In Celtic myths, the fairy kingdom is bright and beautiful. It brims with sweet drink ands song. But if you stay even one night, you may lose a hundred years in your own land.
Time does pass differently when you travel. You return brain packed with new voices, places, tastes. It feels as though you’ve been gone for an age. But at home no time seems to have passed at all.
People ask how I’ve been and for the first week, I mention the festival. Oh right, they say, you left. I find it hard to describe the festival as a whole. Usually, I focus on my fellow writers. I’ll be so excited to read Aura and Lize’s books when they come out in England. I’m hoping Eline and Siham will be translated some day soon.
But most of all, I talk of the pleasure of meeting the translator of this blog. Jeske has had to unpick my sentences and weave them back into Dutch and I haven’t made it easy for her. It was through her that I learned the expression Best Foot Forward does not exist in Dutch and that the Dutch do not snap wishbones in half. I’ve written about divination with the blade-bone of a rabbit. Jeske has a rabbit, small and fluffy and full of life. I felt bad for making her translate that passage. So when I got home, I tried to think of better rabbit lore.
Witches disguised themselves in the bodies of rabbits and hares. Sailors feared them. But rabbits were considered lucky too; hence the famous rabbit foot good luck charm. Of course, many have pointed out this doesn’t seem that lucky for the rabbit. None of these seemed like good snippets to pass on to Jeske.
Then I found this out—In the early 20th Century, English children said, White Rabbit, as a way of asking for luck. This continued to the era between World War I and II with slight variation. Some might say Black Rabbit before bed. Others repeated the word three times over: Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit. Those 1920s, children who whispered Black Rabbit on sleep-slowed lips and those who sung White Rabbit to the sun all grew up into a terrifying era. I don’t think that the syllables kept them safe. But, I hope they provided some comfort.
There is to me, a writer, something particularly charming about the idea that a word itself can be lucky. Rabbit is a good word it has a bounce to it. Ra-bit, you can feel the word hop out of your throat. The bounce is reassuring. Try it— White rabbit. White Rabbit. White Rabbit.