yet perfect in every part, it pulsated in the enormous vault as if the three jewels in the Magian’s girdle had mingled and been transformed into a living heart of light.

He bowed his head. He covered his brow with his hands.

“It is the sign,” he said. “The King is coming, and I will go to meet him.”


All night long, Vasda, the swiftest of Artaban’s horses, had been waiting, saddled and bridled, in her stall, pawing the ground impatiently, and shaking her bit as if she shared the eagerness of her master’s purpose, though she knew not its meaning.

Before the birds had fully roused to their strong, high, joyful chant of morning song, before the white mist had begun to lift lazily from the plain, the Other Wise Man was in the saddle, riding swiftly along the high-road, which skirted the base of Mount Orontes, westward.

How close, how intimate is the comradeship between a man and his favourite horse on a long journey. It is a silent, comprehensive friendship, an intercourse beyond the need of words.

They drink at the same way-side springs, and sleep under the same guardian stars. They are conscious together of the subduing spell of nightfall and the quickening joy of daybreak. The master shares his evening meal with his hungry companion, and feels the soft, moist lips caressing the palm of his hand as they close over the morsel of bread. In the gray dawn he is roused from his bivouac by the gentle stir of a warm, sweet breath over his sleeping face, and looks up into the eyes of his faithful fellow-traveller, ready and waiting for the toil of the day. Surely, unless he is a pagan and an unbeliever, by whatever name he calls upon his God, he will thank Him for this voiceless sympathy, this dumb affection, and his morning prayer will embrace a double blessing–God bless us both, the horse and the rider, and keep our feet from falling and our souls from death!

Then, through the keen morning air, the swift hoofs beat their tattoo along the road, keeping time to the pulsing of two hearts that are moved with the same eager desire–to conquer space, to devour the distance, to attain the goal of the journey.

Artaban must indeed ride wisely and well if he would keep the appointed hour with the other Magi; for the route was a hundred and fifty parasangs, and fifteen was the utmost that he could travel in a day. But he knew Vasda’s strength, and pushed forward without anxiety, making the fixed distance every day, though he must travel late into the night, and in the morning long before sunrise.

He passed along the brown slopes of Mount Orontes, furrowed by the rocky courses of a hundred torrents.

He crossed the level plains of the Nisaeans, where the famous herds of horses, feeding in the wide pastures, tossed their heads at Vasda’s approach, and galloped away with a thunder of many hoofs, and flocks of wild birds rose suddenly from the swampy meadows, wheeling in great circles with a shining flutter of innumerable wings and shrill cries of surprise.

He traversed the fertile fields of Concabar, where the dust from the threshing-floors filled the air with a golden mist, half hiding the huge temple of Astarte with its four hundred pillars.

At Baghistan, among the rich gardens watered by fountains from the rock, he looked up at the mountain thrusting its immense rugged brow out over the road, and saw the figure of King Darius trampling upon his fallen foes, and the proud list of his wars and conquests graven high upon the face of the eternal cliff.

Over many a cold and desolate pass, crawling painfully across the wind-swept shoulders of the hills; down many a black mountain-gorge, where the river roared and raced before him like a savage guide; across many a smiling vale, with terraces of yellow limestone full of vines and fruit-trees; through the oak-groves of Carine and the dark Gates of Zagros, walled in by precipices; into the ancient city of Chala, where the people of Samaria had been kept in captivity long ago; and out again by the mighty portal, riven through the encircling hills, where he saw the image of the High Priest of the Magi sculptured on the wall of rock, with hand uplifted as if to bless the centuries of pilgrims; past the entrance of the narrow defile, filled from end to end with orchards of peaches and figs, through which the river Gyndes foamed down to meet him; over the broad rice-fields, where the autumnal vapours spread their deathly mists; following along the course of the river, under tremulous shadows of poplar and tamarind, among the lower hills; and out upon the flat plain, where the road ran straight as an arrow through the stubble-fields and parched meadows; past the city of Ctesiphon, where the Parthian emperors reigned, and the vast metropolis of Seleucia which Alexander built; across the swirling floods of Tigris and the many channels of Euphrates, flowing yellow through the corn-lands–Artaban pressed onward until he arrived, at nightfall on the tenth day, beneath the shattered walls of populous Babylon.

Vasda was almost spent, and Artaban would gladly have turned into the city to find rest and refreshment for himself and for her. But he knew that it was three hours’ journey yet to the Temple of the Seven Spheres, and he must reach the place by midnight if he would find his comrades waiting. So he did not halt, but rode steadily across the stubble-fields.

A grove of date-palms made an island of gloom in the pale yellow sea. As she passed into the shadow Vasda slackened her pace, and began to pick her way more carefully.

Near the farther end of the darkness an access of caution seemed to fall upon her. She scented some danger or difficulty; it was not in her heart to fly from it–only to be prepared for it, and to meet it wisely, as a good horse should do. The grove was close and silent as the tomb; not a leaf rustled, not a bird sang.

She felt her steps before her delicately, carrying her head low, and sighing now and then with apprehension. At last she gave a quick breath of anxiety and dismay, and stood stock-still, quivering in every muscle, before a dark object in the shadow of the last palm-tree.

Artaban dismounted. The dim starlight revealed the form of a man lying across the road. His humble dress and the outline of his haggard face showed that he was probably one of the Hebrews who still dwelt in great numbers around the city. His pallid skin, dry and yellow as parchment, bore the mark of the deadly fever which ravaged the marsh-lands in autumn. The chill of death was in his lean hand, and, as Artaban released it, the arm fell back inertly upon the motionless breast.

He turned away with a thought of pity, leaving the body to that strange burial which the Magians deemed most fitting–the funeral of the desert, from which the kites and vultures rise on dark wings, and the beasts of prey slink furtively away. When they are gone there is only a heap of white bones on the sand.

But, as he turned, a long, faint, ghostly sigh came from the man’s lips. The bony fingers gripped the hem of the Magian’s robe and held him fast.

Artaban’s heart leaped to his throat, not with fear, but with a dumb resentment at the importunity of this blind delay.

How could he stay here in the darkness to minister to a dying stranger? What claim had this unknown fragment of human life upon his compassion or his service? If he lingered but for an hour he could hardly reach Borsippa at the appointed time. His companions would think he had given up the journey. They would go without him. He would lose his quest.

But if he went on now, the man would surely die. If Artaban stayed, life might be restored. His spirit throbbed and fluttered with the urgency of the crisis. Should he risk the great reward of his faith for the sake of a single deed of charity? Should he turn aside, if only for a moment, from the following of the star, to give a cup of cold water to a poor, perishing Hebrew?

“God of truth and purity,” he prayed, “direct me in the holy path, the way of wisdom which Thou only knowest.”

Then he turned back to the sick man. Loosening the grasp of his hand, he carried him to a little mound at the foot of the palm-tree.

He unbound the thick folds of the turban and opened the garment above the sunken breast. He brought water from one of the small canals near by, and moistened the sufferer’s brow and mouth. He mingled a draught of one of those simple but potent remedies which he carried always in his girdle–for the Magians were physicians as well as astrologers–and poured it slowly between the colourless lips. Hour after hour he laboured as only a skilful healer of disease can do. At last the man’s strength returned; he sat up and looked about him.

“Who art thou?” he said, in the rude dialect of the country, “and why hast thou sought me here to bring back my life?”

“I am Artaban the Magian, of the city of Ecbatana, and I am going to Jerusalem in search of one who is to be born King of the Jews, a great Prince and Deliverer of all men. I dare not delay any longer upon my journey, for the caravan that has waited for me may depart without me. But see, here is all that I have left of bread and wine, and here is a potion of healing herbs. When thy strength is restored thou canst find the dwellings of the Hebrews among the houses of Babylon.”

The Jew raised his trembling hand solemnly to heaven.

“Now may the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob bless and prosper the journey of the merciful, and bring him in peace to his desired haven. Stay! I have nothing to give thee in return–only this: that I can tell thee where the Messiah must be sought. For our prophets have said that he should be born not in Jerusalem, but in Bethlehem of Judah. May the Lord bring thee in safety to that place, because thou hast had pity upon the sick.”

It was already long past midnight. Artaban rode in haste, and Vasda, restored by the brief rest, ran eagerly through the silent plain and swam the channels of the river. She put forth the remnant of her strength, and fled over the ground like a gazelle.

But the first beam of the rising sun sent a long shadow before her as she entered upon the final stadium of the journey, and the eyes of Artaban, anxiously scanning the great mound of Nimrod and the Temple of the Seven Spheres, could discern no trace of his friends.

The many-coloured terraces of black and orange and red and yellow and green and blue and white, shattered by the convulsions of nature, and crumbling under the repeated blows of human violence, still glittered like a ruined rainbow in the morning light.

Artaban rode swiftly around the hill. He dismounted and climbed to the highest terrace, looking out toward the west.

The huge desolation of the marshes stretched away to the horizon and the border of the desert. Bitterns stood by the stagnant pools and jackals skulked through the low bushes; but there was no sign of the caravan of the Wise Men, far or near.

At the edge of the terrace he saw a little cairn of broken bricks, and under them a piece of papyrus. He caught it up and read: “We have waited past the midnight, and can delay no longer. We go to find the King. Follow us across the desert.”

Artaban sat down upon the ground and covered his head in despair.

“How can I cross the desert,” said he, “with no food and with a spent horse? I must return to Babylon, sell my sapphire, and buy a train of camels, and provision for the journey. I may never overtake my friends. Only God the merciful knows whether I shall not lose the sight of the King because I tarried to show mercy.”


There was a silence in the Hall of Dreams, where I was listening to the story of the Other Wise Man. Through this silence I saw, but very dimly, his figure passing over the dreary undulations of the desert, high upon the back of his camel, rocking steadily onward like a ship over the waves.

The land of death spread its cruel net around him. The stony waste bore no fruit but briers and thorns. The dark ledges of rock thrust themselves above the surface here and there, like the bones of perished monsters. Arid and inhospitable mountain-ranges rose before him, furrowed with dry channels of ancient torrents, white and ghastly as scars on the face of nature. Shifting hills of treacherous sand were heaped like tombs along the horizon. By day, the fierce heat pressed its intolerable burden on the quivering air. No living creature moved on the dumb, swooning earth, but tiny jerboas scuttling through the parched bushes, or lizards vanishing in the clefts of the rock. By night the jackals prowled and barked in the distance, and the lion made the black ravines echo with his hollow roaring, while a bitter, blighting chill followed the fever of the day. Through heat and cold, the Magian moved steadily onward.

Then I saw the gardens and orchards of Damascus, watered by the streams of Abana and Pharpar, with their sloping swards inlaid with bloom, and their thickets of myrrh and roses. I saw the long, snowy ridge of Hermon, and the dark groves of cedars, and the valley of the Jordan, and the blue waters of the Lake of Galilee, and the fertile plain of Esdraelon, and the hills of Ephraim, and the highlands of Judah. Through all these I followed the figure of Artaban moving steadily onward, until he arrived at Bethlehem. And it was the third day after the three Wise Men had come to that place and had found Mary and Joseph, with the young child, Jesus, and had laid their gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh at his feet.

Then the Other Wise Man drew near, weary, but full of hope, bearing his ruby and his pearl to offer to the King. “For now at last,” he said, “I shall surely find him, though I be alone, and later than my brethren. This is the place of which the Hebrew exile told me that the prophets had spoken, and here I shall behold the rising of the great light. But I must inquire about the visit of my brethren, and to what house the star directed them, and to whom they presented their tribute.”

The streets of the village seemed to be deserted, and Artaban wondered whether the men had all gone up to the hill-pastures to bring down their sheep. From the open door of a cottage he heard the sound of a woman’s voice singing softly. He entered and found a young mother hushing her baby to rest. She told him of the strangers from the far East who had appeared in the village three days ago, and how they said that a star had guided them to the place where Joseph of Nazareth was lodging with his wife and her new-born child, and how they had paid reverence to the child and given him many rich gifts.

“But the travellers disappeared again,” she continued, “as suddenly as they had come. We were afraid at the strangeness of their visit. We could not understand it. The man of Nazareth took the child and his mother, and fled away that same night secretly, and it was whispered that they were going to Egypt. Ever since, there has been a spell upon the village; something evil hangs over it. They say that the Roman soldiers are coming from Jerusalem to force a new tax from us, and the men have driven the flocks and herds far back among the hills, and hidden themselves to escape it.”

Artaban listened to her gentle, timid speech, and the child in her arms looked up in his face and smiled, stretching out its rosy hands to grasp at the winged circle of gold on his breast. His heart warmed to the touch. It seemed like a greeting of love and trust to one who had journeyed long in loneliness and perplexity, fighting with his own doubts and fears, and following a light that was veiled in clouds.

“Why might not this child have been the promised Prince?” he asked within himself, as he touched its soft cheek. “Kings have been born ere now in lowlier houses than this, and the favourite of the stars may rise even from a cottage. But it has not seemed good to the God of wisdom to reward my search so soon and so easily. The one whom I seek has gone before me; and now I must follow the King to Egypt.”

The young mother laid the baby in its cradle, and rose to minister to the wants of the strange guest that fate had brought into her house. She set food before him, the plain fare of peasants, but willingly offered, and therefore full of refreshment for the soul as well as for the body. Artaban accepted it gratefully; and, as he ate, the child fell into a happy slumber, and murmured sweetly in its dreams, and a great peace filled the room.

But suddenly there came the noise of a wild confusion in the streets of the village, a shrieking and wailing of women’s voices, a clangour of brazen trumpets and a clashing of swords, and a desperate cry: “The soldiers! the soldiers of Herod! They are killing our children.”

The young mother’s face grew white with terror. She clasped her child to her bosom, and crouched motionless in the darkest corner of the room, covering him with the folds of her robe, lest he should wake and cry.

But Artaban went quickly and stood in the doorway of the house. His broad shoulders filled the portal from side to side, and the peak of his white cap all but touched the lintel.

The soldiers came hurrying down the street with bloody hands and dripping swords. At the sight of the stranger in his imposing dress they hesitated with surprise. The captain of the band approached the threshold to thrust him aside. But Artaban did not stir. His face was as calm as though he were watching the stars, and in his eyes there burned that steady radiance before which even the half-tamed hunting leopard shrinks, and the bloodhound pauses in his leap. He held the soldier silently for an instant, and then said in a low voice:

“I am all alone in this place, and I am waiting to give this jewel to the prudent captain who will leave me in peace.”

He showed the ruby, glistening in the hollow of his hand like a great drop of blood.

The captain was amazed at the splendour of the gem. The pupils of his eyes expanded with desire, and the hard lines of greed wrinkled around his lips. He stretched out his hand and took the ruby.

“March on!” he cried to his men, “there is no child here. The house is empty.”

The clamor and the clang of arms passed down the street as the headlong fury of the chase sweeps by the secret covert where the trembling deer is hidden. Artaban re-entered the cottage. He turned his face to the east and prayed:

“God of truth, forgive my sin! I have said the thing that is not, to save the life of a child. And two of my gifts are gone. I have spent for man that which was meant for God. Shall I ever be worthy to see the face of the King?”

But the voice of the woman, weeping for joy in the shadow behind him, said very gently:

“Because thou hast saved the life of my little one, may the Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace.”


Again there was a silence in the Hall of Dreams, deeper and more mysterious than the first interval, and I understood that the years of Artaban were flowing very swiftly under the stillness, and I caught only a glimpse, here and there, of the river of his life shining through the mist that concealed its course.

I saw him moving among the throngs of men in populous Egypt, seeking everywhere for traces of the household that had come down from Bethlehem, and finding them under the spreading sycamore-trees of Heliopolis, and beneath the walls of the Roman fortress of New Babylon beside the Nile–traces so faint and dim that they vanished before him continually, as footprints on the wet river-sand glisten for a moment with moisture and then disappear.

I saw him again at the foot of the pyramids, which lifted their sharp points into the intense saffron glow of the sunset sky, changeless monuments of the perishable glory and the imperishable hope of man. He looked up into the face of the crouching Sphinx and vainly tried to read the meaning of the calm eyes and smiling mouth. Was it, indeed, the mockery of all effort and all aspiration, as Tigranes had said–the cruel jest of a riddle that has no answer, a search that never can succeed? Or was there a touch of pity and encouragement in that inscrutable smile–a promise that even the defeated should attain a victory, and the disappointed should discover a prize, and the ignorant should be made wise, and the blind should see, and the wandering should come into the haven at last?

I saw him again in an obscure house of Alexandria, taking counsel with a Hebrew rabbi. The venerable man, bending over the rolls of parchment on which the prophecies of Israel were written, read aloud the pathetic words which foretold the sufferings of the promised Messiah–the despised and rejected of men, the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

“And remember, my son,” said he, fixing his eyes upon the face of Artaban, “the King whom thou seekest is not to be found in a palace, nor among the rich and powerful. If the light of the world and the glory of Israel had been appointed to come with the greatness of earthly splendour, it must have appeared long ago. For no son of Abraham will ever again rival the power which Joseph had in the palaces of Egypt, or the magnificence of Solomon throned between the lions in Jerusalem. But the light for which the world is waiting is a new light, the glory that shall rise out of patient and triumphant suffering. And the kingdom which is to be established forever is a new kingdom, the royalty of unconquerable love.

“I do not know how this shall come to pass, nor how the turbulent kings and peoples of earth shall be brought to acknowledge the Messiah and pay homage to him. But this I know. Those who seek him will do well to look among the poor and the lowly, the sorrowful and the oppressed.”

So I saw the Other Wise Man again and again, travelling from place to place, and searching among the people of the dispersion, with whom the little family from Bethlehem might, perhaps, have found a refuge. He passed through countries where famine lay heavy upon the land, and the poor were crying for bread. He made his dwelling in plague-stricken cities where the sick were languishing in the bitter companionship of helpless misery. He visited the oppressed and the afflicted in the gloom of subterranean prisons, and the crowded wretchedness of slave-markets, and the weary toil of galley-ships. In all this populous and intricate world of anguish, though he found none to worship, he found many to help. He fed the hungry, and clothed the naked, and healed the sick, and comforted the captive; and his years passed more swiftly than the weaver’s shuttle that flashes back and forth through the loom while the web grows and the pattern is completed.

It seemed almost as if he had forgotten his quest. But once I saw him for a moment as he stood alone at sunrise, waiting at the gate of a Roman prison. He had taken from a secret resting-place in his bosom the pearl, the last of his jewels. As he looked at it, a mellower lustre, a soft and iridescent light, full of shifting gleams of azure and rose, trembled upon its surface. It seemed to have absorbed some reflection of the lost sapphire and ruby. So the secret purpose of a noble life draws into itself the memories of past joy and past sorrow. All that has helped it, all that has hindered it, is transfused by a subtle magic into its very essence. It becomes more luminous and precious the longer it is carried close to the warmth of the beating heart.

Then, at last, while I was thinking of this pearl, and of its meaning, I heard the end of the story of the Other Wise Man.


Three-and-thirty years of the life of Artaban had passed away, and he was still a pilgrim and a seeker after light. His hair, once darker than the cliffs of Zagros, was now white as the wintry snow that covered them. His eyes, that once flashed like flames of fire, were dull as embers smouldering among the ashes.

Worn and weary and ready to die, but still looking for the King, he had come for the last time to Jerusalem. He had often visited the holy city before, and had searched all its lanes and crowded bevels and black prisons without finding any trace of the family of Nazarenes who had fled from Bethlehem long ago. But now it seemed as if he must make one more effort, and something whispered in his heart that, at last, he might succeed.

It was the season of the Passover. The city was thronged with strangers. The children of Israel, scattered in far lands, had returned to the Temple for the great feast, and there had been a confusion of tongues in the narrow streets for many days.

But on this day a singular agitation was visible in the multitude. The sky was veiled with a portentous gloom. Currents of excitement seemed to flash through the crowd. A secret tide was sweeping them all one way. The clatter of sandals and the soft, thick sound of thousands of bare feet shuffling over the stones, flowed unceasingly along the street that leads to the Damascus gate.

Artaban joined a group of people from his own country, Parthian Jews who had come up to keep the Passover, and inquired of them the cause of the tumult, and where they were going.

“We are going,” they answered, “to the place called Golgotha, outside the city walls, where there is to be an execution. Have you not heard what has happened? Two famous robbers are to be crucified, and with them another, called Jesus of Nazareth, a man who has done many wonderful works among the people, so that they love him greatly. But the priests and elders have said that he must die, because he gave himself out to be the Son of God. And Pilate has sent him to the cross because he said that he was the `King of the Jews.’

How strangely these familiar words fell upon the tired heart of Artaban! They had led him for a lifetime over land and sea. And now they came to him mysteriously, like a message of despair. The King had arisen, but he had been denied and cast out. He was about to perish. Perhaps he was already dying. Could it be the same who had been born in Bethlehem thirty-three years ago, at whose birth the star had appeared in heaven, and of whose coming the prophets had spoken?

Artaban’s heart beat unsteadily with that troubled, doubtful apprehension which is the excitement of old age. But he said within himself: “The ways of God are stranger than the thoughts of men, and it may be that I shall find the King, at last, in the hands of his enemies, and shall come in time to offer my pearl for his ransom before he dies.”

So the old man followed the multitude with slow and painful steps toward the Damascus gate of the city. Just beyond the entrance of the guardhouse a troop of Macedonian soldiers came down the street, dragging a young girl with torn dress and dishevelled hair. As the Magian paused to look at her with compassion, she broke suddenly from the hands of her tormentors, and threw herself at his feet, clasping him around the knees. She had seen his white cap and the winged circle on his breast.

“Have pity on me,” she cried, “and save me, for the sake of the God of Purity! I also am a daughter of the true religion which is taught by the Magi. My father was a merchant of Parthia, but he is dead, and I am seized for his debts to be sold as a slave. Save me from worse than death!”

Artaban trembled.

It was the old conflict in his soul, which had come to him in the palm-grove of Babylon and in the cottage at Bethlehem–the conflict between the expectation of faith and the impulse of love. Twice the gift which he had consecrated to the worship of religion had been drawn to the service of humanity. This was the third trial, the ultimate probation, the final and irrevocable choice.

Was it his great opportunity, or his last temptation? He could not tell. One thing only was clear in the darkness of his mind–it was inevitable. And does not the inevitable come from God?

One thing only was sure to his divided heart–to rescue this helpless girl would be a true deed of love. And is not love the light of the soul?

He took the pearl from his bosom. Never had it seemed so luminous, so radiant, so full of tender, living lustre. He laid it in the hand of the slave.

“This is thy ransom, daughter! It is the last of my treasures which I kept for the King.”

While he spoke, the darkness of the sky deepened, and shuddering tremors ran through the earth heaving convulsively like the breast of one who struggles with mighty grief.

The walls of the houses rocked to and fro. Stones were loosened and crashed into the street. Dust clouds filled the air. The soldiers fled in terror, reeling like drunken men. But Artaban and the girl whom he had ransomed crouched helpless beneath the wall of the Praetorium.

What had he to fear? What had he to hope? He had given away the last remnant of his tribute for the King. He had parted with the last hope of finding him. The quest was over, and it had failed. But, even in that thought, accepted and embraced, there was peace. It was not resignation. It was not submission. It was something more profound and searching. He knew that all was well, because he had done the best that he could from day to day. He had been true to the light that had been given to him. He had looked for more. And if he had not found it, if a failure was all that came out of his life, doubtless that was the best that was possible. He had not seen the revelation of “life everlasting, incorruptible and immortal.” But he knew that even if he could live his earthly life over again, it could not be otherwise than it had been.

One more lingering pulsation of the earthquake quivered through the ground. A heavy tile, shaken from the roof, fell and struck the old man on the temple. He lay breathless and pale, with his gray head resting on the young girl’s shoulder, and the blood trickling from the wound. As she bent over him, fearing that he was dead, there came a voice through the twilight, very small and still, like music sounding from a distance, in which the notes are clear but the words are lost. The girl turned to see if some one had spoken from the window above them, but she saw no one.

Then the old man’s lips began to move, as if in answer, and she heard him say in the Parthian tongue:

“Not so, my Lord! For when saw I thee an hungered and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw I thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? When saw I thee sick or in prison, and came unto thee? Three-and– thirty years have I looked for thee; but I have never seen thy face, nor ministered to thee, my King.”

He ceased, and the sweet voice came again. And again the maid heard it, very faint and far away. But now it seemed as though she understood the words:

“Verily I say unto thee, Inasmuch as thou hast done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, thou hast done it unto me.”

A calm radiance of wonder and joy lighted the pale face of Artaban like the first ray of dawn, on a snowy mountain-peak. A long breath of relief exhaled gently from his lips.

His journey was ended. His treasures were accepted. The Other Wise Man had found the King.



Josh Groban's "Christmas"
Josh Groban’s “Christmas”
"Christmas Day in the Morning" by Pearl S. Buck
“Christmas Day in the Morning” by Pearl S. Buck
"Christmas Day in the Morning" by Pearl S. Buck
“Christmas Day in the Morning” by Pearl S. Buck
Pearl S. Buck
Pearl S. Buck
"The Little Match Girl" by Hans Christian Andersen
“The Little Match Girl” by Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
"Papa Panov's Special Day" by Leo Tolstoy
“Papa Panov’s Special Day” by Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy
"The Other Wise Man" by Henry Van Dyke
“The Other Wise Man” by Henry Van Dyke
Henry Van Dyke
Henry Van Dyke
"The Holy Night" by Selma Lagerlof
“The Holy Night” by Selma Lagerlof

The Holy Night

By Selma Lagerlof

There was a man who went out in the dark night to borrow live coals to kindle a fire. He went from hut to hut and knocked. “Dear friends, help me!” said he. “My wife has just given birth to a child, and I must make a fire to warm her and the little one.”

But it was way in the night, and all the people were asleep. No one replied.

The man walked and walked. At last he saw the gleam of a fire a long way off. Then he went in that direction and saw that the fire was burning in the open. A lot of sheep were were sleeping around the fire, and an old shepherd sat and watched over the flock.

When the man who wanted to borrow fire came up to the sheep, he saw that three big dogs lay asleep at the shepherd’s feet. All three awoke when the man approached and opened their great jaws, as though they wanted to bark; but not a sound was heard. The man noticed that the hair on their backs stood up and that their sharp, white teeth glistened in the firelight. They dashed toward him.

He felt that one of them bit at his leg and one at this hand and that one clung to this throat. But their jaws and teeth wouldn’t obey them, and the man didn’t suffer the least harm.

Now the man wished to go farther, to get what he needed. But the sheep lay back to back and so close to one another that he couldn’t pass them. Then the man stepped upon their backs and walked over them and up to the fire. And not one of the animals awoke or moved.

When the man had almost reached the fire,

Selma Lagerlof
Selma Lagerlof
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year- it's Christmas!
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year- it’s Christmas!

the shepherd looked up. He was a surly old man, who was unfriendly and harsh toward human beings. And when he saw the strange man coming, he seized the long, spiked staff, which he always held in his hand when he tended his flock, and threw it at him. The staff came right toward the man, but, before it reached him, it turned off to one side and whizzed past him, far out in the meadow.

Now the man came up to the shepherd and said to him: “Good man, help me, and lend me a little fire! My wife has just given birth to a child, and I must make a fire to warm her and the little one.”

The shepherd would rather have said no, but when he pondered that the dogs couldn’t hurt the man, and the sheep had not run from him, and that the staff had not wished to strike him, he was a little afraid, and dared not deny the man that which he asked.

“Take as much as you need!” he said to the man.

But then the fire was nearly burnt out. There were no logs or branches left, only a big heap of live coals, and the stranger had neither spade nor shovel wherein he could carry the red-hot coals.

When the shepherd saw this, he said again: “Take as much as you need!” And he was glad that the man wouldn’t be able to take away any coals.

But the man stopped and picked coals from the ashes with his bare hands, and laid them in his mantle. And he didn’t burn his hands when he touched them, nor did the coals scorch his mantle; but he carried them away as if they had been nuts or apples.

And when the shepherd, who was such a cruel and hardhearted man, saw all this, he began to wonder to himself. What kind of a night is this, when the dogs do not bite, the sheep are not scared, the staff does not kill, or the fire scorch? He called the stranger back and said to him: “What kind of a night is this? And how does it happen that all things show you compassion?”

Then said the man: “I cannot tell you if you yourself do not see it.” And he wished to go his way, that he might soon make a fire and warm his wife and child.

But the shepherd did not wish to lose sight of the man before he had found out what all this might portend. He got up and followed the man till they came to the place where he lived.

Then the shepherd saw the man didn’t have so much as a hut to dwell in, but that his wife and babe were lying in a mountain grotto, where there was nothing except the cold and naked stone walls.

But the shepherd thought that perhaps the poor innocent child might freeze to death there in the grotto; and, although he was a hard man, he was touched, and thought he would like to help it. And he loosened the knapsack from his shoulder, took from it a soft white sheepskin, gave it to the strange man, and said that he should let the child sleep on it.

But just as soon as he showed that he, too, could be merciful, his eyes were opened, and he saw what he had not been able to see before, and heard what he could not have heard before.

He saw that all around him stood a ring of little silver-winged angels, and each held a stringed instrument, and all sang in loud tones that tonight the Saviour was born who should redeem the world from its sins.

Then he understood how all things were so happy this night that they didn’t want to do anything wrong.

And it was not only around the shepherd that there were angels, but he saw them everywhere. They sat inside the grotto, they sat outside on the mountain, and they flew under the heavens. They came marching in great companies, and, as they passed, they paused and cast a glance at the child.

There was such jubilation and such gladness and songs and play! And all this he saw in the dark night whereas before he could not have made out anything. He was so happy because his eyes had been opened that he fell upon his knees and thanked God.

What that shepherd saw, we might also see, for the angels fly down from heaven every Christmas Eve, if we could only see them.

You must remember this, for it is as true, as true as that I see you and you see me. It is not revealed by the light of lamps or candles, and it does not depend upon sun and moon; but that which is needful is that we have such eyes as can see God’s glory.




Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend

Atlantis (docudrama)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Atlantis (also titled Atlantis: End of a World, Birth of a Legend) is a 2011 BBC docudrama which depicts a re-enactment of the events surrounding the volcanic eruption which destroyed the island of Thera, an incident believed to have inspired the legend of Atlantis. The hour-long programme is based on the work of leading scientists, archaeologists and historians, and featured Stephanie Leonidas and Reece Ritchie as members of the Bronze Age civilization. The film was narrated by Tom Conti, and made its debut on BBC One on Sunday 8 May 2011.


With voiceover from Tom Conti, the film tells the story of Yishharu, an apprentice bull-leaper who has recently returned to Thera from Crete with his new wife, Pinaruti. They discover that Thera is beset by earthquakes and volcanic activity. Over the course of the story, the volcano erupts, throwing out ash and molten lava, and destroying the island. Although the couple survive the first stages of the disaster they are separated after Yishharu is left behind when Pinaruti and other islanders escape by boat. The nearby island of Crete is then engulfed by a giant tsunami which was triggered by the eruption, and Pinaruti is washed up on the shore of a nearby island.



Reception from critics was generally negative.

Zoe Williams, writing for The Guardian said: “The heavy-handed doomsday lighting made it look like the build-up to a joke on a Pot Noodle ad. The dialogue sounded like Holby City…The more dramatic the narration tried to be, the more mundane it sounded…The truth, I think, is that someone somewhere was looking for the new Pompeii, because we’ve all heard that one, and decided this was it: the second-best ancient disaster status clung doggedly to the project.[An equally unfavourable review in The Independent suggested: “The final explosion has been calculated to have been 40,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, and it would have been a great mercy if it had occurred 50 minutes earlier in Atlantis. That would have given us the bull-jumping – which was rather excitingly filmed – and spared us the catastrophe that followed.”


Atlantis – end of a world, birth of a legend

Date: 26.02.2010

Category: BBC OneBBC TwoTV DramaFactual & Arts TVNorthern Ireland

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2010/02_february/26/atlantis.shtml

New drama and documentary coming soon to the BBC

BBC One is to tell the dramatic story of the greatest natural disaster to shake the ancient world, a disaster that triggered the downfall of a civilisation and spawned a legend.

Around 1620 BC a gigantic volcano in the Aegean Sea stirred from its 19,000-year slumber.

The eruption tore the island of Thera apart, producing massive tsunamis that flooded the nearby island of Crete, the centre of Europe’s first great civilisation – the Minoans.

This apocalyptic event, many experts now believe, provided the inspiration for the legend of Atlantis.

Based on the work of leading scientists, archaeologists and historians, this drama immerses viewers in the exotic world of the Minoans.

Starring Reece Ritchie (The Lovely Bones; Prince Of Persia ) andStephanie Leonida (Yes; MirrorMask), Atlantis is the first British TV drama to use the virtual backlot production technique of the movie 300.

Incorporating the latest CGI technology, the film brings viewers face to face with one of history’s greatest disasters – from the precursory earthquakes through the eruption sequence to the pyroclastic flows and tsunamis.

The programme is a co-production with DiscoveryBBC Worldwide,Pro Sieben (Germany) and France Deux (France).

In a companion documentary on BBC Two, historian Bettany Hughestraces the origins of the Atlantis myth and presents compelling evidence that the Thera eruption inspired Plato’s account of Atlantis.

Executive producer Ailsa Orr said: “Atlantis will immerse the viewer in a world they’ve never seen before, in a brand new, exciting way.

“The world of the Minoans and the disaster that wiped them out has been created using visual effects that have, to date, only ever been used in Hollywood movies.

“It offers our audiences a unique viewing experience – the closest they’ll ever get to one of the greatest natural disasters of all time.”

Notes to Editors

Atlantis is a BBC Northern Ireland Production.

Virtual backlot production technique of 300 means that the entire production is shot in a studio against green screen, mixing physical with virtual (CG) set builds. The technique provides unique creative control over the visual style of the film.

Michael Mosley (executive producer) executive produced many of the BBC’s high-end factual dramas, such as Pompeii – The Last Day, Supervolcano, Superstorm and Krakatoa: The Last Days.

Ailsa Orr (executive producer) is BBC Northern Ireland’s Head of Programmes and was the Producer behind Pompeii – The Last Day, Supervolcano, Hannibal and Superstorm.

Detlef Siebert (series producer) has a long track record in historical programmes. Most recently, he was the drama director on Auschwitz – The Nazis And the Final Solution, wrote and directed the drama-documentary The Somme – From Defeat To Victory, and series produced Nuremberg – Nazis On Trial.

Tony Mitchell (director) pioneered historical documentary dramas with Neanderthal and Ancient Egyptians and is one of the world’s top directors of CG-heavy drama, including Supervolcano, Primeval and Flood.



‘Lost’ City of Atlantis: Fact & Fable

By Benjamin Radford, Live Science Contributor   |   October 31, 2014 10:49pm ET

Source: http://www.livescience.com/23217-lost-city-of-atlantis.html

A 1669 map by Athanasius Kircher put Atlantis in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The map is oriented with south at the top.

Atlantis is a legendary “lost” island subcontinent often idealized as an advanced, utopian society holding wisdom that could bring world peace. The idea of Atlantis has captivated dreamers, occultists and New Agers for generations.

Unlike many legends whose origins have been lost in the mists of time, we know exactly when and where the story of Atlantis first appeared. The story was first told in two of Plato’s dialogues, the “Timaeus” and the “Critias,” written about 330 B.C.

Though today Atlantis is often thought of as a peaceful utopia, the Atlantis that Plato described in his fable was very different. In his book “Frauds, Myths and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology” (McGraw-Hill, 2013) professor of archaeology Ken Feder summarizes the story: “A technologically sophisticated but morally bankrupt evil empire — Atlantis — attempts world domination by force. The only thing standing in its way is a relatively small group of spiritually pure, morally principled and incorruptible people — the ancient Athenians. Overcoming overwhelming odds … the Athenians are able to defeat their far more powerful adversary simply through the force of their spirit. Sound familiar? Plato’s Atlantean dialogues are essentially an ancient Greek version of ‘Star Wars.'”

As propaganda, the Atlantis legend is more about the heroic Athens than a sunken civilization; if Atlantis really existed today and was found, its residents would probably try to kill and enslave us all. It’s clear that Plato made up Atlantis as a plot device for his stories because there are no other records of it anywhere else in the world. There are many extant Greek texts; surely someone else would have also mentioned, at least in passing, such a remarkable place. There is simply no evidence from any source that the legends about Atlantis existed before Plato wrote about it.

Atlantis resurfaces

For most of the past two millennia, no one thought much about Atlantis; it was just what it appeared to be: a fictional place mentioned in a fable by the ancient Greek philosopher. The idea that Atlantis was an actual lost historical location is a very recent idea, first proposed by a writer named Ignatius Donnelly in 1881. He believed that most of the important accomplishments of the ancient world — such as metallurgy, agriculture, religion and language — must have come from Atlantis. In essence, he argued that ancient cultures weren’t sophisticated enough to develop these things on their own, so they must have spread from some unknown advanced civilization. (It is similar to the widely discredited “ancient astronauts” idea, that Egyptians were not smart enough to build pyramids, and thus extraterrestrials must have helped them.)

Later writers elaborated on Donnelly’s theories, adding their own opinions and speculations. These included mystic Madame Blavatsky (in her 1888 book, “The Secret Doctrine”) and famous psychic Edgar Cayce in the 1920s and 1930s. Cayce, who put a fundamentalist Christian spin on the Atlantis story, gave psychic readings for thousands of people — many of whom, he claimed, had past lives in Atlantis. Unfortunately, none of the information was verifiable, and Cayce wrongly predicted that the continent would be discovered in 1969.

Charles Berlitz, author of many popular books on the paranormal and unexplained phenomena, researched Atlantis and wrote a 1969 book titled “The Mystery of Atlantis.” Berlitz, whose family created the famous language-learning courses, not only became convinced that Atlantis was real but also that it was the source of the Bermuda Triangle mystery, a subject he explored in his 1974 best-seller “The Bermuda Triangle.” Berlitz’s wild ideas about the Bermuda Triangle — and, by extension, Atlantis — were definitively debunked the following year by researcher Larry Kusche, author of “The Bermuda Triangle Mystery — Solved.” Thousands of books, magazines and websites are devoted to Atlantis, and it remains a popular topic in New Age circles.

The ‘lost’ continent

Despite Atlantis’ clear origin in fiction, many people over the centuries have claimed that there must be some truth behind the myths, and have speculated about where Atlantis would be found. Countless Atlantis “experts” have located the lost continent all around the world, based on the same set of facts. Candidate locations — each accompanied by their own peculiar sets of evidence and arguments — include the Atlantic Ocean, Antarctica, Bolivia, Turkey, Germany, Malta and the Caribbean.

Plato, however, is crystal clear about where his Atlantis is: “For the ocean there was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say, ‘the pillars of Heracles,’ (i.e., Hercules) there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together.” In other words, it lies in the Atlantic Ocean beyond “the pillars of Hercules” (i.e., the Strait of Gibraltar, at the mouth of the Mediterranean). Yet it has never been found in the Atlantic, or anywhere else.

No trace of Atlantis has ever been found, despite advances in oceanography and ocean floor mapping in past decades. For nearly two millennia, readers could be forgiven for suspecting that the vast depths might somehow hide a sunken city or continent. Though there remains much mystery at the bottom of the world’s oceans, it is inconceivable that the world’s oceanographers, submariners and deep-sea probes have somehow missed a landmass “larger than Libya and Asia together.”

Furthermore, plate tectonics demonstrate that it’s impossible for Atlantis to exist, as the continents have drifted and the seafloor has spread, not contracted, over time. There would simply be no place for Atlantis to sink into. As Ken Feder noted, “The geology is clear; there could have been no large land surface that then sank in the area where Plato places Atlantis. Together, modern archaeology and geology provide an unambiguous verdict: There was no Atlantic continent; there was no great civilization called Atlantis.”

Myth from misinterpretation

The only way to make a mystery out of Atlantis (and to assume that it was once a real place) is to ignore its obvious origins as a moral fable and to change the details of Plato’s story, claiming that he took license with the truth, either out of error or intent to deceive. With the addition, omission or misinterpretation of various details in Plato’s work, nearly any proposed location can be made to “fit” his description.

Science and science-fiction writer L. Sprague de Camp thoroughly discredited the Atlantis story in his 1970 book, “Lost Continents: The Atlantis Theme in History, Science, and Literature,” noting that “you cannot change all the details of Plato’s story and still claim to have Plato’s story. That is like saying the legendary King Arthur is ‘really’ Cleopatra; all you have to do is to change Cleopatra’s sex, nationality, period, temperament, moral character, and other details, and the resemblance becomes obvious.”

The Atlantis legend has been kept alive, fueled by the public’s imagination and fascination with the idea of a hidden, long-lost utopia. Yet the “lost city of Atlantis” was never lost; it is where it always was: in Plato’s books.


The Story of Atlantis

Source: http://www.activemind.com/Mysterious/topics/atlantis/story.html

Over 11,000 years ago there existed an island nation located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean populated by a noble and powerful race. The people of this land possessed great wealth thanks to the natural resources found throughout their island. The island was a center for trade and commerce. The rulers of this land held sway over the people and land of their own island and well into Europe and Africa.

This was the island of Atlantis.

Atlantis was the domain of Poseidon, god of the sea. When Poseidon fell in love with a mortal woman, Cleito, he created a dwelling at the top of a hill near the middle of the island and surrounded the dwelling with rings of water and land to protect her.

Cleito gave birth to five sets of twin boys who became the first rulers of Atlantis. The island was divided among the brothers with the eldest, Atlas, first King of Atlantis, being given control over the central hill and surrounding areas.

At the top of the central hill, a temple was built to honor Poseidon which housed a giant gold statue of Poseidon riding a chariot pulled by winged horses. It was here that the rulers of Atlantis would come to discuss laws, pass judgments, and pay tribute to Poseidon..

To facilitate travel and trade, a water canal was cut through of the rings of land and water running south for 5.5 miles (~9 km) to the sea.

The city of Atlantis sat just outside the outer ring of water and spread across the plain covering a circle of 11 miles (1.7 km). This was a densely populated area where the majority of the population lived.

Beyond the city lay a fertile plain 330 miles (530 km) long and 110 miles (190 km) wide surrounded by another canal used to collect water from the rivers and streams of the mountains. The climate was such that two harvests were possible each year. One in the winter fed by the rains and one in the summer fed by irrigation from the canal.

Surrounding the plain to the north were mountains which soared to the skies. Villages, lakes, rivers, and meadows dotted the mountains.

Besides the harvests, the island provided all kinds of herbs, fruits, and nuts. An abundance of animals, including elephants, roamed the island.

For generations the Atlanteans lived simple, virtuous lives. But slowly they began to change. Greed and power began to corrupt them. When Zeus saw the immorality of the Atlanteans he gathered the other gods to determine a suitable punishment.

Soon, in one violent surge, it was gone. The island of Atlantis, its people, and its memory were swallowed by the sea.

This is a summary of the story told by Plato around 360 BC in his dialogues Timaeus and Critias. These writings of Plato are the only specific known references to Atlantis. They have prompted controversy and debate for over two thousand years.



Source: http://www.history.com/topics/atlantis


Atlantis, a likely mythical island nation mentioned in Plato’s dialogues “Timaeus” and “Critias,” has been an object of fascination among western philosophers and historians for nearly 2,400 years. Plato (c.424–328 B.C.) describes it as a powerful and advanced kingdom that sank, in a night and a day, into the ocean around 9,600 B.C. The ancient Greeks were divided as to whether Plato’s story was to be taken as history or mere metaphor. Since the 19th century there has been renewed interest in linking Plato’s Atlantis to historical locations, most commonly the Greek island of Santorini, which was destroyed by a volcanic eruption around 1,600 B.C.


Plato (through the character Critias in his dialogues) describes Atlantis as an island larger than Libya and Asia Minor put together, located in the Atlantic just beyond the Pillars of Hercules—generally assumed to mean the Strait of Gibraltar. Its culture was advanced and it had a constitution suspiciously similar to the one outlined in Plato’s “Republic.” It was protected by the god Poseidon, who made his son Atlas king and namesake of the island and the ocean that surrounded it. As the Atlanteans grew powerful, their ethics declined. Their armies eventually conquered Africa as far as Egypt and Europe as far as Tyrrhenia (Etruscan Italy) before being driven back by an Athenian-led alliance. Later, by way of divine punishment, the island was beset by earthquakes and floods, and sank into a muddy sea.

Did You Know?

In 1679 the Swedish scientist Olaus Rudbeck published “Atland,” a four-volume work in which he attempted to prove that Sweden was the original site of Atlantis and that all human languages were descended from Swedish. Though considered authoritative in his homeland, few outside of Sweden found Rudbeck’s arguments convincing.


Plato’s Critias says he heard the story of Atlantis from his grandfather, who had heard it from the Athenian statesman Solon (300 years before Plato’s time), who had learned it from an Egyptian priest, who said it had happened 9,000 years before that. Whether or not Plato believed his own story, his intent in telling it seems to have been to boost his ideas of an ideal society, using stories of ancient victory and calamity to call to mind more recent events such as theTrojan War or Athens’ disastrous invasion of Sicily in 413 B.C. The historicity of Plato’s tale was controversial in ancient times—his follower Crantor is said to have believed it, while Strabo (writing a few centuries later) records Aristotle’s joke about Plato’s ability to conjure nations out of thin air and then destroy them.


In the first centuries of the Christian era, Aristotle was taken at his word and Atlantis was little discussed. In 1627, the English philosopher and scientist Francis Bacon published a utopian novel titled “The New Atlantis,” depicting, like Plato before him, a politically and scientifically advanced society on a previously unknown oceanic island. In 1882, former U.S. Congressman Ignatious L. Donnelly published “Atlantis: The Antediluvian World,” which touched off a frenzy of works attempting to locate and learn from a historical Atlantis. Donnelly hypothesized an advanced civilization whose immigrants had populated much of ancient Europe, Africa and the Americas, and whose heroes had inspired Greek, Hindu and Scandinavian mythology. Donnelley’s theories were popularized and elaborated by turn-of-the-20th-century theosophists and are often incorporated into contemporary New Age beliefs.

From time to time, archaeologists and historians locate evidence—a swampy, prehistoric city in coastal Spain; a suspicious undersea rock formation in the Bahamas—that might be a source of the Atlantis story. Of these, the site with the widest acceptance is the Greek island of Santorini (ancient Thera), a half-submerged caldera created by the massive second-millennium-B.C. volcanic eruption whose tsunami may have hastened the collapse of the Minoan civilization on Crete.


Source: http://www.ancient.eu/thera/

By Mark Cartwright
Published on
07 July 2012

Thera is the ancient name for both the island of Santorini in the Greek Cyclades and the name of the volcano which famously erupted on the island in the middle Bronze Age and covered Akrotiri, the most important settlement, in pumice and volcanic ash, thereby perfectly preserving the Bronze Age town.


The earliest evidence of settlement on the island at Akrotiri (named after the nearby modern village) dates back to the mid-fifth millennium BCE when a small fishing and farming community established itself on a coastal promontory. By the third millennium BCE the presence of rock-cut burial chambers, pottery and stone vases and figurines suggest a period of significant growth. The marble used for these vessels probably came from the nearby islands of Paros andNaxos and together with finds of Theran pumice stone (used as a polish abrasive) suggest the presence of inter-island trade. Wood and food goods were also probably exchanged at this time, not only throughout the Cyclades but also with the Greek mainland and Crete.

Around 2000 BCE the settlement expanded further, and a disused cemetery was filled and constructed upon – both the fill containing pottery shards from large amphorae and black/brown burnished pottery (Kastri style) finds suggest healthy Aegean trade relations were in existence. Being strategically well-placed on the copper trade route between Cyprus and Minoan Crete, Akrotiri also became an important centre for metal work, as is evidenced by finds of moulds and crucibles.




From 2000 to 1650 BCE Akrotiri became more urbanised with paved streets and extensive drainage systems. Quality pottery was mass produced and decorated with lines, plants and animals. Metallurgy and other crafts (particularly those related to the maritime industries) became more specialised. In this period there is also evidence of repair and rebuilding projects following earthquake destruction.

Akrotiri’s prosperity came to a sudden end with the massive and cataclysmic eruption of the island’s volcano. Preceded by earthquakes of a magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale which destroyed the town and created 9m high tidal waves, the eruption itself probably occurred a few days later and released an estimated 15 billion tons of magma into the atmosphere, making it the largest volcanic eruption of the last 10,000 years. The entire island was buried in a thick layer of ash, Trianda on Rhodes was destroyed, 7cm of ash covered sites in northern Crete, Anatolia suffered from the ash fall-out and even ice-cores in Greenland demonstrate the far-reaching effects of the eruption. The precise date of the event is much debated amongst scholars with wildly different estimates vigorously defended in order to support various hypotheses for other events such as the destruction of Minoan palaces or Mycenaean imperialistic ambitions in the Aegean. The most agreed upon date ranges somewhere between 1650 and 1550 BCE (with ice-core and carbon-dating studies suggesting the earlier date).

Following the eruption of Thera, the town of Akrotiri was completely covered in volcanic ash and thereby remained extremely well preserved; for example, through negative casting it has been possible to identify usually perishable items such as wooden furniture, most commonly stools and beds. However, unlike at Pompeii where life seems frozen by the disastrous eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE, at Akrotiri there were no casualties found at the site and there is evidence of some attempt to clear rubble which suggests that there was a short gap between the earthquakes and the eruption and many residents had already abandoned the town before the final cataclysm. The site remained hidden from sight until its systematic excavation from 1967 CE.

The well-planned town has squares and wide streets. Buildings were of two or three stories with flat roofs supported by a central wooden column. Architectural features in common with those in the Minoan civilization include a large hall, lustral basins, ashlar masonry, horns of consecration and the occasional lightwell.


Interestingly, almost all of the buildings excavated at Akrotiri have scenes painted on the interior walls in one or more of their rooms, illustrating that it was not only the elite who had such artwork in their homes. Fresco subjects and style were much influenced by the Minoan civilization – religious processions, goddesses, lilies, crocuses etc. and by the later Mycenaean civilization on the Greek mainland – griffins and boars’ tusks helmets. More local themes such as girls gathering saffron, seascapes and fishing activities were also popular as were exotic animals such as antelopes and monkeys. Many rooms were completely covered in painted depictions of landscape scenes attesting to a love of nature and creating a powerful visual impact which transports the viewer beyond the confines of the room.

In addition to Fresco subject matter, other finds such as Cretan and Mycenaean pottery, seal impressions using Minoan iconography, Minoan clay loom weights, Canaanite jars, the use of the Minoan Linear A script and items of Egyptian origin (e.g.: ivory and ostrich eggshells) attest to Akrotiri’s continued importance as an important trading centre with contacts throughout the Aegean.

Although the date of the event is difficult to fix, the effect of the disaster is clearly evident in physical archaeological remains but also in more intangible terms. It has been suggested that the eruption of Thera may be the origin of the Atlantis myth – the destruction of an island and with it the loss of an advanced civilization. From the point of view of Greeks in the so-called Dark Ages (from c. 1100 BCE) the Minoan/Mycenaean-influenced community on Thera may well have appeared as a golden age, a time when cultural and artistic achievements were greater than in the present time but in just a few days consigned to history by Nature’s whim.

Written by Mark Cartwright, published on 07 July 2012 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms.



“Atlantis” Eruption Twice as Big as Previously Believed, Study Suggests

Richard A. Lovett
for National Geographic News

August 23, 2006

Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060823-thera-volcano_2.html

A volcanic eruption that may have inspired the myth of Atlantis was up to twice as large as previously believed, according to an international team of scientists.

The eruption occurred 3,600 years ago on the Santorini archipelago, whose largest island is Thera. Santorini is located in the Aegean Sea about 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of modern-day Greece.

The massive explosion may have destroyed the Minoan civilization based on nearby Crete.

Writing in this week’s issue of the journal Eos,a team of Greek and U.S. researchers estimate that the volcano released 14 cubic miles (60 cubic kilometers) of magma—six times more than the infamous 1883 eruption of Krakatau (Krakatoa).

Only one eruption in human history is believed to have been larger: an 1815 explosion of Tambora, in Indonesia, which released 24 cubic miles (100 cubic kilometers) of magma.

(Related story: “‘Lost Kingdom’ Discovered on Volcanic Island in Indonesia [February 27, 2006].)

The researchers, partially funded by the National Geographic Society, obtained the new data by conducting the first seismic survey of the seabed near Santorini. (National Geographic News is part of the National Geographic Society.)

Previously, scientists had been forced to guess the size of the eruption based on ash deposits found in Turkey, Crete, Egypt, and the Black Sea.

A Hundred Feet Thick

Using techniques similar to those employed by oil companies to search for offshore deposits, the research team found a ring of volcanic deposits extending all the way around the Santorini archipelago.

The deposits averaged 100 feet (30 meters) thick and extended about 19 miles (30 kilometers) in all directions, says Haraldur Sigurdsson, a volcanologist at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, who led the research.

During the eruption, the material that formed the deposits would have plunged into the sea as pyroclastic flows—hot, fast-moving mixtures of gas, ash, and molten rock. As these hit the water, they would have kicked up massive tsunamis.

“In a very similar setting, [the milder] Krakatau produced 100-foot [30-meter] tsunami waves,” Sigurdsson said.

Other pyroclastic flows would have been comprised of pumice—a frothy rock so light it floats.

These flows, known as overwater flows, would have zoomed across the sea in scalding waves of debris, eventually hitting land many miles away.

An overwater flow from Krakatau killed more than a thousand people on the coast of Sumatra, 25 miles away from the site of the eruption.

The devastation caused by Santorini—once a single island—would have been far worse.

“We have to scale the effects of both the tsunami and overwater pyroclastic flows to the Santorini eruption,” Sigurdsson said.

His team, he adds, will soon begin studies in Crete and western Turkey looking for the remnants from such flows.

Jelle Zeilinga de Boer, an emeritus professor of geology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, notes that the strength of the eruption also depends on its duration.

“We don’t know whether this came out in one flow or a number,” he said.

There is some archaeological evidence, he adds, that people returned to the devastated area and started rebuilding, only to be blasted anew by the next round of activity.

Massive Destruction

Whether it occurred in one large blast or in a series of smaller events, the eruption produced massive devastation.

In his book Volcanoes in Human History, de Boer links the eruption to the demise of the Minoan civilization.

The seafaring Minoan culture was based on Crete, which is only a few dozen miles from Thera. At the time of the eruption, they dominated that part of the ancient Mediterranean.

When Thera erupted, the Minoans would have been clobbered by tsunamis, overwater pyroclastic flows, and fires from oil lamps knocked over by the eruption’s shockwave.

Famine, plague, and a destruction of the Minoans’ shipping economy would also have followed, de Boer says.

The eruption may also have had an enormous impact on Mediterranean mythology.

“I have no doubt that every myth is based on some event, and so is the myth of Atlantis,” the University of Rhode Island’s Sigurdsson said. “An event of this magnitude must have left its imprint.”

Sigurdsson also sees traces of Santorini in a Greek poem called the Theogony,composed by Hesiod about 800 years after the eruption.

The poem describes an epic battle between giants and the Greek gods and includes imagery of a great battle far out at sea.

Hesiod must have picked up the story as folklore handed down from survivors close enough to see the event but not close enough to know what happened, Siggurdsson says.

“He uses all the terminology one would use in describing an eruption,” he said. “The people who lived close enough to see that it was a volcano were all killed. [The rest] could only describe it in supernatural terms.”


How the Eruption of Thera Changed the World

Heather Whipps   |   February 24, 2008 07:00pm ET

Source: http://www.livescience.com/4846-eruption-thera-changed-world.html

Each Monday, this column turns a page in history to explore the discoveries, events and people that continue to affect the history being made today.

The world map might look differently had the Greek volcano Thera not erupted 3,500 years ago in what geologists believe was the single-most powerful explosive event ever witnessed.

Thera didn’t just blow a massive hole into the island of Santorini – it set the entire ancient Mediterranean onto a different course, like a train that switched tracks to head off in a brand new direction.

Minoan culture, the dominant civilization in the Mediterranean at the time, crumbled as a result of the eruption, historians believe, changing the political landscape of the ancient world indefinitely. Environmental effects were felt across the globe, as far away as China and perhaps even North America and Antarctica.

The legend of Atlantis and the story of the Biblical plagues and subsequent exodus from Egypt have also been connected to the epic catastrophe.

Dwarfed the atomic bomb

Historians and archaeologists have had trouble deciding on the year Thera erupted, with dates ranging anywhere from 1645 BC to 1500 BC. Studies of ash deposits on the ocean floor have revealed, however, that when the volcano did blow, it did so with a force dwarfing anything humans had ever seen or have seen since.

There are no first-person accounts of what happened that day, but scientists can compare it to the detailed records available from the famous eruption of Krakatoa, Indonesia, in 1883.

That fiery explosion killed upwards of 40,000 people in just a few hours, produced colossal tsunamis 40 feet tall, spewed volcanic ash across Asia, and caused a drop in global temperatures and created strangely colored sunsets for three years. The blast was heard 3,000 miles away.

Thera’s eruption was four or five times more powerful than Krakatoa, geologists believe, exploding with the energy of several hundred atomic bombs in a fraction of a second.

An absence of human remains and valuables like metal suggest that the Minoan residents of Santorini predicted the eruption and the island was evacuated, but the culture as a whole did not fare as well.

Based on the nearby island of Crete, the powerful Minoan civilization declined suddenly soon after Thera blew its top. Tsunamis spawned by the eruption would have swamped its naval fleet and coastal villages first off, historians think. A drop in temperatures caused by the massive amounts of sulphur dioxide spouted into the atmosphere then led to several years of cold, wet summers in the region, ruining harvests. The lethal combination overran every mighty Minoan stronghold in less than 50 years.

In just a short time, their peaceful, efficient bureaucracy made way for the warring city-state system of ancient Greece to dominate the Mediterranean. The Aegean would turn out to be a fundamental building block for the history of Europe, and the Minoan decline changed its early foundation completely.

Famous legends

Thera didn’t just alter the cultural make up of Europe, it has kept adventurers and treasure hunters busy too.

When the Greek philosopher Plato described the lost city of Atlantisover a thousand years after the volcanic eruption, he may have been referring to Thera folklore passed down in Greece over many generations and exaggerated like a game of broken telephone.

The eruption has also been loosely linked with the Biblical story of Moses and the exodus from Egypt. The effects of Thera’s eruption could have explained many of the plagues described in the Old Testament, including the days of darkness and polluting of the rivers, according to some theories.

"Atlantis - End of a World; Birth of a Legend" - scenes from the BBC movie.
“Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend” – scenes from the BBC movie.
"Atlantis - End of a World; Birth of a Legend" - scenes from the BBC movie.
“Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend” – scenes from the BBC movie.
"Atlantis - End of a World; Birth of a Legend" - scenes from the BBC movie.
“Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend” – scenes from the BBC movie.
The Utopian, lost city of Atlantis
The Utopian, lost city of Atlantis
Map of Thera / Santorini
Map of Thera / Santorini
Thera / Santorini
Thera / Santorini
The cataclysmic volcanic eruption that destroyed all traces of Atlantis.
The cataclysmic volcanic eruption that destroyed all traces of Atlantis.
Plato - The Greek Philosopher
Plato – The Greek Philosopher
Plato - The Greek Philosopher
Plato – The Greek Philosopher
"Atlantis - End of a World; Birth of a Legend"
“Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend”
"Atlantis - End of a World; Birth of a Legend"
“Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend”
"Atlantis - End of a World; Birth of a Legend" - scenes from the BBC movie.
“Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend” – scenes from the BBC movie.
"Atlantis - End of a World; Birth of a Legend" - scenes from the BBC movie.
“Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend” – scenes from the BBC movie.
"Atlantis - End of a World; Birth of a Legend" - scenes from the BBC movie.
“Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend” – scenes from the BBC movie.
"Atlantis - End of a World; Birth of a Legend" - scenes from the BBC movie.
“Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend” – scenes from the BBC movie.
"Atlantis - End of a World; Birth of a Legend" - scenes from the BBC movie.
“Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend” – scenes from the BBC movie.
"Atlantis - End of a World; Birth of a Legend" - scenes from the BBC movie.
“Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend” – scenes from the BBC movie.
"Atlantis - End of a World; Birth of a Legend" - scenes from the BBC movie.
“Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend” – scenes from the BBC movie.
"Atlantis - End of a World; Birth of a Legend" - scenes from the BBC movie.
“Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend” – scenes from the BBC movie.
"Atlantis - End of a World; Birth of a Legend" - scenes from the BBC movie.
“Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend” – scenes from the BBC movie.
"Atlantis - End of a World; Birth of a Legend" - scenes from the BBC movie.
“Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend” – scenes from the BBC movie.
"Atlantis - End of a World; Birth of a Legend" - scenes from the BBC movie.
“Atlantis – End of a World; Birth of a Legend” – scenes from the BBC movie.

A Horse with No Name

“A Horse with No Name” by America


On the first part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings
The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz
And the sky with no clouds
The heat was hot and the ground was dry
But the air was full of sound
I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
La, la
After two days in the desert sun
My skin began to turn red
After three days in the desert fun
I was looking at a river bed
And the story it told of a river that flowed
Made me sad to think it was dead
You see I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
La, la
After nine days I let the horse run free
‘Cause the desert had turned to sea
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
there was sand and hills and rings
The ocean is a desert with it’s life underground
And a perfect disguise above
Under the cities lies a heart made of ground
But the humans will give no love
You see I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
La, la


A Horse with No Name

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Horse with No Name” is a song written by Dewey Bunnell, and originally recorded by the band America. It was the band’s first and most successful single, released in late 1971 in Europe and early 1972 in the US, and topping the charts in several countries. It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Due to the song’s resemblance to the work of Neil Young from the same time period, it is occasionally mistaken for being written and sung by Young.


America’s self-titled debut album was released initially in Europe with only moderate success and without the song “A Horse with No Name.” Trying to find a song that would be popular in the United States and Europe, “A Horse with No Name” was originally called “Desert Song” and was written while the band was staying at the home studio of Arthur Brown, in PuddletownDorset. The first two demos were recorded there, by Jeff Dexter and Dennis Elliott, and was intended to capture the feel of the hot, dry desert that had been depicted at the studio from a Salvador Dalí painting, and the strange horse that had ridden out of an M.C. Escher picture. Writer Dewey Bunnell also says he remembered his childhood travels through the Arizona and New Mexico desert when his family lived at Vandenberg Air Force Base. “A Horse with No Name” was recorded at Trident Studios in Soho in London and released as the featured song on a three-track single in the UK, Ireland, France, Italy and the Netherlands in late 1971. On the release “A Horse with No Name” shared the A-side with “Everyone I Meet Is from California”; “Sandman” featured on the B-side. However, its early-1972 two-track US release did not include “Sandman”, with “Everyone I Meet Is from California” appearing on the B-side.


Despite the song being banned by some U.S. radio stations (including one in Kansas City, Missouri) because of supposed drug references to heroin use, the song ascended to number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and the album quickly reachedplatinum status. The song charted earlier in the Netherlands (reaching number 11) and the UK (reaching number 3) than it did in the United States. The interpretation of the song as a drug reference comes from the fact that the word “horse” is a common slang term for heroin.

The song’s resemblance to some of Neil Young‘s work aroused some controversy. “I know that virtually everyone, on first hearing, assumed it was Neil”, Bunnell says. “I never fully shied away from the fact that I was inspired by him. I think it’s in the structure of the song as much as in the tone of his voice. It did hurt a little, because we got some pretty bad backlash. I’ve always attributed it more to people protecting their own heroes more than attacking me.” By coincidence, it was “A Horse with No Name” that replaced Young’s “Heart of Gold” at the #1 spot on the U.S. pop chart.

The song has also been ridiculed for its banal, oddly phrased lyrics, including “The heat was hot”; “There were plants, and birds, and rocks, and things”; and “‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain.” Penn Jillette asked the band about their lyric, “there were plants, and birds, and rocks, and things” after a show in Atlantic City, where America opened for Penn & Teller. According to Jillette, their explanation for the lyric was that they were intoxicated with cannabis while writing it. In a 2012 interview, Beckley disputed Jillette’s story, saying, “I don’t think Dew was stoned.”


HORSE – InternetSlang.com
The slang word / acronym / abbreviation “HORSE”

What is HORSE?

HORSE is “Heroin”

HORSE Definition / HORSE Means

The definition of HORSE is “Heroin”

The Meaning of HORSE

HORSE means “Heroin”



Revised October 2014

SOURCE: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin

Heroin is an opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin.”

In 2011, 4.2 million Americans aged 12 or older (or 1.6 percent) had used heroin at least once in their lives. It is estimated that about 23 percent of individuals who use heroin become dependent on it.

How Is Heroin Used?

Heroin can be injected, inhaled by snorting or sniffing, or smoked. All three routes of administration deliver the drug to the brain very rapidly, which contributes to its health risks and to its high risk for addiction, which is a chronic relapsing disease caused by changes in the brain and characterized by uncontrollable drug-seeking no matter the consequences.

How Does Heroin Affect the Brain?

When it enters the brain, heroin is converted back into morphine, which binds to molecules on cells known as opioid receptors. These receptors are located in many areas of the brain (and in the body), especially those involved in the perception of pain and in reward. Opioid receptors are also located in the brain stem, which controls automatic processes critical for life, such as blood pressure, arousal, and respiration.

Heroin overdoses frequently involve a suppression of breathing. This can affect the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, a condition called hypoxia. Hypoxia can have short- and long-term psychological and neurological effects, including coma and permanent brain damage.

After an intravenous injection of heroin, users report feeling a surge of euphoria (“rush”) accompanied by dry mouth, a warm flushing of the skin, heaviness of the extremities, and clouded mental functioning. Following this initial euphoria, the user goes “on the nod,” an alternately wakeful and drowsy state. Users who do not inject the drug may not experience the initial rush, but other effects are the same.

Researchers are also investigating the long-term effects of opioid addiction on the brain. One result is tolerance, in which more of the drug is needed to achieve the same intensity of effect. Another result is dependence, characterized by the need to continue use of the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Studies have shown some deterioration of the brain’s white matter due to heroin use, which may affect decision-making abilities, the ability to regulate behavior, and responses to stressful situations.

What Are the Other Health Effects of Heroin?

Heroin abuse is associated with a number of serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, and infectious diseases like hepatitis and HIV (see box, “Injection Drug Use and HIV and HCV Infection”). Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, constipation and gastrointestinal cramping, and liver or kidney disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health of the user as well as from heroin’s effects on breathing.

In addition to the effects of the drug itself, street heroin often contains toxic contaminants or additives that can clog blood vessels leading to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain, causing permanent damage to vital organs.

Chronic use of heroin leads to physical dependence, a state in which the body has adapted to the presence of the drug. If a dependent user reduces or stops use of the drug abruptly, he or she may experience severe symptoms of withdrawal. These symptoms—which can begin as early as a few hours after the last drug administration—can include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps (“cold turkey”), and kicking movements (“kicking the habit”). Users also experience severe craving for the drug during withdrawal, which can precipitate continued abuse and/or relapse.

Besides the risk of spontaneous abortion, heroin abuse during pregnancy (together with related factors like poor nutrition and inadequate prenatal care) is also associated with low birth weight, an important risk factor for later delays in development. Additionally, if the mother is regularly abusing the drug, the infant may be born physically dependent on heroin and could suffer from neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a drug withdrawal syndrome in infants that requires hospitalization. According to a recent study, treating opioid-addicted pregnant mothers with buprenorphine (a medication for opioid dependence) can reduce NAS symptoms in babies and shorten their hospital stays.

Prescription Opioid Abuse: A First Step to Heroin Use?

Prescription opioid pain medications such as Oxycontin and Vicodin can have effects similar to heroin when taken in doses or in ways other than prescribed, and they are currently among the most commonly abused drugs in the United States. Research now suggests that abuse of these drugs may open the door to heroin abuse.

Nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed in three recent studies reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin. Some individuals reported taking up heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids.

Many of these young people also report that crushing prescription opioid pills to snort or inject the powder provided their initiation into these methods of drug administration.

Injection Drug Use and HIV and HCV Infection

People who inject drugs are at high risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis C (HCV). This is because these diseases are transmitted through contact with blood or other bodily fluids, which can occur when sharing needles or other injection drug use equipment. (HCV is the most common blood-borne infection in the Unites States.) HIV (and less often HCV) can also be contracted during unprotected sex, which drug use makes more likely.

Because of the strong link between drug abuse and the spread of infectious disease, drug abuse treatment can be an effective way to prevent the latter. People in drug abuse treatment, which often includes risk reduction counseling, stop or reduce their drug use and related risk behaviors, including risky injection practices and unsafe sex.

Treating Heroin Addiction

A range of treatments including behavioral therapies and medications are effective at helping patients stop using heroin and return to stable and productive lives.

Medications include buprenorphine and methadone, both of which work by binding to the same cell receptors as heroin but more weakly, helping a person wean off the drug and reduce craving; and naltrexone, which blocks opioid receptors and prevents the drug from having an effect (patients sometimes have trouble complying with naltrexone treatment, but a new long-acting version given by injection in a doctor’s office may increase this treatment’s efficacy). Another drug called naloxone is sometimes used as an emergency treatment to counteract the effects of heroin overdose.

For more information, see NIDA’s handbook, “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment.”


“A Horse With No Name” -What Does That Mean?

Miss Cellania • Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 5:00 AM

Source: http://www.neatorama.com/2013/10/03/A-Horse-With-No-Name-What-Does-That-Mean/

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen.

Rock music is one of the great art forms of the twentieth century. But a sideline for those of us who love rock music, like the many movie fans who try to figure out or “interpret’ what the filmmakers were trying to say in their movies, is trying to figure out what the songwriters were trying to say in their songs.
In this activity, no greater challenge comes than America’s classic tune “A Horse with No Name.” A pleasant, catchy, albeit haunting song, it was America’s very first single and was also to be America’s biggest hit. A number one chart topper in several countries, the song was certified gold in 1972. It remains America’s most identified song, almost the group’s “theme song.”
But what is “A Horse with No Name” about, exactly? What does it mean?

The folk/rock group America originally consisted of three members: Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell, and Dan Peek. The band was formed in England and the members were sons of U.S. servicemen. The group found success early, when the members were barely out of their teens.

America’s first album, redundantly titled America, was released initially in Europe in 1971 with only moderate success. This album did not contain “A Horse With No Name.”
Trying to find a song that would be popular in both America and Europe, they came up with a song about the desert. “A Horse with No Name” was originally titled just that: “Desert Song.” The song was written while the band was staying at the home studio of Arthur Brown in Puddletown, Dorset. The first two demos of the song were recorded there, by Jeff Dexter and Denis Elliot.
According to the song’s writer, Dewey Bunnell, the song was composed to capture the hot, dry feeling of the desert (he was just 19 when he wrote it). Bunnell said he remembered his childhood travels through the Arizona and New Mexico desert when his family lived at Vandenburg Air Force base.
He said he was trying to capture the dry feeling of the desert that had been pictured in a Salvador Dali painting in Arthur Brown’s studio/home. Bunnell said he was also writing about “the strange horse” that was ridden in an M.C. Escher picture.

Bunnell added to the story of the song’s genesis as recently as 2008, saying, “It was a travelogue in my mind, an environmental song to some degree. We were part of the hippie era to save the earth, and I’ve always been attracted to nature and the outdoors.”
Originally, the band thought “A Horse with No Name” was too corny and it actually took some convincing to get them to play it. The song had its public debut at the Harrogate Music Festival to a great audience response. After several performances and a TV show, “Desert Song” was officially retitled “A Horse With No Name.” It was released in March of 1972, became a #1 hit, and stayed at the top of the charts for three weeks. The debut album America was re-released to include the song and quickly went platinum.
The song was actually banned on some U.S. radio stations because of its title and lyrics. “Horse” is a common street term for heroin. Dewey Bunnell and the other members of America completely denied any drug reference connected with the lyrics.
The popular song was also ridiculed by several critics for its banal, oddly-phrased lyrics, i.e. “The heat was hot,” “There were plants and birds and rocks and things,” “‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain,” etc.

The song was also knocked for being a Neil Young ripoff. Many actually thought it was a Neil Young song. Bunnell understood this criticism and never tried to hide the fact that he greatly admired Neil Young. “I never shied away from the fact that it was inspired by him,” said Bunnell. Ironically, “A Horse With No Name” replaced Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” at #1 on the charts.
Randy Newman once said the song was “about a kid who thinks he’s taken acid.”
Comedian Richard Jeni joked, “You’re in the desert, you got nothing else to do. Name the freakin’ horse!”

Like it or not, “A Horse with No Name” remains a rock classic around the world. Tune in to any “’70s weekend” on an oldies radio station and you will most certainly hear its strange, haunting lyrics.



Interpretation of “A Horse with No Name” – as understood by this author

The way I see it, the lyrics of this song have little or nothing to do with heroin addiction.

It seems to be a very apt description of life, in contemporary times, in any thriving metropolis of the world, be it New York, Tokyo, Rio, Paris or Mumbai. Life in any metropolis of the world is suitably described by the pop music group, ‘America’ as being akin to life in the “desert.” The scenario in any big city of our times is one of bleakness, starkness and impersonality. A city has a lot of attractions such as luxury hotels, malls, fancy supermarkets, multiplexes, etc. A “horse” is a common farm animal that is seen quite often in cities too – it is a mundane and ordinary sight to see a horse at the head of a cart or a carriage, or to see people (mostly children) queued up and waiting for their turn to take a horse-ride in the vicinity of a park or of amusement-grounds, such as a ‘band-stand.’ There are so many millions of people in big cities that they have undoubtedly become as common and ordinary a sight as that of a horse or even a dog – these people tend to be so engrossed in their own lives and problems; they are so overcome by daily stresses that they have no time – nor are they bothered – to find out even who their immediate neighbours are. For them, these neighbours have no name or a unique identity. People who lead their lives within any megalopolis have, a long time ago, lost all traces of their own unique personalities in the larger picture of life in a big city – in that sense, a person has become as banal and common-place as a “horse with no name.”

In another context, an implied meaning of the song likely lies in the narration of a story of a man who finds himself lost in the desert. After as short a period as 9 days, the man is in a daze of dehydration from the scorching, punishing heat of the desert. The desert, being such a stark and unforgiving landscape, made this man lose all sense of an identity. Within 9 days, it seems highly likely that he died – all alone and forgotten – just like a horse who has lost its way in the merciless clutches of the impersonal desert. It still refers to the larger picture of people who lose their way in the labyrinth of life in a big city where loneliness, callousness, indifference and impersonality are the order of the day. Rather than try to survive the fall into an abyss (life in a megalopolis), or rather than trying to look for a way out of a complicated maze (a complicated situation or problem), many a youth, in today’s world, have turned to drug addiction – as a way of seeking a modicum of peace, comfort and solace in a world that no longer cares.

"A Horse with No Name" by America
“A Horse with No Name” by America
"A Horse with No Name" by America
“A Horse with No Name” by America
"A Horse with No Name" by America
“A Horse with No Name” by America
Drug Addiction
Drug Addiction
Heroin addiction
Heroin addiction
"I've been through the desert on a horse with no name."
“I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name.”
The Desert
The Desert
The Desert
The Desert
The Scorching Heat of the desert.
The Scorching Heat of the desert.
A man lost in a desert
A man lost in a desert


"The Impersonal Life
“The Impersonal Life
A horse-drawn carriage in the city.
A horse-drawn carriage in the city.
Equitrekking in New York City.
Equitrekking in New York City.
Horse-riding in the city.
Horse-riding in the city.
The impersonal life in a metropolis.
The impersonal life in a metropolis.
A Metropolis
A Metropolis
A Metropolis at night
A Metropolis at night
Tokyo - a thriving metropolis.
Tokyo – a thriving metropolis.

The Temple and the Mosque

Munshi Premchand

(Source: http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/munshi-premchand-101.php)

Dhanpat Rai, better known by his pseudonym Munshi Premchand, was a famous Indian author and poet who ushered into the Modern Hindi and Urdu literature with his writings. His first novella, Asrar e Ma’abid was first published in Awaz-e-Khalq, an Urdu Weekly, after which he became associated with an Urdu magazine Zamana, writing columns on national and international events. The writer is mainly recognized for his creations that always contained a social message and raised voice against the social evils pertaining in the Indian society. His creations brought the era of realism in the Indian literature at that time, when only fantasy fictions and religious writings were dominating it. Premchand embodied the