Ethereal Stories: The thimble knight

I visited a theatrical costume museum recently, unfortunately the guide was a pretty boy but bearded, always from behind and we were in a group so I didn’t dare to mention that I was deaf. I didn’t understand anything but I had a good time staring at his posterior!
Seriously, I saw pretty old sewing boxes there. I never had the patience to learn sewing but I am always fascinated by the dexterity and meticulousness of the seamstresses and their attention to the smallest details. In short, these sewing boxes inspired me this little story which I hope you will like.

I

Naïa’s grandmother was a fortune-teller. She braided the threads of lives that she bound for eternity. She embroidered the frayed beards of the fabrics of fallen heroes. She sewed rosebuds on faded bodices and veiled taboos to patch up couples. His shop was famous. All the pains of the heart that the canton counted thronged there. And then, one fine morning, as spring was approaching, she died.

When she died, Naïa inherited her sewing box, a cherry wood box whose wood, polished by years of handling, was as soft as a castle banister. It must be said that the object was transmitted from grandmother to granddaughter for more than two hundred years.
When his mother gave it to him, she also handed him a cloth envelope, closed with an embroidered seal, but she specified:
“First take the time to observe what the box contains, Naïa. Your grandmother, by her gesture, designates you as heiress of the gift, but you must do your scales to begin. For that, you have to familiarize yourself with the tools, the materials, that you appropriate them, that you discipline them and when you can sew with your eyes closed an envelope similar to the one I am giving you, then you will be able to look at what ‘it contains. Not before. »
The tone was solemn, it called for no questions, no answers either.
Naïa took the envelope, put it aside and gently opened the box. This had five compartments: that of wool, cotton, silk and linen threads, that of braid and sequins, that of buttons and staples, that of pieces of fabric and that of pins, needles and hook guarded by a silver thimble.
For several weeks, Naïa scrupulously reviewed the contents of the box. She analyzed it, inventoried it, classified it. Finally, when she knew the box by heart, she got down to sewing.
She began with small jobs, the first of which was the making of a black, opaque headband, to learn how to sew blind. Gradually, she became more complex. She systematically did everything twice, once while watching, once blindfolded and, in case of error, started again and again.
She trained for two months before becoming interested in the envelope. Then, she listened to it patiently and tried to reproduce it by choosing her needle carefully. She copied it, several times, looking, applying herself. Finally, when she had acquired perfect control of her gesture, she adorned herself with her blindfold. She often pricked herself, but insisted. It was the embroidered seal that was the most difficult to achieve, but, at the end of June, the envelope was made, identical to that of her grandmother. So she opened the latter and found an enigmatic letter inside.

II

“Naiah,
The gift does not exist. In reality, none of us have ever actually possessed it. It comes from the thimble.
For him to reveal himself, you will have to choose a knight. To do this, follow these instructions:
First, go to the cemetery. Find a grave that holds a brave man, one of those who died in battle – no matter what war they were fighting. Do not choose a deserter, this one will never help you. Find out about his past. Choose a man who loved, without being afraid and without counting, as one throws oneself into an abyss, one needs a passionate being. Choose well, Naïa, you can’t go back, you can’t start again.
As soon as you have found the grave, dig the earth with your bare hands, collect the one that remains hanging under your fingernails and fill the thimble with it. Press well, nothing should fall out when you flip the dice. Filled flush. Water this soil with orange blossom, every morning, for a week, at a fixed time.
Then, slip the die into the envelope you just made. Seal it up, put it in the sewing box and wait to hear it wiggle. At this time, you will open it. »

Naïa went to the cemetery, she noted on a paper the names of the possible pretenders to the title of knight, she searched, in the archives of the city, their feats of arms, their history. She questioned the families, eliminated little by little those who were not suitable, then made up her mind.
She followed her grandmother’s instructions step by step and in the month of November, on the third precisely, the envelope was shaken. Thus was born the knight Lord Emeric of the thimble.

It was tiny: two legs of midnight blue wool, two arms of braided yellow cotton thread, black sequins instead of feet, others, gold, instead of hands and, for a helmet, a press stud; all emerging from his thimble armour. Barely out of the envelope, he seized the spear hook and proud of his new gleam, in a surprisingly thin voice, spoke to Naïa:

— Good day, lady, what can I do for you?
Naïa was surprised by the tone and the formula which contrasted with the sudden familiarity, but probably that was how a knight spoke. She was not disconcerted:
— Hello, Lord! I will call you Lord, it will be easier. In reality, I don’t know yet what you can do since I don’t yet know what you can do. What can you do ?

Lord then declaimed:
“I am the anti-heartbreaker
The Tailor of Woven Fates
The ardor mechanic
The healer of wounded loves! »

What lyricism, boastfulness! Naïa told herself that she had not chosen the most humble of knights…
“Perfect, Lord, but, in practice, how does it work?”

— I do not know, Naïa. By crowning me a knight of the thimble today, you awaken great powers that I have never before been confronted with. But do not be afraid, my dear, I nobly carry out the tasks, which with honor, they come to entrust to me.
— Okay… let me think.
— My devotion will be as it always was: flawless. No one can claim that in the past I fled before the slightest obstacle or that I refused to face…
— Shut up, Lord, please! I said, “Let me think”!
— Certainly, I consent to it, but when Lady Fortune unites, as here…
— Lord!
— Damn, but if…
— Stop!
— If it suits you.

Naïa had, until then, followed her grandmother’s instructions, but it was clear that she was coming to the end of her roadmap. Sitting in the workshop that had served as a shop, in front of her sewing box, associated with an elf hungry for archaic words of which the tomb had deprived her, Naïa began to doubt the relevance of her choice. She was proud of the hopes placed in her and wanted to prove herself worthy of them, but it had to be admitted that the situation was funny. She was going to have to discipline Lord whose verve exasperated her, but above all find how to use her “powers” to work for the happiness of all.

Naïa thinks that her knight needed a mission that would serve as a trial run to test his abilities. She knew that the Tellier sisters were angry, she told herself that reconciling them could constitute a first challenge whose consequences, in the event of failure, would be limited. However, she preferred to act in the shadows.
So she submitted the idea to Lord and waited for his instructions. This one, perhaps offended by the fact that she had molested him, was, this time, concise: it was necessary, to begin with, that she bring him back a few hairs from each of the Telliers. Naïa therefore waited, hidden in the thickets, in front of their home and as soon as they left, broke in, inquired about their brushes in the bathroom and took her loot there.
As soon as she returned to the workshop, she handed her treasure to Lord. He seized it religiously, settled down cross-legged on the table and began to weave. He metamorphosed thus concentrated. Naïa looked at him, fascinated. A ballet was a ballet, there was so much grace in his gestures. He worked in silence, skilfully mixing brown and blond hair with cotton and silk threads. When he was done, he handed Naïa a one-centimeter square that she detailed on the count. She then discovered, in the intertwining of fibers, a complex pattern of great finesse that looked like a cabalistic sign.
The next day at the market, the Tellier sisters laughed together in front of the fishmonger’s stall.
It was time to reopen the store.

III

Naïa saw a lot of people marching by as soon as trade resumed. The division of labor between her and Lord was simple. She received customers, served them tea, made them sit down and questioned them. Lord, hidden in the sewing box, was listening. Then they debriefed. Lord then drew up the list of what he needed, then, after Naïa had provided him with the necessary material, sat down on the table – like the very first time –, the open box at his side, and began his work. .
On the weekends, when the shop was closed, Lord gave Naïa sewing challenges and Naïa gladly played. Lord was still winning, but Naïa was constantly improving.
Years passed like this, many conflicts were settled, one would have thought that the region was a huge game of go where dark designs were followed by the return of white innocence. The reputation of the shop no longer stopped at the borders. So, six years after Lord and Naïa met, Ludmila entered the shop.
Naïa, barely arrived, had just opened the box to say hello to the knight when this beautiful sixty-something Russian entered. Dumbfounded by her beauty, Naïa did not have the reflex to close the box in time. The damage was done…

This woman was a doll with white hair and high cheekbones, rosy with the coolness of the air. In his intelligent eyes, of a blue “heart of a glacier illuminated by the sun”, there was a strange mixture of firmness and softness. Her clothes of splendid fabrics, from the dress to the coat, were only shimmering.
Naïa, captivated, welcomed him with deference, as one welcomes a princess… And Lord came out of his box declaiming:

— Madam, I have been looking for you for so many years.
That’s when it all went wrong… Ludmila pocketed the thimble with everything it contained and ran away.
Naïa could not catch up with her.

Despite her efforts to continue to treat pain, restore souls, quench sorrows, without Lord, Naïa could not repair everything. But she didn’t lose hope and bought a thimble…maybe the gift would come back.

Naïa died six months ago. Today, I managed to make, with my eyes closed, an envelope identical to the one she gave me. My mother told me her story. Tomorrow, I will go to the cemetery, I will look for a knight and then, we will see if the gift accepts to manifest itself again.

The End

The Wheel of Time

On November 19, a series on Prime Video is released adapting a book series that I love: The Wheel of Time and I am both impatient and at the same time afraid of the result. On the other hand, I found The Witcher cheap on the trailers and I expected the worst but even if the series is mega cheap actually I liked it so hopefully the Wheel of Time will be cool it too.
In short, I love his books and this universe and I wanted to take this outing to tell you a little bit about it.
Do not see any sponsor on this article even if I didn’t say no, if Amazon wants to contact me … ^^ ’


Well in summary, The Wheel of Time what is it all about?

So The Wheel of Time by Jordan and Brandon Sanderson consists of 14 books, a prequel and an encyclopedia, not to mention the derivative products. So inevitably with more than 10,000 pages to read I cannot be exhaustive in a summary and then to avoid spoilers I will only give a hook to the story.

So begins this adventure:

Moiraine who is an Aes Sedai (a magician) and her champion Al’lan Mandragoran arrive in a small village in the province of the two rivers. The following night, the village is attacked by Trolllocs (monsters).
The monsters appear to be targeting 3 young villagers Rand, Mar and Perrin.
The 3 young people, accompanied by Moiraine, Al’lan and the minstrel Thom Merrilin try to escape the creatures of Dark One.


A beginning that looks terribly like a certain book by our dear Tolkien, it is normal and it is a homage totally assumed. The rest gets complicated and this is clearly the moment when the story gets exciting.

In bulk, we find:

  • A prophecy about the Reincarnated Dragon, a man who would be responsible for the downfall or rehabilitation of the world.
  • A catastrophe that took place 3000 years ago and ravaged half the world has made the practice of magic very frowned upon or even feared.
  • A world where men who practice magic gradually lose their sanity. Only women from Aes Sedai are allowed to practice. Part of this order is responsible for hunting down and killing men practicing magic.

Of course the characters evolve over the volumes and show themselves more and more worked and as in the work of JRR Martin, the politics and the interactions between the different characters take a considerable importance (while being less dark and can be read easily by a younger audience).

The wheel of time is also a journey. We discover lots of exotic places and cultures very different from each other, while being very rich.

On the other hand, the story is long, it is true, but it knows very well how to renew itself and at no time are you bored, you always want to know more and for my part I never let go of my reading than when I was exhausted.

If you liked mythology, it’s a nice puzzle to find from which one or another element of the story is taken, so many references have inspired the author, whether it is the Bible, Buddhism, the ‘Islam, Nordic or Asian myths …

Conclusion:

I wanted to tell you about this saga because for me and I don’t think I’m the only one, The Wheel of Time is one of the greatest literary sagas of all time and I weigh my words.
I have never seen such a level of detail in the creation of a fictional world. And the story is just as good as a Lord of the Rings. The only little flaw is that there are one or two annoying characters, but the story is fantastic.
So Amazon’s prime video series is super cool but please try to dig up the books, you won’t regret it.

Midnight Session n°3 : Lady in The Water.

M. Night Shyamalan is a funny director. First, there were the hit hits “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable”. Then more mixed films with in 2002 “Signs”, then “The Village” two years later. Critics were quick to label it as the new Steven Spielberg (one of his references), even his natural successor (which seems a little disproportionate to me). How is this “Lady in The Water” positioned?


I’ve always been a big fan of fantasy. When you spend a certain amount of time in hospitals, it’s a literary and filmic genre perfect for changing your mind.
One thing I love all the more about fantasy is when it steps into the “normal” world and what is more normal than a stuttering janitor by the name of Cleveland in an apartment complex ?

The normal man :


Paul Giamatti ideally sticks to this ordinary guy, rather withdrawn, without particular intelligence. His daily life is just a string of uninteresting odd jobs: repairing a washing machine, exterminating a pest in a kitchen, changing defective bulbs … these mini-scenes camp, often with a lot of humor, the profile of the hero who still ignores himself and reveals a gallery of rather colorful tenants.

What I like most about this film are the themes it addresses:

  • Who are we beyond appearances?
  • Who are we, once the mask of social conventions has been removed?
  • What unexpected forces are sleeping in us?
  • What do we know about ourselves?

And his characters of a great banality at first glance but who will know their importance:

  • A little boy who reads the cereal boxes,
  • a group of friends who remade the world around a beer,
  • an old lady who attracts butterflies …

the sketched portraits seem to go away, before delivering an almost cosmic meaning to the film.

The disturbing strangeness :

Picture from Fur Affinity

That a red-haired nymph (Bryce Dallas Howard <3) is frolicking in the complex’s swimming pool, looking for a human with whom she must communicate before she can return to her blue world, does not seem to surprise our discreet concierge . Or how a Chinese legend for children is anchored in the reality of a world of adults who buried his childhood.
The nymph must be saved from the clutches of a dark creature, half warthog half wolf with long spiky hairs and ferocious rumbles. Yes, it is disturbing. Yes, it is scary. As were the aliens in “Signs”, the ghosts in “The Sixth Sense”. Make no mistake, evil lurks everywhere, every moment. Let us remain vigilant, let us wake up, let us unite.

Obviously, the cocktail works only if one implicitly accepts the postulate of the legend which takes life and body, which one lets oneself carry by the irrational. The tilting is done very smoothly, almost imperceptibly. We feel irresistibly drawn. In turn poetic, fantastic, nightmarish, “The Lady in The Water” proves, if need be, that Mr. Night Shyamalan is a truly original filmmaker, endowed with a certain talent for narration and an intriguing vision of world. Qualities all the more appreciable as they are hardly legion in the Hollywood microcosm.

Conclusion :

It may be because I saw this film as a child but I like it a lot. It is a lovely tale that makes our imagination work, in search of the smallest element that can make us think that our reality may contain a hint of magic.

In doing my research, I realized that the reviews were really bad. However, seeing the film recently I do not have the impression that it is justified. If you have a different opinion I will be happy that you share it in the comments. As for the people who would have passed by, I can only advise you to see it, especially if you have kept a child’s soul.

The Midnight Session n°1 : The Shape of Water

Today I wanted to offer you a new article format.
In “The Midnight Session”, I wanted to talk about more or less known films, all of which had a strange or disturbing atmosphere in common. My goal here is to introduce you to films that are worth watching or to try to teach you some things about others that are already well known to the general public.

What I love about Guillermo Del Toro :

What I like about Del Toro is that he is still one of the only directors to offer original and intelligent stories, populated by strange creatures taking the spectators into worlds oscillating between dreams and nightmares.


And strange creatures, he loves it!
It is inside his house nicknamed “Bleak House”, a sort of huge cabinet of curiosities, that our director stores his collections of books and objects related to horror and fantasy. Collection which constantly feeds his imagination and which he transcribes through his films to the delight of fans of the genre.

« The Shape of Water »


“The Shape of Water” tells the story of a mute woman working for the United States government (know you know why I choose this film for this first midnight session 😁). Around a corridor she discovers a room in which a strange creature is held. The two will end up having this friendship, until their relationship turns into a love story.

Guillermo Del Toro signs there a poetic and moving film whose history places it in America of the Sixties plagued by paranoia and racism. The woman and the creature, both too different in their own way will see through each other this beauty that the others do not perceive and will not leave indifferent other characters who will come to help the liberation of the creature.

Kind of Beauty and the Beast aquatic version, borrowing its sticky side from Howard Philippe Lovecraft, “The Shape of Water” is visually superb. With an aesthetic that will also remind video game enthusiasts of the atmosphere of the “Bioshock” series.

One would have thought that this film was a prequel to another film by Del Toro, his adaptation of Hellboy, in which another creature half man half fish was already present, but, although it is the same actor under the two masks , it is not so.
“The Shape of Water” is a unique and poetic film that pays tribute to a great film from the 1950s:


“The creature from the black lagoon”, directed by Jack Arnold in 1954.
The film tells the story of a team of scientists who during an expedition to the Amazon discover that a very ancient creature lives in the waters of the river.

Accusation of plagiarism!

“The Shape of Water” also raised a few waves of challenges and Del Toro was accused of plagiarism.


It seems that a novel by Paul Zindel, “Let me hear you whisper” would have the same theme. A cleaning lady from a biology laboratory falls in love with a captive dolphin.
There are many identical elements:

• The 60s ;
• The military scientific complex;
• Tyrannical superiors;
• The escape in a linen trolley …

Although Del Toro is still prohibited from having read the book, it is doubtful.


Another work may still have been a “strong inspiration”, it is the short film “The space between us”, released in 2015.
We find exactly the same themes and very similar plans.
Here’s what to make your own opinion:

Conclusion:

Plagiarism or not does not detract from the charms of “The Shape of Water”, which I absolutely recommend to you, because this kind of film is far too rare in cinemas. Supported by charismatic actors like Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon, the work of Del Toro is a fantastic and extraordinary film, as only a passionate storyteller can bring us.

The alternative :

If you liked “The Shape of Water”, on a similar theme, I suggest the film “Cold Skin”. A Franco Spanish film directed by Xavier Gans.

In the early 1900s, a man settled on an island lost in the middle of the Atlantic to study the climate, but the island was also inhabited by a lighthouse keeper and a strange creature.
Adaptation of the eponymous Catalan novel, this film is a real gem worthy of the stories of Lovecraft.

See you soon for a next Midnight Session!