* 
Welcome Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?


*
gfxgfx Home Forum Help Search Login Register   gfxgfx
gfx gfx
gfx
Pages: [1] 2 3
Print
Author Topic: The Facts of Life - A Santharian Mother's Letter to her Daughter  (Read 8784 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Bard Judith
Santh. Member
***

Gained Aura: 365
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 7.653


Dwarvenmistress


View Profile Homepage
« on: 05 August 2008, 01:02:54 »

Well, let me provide some context here!  I was working on a contraceptive herb - which I don't need to justify historically, but can if anyone needs me to  grin - which I thought I'd call Sylphion, in honour of the ancient and extinct silphium (various spellings, but have fun googling it - this is one of the most amusingly-written entries on it here:  http://www.salon.com/health/feature/1999/07/01/fennel/ )

In the process of conceiving the entry (yes, I know, I couldn't resist the pun) I realized that merely writing up a standard format Herbarium submission wouldn't cut it with this plant.  It was too interesting and too sensitive - from a medieval perspective.  So then, how could I integrate it into our Compendium, as 'public' information?  This was what I chose to do - a letter from a mother to her daughter on the eve of her womanhood.  It contains 'frank speaking' but if you are over thirteen I think you probably know / should know most of this already... :P


Please read and comment - I think it won't be too arduous and you might actually enjoy the different writing style.  E.E.s also available for discovery!



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


This letter was donated to the Compendium as part of a collection of correspondence by a famous literary figure dating back to the turn of the century (1600) and is unique for its frankness, given the day in which it was written.  Since we could not better its advice in some areas, we give it here – alas, not in full.  Some sections - while wise - are not as relevant to today’s reader, some are too personal to record and have been omitted at the daughter’s request, and some pages were damaged over the years.  However, the original document resides in the Compendium’s lectionarium, and may be accessed by serious scholars upon presentation of the appropriate authorizations.   

Please note that we feel free to record herbal information that was long held as secret and passed down from woman to woman, usually in the oral tradition.  In this time of culture and refinement, we cannot be so easily shocked as our grand-dams – or more likely, grand-sires – were…also, as Compendiumists we hold that all knowledge is worth having, and that knowing empowers us all.  However, lest some use this for ill, we have carefully disguised the name and actual appearance of the herb in question (see OF THE BED AND CONSEQUENCES, below)  The others which are far more common, and already known to most, we have not so altered. 

The author’s forthright style shows her own erudition; broadly-read and experienced she undoubtedly was, and we must envy the young Ionha (a pseudonym for discretion’s sake) the loving epistle which so gently listed the essential facts of life for her.  If you, too, are thirteen or older, we ask you to take up these parchments and read, with tender eyes.



My dear Ionha, my daughter, my first-born, my own:

I write this missive to you on the day that marks the thirteenth year of your birth, and shall give it to you on the day that you begin your courses.  I have in this writing a great gift for you - some woman’s wisdom which you, as a woman, must know and pass along to your own daughters when their time comes; treasure these words and keep them in your mind, for they will serve you well over the future years of your life.   Some have come down to you from your grandmothers and great-grandmothers, from grand-dams so far back that we can scarce understand the tongue in which they wrote.

   I shall treat of various topics, but of each write but briefly, for had we time an entire treatise might not suffice to teach you all there is to tell.  Mark each that you may ask  more of me in private, or of other women -  should Queprur take me untimely – for ‘every maid that hath breasts’, as the saying has it, must know and learn these things be she more than a bed-warmer or wittol.

OF MEN AND THEIR WAYS there is more than would take your lifetime to encompass, but you shall keep these simple precepts to your heart and expand upon them as you speak with other females.  Here is wisdom from your ancestors; hear it well.

Thy wisdom always exceedeth his, yet as clearly thou must not let him know of this.

Each day feed him well and speak him gently, with what praise thou mayest honestly give.   Thou mayst snare more flies with malisehoney than with soured milk.

Men are stronger in body, yet we are stronger in mind, and can bear that which would crush them utterly.  More sorrows are given us, but also the strength to carry them. 

Let him lead, but always do thou lead from the shadows.  There are many ways to do this:  (omitted)

Do not go unto thy nightly rest with a quarrel unmended between thee.

When that he hath an ague, or some small illness, he would fain seem dying.  Be not overly concerned, but minister unto him without laughter or mocking words, and he will heal the faster.   Accept that if thou doth in turn fall ill, scant help will be thy portion, for neither mate nor child will take thy daily duties from thee.

(several pages omitted)


OF MONIES AND THEIR DISPERSALS (entire section omitted, due to damage.  Several scribes are currently attempting to restore these pages, but the task is not complete; we shall merely continue with the next section of the letter. )


OF HOUSEHOLD DUTIES I need not speak at length, for I have confidence in how well I have trained you, my Ionha.   Let me only give such small reminders as carry the most weight, so that your house and its people may be blessed by your constant care.

Be tight-fisted in the morning and open-handed in the evening.  This old saying means that you should hoard your resources at the beginning of any task, and disperse them more freely as you reach the end.  Also, patience and tempers are more supple early on, and you may dictate to servants or family as you will then, but when one is weary, unlooked-for favours are sweeter.  If you ensure your bed-farewells are full of reasons for thanks, your graciousness will remain in sleeping hearts and take root during the night.

Make certain that your household observes the first-day of rest, and whatever holy days or ritual days are kept by the clan into which you marry.  You, and those beneath you, will do more the other six days for the rest on the one.   

Choose a hobbit cook in a dwarven kitchen, a gnome for your sutler, a human groom and an elven chatelaine – served thus,  your household will never run more smoothly.


(Transcriber’s Note:  This famous quote, usually attributed to Gebl the Brownie, has been altered and abridged.  One might guess that the author wished to protect her daughter’s ears – though her forthrightness in later areas makes that somewhat suspect.  Possibly, as a noble wife,  it came to her own ears in this form. )

Set your greens in Ploughin, prick them out at Seeddown, and weed from then to Jeystar.  You may harvest throughout, for if you do not they will go to seed promptly.

Buy low, sell high.


(other admonishments omitted, dealing with the hiring of servants, purchasing of foodstuffs, and so on)

OF ENTERTAINMENT AND COURTESIES you have had little to do with, for your youth has, as is proper, kept you from such.  Yet now you shall begin to play your part, and assist me in the hospitality which our house offers to all comers.   You know what is due our name, and as a noble family from the earliest generations, we have the wherewithal, Eyasha be praised, to show that forth.

- (to be added)
-
-

OF THE BED AND ITS CONSEQUENCES

Ere you come to your husband’s bed, you must consider wisely of the following matters, for they will direct the course of your life an you do neglect them.   I shall speak frankly that you not misunderstand me, so spare not your blushes, my dearest; ‘tis better pink cheeks than a full womb.

When you do lie together as a man and a maid - this is called ‘swiving’ or ‘futtering’ by the common and ‘sarding’, ‘furrowing’, or ‘coitus’ by those more learned…I think I need not describe the process itself further here – it may be for pleasure, but also for engenderment.  If you would not get with child ere your time, harken well.   Let me also caution you that you not let your mate, or any priest, or indeed any man, be he your own brother, be privy to what I shall write here, for many a male cannot abide the thought that his seed be less strong than a mere herb.  Men wish to father, preferably sons, but we are the ones who must bear them all, and if we would not be broken down to brood mares or die in unwanted childbirth, we must know and practice these secrets.


Courses / Cycles / Monthlies

Change your linens at midweek, and bathe not less.  Twice weekly is better, if you can have the water heated so often.  Cleanse your mouth and teeth with an infusion of XXX, and wipe them with a linen cloth, each day.  Some say after each meal, and if your holding is large enough, you may have a tot of the infusion always ready to do so.  In this way your breath and body will be sweet, and you shall preserve your health longer.

When your courses are upon you, change your cloths as they become soaked. Better still is a cloth with a pad of moonmoss therein.  Have your body-maid or other trusted servitor rinse the coursecloths in cold water, never heated.  When the stains are out you may treat with vinaigre or rosewater, then hang to whiten in the sun, but away from others’ eyes. 

Regulating your courses

Preventing conception

   Of  times

   Of positions

   Of herbs

        Wild Carroot / Faery Lace
        Shelfung Poudre
        Black Raspberry
        “Jeyriall-thwart’ – a mixture that may be bought as a tea
         Sylphion / Jeygift / Lovewort

The Mor-douce / Little Death / Release



Of Children and their Care and Rearing

Conception Desired - At such time as you should desire children, or your mate becomes impatient for an heir, you may begin to take these steps to assist conception.  (add)

With Child -  (notes on pregnancy's stages, diet, cravings, etc.)

Preparation of the Household - Look you get ready the items you will need to care for your coming babe.  These are the following that many women think necessary, though if you have love and a cradle you may dispense with many of these as luxuries.  Howebeit, suit yourself as your husband's pockets may allow, and cherish the child as best you may with or without.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Diapers - called 'clouts' or 'napkins' or 'pinneys' or 'swaddlerags' or 'mossbags' (this last is also a name for women's monthly pads - you have a slim sack which you fill with something absorbent...moonmoss for a choice, but soft rags if you can't afford the disposable dried moss)

Baby bottles - leather and horn, sometimes just horns with both ends open, sometimes a soft 'purse' of tightly sewn leather.  Usually women breastfeed, but improvisation is always necessary in special cases.

Ointment for children's rumps (and other spots) - based on the grease from sheepwool and some herbs

Powder - the pollen of a common flower, which has medicinal and anti-chafing properties, not to mention smelling sweetly!

Cribs, cradles, babetroughs, rocking seats, rocking chairs, spinning nursers, cloutshelves and the like

Leading strings?   Walker frames?  Cradleboards?   Baby hammocks?  Wagons?  Child carts (mother does her marketing with toddler, towing a low wagon with a bar across the back to hold the child in, and a box filling the front space for the various goods she's buying.  Only workable in large cities with paved or relatively flat roadways. )  Northern people undoubtedly have babysleighs.   

Babeslings, swaddlewraps, and infant packs, for busy mothers who need their hands free (NOT a modern invention!) but the child close or coming along with them.

Chamberpots / babeprivies / waste pails for 'bowel-learning'

-------------------------------------------


Giving Birth - (speak to your midwife and look that she is a woman of good character that you may trust, etc. etc.)

Newborns -


« Last Edit: 28 December 2008, 09:00:12 by Bard Judith » Logged

"Give me a land of boughs in leaf /  a land of trees that stand; / where trees are fallen there is grief; /  I love no leafless land."   --A.E. Housman
 
Tharoc Wargrider
Santh. Member
***

Gained Aura: 52
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1.643


Peripatetic plunderer of crunchy comestibles


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: 05 August 2008, 05:08:37 »

Brilliant!

The language reminds me of Mrs Beeton's Cookbook, you can't help smiling at the 'turn of phrase'.
Logged

Use the force, Luke.

And if that doesn't work, try switching it off and back on again.
Artimidor Federkiel
Administrator
*****

Gained Aura: 538
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 23.098



View Profile Homepage
« Reply #2 on: 05 August 2008, 14:40:17 »

I like those tiny bits of wisdom you put in here and there, JUdy:

Quote
"Thou mayst snare more flies with malisehoney than with soured milk."
*haha*

Which of course is just one example. The way you put in the Santharian references, e.g. when speaking of the household, from hobbit to dwarf and even Gebl manages to show up in that part, is once again very refreshing stuff :)

And everything you write about has its justification in this context, and I guess it's also quite realistic that this happens in letter form here. So no complaints from my side, and I also think that there isn't much to worry about in the remaining section. At any rate if there'd be doubt that something of this kind might not be written in the apporporiate form, then the fact that it's you who approaches this subject, Judy, makes it clear to me that the language you use fits the topic perfectly.

Ah yes, two things:

- I guess it isn't very clear in the introduction that a woman of the nobility is writing the following letter, should be stressed a bit more I think.

- I'm not sure on the teeth part that cleansing teeth after each meal was so common or considered healthy here in ages past (in regards of nobility or higher educated people, it surely didn't apply to the common folk), but I could be wrong, at least I'm not a dentist. Approaches on hygiene in general surely have dramatically differed from the class one was born in, so maybe that's somewhat difficult to generalize.

P.S. I changed the title of the proposal of this thread in the Moot Forum to "Proposal: ..." to distinguish it from this thread when it is shown in the side bar.
Logged



"Between the mind that plans and the hands that build there must be a mediator, and this must be the heart." -- Maria (Metropolis)
Alysse the Likely
Santh. Member
***

Gained Aura: 69
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 2.089



View Profile
« Reply #3 on: 05 August 2008, 21:42:04 »

I think this is great!  You have such a feel for language, Judy.  There is nothing inappropriate or vulgar here, just "plainspeaking".  Go for it!

Alysse
Logged

Alysse the Likely
Coren FrozenZephyr
Santh. Member
***

Gained Aura: 157
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 3.359



View Profile
« Reply #4 on: 11 August 2008, 19:07:22 »

You do have a great feel for language and writing to the purpose, Judith! An enviable submission once again! :)
Logged

"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Bard Judith
Santh. Member
***

Gained Aura: 365
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 7.653


Dwarvenmistress


View Profile Homepage
« Reply #5 on: 12 September 2008, 21:40:46 »

Bumping.  I could always use a few more comments, but since people in general thought this wasn't likely to be offensive, I'll get it back in gear and add the missing sections (colour in the outlines?)      Should be fun..... :)
Logged

"Give me a land of boughs in leaf /  a land of trees that stand; / where trees are fallen there is grief; /  I love no leafless land."   --A.E. Housman
 
Bard Judith
Santh. Member
***

Gained Aura: 365
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 7.653


Dwarvenmistress


View Profile Homepage
« Reply #6 on: 10 February 2011, 21:11:25 »

This has certainly languished long enough.  I had a request recently from someone who wanted some ideas on this topic, so I'm bumping for her benefit and also because it will eventually link to my most recent submission, Lovewort (which see).

Those of you who haven't read it, please enjoy - and your comments are, as usual, welcome!
Logged

"Give me a land of boughs in leaf /  a land of trees that stand; / where trees are fallen there is grief; /  I love no leafless land."   --A.E. Housman
 
Ta`lia of the Seven Jewels
Santh. Member
***

Gained Aura: 143
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 11.657


Shendar, Shen-D'auras


View Profile Homepage
« Reply #7 on: 11 February 2011, 02:38:56 »

Oh, I enjoyed it already when you posted it!

Maybe you should not have done this so openly.. I mean, there are plenty males who will read this .. ;)
Logged

"For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path  that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel looking,  breathlessly. ~Don Juan"
***Astropicture of the Day***Talia's Long, Long List***
Cruciform
Aspiring Member
**

Gained Aura: 18
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 290


a cruciform kaleidoscope


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: 11 February 2011, 03:45:39 »

*Slinks in*

Yeah... um... I don't know, hey. Maybe I'm just overreacting compared to other people, but I actually find a few things insulting in this, like:
Quote
Thy wisdom always exceedeth his, yet as clearly thou must not let him know of this.
and
Quote
Men are stronger in body, yet we are stronger in mind, (<-- also, remove this comment, otherwise you're just complimenting men, and we wouldn't want that) and can bear that which would crush them utterly.  More sorrows are given us, but also the strength to carry them.

I know it's a fictional thing and that no sane woman in her right mind would be that sexist, but... yeah, I actually find that insulting (to men AND women). Like I said, maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe I'm not. I'm just extremely touchy about sexism, even in fiction.
Logged

:: cruciform kaleidoscope (Dev. Schedule) ::
Artimidor Federkiel
Administrator
*****

Gained Aura: 538
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 23.098



View Profile Homepage
« Reply #9 on: 11 February 2011, 04:07:54 »

Well, this isn't meant to be an objective text, but rather an original letter used to illustrate circumstances. And it's frankness and directness is what makes it so special. So I don't see any problem with that, it just adds to the diversity of entries we have on the site.

The text is still not complete, though, as far as I can see. Also, we'd need to determine where exactly we should put it - so any kind of book suggestion would be welcome.
Logged



"Between the mind that plans and the hands that build there must be a mediator, and this must be the heart." -- Maria (Metropolis)
Ta`lia of the Seven Jewels
Santh. Member
***

Gained Aura: 143
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 11.657


Shendar, Shen-D'auras


View Profile Homepage
« Reply #10 on: 11 February 2011, 04:33:50 »

rolling

I knew it!

*comforts Cruci*
Logged

"For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path  that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel looking,  breathlessly. ~Don Juan"
***Astropicture of the Day***Talia's Long, Long List***
Cruciform
Aspiring Member
**

Gained Aura: 18
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 290


a cruciform kaleidoscope


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: 11 February 2011, 06:10:37 »

Well, this isn't meant to be an objective text, but rather an original letter used to illustrate circumstances. And it's frankness and directness is what makes it so special. So I don't see any problem with that, it just adds to the diversity of entries we have on the site.

The text is still not complete, though, as far as I can see. Also, we'd need to determine where exactly we should put it - so any kind of book suggestion would be welcome.

What I obviously didn't get across earlier is that I don't think it's necessary for sexism to be mirrored from Earth to a fictional setting.

So, while I'm sure that Judy's sane enough not to think like that, I still think it's extremely insulting to both men and women, not to mention that it's inherently insulting to humankind; there's no guarantee that we'd develop sexist tendencies in an entirely different habitat.

Touchy subject is touchy. I know there's that whole thing about "behind every powerful man is an even more powerful woman," but sexism should be avoided at all costs. I mean, you may as well add in, "Fear a man wielding a sack of oranges, for he knows they will leave no bruise" (true fact), or "Don't say the wrong thing, or you'll feel the back of your man's hand" or "<this other thing I was going to add in but then realised people would look it up and find out what it was and be all touchy about it>".
Logged

:: cruciform kaleidoscope (Dev. Schedule) ::
Deklitch Hardin
Santh. Member
***

Gained Aura: 103
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1.762


Elf friend


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: 11 February 2011, 06:29:19 »

An interesting point regarding this, Cruciform are your views of the current Premier of Queensland and Prime Minister of Australia. You have said previously you hate both of those people, not because of their policies or their parties but because they are women ... I recall you saying "I hate that woman" and so forth. Now, I'm not a fan of either of them, myself ... but I dislike them for their policies, lack of action and their parties, not because they are women :)

Personally, I don't have a problem with the 'sexism' in the entry ... actually, I find it refreshing that things like this are being included in entries. Otherwise to me it would become very dry and boring.

In my opinion, Some things are just too good to keep out of Santharia and Caelereth ... differences in opinion between the sexes, or 'sexism' are one of those things. :)

I happen to think that the differences between the sexes is an important thing to explore, not just physical differences, but ways they think etc.

So, while as a man, some of the things in the entry are challenging to me, I'm able to enjoy it in its entirety. I also have to admit that many of the observations made of the author of this missive regarding men are true to some extent (possibly a greater extent to which I'd be willing to admit) and gives me cause to stop and think.

Have people read some of the poems that Tharoc Ponyrider has provided to us from Septimus Smallpiece? The poems in there certainly show that 'sexism' is alive and well in Caelereth. :)
Logged

"And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space, because there's none at all down here on Earth." - Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
Athviaro Shyu-eck-Silfayr
Aspiring Member
**

Gained Aura: 64
Offline Offline

Posts: 857



View Profile
« Reply #13 on: 11 February 2011, 06:41:55 »

"Inherently insulting to humankind"? Not to be so, but that's pretty hard. We are cruel, callous, murderous, generally nasty people who need stringent laws to prevent rampant murder and violence.

Compulsory nihilistic rant over, I'd say that where "humans" are so based on Homo sapiens the "natural order" (ie, the way development is likely to go) is going to tend towards the sexist; what's more, I think that arguing we have no sexism is going against Santharian canon. I actually found it engaging and realistic, as well as brilliant.

Please take no offence, any members of the human race who read this. I addressed my remarks to humanity in the gross, not to anyone here.

Ath

EDIT: @Dek "I hate that woman" is not sexist. Please elaborate if you disagree
Logged

"I don't care what you did as a boy."
"Well, I did nothing as a girl, so there goes my childhood." - Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, The Gay Divorcee, 1934.
The Life and Works of Athviaro Shyu-eck-Silfayr
Kalta'hnk - My ramblings on anything to do with the Glandorians - The Glandorian Men (Proposal)
Deklitch Hardin
Santh. Member
***

Gained Aura: 103
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1.762


Elf friend


View Profile
« Reply #14 on: 11 February 2011, 07:14:29 »

Athviaro - To me, it is ... because the reason given for hating the person is based on the person's sex, not because of things that the person does or says or doesn't do or doesn't say.
Logged

"And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space, because there's none at all down here on Earth." - Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
Pages: [1] 2 3
Print
Jump to:  

Recent
[27 March 2019, 00:01:57]

[21 June 2018, 14:28:00]

[31 May 2017, 06:35:55]

[06 May 2017, 05:27:04]

[03 April 2017, 01:15:03]

[26 March 2017, 12:48:25]

[15 March 2017, 02:23:07]

[15 March 2017, 02:20:28]

[15 March 2017, 02:17:52]

[14 March 2017, 20:23:43]

[06 February 2017, 04:53:35]

[31 January 2017, 08:45:52]

[15 December 2016, 15:50:49]

[26 November 2016, 23:16:38]

[27 October 2016, 07:42:01]

[27 September 2016, 18:51:05]

[11 September 2016, 23:17:33]

[11 September 2016, 23:15:27]

[11 September 2016, 22:58:56]

[03 September 2016, 22:22:23]
Members
Total Members: 1089
Latest: c4r0lyn18
Stats
Total Posts: 144684
Total Topics: 11053
Online Today: 98
Online Ever: 337
(19 November 2019, 02:38:29)
Users Online
Users: 0
Guests: 87
Total: 87

Last 10 Shouts:
24 October 2019, 13:31:22
Hi and happy 2019 shoutout from me.
22 February 2019, 06:47:10
A delightful 2019 shout-out to you all ^^
21 November 2018, 23:39:14
Seems none of us can stay away ..
09 March 2018, 23:37:46
Dream goes on as long as there are dreamers my friend.
17 January 2018, 01:23:22
Oh, how I wish we could reawaken the Dream :)
16 January 2018, 11:55:48
Hello everyone!
14 September 2017, 09:40:04
Hello all! It's been a minute since I poked my nose in here. Can't remember if I ever did anything useful.
09 May 2017, 14:17:18
Ah, too bad that internet is so restricted in China, Ferra. Can't be much fun surfing the web that way if Big Brother's watching you... Hope you enjoy your stay nevertheless!
03 May 2017, 17:41:19
Hi, dear Arti and other developers!

This year I am in China and cannot use any Google services including YouTube. For this reason I stopped uploading new Nepris videos. I can also not read any comments there.

It just crossed my mind that this information might be useful to you.

Cheers

F
26 March 2017, 12:48:56
Hello to anyone that might read this. :)
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2005, Simple Machines
TinyPortal v0.9.8 © Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Theme based on Cerberus with Risen adjustments by Bloc and Krelia
Modified By Artimidor for The Santharian Dream
gfx
gfxgfx gfxgfx