The Trike Lanterns 

The Selkie lantern by Dee Moxon, reflects the Selkie Myths which have been passed down the generations through oral traditions and are found in various forms from arctic Norway, Iceland, Scotland and Ireland.

 

Probably based on ancient tales of both male and female hunters from Iceland who hunted in boats of seal skins which became heavy and sat low in the water. Selkie myths may be the basis and explanations for mermaid stories.

 

The Selkie is a seal in Celtic mythology and parallels mermaid mythology. 

 

Selkies can be male or female.

 

Myth has it, female selkies can take human form once a month, removing their seal skins under a full moon to dance together on a beach. 

 

Selkie lantern by Dee Moxon

 

My version of The Selkie Story

One bright full moon night, a fisherman spies a group of women dancing together under a full moon. They had all left seal skin coats on a rock behind them. The fisherman sees the coats and takes one. As he lifts the coat he trips on some driftwood on the shore, it makes a sound and all the women grab their coats turn back into seals and swim out to sea. 

 

The seal-woman who owns the coat held by the fisherman cannot return to her ocean world with her sisters / friends. In order to retrieve her Selkie coat, the seal woman agrees to stay with the man for 7 years. The fisherman promises he will give back her skin in seven years so she can re-join her former life at sea. In that time, she has a child who makes her very happy but her inner strength is weakening – she is growing thinner, drier and yearns for the sea.

 

After 7 years, she asks the fisherman where her skin is, and he claims to not know.  The boy child worries about his mother who is becoming weak and she shares her story of the sea with him. To help his mother, the child seeks out a Wise Woman, who, tells him he cannot help the seal-woman-turned-mother. “Your mother must help herself” the wise one tells the child.

 

The seal-woman tired and unhappy goes to the water’s edge with her son and sings her lost seal sisters back to the shore and seeing she is unhappy, they find a skin for her. At once you could tell she wanted to stay with her child, she wanted to, but something called her and its voice was strong. 

The woman puts on the seal skin and returns to her home with her sisters. The Selkie was very sad to leave her child and she vows to return to the rocky beach in human form to reconnect with him each full moon...

The Coyote that spills the stars Lantern by Steph Reeves

 

The Coyote that spills the stars is a Native American folktale.  

 

Spirit of Coyote

The comic coyote, teacher of wisdom with a sense of humor. A typically fiendish joker.and trickster of grand proportion. On the whole, a mischief maker. Most definitely, considered one of life’s disruptions. If one crosses your path of the coyote, listen, Because the coyote teachings are by no means simple. You in all probability have to loosen up, not take issues so seriously.

 

The coyote offers Balance wisdom, playfulness, and humor. Keep things simple. Be open to possibilities. The coyote is a crafty, cunning spirit full of tricks. He will Undoubtedly mess around with your head.

 

The coyote animal spirit is cunning and intelligent. he has the ability to laugh at himself. Intelligent, playful, and a shape-shifter. He tricks the learner right into a lesson to be learned. He teaches you to see and to think that things are not as they appear. When the lesson is finished, knowledge and wisdom is gained. And so it’s written of Coyote.

 

Here is the story. 

 

In the beginning days when all came up from the underworld a huge gathering was planned, uniting all the four-leggeds and flyers. At this meeting Our Mother selected a human being to take a jar of stars, hang them in the sky and name them for all to enjoy.

Coyote was very interested in what was going on, but being a wiggler and trickster then as he is known, Our Mother turned to him and said "Do not make mischief here!"

 

The human being was busy, placing the stars in ordered patterns upon the sky...Seven Stars here and the three Pot Rest Stars there. When he had placed the beautiful Morning Star he stood back and admired his work, as did all the rest.

 

While everyone including Our Mother was gathered to gaze at the luminous Morning Star, Coyote tiptoed over to the jar of stars to see for himself what the man was doing. As he lifted the jar's lid just a little, the stars rose to the occasion, pushed the lid away and raced for the sky.

This is the reason so many twinkle without order or pattern, and why so many are not named.

 

Our Mother was angry with Coyote, and said that because of his mischief with the stars Coyote would forever be a wanderer and bring trouble with him wherever he may go. That some days he could be happy and abundant, but other days he would see unhappiness and hunger.

Anansi Lantern by Ruth Ramsey

 

Anansi is the infamous West African folklore character who often takes the shape of a  spider. He is renowned for using his cunning, intelligence and trickiness to triumph over larger creatures and is considered to be the spirit of all knowledge of stories.

 

His tales, which are traceable to a time before the transatlantic Slave Trade, are traditionally passed on orally by elders to pass down knowledge and moral messages to the younger generation. 

 

He is one of the most important characters of West African, African American and Caribbean folklore and remains a relevant and positive part of diverse cultural identity within the UK Black African Caribbean British community. 

Story - Anansi Does the Impossible 

 

Long ago, when the earth was set down and the sky was lifted up, all the folktales were owned by Nyame the Sky God. Anansi, the cunning little spider, was determined to buy them back as he feels it not fair that tales that storytellers have told for generations, all belong to Nyame.

 

 

Anansi shared his idea with his clever wife, 

Aso who initially thinks he’s not powerful 

enough to bargain with Nyame.   

The next day Anansi sets of to see Nyame and puffing out his little chest Anansi says, “I have come to buy your stories”. In a loud thunderous voice, Nyame asks him “what makes you think you can afford to buy them, Kings have tried and failed and you’re not even a man”.  

Anansi ask him what he would want in exchange for the stories and Nyame says the Price is three impossible tasks. Bring me Python, a real fairy and forty-seven stinging hornets. Anansi agrees and goes home to his wife to discuss how they can complete the tasks.

Once Anansi and Aso concoct a plan and set off to the forest to fulfil the tasks. They sit on a log by the stream Knowing Python would come pass very soon to get a drink. As soon as they spot him, they pretend to argue as to whether Python or the log is longer. Python want to help settle the argument so he offers to help by laying down flat on the log so they can see who’s longer. Whilst he’s led down, they tie him to the log trapping him and completing the first task.  

Next Anansi and Aso set off to capture a fairy. To do this they carve a wooden fairy and covers it in gum and places in its hand a bowl of mashed bananas which fairies love. They place it next to a tree where the fairies like to hang out and play. When the fairies come out to play, one of them touches the gum covered wooden fairy and gets stuck to her. As much as she wriggles and the other fairies try to free her, she is well and truly stuck and Anansi has completed his second task. 

For the final task Anansi has to catch 47 hornets. Again, he and Aso come up with a cunning plan and to carry it out they fill a bottle full of water, get an empty lidded container and set off to find a hornet’s nest.  When they find a nest hanging in a tree, without making any noise to disturb the hornets, Anansi climbs the tree with the bottle of water and empty container. When Aso gives him the signal, Anansi pours the water down onto the hornets’ nest and they all come flying out to avoid drowning. As they do, Anansi says in a loud voice, “my brothers, do you want a better shelter?” He then takes the lid of the empty container and holds up for them to see. He says “you will be dry and say in here. The hornets buzz around it then one by one they flew into the container. When Anansi had counted forty-seven inside he popped the lid in and the hornets were captured. 

He took Python, the fairy and the forty-seven hornets to Nyame who was shocked that a creature as small as Anansi had managed to capture them and fulfil the tasks. As promised Nyame gave Anansi the stories for which he was truly grateful.  

That night the people of the village gather inside a circle of fire for storytelling and Anansi and Aso share how they managed to buy the Sky God stories. All the villagers rejoice and from that day to this, the folk stories of West Africa have been called Anansi’s Tales. 

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