Sunday, October 31, 2010

Instructions by Neil Gaiman

from:  Deviant Art - 'Dragonfly' by Akaeya-Lovely

By Neil Gaiman

Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never saw before.
Say "please" before you open the latch,
go through,
walk down the path.
A red metal imp hangs from the
green-painted front door,
as a knocker,
do not touch it; it will bite your fingers.
Walk through the house. Take nothing. Eat nothing.
if any creature tells you that it hungers,
feed it.
If it tells you that it is dirty,
clean it.
If it cries to you that it hurts,
if you can, ease its pain.

From the back garden you will be able to see the wild wood.
The deep well you walk past leads to Winter's realm;
there is another land at the bottom of it.
If you turn around here,
you can walk back, safely;
you will lose no face. I will think no less of you.

Once through the garden you will be in the wood.
The trees are old. Eyes peer from the undergrowth.
Beneath a twisted oak sits an old woman.
She may ask for something;
give it to her. She
will point the way to the castle. Inside it
are three princesses.
Do not trust the youngest. Walk on.
In the clearing beyond the castle the
twelve months sit about a fire, warming their feet, exchanging tales.
They may do favors for you, if you are polite.
You may pick strawberries in December's frost.

Trust the wolves, but do not tell them
where you are going.
The river can be crossed by the ferry.
The ferryman will take you.
(The answer to his question is this:
If he hands the oar to his passenger, he
will be free to leave the boat.
Only tell him this from a safe distance.)

If an eagle gives you a feather, keep it safe.
Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; that
witches are often betrayed by their appetites;
dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always;
hearts can be well-hidden,
and you betray them with your tongue.

Do not be jealous of your sister.
Know that diamonds and roses
are as uncomfortable when they tumble
from one's lips as toads and frogs:
colder, too, and sharper, and they cut.

Remember your name.
Do not lose hope — what you seek will be found.
Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have
helped to help you in their turn.
Trust dreams.
Trust your heart, and trust your story.

When you come back, return the way you came.
Favors will be returned, debts will be repaid.
Do not forget your manners.
Do not look back.
Ride the wise eagle (you shall not fall).
Ride the silver fish (you will not drown).
Ride the grey wolf (hold tightly to his fur).

There is a worm at the heart of the tower;
that is why it will not stand.

When you reach the little house, the
place your journey started,
you will recognize it, although it will seem
much smaller than you remember.
Walk up the path, and through the garden
gate you never saw before but once.
And then go home. Or make a home.


Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite writers of all time.  If you haven't read his Sandman graphic novels, then you must put them on your reading list.  I posted this once before, but today, on Halloween, it seemed to want to be here.  And so it is.




At first cock-crow the ghosts must go
Back to their quiet graves below.  ~Theodosia Garrison


'Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world.  ~William Shakespeare



Linda S. Socha said...

Lovely Marion.....Hope you have
a joy filled evening. Good to visit your blog. I am working my way back to the blog community!

Kelly said...

I remember this and I really like it! That's a wonderful photo you've included with it, too. So you!!!

Hope you're having a Happy Halloween!

Two Tigers said...

I love Neil Gaiman! In honor of Halloween, I just read his "Graveyard Book," partly because I have read nearly everything else he's written! Thanks for this post, M.

Wine and Words said...

Mmmm, I like this. I like "trust your story". Our stories are etched with diamonds on toads. There is brilliance and blood and scratch. Hard to come by. Trust indeed.

Much love

Phoenix said...

Gorgeous. I love Neil Gaiman so much (but then, you knew that!)

I think I'm gonna dress up as Death again, next year at Comic-Con. ;)

Rick said...

I'd love to know her thoughts and mood on the day she penned this.
a fantastical journey full of dangers but if one adheres, just a fantastical journey with reward.
quite lovely

Terresa said...

I love Gaiman, too. His Stardust ranks among my fave books of all time. Hope you had a Happy Halloween, our left over candy is all tucked away in the freezer for a rainy, sugarcrave distant day. :)