Friday, 6 April 2012

Magic Carpet Ride

I always wished I had a magic carpet when I was a child. I do a bit now, too. It would be amazing to fly everywhere and anywhere on a whim. For nothing. And yet there's something flimsy and slightly dangerous about a flying carpet too!

The programmes I talked about in my last post featured flying carpets quite heavily and I can remember distinctly trying to get the hearth rug to levitate in a similar fashion. It never happened.

The most familiar flying carpet these days is probably the one from Disney's Aladdin. My children loved this film and the spin-offs too. I had a few issues with it that aren't worth airing here and now. The magic carpet in these films was an actual character. Comical, mischievous, the carpet would cause all kinds of chaos but often saved its master in the nick of time.

In Russian folklore, Baba Yaga supplies Ivan the Fool with a flying carpet.

Solomon was said to have a flying carpet, although it wasn't the carpet that did the flying really. In truth, it was Solomon's control over the winds that lifted the carpet. In the stories, he flew wherever he pleased, taking a huge entourage with him, even his throne!

But Solomon became proud and boastful so God took his power over the winds away midflight and the carpet plummeted to earth, spilling many thousands to their doom. Only a last-minute repentance saved Solomon.

Reading this story, I shuddered at the idea of falling from such a height. As I say, the idea of a flying carpet is exciting but also frightening. Your grip on it would be so tenuous, and the idea of a few centimetres of fabric between you an the ground makes me shiver.

And so the carpet in Th Bonehill Curse is some kind of hybrid. Mischievous, but fatally so. It has a mind of its own and is slightly psychotic. Ragged and torn, black and battered, it's not the kind of carpet you trust with your life. I wouldn't trust it if it were laid out in front of my living room fire!

And the tune that haunted my mind and ears whilst writing this? Enjoy!

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