Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘lichen’

Storytelling Starters ~ Signs and symbols

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

Butterfly artYou may well remember the story. Or perhaps you’ll have retained just some essence of it. Often entitled in print, The Soul as Butterfly, it’s an Irish tale which  I’ve recounted in this blog before. It seems to me to encapsulate something about the kind of symbolism I talked about last week.

A story worth knowing:

A butterfly emerges from the open mouth of a man who lies asleep in a field. His companion who has just woken sees it and, astonished, follows as it flies towards the stream that runs beside the field, then through the reeds that grow at the water’s edge until it comes to a place where the branch of a tree has been placed over the stream to make a crossing.

In its hazy-dazy way, the butterfly flies across the stream and the man who’s been following it follows there too until it reaches a skull that’s lying, whitened, on the ground. The butterfly alights on what must have been the forehead of the creature whose skull this was (it looks like the skull of a horse),  then enters through one of the holes where the eyes would have been. After a long pause, it re-emerges and, in the same hazy-dazy way, makes its way back to the sleeper who still lies prone in the field. Suddenly it’s gone. Now the sleeper’s companion can’t be sure if it’s gone back into his friend’s mouth. What he certainly experiences is his friend awaking, sitting up and saying, ‘I’ve had such a marvellous dream.’ (more…)