Sunday, December 25, 2005

No camel

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Greetings from Deadwood Hall & The Chamber of Horrors

I've traveled far and wide just to join my friends here in the Caravanserai.

Happy Holidays to You All
Anita Marie

happy birthday Karen

Dear Karen,
a very happy birthday for yesterday and I hope you will go on to do great things in your second half

Happy Holidays!

Xmas tree.jpg

Friday, December 23, 2005

To Market - by Lois

To market to market
to meet one and all
Fran & Heather and Luna and all
Home again home again
I think not just yet
I'm having a ball ,as is my pet
Now Anita shows faces that frighten the dead
I can't resist looking even in dread
Now Karens deep thoughts
Make me think of times past
Of dreaming and meanings so dearly said
But now on the breeze
that blows from the bay
I say to myself
What a journey ! I'll stay!
If Faucon keeps writing
There's a song in my heart
For the women & men who's names
are not all forgotten and are such a big part
I don't really mind
I rarely feel blue
I'll close this I call rhyme
for its cuppa tea time.

Loving thoughts to one and all.
(For Luna) "market to market"
Lois (Muse of the Sea)

Ancient Thought for Christmas

when you find a man whose simple smile
casts light into the shadows
of your soul's loneliness …
follow him

the scrolls of Eskiyalı

Here comes the birthday girl

Many thanks to all of you who have gathered
for my birthday, offering wishes and adventure. I am sorry I have not been
a regular traveler on this caravan--sometimes my life gets a bit crazy--but today is my birthday, and as you can see, I am dressed for this occasion.
I am ready to dance, to ride the magic carpet,
and to drink deeply of life!
I am proud to call you friends, and am
making serious resolutions for the new year
to travel along once again.
But now, I must go--I see the tall dark stranger
approaches once again for a dance!
PS: Heather, a magnificent job on the advent calendar.
You deserve a long rest!

Heather Puts Her Feet Up

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We have a problem travellers. Heather is sitting with a big straw in a very long drink, looking at the desert sands and tells me it is time to put our feet up. Bless her socks! I think I will leave her be for awhile. The calendar is all finished and she does need to enjoy it too.
yours Sibyl Enchanteur

Thursday, December 22, 2005

To market, to market...

To market, to market, to buy a fat pig,
Home again, home again, dancing a jig;
To market, to market, to buy a fat hog;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog;
To market, to market, to buy a plum bun,
Home again, home again, market is done.

By Mother Goose

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Get Your Magic Carpet's Here

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The Marketplace near Sheba's old palace is the perfect place to acquire a magic carpet. Do take the time to have a magic carpet ride. You can have the carpet take you wherever your heart desires.

le Enchanteur Heading to the Pavilion

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le Enchanteur is heading to the Pavilion for Karen's birthday celebrations.

At the Pavilion...

The gypsy camp has been transported to the Pavilion of Earthly Delights - lanterns are strung threough the trees, fire eaters and tighrope walkers thrill the onlookers on the green sward and in the Pavilion, Prince Adiguzel and his new Princess sit under a silken canopy with their guest of honour, Karen. As she shares a glass of champagne with them, a tall dark handsome man makes his way through the throng.

No, it is not the Sheik of Araby - it is Lavengro, Gypsy Chief, arriving by flying carpet to claim as his right the first dance with our special guest. He whisks her out onto the dance floor and the band strikes up a lively tune. Everyone stops to watch the couple on the dance floor.
Later in the evening we gather on the green sward outside the Pavilion to watch the fireworks and the gypsies put on a show of dancing and tumbling, a spectacular climax to a wonderful evening filled with light and love.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Not Dancing

It is a feature or necessity of a Bedouin tent that the protecting outer flaps and layers are separate from those that enclose the inner chambers. This allows me to stand and watch the dancing and trysting maneuvers and ploys of the Sheik and harem wantabe's.

I guess I have always been on the outside looking in at these things. In high school I was sorta gangly and flat-chested, but still could have gone to more proms had I not been trained that I could not refuse a date request, even from George, except by not going at all. In college my growth reversed itself and I then received attention from those who didn't know my name before. I reluctantly went to a nightclub where a former football hero approached and said he would like to get to know me better. He was looking at my chest at the time, and I shocked my friends by saying, "Well I am up here, not down there. Try again when you are a little taller."

It was sometimes a problem protecting the girls from men. Sadly, there are those who feel that any female who is unattractive and even deformed should be so appreciative of attention that they will put up with abusive attention. 'quoise could have held here own at any performance before a Sheik or king, but was protected by here innocence and sharp elbows and instinct. She was once arrested for breaking a man's finger that was in her bra at the time. The judge let her off because she is 'retarded' and didn't know any better.

I divorced my former "mister wonderful" when it turned out he had lied about wanting children. Turned out that he had several un-named children already. Obviously the woman's fault. He saw no inconsistency in not want "legal" children, while feeling free knock up anyone for free. Maybe if I had gone to more dances I would have known better. But if I did choose to seek another man in my life I wouldn't use a dance card. Does anyone know of a spiritual and moral credit app anywhere?


Sunday, December 18, 2005


Oh for the romance,the romance of the dance.
I dream it to be so ,once again
The closness of two
who glide and sweep and sway on
the terrain of their making.
Tis that youth has passed me by
is no reason to forget!!!!!
The many times I danced
on that ballroom floor by the sea in St Kilda.
The large dark stained doors,brass handles,old but beautiful
open to a breath of air.
Young ones ,passions and hot breaths
needed cooling
Young maidens in frocks of organza and lace
No plunging necklines
but full bosoms to tempt amid the folds and gatherings of
soft materials
The orchestra of 20 on centre stage
swirling couples circled around and around
She sang jazz and old time rhythms,she is long gone
Her voice remains on records and cd's ,not forgotten
by me and those of the 1950's scene,a jazz singer renowned
We walked home after midnight,all together,no paired couples
30 or more girls and boys of 18 or so
Shoes were taken off tired feet,and held in the hand by the strap
It was romantic I remember,some held hands,others too shy
Boys egged each other on,to take up the challenge
"Go on hold her hand" they whispered pushing the young shy lad foward
Young lasses were less shy ,and if they were,they held the hand of
their girlfriend.
My favourite best dress was green,fine cotton 3/4 length
with a fuzzy wuzzy green bolero made by my Aunt Nell.
Shoes were gold ,thick heel for dancing but quite high
As a 4'11 lass why did tall young men always asked me dance?
Bending my head in the modern waltz made me feel dizzy
To rest my head on a tall youth's chest was romance indeed
I could hear his heart beating faster and faster.
I wasn't sure what it meant ,at 18 we were not well versed
as todays young are .....
Today I still believe that the dance will always be
"Ecstasy &Passion like no other"

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 19-12-05

Invitation to the Pavilion of Earthly Delights

The prince goes to meet his bride

The beauteous Parveneh

The Pavilion of Earthly Delights

I have received a communication from Lavengro:

Dearest Travellers,

While you are adventuring on the Silk Road, we have not forgotten you, nor our sworn promise to celebrate your birthdays and anniversaries.
I have been in touch with my dear friend Prince Adiguzel, whose mother was a Gypsy dancer, like mine. The Prince will be celebrating his wedding to the beauteous Lady Parvaneh this month. This is a true love match and the Prince and Paveneh are very happy to share the occasion with Karen, who celebrates her birthday on the 23rd. Adiguzel has thrown open his palace and grounds to you, so please use your magic carpets to be at the Pavilion of Earthly Delights on December 23, where there will be dancing and feasting and much joy for our dear friends.
My cousins the Gypsies will also be there to entertain the guests with feats of daring such as fire eating and tightrope walking.
Le Enchanteur has kindly lent me a magic carpet so I may have the first dance with our own guest of honour – so I will see you there.
I hear the ladies have been to a ball with the Sheik of Araby. Beware of this man. No doubt he is charming, but his camels have more honour. I will not have him trifle with ladies of such quality.

Yours respectfully,

Gypsy Chief

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Dancer

Oceans of silken cushions await
the collapse of shy-veiled maidens --
danced beyond breathless vengeance
on a night too soon a memory.

Snitternoch -- poluush -- kooree

It is not drums that pound in fury,
nor distant scent of music's longing
that brings a blessed, heaving stillness
to the carpets 'neath the tented stars.

Nihush - nihush ne zaman

The golden child glides on feathers
before the Sheik and gifted splendor
to place a bowl of azure ripples
at the zenith of wondrous sighs.

Shildi -- oofshan, nidick roo

A single tear drop falls intended,
churning mists from the cherished sea --
offered thus in sublime innocence
and bound magick of the ancient trust.

Nihush - nihish ne ziman

Swirling fronds of gossamer whispers
conceal the form of the faerie dancer,
stepping from the incensed dreaming
of all women as one in silence.

She draws from each trembling maiden,
Enchantreus, Muse and faire winsome lass,
a bit of Goddess in surrender
to the oasis of the soul and will.

She is the siren of the desert,
each man's dream of passion's touching,
hidden behind each spirit's veil,
found in ev'ry mother now to be.

Shinna -- shinna luu falla!

Slipped into something more comfortable

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le Enchanteur has made herself at home at the Palace and has slipped into something a little less formal and a little more comfortable.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Me and the Sheik gettin' it on!

Luna as Red Sultana


To the Palace of the Sheik!

Many gathered, myriad colours,
a feast of splendour,
magnificent palace.
Perfumed silk, mystery and
intrigue, the magic
of a Masked Ball...
copyright Monika Roleff

le Enchanteur Goes Arabian

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le Enchanteur has also decided to woo the Sheik with her designer Arabian outfit.

Dressed for the Ball

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There was a flapping noise, as of wings, at the window and the carpet sailed in and drifted down to land at my feet. Carefully sewn into the pattern was the invitation to climb aboard to be transported to the Sheikh of Araby’s masked ball.

What excitement - the chance of fly on a carpet of my own!

I carefully sat myself down in the middle of the carpet, which rose a few inches into the air as if to test the weight of its passenger. Seemingly reassured it passed through the window once more and out into the dark of the velvet night sky embroidered with thousands of diamonds twinkling across the heavens.

We sailed above oases and ribbons of silver rivers before arriving at the turrets and minarets of the palace. Gardens with tinkling fountains surrounded it and heady aromas of incense rose into the sky. Intoxicated by all this, I was already entranced by my surroundings when the carpet delivered me safely to the wardrobe room where I was left to choose my costume.

In keeping with the exotic theme of the caravanserai, I decided upon layers of filmy fabric wound around my upper body and hips. Jewelled slippers adorned my feet and a harem mask hid most of my features, leaving my hair to cascade freely around my shoulders. A jewelled collar and crown completed the outfit.

I made my way towards the music and the smells of food. A banquet indeed had been set before us, with cool sherbet to slake our thirst. The walls were inlaid with patterns of mother of pearl and there were beautifully patterned blue, white and green tiles covering almost every surface. Lanterns hung from the walls casting odd shaped shadows on the floors. Dancing girls with bells on their hands and feet swayed to the music of pipes and stringed instruments. The other costumes were as varied as the characters on this journey. Brilliantly coloured silks shimmered wherever I looked and light glanced off the jewels, silver and gold. Singing birds in the cages added to the music.

I immediately recognised the Sheikh of Araby, a tall, dark-skinned character with very dark eyes and a dark beard and moustache – a handsome enough looking guy but I didn’t altogether trust him even from my vantage point at the edge of the room.

I watched as he danced each dance with a new partner until it was my turn. In truth he was an excellent dancer and managed to steer my two left feet around the room without making me feel too much of a complete idiot. My gauzy costumer shimmered around me as we danced and I felt like a queen, for a few fleeting moments. From the corner of my eye I could see the amazon queen casting furious glances in my direction but le enchanteur seemed happy enough. After this I was glad to seek the cool of the night air on one of the terraces. I looked up into the sky and thought about how I had come to be here, on this journey, and here in this magic place. I should make the most of this evening as we would be continuing our travels soon enough and our paths would take us away from all this opulence.

Soon, too soon, the time came to climb aboard my carpet and be returned to my room. Silver ribbons still glowed down below and the stars still twinkled in the night sky. The carpet landed softly in my room allowing me to return to earth and then flew out through the window and away, up like a piece of ash up into the skies. Like Cinderella at midnight, my silks and jewelled slippers gave way to more mundane garb.

I climbed into bed, to sleep, perchance to dream …..

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A gown of moonlight

Cinderella dress400.jpg

In a distant peaceful land
A young girl lives in a kitchen

She often falls asleep reading books near the fire
Her stepsisters unkindly refer to her as Cinderella

The ash covered girl loves books
Especially the ones given to her by her father

Humble chores connects her to her father’s estate
And his books give her the world

She cares little for fancy clothes and gossip
What she likes is walking in the forest and daydreaming

She makes up stories she tells the cat
Or the birds in the trees

Unnoticed and unwanted Cinderella becomes a lovely lady
With intelligence and kindness

The stepsisters think she is simple and base
While they obsess over royal intrigues and their wealth

One day while sorting the grain
A letter arrives

Smudged with soot and sweat
Cinderella delivers this letter to her stepmother

Through the excitement, laughter overflows
At the idea of Cinderella attending the ball

This breaks her heart with the finest cracks
That runs quite deep

She expects little
But this small wish expands into a great desire

Overwhelmed with despair
She cries for the first time since her father died

Cinderella opens the floodgates to her heart
She slowly drowns in misery

An energy begins to collect from the corners of the room
A swelling of light concentrates into a figure

A soft voice gently speaks
Blinking through her tears

Cinderella stares amazed at a petite woman dressed in radiance
“Oh darling, there is a way for you to go.”

Magically a gown of golden luminosity whirls around her
As she walks up the stairs to the ball

She is like the sun rising in the night
All heads turn as she enters

The prince comes directly
And bows

He gently takes her hand
And the waltz begins

Some whisper the prince is bewitched
He cannot take his eyes off her

No words are spoken
But a bond forms that cannot be explained

At midnight Cinderella rushes away
As her fairy godmother instructed

On the road home her fine gown disappears
Her stepsisters come home and shake her awake

They talk about the foreign girl
Who occupied the prince all night

But tomorrow they vow to get their chance
To turn his head.

After the stepsisters go to the ball for the second night
Cinderella waits in the garden for her fairy godmother to appear

Tonight her dress is several shades of aqua
Golden fish dart in and out of the folds like sea grass

Upon arrival the prince is waiting for her
He takes her hand and they disappear through the open doors

The strain of music can barely be heard
And still they dance

At midnight Cinderella runs home
The prince tries to follow but a confusion of ladies block his way

Cinderella pretends to be asleep
As her stepsisters arrive with complaints of the ball

She tries to act interested
But her small smile gives her away

Her quick stepmother grabs her wrist and asks what’s so funny
Cinderella says something simpleminded and her stepmother smirks

A mask is required on the last night of the ball
The stepsisters fuss over their clothes and keep changing their minds

The fairy godmother waits nearby
With a swish of her wand

Cinderella is enveloped in cool shimmering light
A lace mask hides her face

All eyes dazzle to see this moonlit beauty
The Prince knows her instantly

They move onto the dance floor and begin the waltz
The prince by now has memorized her every feature

He knows her hands
And the way she moves

The prince speaks intimately
He knows in his heart she is the one

The prince begins to ask…
But the midnight bells chime, she has no choice but to run

She wants to stay in his arms
But the broken charm would show her in rags

She losses a shoe on the stairway
And cannot stop to pick it up

Confused and frustrated
She doubts he would look at her without the fairy glamour

And yet what did she expect?
She only wanted to go to the ball

What happened is more than she could ever wish for
She has fallen in love with a person she barely knows

She has fallen for the way he touches her
So gently as they dance

She has fallen for his sweet expression
When her looks into her eyes

She sighs to herself
And gives up on ever seeing him again

At dawn she tends her chores like any other day
A messenger arrives announcing a shoe fitting

The stepmother rushes about
Getting her girls ready

Cinderella does her best to help
But the exasperated stepmother shoos her away

The first daughter’s foot is too large
The second one almost fits but her little toe is too big

The stepmother whispers in her ear,
“When you are queen, you won’t need to walk.’

She cuts off the little toe of her own daughter
The stepmother announces the shoe fits!

An entourage swiftly rides to the palace
The stepsister is presented to the king and the prince

The prince knows this is not right
The girl stands with a painful expression

A pool of blood forms around the shoe
The crowd gasps

The prince lifts her onto a couch and removes the shoe
And to his horror sees her mutilated foot

The prince declares this is not the way to find a wife
He takes his horse out into the open air

If a person would cut off a toe to marry a prince
What other kinds of insanity would people do?

He knows he must find his mystery girl
But how?

The shoe fittings are not continued
Cinderella’s shoe lay hidden

The prince races into the countryside
To clear his mind and his heart

He stumbles into a forest where the trail ends
Falling asleep under a willow tree, he dreams

There he sees Cinderella working in a field
Sorting grain

He doesn’t see her face
But he knows her graceful movements

He knows her spirit
Even in a dream

The prince wakes at dusk
Following the trail to a little farm

Seeking water for his horse
He approaches the well

Covered in sweat and dirt
A young girl grasps a water bucket

She sees him and smiles
He knows her even from a distance

This is his mystery girl
But he is confused by her circumstance

In this moment she forgets how she looks
She is filled with love for him

The stepmother sees what is to happen through a window
But she cannot stop this

“It doesn’t matter to me what your status is.
If you would marry me, I would honor you for life.”

He takes her hand and kisses it
Tears streak her face

They marry in a private ceremony
Under a willow tree

As Cinderella disappears
Princess Ella emerges

The Prince and his Princess
Live and love for a long, long time

Persian splendour

Some exquisite images from the book Palaces and Cardens of Persia by Yves Porter and Arthur Thevenart.

A niche in a house iun Kashan, filled with pieces of coloured mirror glass.

The Mausoleum of Aqa Baba Khan. The walls sparkle with mirror glass mosaic which has recently been restored to its full beauty.

A dovecote in the Isfahan region, like a piece of honeycomb left in the sun...

The breathtaking wonder of this journey continues...

Order of the Dance

The Dance Card is, me'thinks,
an attempt to choreograph life --
human interaction by design more in tune
with Torquemada than Gene Kelly …
but I am game for anything,
or I should say everything
that the soul can envision over mind.

So I suggest a change of rules
such that everyone can participate,
and even I, who has spend some time
as wall flower to demons of the Prom.

The men, not the girls, will stand in form,
spotlit pose of rippled muscles,
before a placard printed bold
with list of vital information,
like net worth and view on abortion --
last book read and story 'bout his mother.
Each musing lady will fill in their Card
on every other line, to fill each fantasy
and desire (and prompting from others unseen).

Then the 'gentler set' will take their turn,
posing on a dais in gown or costume
of their choice and whim revealing,
before a similar scripted placard
of focused intent and passion --
such that the alternate lines on the Cards
are filled with braided fancy and illusion
coached by culture and sitcom drivel
of what the perfect dance will be.

Then comes the surprise!
Each Card is placed in a crystal bowl,
from which each dancer will select but one,
and spend the night living a dream --
not caring it is crafted by others --
and as a mating ritual it will serve
as well as any other then or now,
as you will never know if your partner
is found divine by chance or intent --
it being a costume ball, after all.

And I --
found still standing against the wall,
empty Card un-noticed on the floor?
I will find another abandoned by the rules;
and together we will dance amidst the flowers
to the symphony of laughing stars --
ever thankful that Dance Cards
are keeping others spinning -- swirling
in the fantasy of night.


My evolving book "Olde Soul" details the interaction
of a young man from Milan with Eskiyali at the great
Carvanserai at Gyor in 1261 AD. It is three stories braided
together: the sayings of the Seer, Jaimic's reflections
on these ideas, and a running tale of the adventure itself --
a 'stranger in a strange land'. These extractions
(deliberately chopped up throughout) might give all here
a feeling of setting on an ancient Caravanserai --
though this famous trade gathering could be comprised
of 3000 people. Enjoy.


There had been a squabble in the market over some old debt between families. Outside of the protection of the Caravanserai I am certain this would have led to bloodshed. As it was the two young men were brought before the sage. I did not know that he performed services as a judge – but his advice may be of another kind. Each places a coin in a cup before the dais on which Eskiyalı will sit. I have never seen payment made before – or requested. I had thought that shared wisdom was its own reward. Somehow this is different. These words were made to the crowd after the judgment was issued and the men had departed...

I have received a message from the seer! There is to be an event outside of the great ring of spears that defines the Caravanserai. I may sit by Eskiyalı and take such notes as I may. I do not know if I may speak with him and may translators will not be with me. They are afraid. Outside the custom of Györ they could be victims of bandits or un-trusted merchants. I am cautioned not to attend as many would question my appearance and strangeness. Yet I must place my trust in the sage or my journey has no value. I will be allowed to take my sword.
I have asked Trobin to accompany me on the foray outside the caravanserai – even three or four bandits would not attack an Asi! He refuses, saying that to do so would insult Eskiyalı. But he does offer to guard my pavilion as my belongings would no longer enjoy protection when I left the camp. I do not offer him payment, trusting that what he selects or asks will be fair – and there will be a price! The Alan do not haggle over their famed services. What is the value of ‘everything I own’?

Ekrem chuckles when he learns of my arrangement with Trobin. If I do not return, perhaps dying of natural cause, then the Asi can do what he wishes with my wealth. If, however, I should come to harm or die by foul means he is bound to deliver my belongings to my heirs. For that he would extract a great price – from any who would do me harm. He has done me a tremendous honor by handling my problem in this way. Hundreds of strangers will now guard my venture less they be caught up in some intrigue. Those not obviously with me might be thought of as against me. All this is difficult to believe. I will learn more of the Alan and their power over the travelers here.

An old man dressed in green came for me bearing a standard made of crossed strips of black and white cloth. Even Trobin stood aside that we might pass on the way to the seer’s pavilion. It seems very quiet – perhaps because most of the crowd give my pavilion a wide berth. I hear murmurs of, “the day,” but no one will tell me what it means. My friends say that I am better prepared by knowing little. I walked to the left of Eskiyalı to whom I have yet to speak a word. Methinks my larger size will give better protection than my skill with sword and knife, both of which are returned as we passed the final crossed standards. Soon I will know what it all means.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

That does it!

That does it! One look at the Amazon Queen clinching the Sheik of Araby and I sent my costume straight back to Mad Eye Moody. (Actually he was quite relieved, seems he doesn't command as much respect in a singlet and shorts).
Back I went to the market place, where I combed through the stalls until I found this fabulous red 20s dress and peacock feather mask. Theyt are hanging in my caravanserai room while I go and soak in asses' milk and rose petals. (Well, it's dried milk and rose petals, but the woman who sold the mixture to me swears it's just as good as the real thing.)
Of course you are right, Lois, men like this are not a long term prospect, but if I'm going to dance with a tall dark manI want to look the part.
Besides - who knows who else may be hiding beneath all those masks....


Like the Amazon Queen in the arms of The Sheik
I rush as she did to hand back my card
But not to dance with this Bearded Man
I hurry to offer my card to those travelling
The Silk Road
My card is free,
gladly given
Perhaps one who has missed out,collect it at the door.

I do dance,I love to dance, I long to dance
But I have my pride
I made a vow some years ago
To find the partner to share my dreams
He must be clean shaven
Play no musical instruments
Be handy around the home
A carpenter,but a dreamer as well,good conversationalist
A cook,a gardener,a traveller to interesting places
Not one who climbs a mountain just to reach the top.
So on principal I decline the Sheiks dance card
as I feel it could lead no where
But I will wonder as I dream
what he might look like
if perchance I was to shave his beard off
in some tender romantic tryst
Oh as I wait I watch you all
as you swirl romantically and think
of what lies ahead with such a man
who would have all these cards
and not share one with anyone .....

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 15/12/05

Moment of truth

Anxious to get going, I set off just before noon. There were four others with me. They shared my desire to learn about new things, but none wanted to travel on roads that were not sealed. I prefer unsealed roads. Roads where you can smell the earth under your feet and hear the crunch of loose stones. Passive, I walked for a while on the path that they had chosen. It was safe. And at the time this seemed important. Until we met the tall, skinny man with the trumpet-shaped nose and long forehead. Mr trumpet-nose sought to persuade the five travellers into staying with him. I went to keep walking. He grabbed at my hands and tried to pull me back. The other four didn't need to be pulled back. This moment defined the truth. And in that same moment I looked over to the green fields beyond where a band of brightly clothed gypsies were travelling easily. They were singing and playing beautiful tunes. They were not aware of me until I joined them. I had chosen to be where I wanted to be.

I am Balthazar...

I wrote this poem many years ago - at this stage of our journey, it seems appropriate...

I am Balthazar: where others kneel, I stand,
And over multitudes I rule in my fair land.
`Tis not for thy Kingship that I stand in awe,
Nor to curry favour should e’er thy word be law.
For no man do I bend my knee or lower my eye,
Be he foreign King or Son of God; such am I.
A man of science, I seek truth above all things.
By night I read the omens that the stars may bring.
Of late thy life was spread before my eyes,
Writ in blood and treachery across the skies.
Poor King, I see thy death in wretchedness and pain,
By friends betrayed, to die, and die again.
It moves my heart that I, alone, should know,
The doom another King must suffer so.
Take then, this bitter myrhh: may Allah’s hand
Guide thee on thy fateful steps through David’s land.
Now I stand apart, this is as it must be.
Those I rule shall never kneel to thee.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

In a far and distant land...

This story was overheard while drinking Chai in an open market. Please forgive this variation from the original, somewhere in the Arabian Nights.

In a far and distant land was a Sultan who loved his wife very much. He gave her gifts of rare and exceptional beauty to show how much he loved her. And when she became with a child, he was overjoyed. With anticipation the Sultan oversaw the creation of a vast garden.

The Sultana had gathered family near her in the hopes of having this child with great support and comfort, but that was not to be. Her two sisters were so jealous of their younger sister’s beauty and good fortune that they faked kindness in order to live in the beautiful estate.

As the time came for the birth, the Sultan postponed his hunting so he may be near. He waited and waited. And waited all night, until one of the sisters finally came to the Sultan.

“Sire, the Sultana has had...ah.”

“Well, spit it out woman!” shouted the Sultan.

“Sire, the Sultana has had a kitten.” the sister said with a bowed head.

“What silliness is this?” he burst into his wife’s chamber and there she lay all red in the face with a kitten mewing nearby. The Sultan was so shocked and angry that he ran from the room.

This unexplainable event happened two more times. The Sultana was in disgrace. She is said to have had a puppy and another kitten. The sisters secretly smiled satisfied with themselves as the Sultana cried, for surely the Sultan would banish her.

The Sultan and the Sultana lived separately until the day the Sultana quietly died in her sleep. Some would say she died of a broken heart. The Sultan truly mourned her. When he saw her in death, he had forgotten how truly he had loved her. And felt ashamed of his treatment of her.

The palace lingered in gloom but the garden had flourished under the guidance of an expert gardener. The Sultan would often go and visit the gardener and enjoy conversation and good company. One day while exploring the garden where it touched near the wild forest, he saw a young girl playing in a ruin of a teahouse. She had the lovely eyes of his beloved dead wife and thought she must be a ghost. As the Sultan came near, the child offered her play food to him. The Sultan spent a delightful afternoon with this child and assumed she belonged to the gardener or a servant.

The child asked if he would play with her tomorrow and he said he would. The next day a picnic awaited the Sultan. The spread was quite lovely. Except the sandwiches were made of mashed pearls and the water, mercury.

“What manner of food is this?” asked the Sultan. The child looked up and said it’s pretend food. “Ah yes,” chimed the Sultan. Then the little girl asked, “Have you ever heard of a grown woman giving birth to a kitten?” The Sultan gave her such a look., one that warned danger. “What do you mean by this question?” he felt a little hot with anger.

“My father is suppose to believe I was a kitten,” murmured the child. “ And who is your father?” asked the Sultan. “I do not know, but the gardener cares for me like I was his own.” The Sultan replied, “Let’s go visit the gardener.”

The Sultan pounded on the door of the gardener’s house. A fine, young boy answered the door. Upon seeing the angered Sultan he asked, “Sire, what has my little sister done?” The Sultan bristled, “May I come in?”

The gardener’s house was charming but small. The young boy fetched the old gardener, who came to greet the Sultan.

“I had no idea you had so many children,” the Sultan stated. “Why did you never mention them in all of our talks?”

“I didn’t know how to tell you.” Said the gardener. “I know plants. I know how to make things grow. “

“Surely, it’s a wonderful thing to say, ‘I have fine children, dear Sultan’.”

The gardener sat on a cushion and looked deeply into the Sultan’s eyes. “Sire, I would like to tell you a story…”

“My story begins when your beloved wife became with child. You hired me to create a wondrous garden. You wanted splendid places to play and hide for your child. My old wife and I had not been lucky with children. But soon after we came here, we heard crying outside; in a basket with fine blankets was a beautiful newborn boy. We gave him the best the Sultans land could offer.”

“And some time later, two more children arrived, a boy and a girl. We of course, knew something had happened. And we could not assume anything, sire. Word came down, the Sultana was in disgrace and we were not sure you were of, the right mind. My wife and I brought up these children as our own.”

The king looked at these children in their simple clothes and saw his beloved Sultana in each of them. “But how did this happen, really? “ mused the Sultan.

“I do not know, only that they appeared.” answered the gardener. The Sultan thought to himself. He took each child in his arms and apologized for his blindness.

The Sultan had allowed his wife’s sisters to stay in the palace and live a life of luxury. They had become spoiled and greedy. One night the Sultan had a trusted servant give the sisters the sweetest wine and a few key questions. In the dying candlelight, the sisters spilled the story of the Sultana’s labors were to three children. The sisters talked and laughed, belittling the Sultan’s wife. In the morning the sisters found their rooms changed to the lowest chambers of servants.

The Sultan spoke to them and asked them why they did such a thing. They just spat at him. Ungrateful for the life they lead and wept for themselves.

The Sultan came to the gardener’s house and wanted his children to love him, not because he was their father, but because they wanted to. Everyday he came to visit them and brought tutors and started to have a new house made for the Royal Gardener. Eventually the children came to live in the palace. But each day they spent in the garden with their adopted parents.

The unorthodox family unit created a strong bond of friendship and generosity. The Sultan told his children of their mother’s beauty and sweetness. He also told them what a joy they are to him and he could not imagine life without them.

Kashgar, Bactra, Samarkand...

Kashgar, Bactra, Samarkand…
Oasis cities on the Silken Road,
Where the dust of the desert
Is washed away
And the spirit is refreshed.
Cities that sing the sagas
Of ancient empires.

Time moves from sunrise to sunset in the desert, the passing of it marked only by the sun. The camel bells are the only sound sometimes, even the flute player too exhausted by the heat to lift the pipe to her lips. So far from clocks, from schedules and timetables, from the daily list of things to do, the mind roams hungrily ahead to the next oasis, the next island of life in this endless sea of silence

Kashgar, Bactra, Samarkand…
Like a mantra chanted to a string
Of wooden beads, each name
Echoes in the heart,
Fills the mind with visions,
Sings the ancient ways
Into my soul.

The first sign we get that we are nearing an Oasis city is the gradual greening of irrigated pastures. The oasis cities grew up around pockets of fertile land and water. The cities are walled, but careful irrigation creates pastures where sheep and goats can graze, under the watchful eyes of their shepherds. Some of these cities have become kingdoms in their own right, and like Rome, all roads lead to them.

Kashgar, Bactra, Samarkand…
Call to us across the sands.
The stars that light our way
Have distant worlds,
On which other dreamers gaze up,
With hearts full of wonder and delight,
At all there is.

For Monica, who loves this stuff

The Angels of Sidon

It might be true that man's history is of and within the Word, having no vitality except as written down and preserved. Some say that this is so. Not I! For all that is written of history is not true, and much truth was never written. That is why you have never heard of the Angels of Sidon. Were it not for a typing mistake on an internet search, you would not learn of them now. The truth is for you to judge.

In June of 2001 I was doing research on the Third Crusade -- attempting to sort out conflicts between popular myths and personal journals recently published from several Slavic counties previously under USSR domination. On one query I sent, "the lies of King Richard and King Phillip;" instead of, "The lives of …" I received numerous interesting accounts including three that mentioned the 'Angels'. It has taken three more years to sort though translation difficulties and obvious embellishments. What I now share is a composite of offerings from Rumania, Kiev, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Hungary, Germany and Poland. Two pieces of evidence are universal: the Angels came into existence in the year 1191 AD, and their stories were deliberately suppressed by the combined order of three kings -- Richard I of England, Phillip II of France and Leopold V of Germany. Officially they do not exist.

The three monarchs (Frederic Barbarossa for Germany) had each built large armies for very divers and selfish reasons, but still managed to give the appearance of a united front upon arrival in the Holy Land. This changed when they met on the way to Acre and began squabbling over spoils and captives. As an attempt to placate the kings, 15,000 prisoners were delivered. -- people rounded up for no apparent reason other than they were 'different', and had not aligned themselves with either the Muslims or the Crusaders. Many were Christians but of Eastern sects. Others were travelers caught in the conflict. Some may have been spies, or common criminals. No effort had been made to sort them out, but the Marmalukes had not killed them either. It was a quandary. Each of the three Kings handled their 5,000 differently. Phillip immediately baptized his segment and set them free to be good Christians -- to either join the Crusade or leave the lands immediately. The German faction was less trusting. Their prisoners were sent to Germany to serve as paid servants for one year, then released to be 'good citizens', but could not stay in the Holy Land. History tells us that only a third reached Germany, with the rest escaping/settling along the way. Our good King Richard the Lion Hearted had a different solution. He order all 5,000 executed as an example to Saladin of what would happen to all enemies of "God." In response to this act of terrorism the Angels were born.
A single knight stepped forth and defied the King. He stated that at least the travelers from foreign land, neither Christian nor Muslim, should be allowed to leave. Richard was having none of this, and ordered the knight seized and executed also. But then a French knight stepped forth to challenge the legitimacy of the decree. Then another -- and another. Finally eight knights stood between the King and his 'demonstration' -- three English, three French and two German. Now the other Kings were involved and caught with their own showing of compassion. Richard turned his back and said, "These traitors must leave. Those who would follow them to Kazan may, as God will serve the sentence for us. Let no man assist them, feed them or nurture them. Their lands and titles are forfeit, and their names erased from history." The other Kings concurred. The number of foreigners thus saved numbered between 80 and 100, only a small part of the total to be slaughtered. The straggly mass left with nothing, shoeless, cloakless and with no plan. By all accounts they were already dead. The city of Sidon was famous throughout history as a place of haven and tolerance. It was here that the eight knights let them.
They also left the accuracy of historic account and entered legend, as no official records were made in any of the English, French or German journals. Some of the travelers survived and took the story with them. Islamic records record the granting of free passage to the 'Angels', and later accounts of battle with the "Knights of Stone." Others stories throughout the land above the Black Sea tell of a band of outlaw knights, feared by both Crusaders and Muslims -- invincible guides to travelers and those seeking sanctuary. Sidon was captured by the Muslims in 1194 and recaptured in 1197. The Angels of Sidon continued their task and calling throughout those years, defying both sides. By legend their number was always eight at sunrise. Even though some of the knights were reported killed in fierce battles, always at tremendous odds -- the next morning eight Angels would appear to continue the fight. If the scattered accounts are believed and totaled these eight knights (or mysterious replacements) killed more than 300 opponents in single armed combat. In the last found record (Polish), in the year 1198, eight knights dressed in green and gold let a throng of hundreds of women and children East to the Caspian Sea. The hilltops were lined with thousands of Turkish soldiers who watched them pass in silence. No man dared challenge those with "the eyes of grieving peace". None ever shall again.

The Three Wise Men

wise men.jpg

Frankincense Road - The Sense of Treasure

This road intoxicates with its history. A grail image one of the elders mentioned this morning, fascinates. Buried treasure uplifted, brought up from its hiding place in the earth for all to see. It was a beautiful thing to behold. I wear a neutral coloured, raw cotton shawl around my head and face to avoid the sweeping sand, lifting from the dunes at the sides of our road. Shalimar makes a steady pace, bells chiming from time to time in the wind, and in time with her movements. It's a beautiful sound and my mind is full of memories of colour and mystery.

I have a thought to my own treasures, attached to my cloak in a small woven casket. I lay them out in my mind. They would mean different things at different times, ambiguous as the case may be. Circumstance. Symbols, signatures, timeless, old, yet new. So it is with treasure, dependant on the mind's eye. The sun burns like a glow, through the moving sands. An eagle circles high above, a thing of beauty and grace, casting a curious eye over our colourful caravan making its way on this special journey. Watchful, gracious...

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.


In my idle search for Caravanserai,
I was taken back to memories of Sidon --
This most ancient city is worth study ...

rather than be captured the inhabitants
destroyed themselves by fire -- 40,000 died

Jesus walked there

every great conqueror the embraced Lebenon
made Sidon a seat of power and knowledge,
for example ....

"The Khan El Franj is one of the many khans or caravansaries built by Fakhreddine II for merchants and goods. This is a typical khan with a large rectangular courtyard and a central fountain surrounded by covered galleries.The center of economic activity for the city in the 19th century, the khan also housed the French consulate. Today it is being renovated to serve as Sidon's cultural center."

but there is more --

for the last three years I have been gathering hints and clues about a group of eight men from the time of the Third Crusade -- The Angels of Sidon. Perhaps it is time to write of them -- no one else will, and I have found that I am 'curse proof'.

Coming soon ...


Monday, December 12, 2005

a last-minute purchase

I found this ancient amphora pendant at the souk.
It belonged to a fine lady, a favourite of an ancient king,
or so the merchant said,
(perhaps to drive up the price a bit.)
No matter.
It contains several drops of myrrh oil.
For protection and consecration I wear it around my neck.
It will guide me along the path.


Now girls and Faucon.......

I am stating that I have written Lemon Juice as the title instead of Lemon Butter......You are all so nice not to notice it......(I bet that Le Enchanteur did)

Correct title for my wares is.....

PS After grating the rind of 12 lemons
squeezing the juice(taking out the pips) of 12 lemons then beating 12 eggs
all by hand mind you, no fancy machines in the Daley household (But there should be) I was goggle eyed when I sat at the computer to send out the recipe to you all...My Apologies.

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 13/12/05

Olde Soul 6

dreams drift unto action's reality -- sad
from actions spring the dream again -- joy
to embrace this dance is the highest form of living

the scrolls of Eskiyalı

Leaving the Caravanserai

The day was sunny , a crisp clean morn,
No sign at all of the departed storm.

It whirled away - took all the debris,
Swept the paths and cleared the memory.

Time to gather the camels, set course for another place,
Seeking Frankinsence and myrrh, courage and grace.

What a few unexpected days had been spent at the caravanserai! But the storm had abated now leaving only a new arrangement of the sandhills in its wake. It was a new perspective that greeted us. Telling our stories in the interum had also been a somewhat cathartic experience and drawn the travellers together. Time to move on.

I gathered my children. They were reluctant to head off once more into the desert. The few days we had spent prisoned by the storm had provided new friends for them too. Some they recognised leaving with us, others they had to leave behind, tiny faces peering from the walls, reluctantly. Rachel had a spinning top, beloved of the oasis dwellers, as a memento. She clutched it in one hand, with the other in mine. As usual the men were gathering the bagatelle that accompanied us, strapping it onto the testy camels in preparation.

It was indeed a beautiful morning to set out, just after daybreak in fact to journey before the desert sun enforced another stop. We stepped out with some excitement, certainly anticipation of what we were to encounter next. The exotic caravanserai had fuelled our imagination, the storytelling had forged friendship and our hearts were clear to accept the lessons of our pilgrimage.

Where were we heading now on our route to Makkah? Rumours abounded...was it Suakhim? Alexandria? The men seemed to keep this information to themselves, gathering in groups after prayers. Although I did note one very strong and able woman, swathed from head to toe in white robes to deflect the sun, and who was riding a huge black horse. She seemed privy to the arrangements and in fact had some part in the decisions but otherwise was unknown to us. Wherever we were headed , I knew it was going to be an interesting and enriching experience. I patted the new scarf I had acquired in some intense bargaining in the souk. Its soft delicate silk was a pleasure in itself and its vibrant colours indicative of its origin far away from across the Silk Road , perhaps China. My feet took up the rhythm and my soul sank into a peaceful place.

Still behind the wooden door I looked towards the pond where the terrible, piercing screeches were coming from and smiled as memories of Henry filled my mind. In Wisconsin, where my mother lived, it was ice, snow and unbearable cold and I had finally encouraged her to come visit us in sunny Floprida. Now I was in the process of making some great memories for her when she returned.

The scene is a beautiful balmy day at the Botanical gardens on Sarasota bay. We entered the gardens on a large circular path surrounding a miniature tropical scene. Palm trees were swaying near a miniature pond with a rock water fall. All types of plants were growing in what seemed like a natural setting. There was a complete array of colors spanning the whole color wheel. Mother commented that I fit in the scene completely as I was wearing a vivid violet silk blouse with different exotic colors in tonals of violet, red violet and blue violet and accents of lime green and gold. We also were surrounded by a concert of tropical birds fishing in there pond or perched in trees and bushes or just strolling the grounds staring at us. It was just as we began circling this scene on the path that I first heard the screech.  Posted by Picasa

Leaving for the Frankinsence Trail

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le Enchanteur and members of the Caravanserai setting out for the Frankinscense Road to Makka, Medina and Petra.

The land we cross

I had only the single story to tell, but can do research. We all travel through a troubled land where we do not always understand the motivations or will that drives people to act as they do. In the 12-13th centuries, western knights entered this land to attack the "sultan" who wrote this:

"To obey, Fight hard for Allah,
is my aim and my desire;
'Tis but zeal for Faith, for Islam,
that my ardor doth inspire.
Through the grace of Allah,
and th' assistance of the Band Unseen,
Is my earnest hope the Infidels
to crush with ruin dire.
On the Saints and on the Prophets
surely doth my trust repose;
Through the love of God,
to triumph and to conquest I aspire.
What if I with soul and gold
strive here to wage the Holy War?
Praise is God's! ten thousand sighs
for battle in my breast suspire.
O Mohammed!
through the chosen Ahmed Mukhtar's glorious aid,
Hope I that my might may triumph over Islam's foes acquire!" ---

Sultan Mohammed II

I have learned that ther word "infidel" is wrongly used in our history. It refers to any person who claims one spititual path and follows another. In the Crusades and now, I am asking just who are the "infidels"?


Lemon Butter Circa 1950

So many brilliant artists
Tapestry makers
Post card swappers
Sweet potions and oil gatherers
Juices squeezed from ripe fruit
Old time stews and casseroles for winter months
Soups to tantalise the pallet
Pasties and pies to delight the hungry
But what of me I thought

Arty and crafty I am not,
Have never made one garment in 70 years
A knitted scarf is my total output now
Painter (Yes of rooms and houses)
No easel or tubes of paint are in my cupboards
A spinning wheel lies idle
Knitting needles and books fill a drawer
Crochet hooks now never used

I was feeling un-creatuive,
What could I make to sell at the market place ?
A bright light dawned as I looked through the
kitchen window
Lemons on my tree
Why not make Lemon Butter said I
Here is the Recipe
12 lEMONS ripe of course
12 ozs of Butter
12 eggs
3 lb sugar
1.Wipe lemons,grate rind using only the yellow part,
Squeeze out the juice
2.Beat the eggs in a pan & add the grated rind,juice,sugar & Butter
3.Cook over boiling water in pan stirring until butter dissolves ,let water simmer under the pan gently stir occasionally
4.Cook for 15 minutes after the lemon butter begins to thicken
5.Pour into prepared clean jars and seal placing a piece of
grease proof paper on when cool ,then lid (Best to use metal lids).

Ok, now to the Label......What to put.
Port Melbourne Lemon Butter 2005
Lois's Lemon Butter 2005
Home made Lemon Butter by Lois 2005
No I thought none of these seemed suitable.

Then It came to me
With permission from Imogen (Monika)

"Golden Grove Lemon Juice 2005"

Now it tastes wonderful,friends neighbours have
declined a jar saying it is the most fattening of spreads
better to buy from the Supermarket as it is made with low fat
ingredients...artificial sugar and what they use for butter who knows

So I will have it at the Archipelago Sunday Market,
look for me there under a bright yellow umbrella.
PS. I will need to put it into very very small jars
it really does'nt make a lot even with 12 lemons and 12os butter,and 12 eggs.....

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 12/10/05.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

For Caravanserai Friends....

Friends walk part of the path with you,
Help "pitch your tent" and see you through.
Laugh when your days are sunny and long,
Cry when all your dreams go wrong.
Give you a hoist when the going's tough,
Boil the kettle when you've had enough.
So thank you for the hugs and cups of tea,
For being good cyber friends to me!

Istanbul covered market

Istanbul's famous covered market

fabric stall

spice stall

lamp shop

ornaments to ward off the evil eye


calligraphy as art

the name of Allah as a boat

Behind the wooden door

Since opening the wooden door I have been doing nothing but lounging in the courtyard and strolling the marketplaces. I was thrilled to step into a huge circular courtyard that looked like an oasis in the middle of the desert. A pond was in the center with our balcony bedrooms overlooking this oasis. After unpacking and armed with paper, pen and ice tea I settled in a lounge chair in the shade of a palm tree and contemplated the story I would share with my fellow travelers at the party tonight.

We were asked to go to the storage closet of antiquities and pick up an object from the shelves and write a story about it. I went, and searched, but could not find anything that stimulated my imagination so now I sit and wonder what I shall do. A story needs a plot; a beginning, a middle, and an end. I do not have one. A short story is even more challenging.

As I was searching my mind for some ideas I suddenly was startled by a loud piercing screech. Startled I looked towards the pond. It was in that moment I knew the tale I would tell from the bone chair. It would not have a plot, or a suitable beginning or end but it is a true story and I even have pictures. Really, our life is a series of short stories. I shall send the raven back to the Abbey to bring me my album and then tell my tale.

Here at last!

Last night I awakened as if from a dream...I dreamt that I had been wandering along the Silk Road, looking for my companions, but they were no where to be found. I got up, quite disturbed, and made myself a cup of tea. As I sat sipping it in the kitchen, a raven landed upon my windowsill and tapped twice at the window. I immediately opened the sash and she came in. I noticed a small tube fixed to her leg, and as I examined it more closely, found that there was a note inside. Written on an ancient scrap of parchment, it said, simply: "Go look in the closet."

I rushed to my closet, and within it found quite an extraordinary costume--skirts, robes, scarves, golden cuffs and anklets, and a traveling bag. Next to these items was a large rolled carpet. I thought for a moment. Suddenly, the carpet rippled, causing me to step back in alarm, as it slowly shuffled itself through the closet door into the bedroom, and began to unroll. Once fully unfurled, it continued to ripple and eventually rose a few inches off the floor, hovering there. I knew now what I must do, and whom this gift was from--Enchanteur was calling me!

I quickly brushed my teeth, set the house in order, gathered a few things for travel, and dressed in the robes and jewels. I led the carpet out the back door, and looking about so no one would see, I hopped on.

Immediately, we were airborne, and passing rapidly over the earth--the view below was a blur of mountains, trees, lakes, and oceans, and it was magnificent! I lay face down on the carpet, my eyes peeping over the fringed edge, and watched my home planet pass below. After what seemed like minutes, yet also days, the carpet began to descend, and we circled slowly down to what appeared to be a port city--ancient stone buildings and a bustling marketplace. No one took notice as I lightly touched down and rolled the carpet, stashing it for the time being in a corner of a dusty abandoned stall. I looked about, getting my bearings, when a voice behind me said, "It's about time you got here!"

I turned around to see Enchanteur, who swept me into her arms for a great hug.

Archeological Treasures - Art for Trade

After a long time spent in the bath-house, floating in the heavily salted water, I was at first startled to be met by a gentle, dark veiled woman in the dusty street. Vaguely on my way back to the marketplace, she pulled me aside into a small alcove where a ruby-cloaked man was telling fortunes in a makeshift tent. She bade me come with her, crooking a painted finger, and we went behind him, down a small gap with stone steps, leading underground. It was cool and quiet, and aromatic with pungent herbs. I was self-assured and felt as if I knew her. At once through the darkness there appeared a glowing array of colours. "Take them to the marketplace" she said simply, pushing her veil higher to almost cover her dark kohl eyes. Then she disappeared into the dark vault. Here is what she showed me....these are art cards for trade, and the colours are divine...

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Entertaining the Crowds

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Le Enchanteur is proving quite an acrobat and is entertaining the crowd outside the market at Suakin. Heather is standing nearby, rolling her eyes a lot, wishing her limbs had as much flexibility.

Ancient Dish

Pre-12th Century Cooking (Turkish)

DISH: Tϋrkçe Pazar Salat (Turkish Sunday Salad)

Period: 2000 BC to present
- greatest family shopping use was 600 BC - 1030 AD (pre-Seljuk period)

Notes: Families went to the bazaar on the seventh day (non-work) for shopping, games and socialization. They typically took a cold mixed vegetable salad. Other items like şış kebab, şış köfte, dolma (stuffed meat pies), etc. were purchased at the bazaar. Salad was often carried in a gourd wrapped in an evaporative cooling cloth.

Ingredients: rice, cici peas, grass seeds, tomatoes (seeded)^, squash, green pepper, onion, nuts*, dill weed, ripe olives, green olives.

*the common nut was a type of long, skinny pine-nut (yeni fıştıc) that died out during the dark famines of 1335-1343 AD. I have substituted slivered almonds.

^tomatoes as we know them are claimed to have entered Europe in the 15th century from South America, yet four strains of tomatoes exist in Turkey that do not exist there. Possibly, some other similar fruit/vegitable use used in ancient times and replaced with the more versitile tomatoe of today.

Dressing: scant olive oil, marinated vinegar
(hot peppers, garlic, rosemary)

Eating: spoon, or gathered in a grape leaf (yaprak)

Taken from the bowl with a phrase - ellınez Saĝlık (may your hands be blessed)
(Ell-en-ez saw-aw-lick)

This recipe was prepared and given to me in 1968 by a Turkish Language Professor, together with much verbal history. I have documented several parts of the story of origin, use and ingredients. The Turkish saying "Never mind what you ate and drank, tell me where you have been and what you have seen", shows it was considered bad manners to talk about food and this is why there is little culinary literature in Turkish, though it is considered one of three great cuisines of the world. Poems which contained recipes were passed down verbatim for thousands of years.

Items about eating habits and picnic practices are found in Divanu Lugat-i Turk, a dictionary compiled by Kasgarli Mahmut in 1072-1073 to teach Turkish to the Arabs.

The use of cold rice dishes with tomatoes(sic), and the use of all the listed ingredients, is documented in the literary works of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, a philosopher who lived in the 13th century.

The idea of taking part of a meal to a bazaar and purchasing the rest on-site is referenced in stories in Dede Korkut Hikayeleri (The Tales of Dede Korkut) compiled towards the end of the 14th century.

The mysterious nut called Yeni Fıştıc (new nut) is used in many recipes in Kutadgu Bilig (The Book of Knowledge), by Yusuf Has Hacip in the 11th century. The dark famine has now been attributed to a volcanic eruption (Krakatoa?) in 1334 that blanketed the earth with ash and destroyed hundreds of plant types.


Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Journey

Time is on the wing, so I am popping into the market to leave my wares and shall be back later to browse.
I have made 5 ATC's as a reflection of our journeys. They are 2 and a half by 3 and a half inches, and are machine embroidered on fabric.
If anyone is interested in trading, I would send a print of the 5 cards.