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In the run-up to Christmas, our busiest period, I wonder if Kobo will adopt the Christmas spirit of giving and come clean with just how much they have retained, or should that be stolen, for themselves.

Folklore and Fairytales

A while ago I registered with Kobo books to make our fundraising books available as eBooks. Kobo then “did the dirty” and decided that they are entitled to the greater share of the profits (70%), much in the same way as Amazon does. When I challenged them on why they have done this and why they believe they have the right to this money and not the charities we raise funds for, I received no reply – not from the CEO nor the FD.

I then “upped the ante” and Kobo responded by closing my account but did not remove the books I had listed with them.

Kobo are now not advising me of any sales and I have to conclude that they are retaining the funds for themselves.

My response is PLEASE DO NOT BUY books or eBooks from Kobo.

Rakuten owns Kobo. Please tweet Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani…

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ONCE upon a time, a wise raven lived in the top of the Giralda, the Moorish bell tower of the cathedral in Seville, Spain. The raven was old, so old that his head was not black, but gray. The tower, too, is old, and is crowned by the large, bronze figure of Faith which serves as a weather vane. For four centuries, el Girandello, the weather vane, has turned with the wind; and it was four centuries ago, that the raven was living in the tower. All day, he would sit on his perch, with his learned head cocked on one side as he sleepily studied the stonework of the belfry, or alertly discussed weighty matters with his bird comrades and with the wind. At night, he was often deep in talk with his special friend, the owl, who, when tired of roaming through the tops of the giant palm trees or of prowling into out-of-the-way nooks in the cathedral roof, liked to tell of his adventures. For, in night wanderings, the owl sometimes flew near the quiet Guadalquiver which flowed by Seville, and he heard the river murmur tales of the Tower of Gold on its bank; or he peered into the gardens of the Alcazar where Spanish kings had long had their palace, and heard, from the moonbeams, tales which, when repeated, made even the raven’s sober thoughts turn sprightly. What the raven liked best to hear was what the owl, or any one else, could tell of the Giralda itself or of the mighty Cathedral below the tower. For the raven cared for nothing in the world so much as he cared for this tall tower, up whose winding passage, of three hundred feet, men had ridden on horseback, almost to the very top. Yes, with his own eyes he had seen those riders. Before the days of the riders, in the time when the bells of the Giralda summoned the Moors to prayer, there had been, on the spire, four large, gilded, copper balls that shone like golden apples. After an earthquake had thrown down the copper balls, el Girandello was placed on the top of the dome. The raven considered himself the owner of el Girandello and, in truth, of all the Giralda. Who, but himself, had perched on the sills of the twin windows that looked out, high in the tower, over the white-roofed Seville? Who, but himself, had stood upon the helmet on the head of el Girandello? Not the owl!–the raven saw to that! And not another bird of his acquaintance, surely! He knew himself to be the oldest raven in the world; he knew himself to be the wisest raven in the world;–and he certainly owned the whole of the Giralda!

The raven, in short, was entirely satisfied with his belfry and its bells. It was a rectangular belfry, and on the four faces of the rectangular stage, high up, were inscribed the four words: Turris . . . Fortissima . . . Nomen . . . Domini1 The great bells, each christened with holy oil, had their own names. There were Santa Maria and San Juan; there was la Gorda, or The Fat; there was brave San Miguel; there was el Cantor, or The Singer; and there was many another. At times, the bells rang softly through the still air that hovered over the flat-roofed city. At other times, they rang out with such noisy clamor that the vibration penetrated the houses farthest away, and the raven of the Giralda clung to his stone perch as closely as the leaves of the cocoa tree cling to their twigs. The raven liked el Cantor better than all the other bells. He couldn’t sing a note himself, but he liked this singing bell, with its especially clear tone. On spring evenings when the fragrance of orange blossoms and acacias filled the air, The Singer would peal forth such a glad note that the people down in the street would say, “El Cantor is feeling fine tonight”; and the raven, up in the tower, would croak loudly with him, though he never croaked with any other bell.

Now it happened that the wind, even more than the owl, was a friend of the raven. This was not only because the wind was usually a gentle, lovable, sunny-hearted fellow, but because he was always around the tower, day and night, whereas the owl hid all day.

RAVEN OF THE GIRALDA - Raven Ringing the Bell

When the raven felt like talking, the wind was always on hand to listen. That was a friend worth having! The wind, too, often told capital stories.

One afternoon, the wind told the raven an astonishing tale. The wind had it from the owl who, in turn, had it from the passarinno–that small, gray bird who sings like an angel. To this passarinno, the story had come down from his ancestor, of a much earlier time. That ancestor had told it to the wind of his day, who wafted it to the ears of King Alfonso, the Sage. Perhaps, in the later days, it had grown by traveling (passarinno to owl, owl to wind, wind to raven); for, when Alfonso, in the thirteenth century, wrote the tale in his big book of Cantigas, it wasn’t just like the passarinno’s story to the owl three centuries later. Would you like to hear the tale? Anyone may hear it. To believe the tale as it should be believed, and to understand it aright, you must be able to know the power of melodious sounds, as truly as the blind organist of Seville Cathedral knew that power. If you do not know anything about the music of the trees, or the music of the birds, or the music of the air, you may as well stop reading this story and gather nuts instead. Listen to the tale, if you will; here it is, as the wind told it to the raven.

“For, sir,” began the wind,” it was a passarinno who told the owl and the owl told me. The owl had been praising the voice of the passarinno, but the passarinno protested and said,

‘My voice is nothing compared to the voice of my ancestress–the passarinna 2 who entranced the monk.’ Now, pray, explain your words,’ said the owl. The passarinno answered, pleasantly, ‘Sit comfortably and I will tell you all.’ They were in the garden of the Alcazar and were perched on a tall cocoa tree. The owl settled himself on a wide, sweeping leaf, and the passarinno perched himself on a leaf above.

‘My ancestress,’ the passarinno went on, ‘was the most marvelous singer ever known. Her home was in the garden, just outside the Court of Oranges beside the Giralda, and when she was singing she would look up at the tower. But she rarely was heard by anyone, because she chose to live in the unfrequented part of the great garden. One morning a monk came, very slowly, along the path that led to the shrubbery where the passarinna lived, and my ancestress knew at once three things about that monk: first, that he was good; second, that he was old; third, that he was weary. The monk sat down, rather heavily, beside the fountain that was sending a cool, orange-scented, shimmering spray of water into the air. Leaning over the edge of the pool, he bathed his hands in the clear water and bathed his face. The passarinna could plainly see how refreshing, to the tired monk, the water felt; for there came into his face a look like the look on a parched tree when a shower renews it. The weary lines on the monk’s brow passed away, as cloud-bars vanish from the evening sky, leaving fairness and tranquillity. He sat, for some time, with a smile on his face, looking up at the tree tops and at the Giralda beyond. Then, kneeling down–and his knees were not as stiff as when he entered the garden–he prayed aloud that he might be permitted to know what the happiness of Paradise would be like. It was at that moment the passarinna–marvelous ancestress of mine–began to sing.

RAVEN OF THE GIRALDA - The Monk rose from his knees

‘The monk rose from his knees, and, with a smile on his face, seated himself in the thickest part of the shrubbery, where he could see the passarinna and where the passarinna could see him. That bird of birds sang on and on, now softly, now triumphantly, now wistfully, now ecstatically. There was such charm in her singing, all the leaves forgot to rustle. There was such charm in the melody, the water in the fountain ceased moving–the breezy air was hushed and wondering–the day faded imperceptibly into night, and the stars came nearer earth to hear the song. Still the passarinna sang on and on and on. Still the monk listened happily, with an exalted look in his eyes, and was unaware of the passing of hours or of days. As the passarinna continued her heavenly song, time itself stopped, though life went on. . . . The monk listened, listened in rapture, while joyous satisfaction held his whole being . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

RAVEN OF THE GIRALDA - There came to the door of the monastery

‘Late one afternoon,’ went on the passarinno, ‘there came to the door of the monastery near the Giralda, an aged, worn-looking man, long-bearded, and in shabby monk’s dress. The prior himself answered his knock and said, “Who are you, poor stranger, and what do you want?”

‘The monk stammered in much confusion, “Good father, I belong here . . . I left the monastery this morning for a walk. . . . I come back–all is changed. I do not understand. The trees look different . . . the monastery is larger . . . you are not my prior . . . nothing is the same. Where am I? . . . What has happened since morning? . .

I heard a bird sing, and I was so entranced with the song I may have stayed away too long.”

‘The prior and the brother monks who had now come to the door looked at one another in surprise, and said, in low tones, “He is evidently not himself. . . . The man does not know what he says.”

‘The prior then spoke to the man, kindly, saying, “What is your name?”

“I am Brother Jubilo,” the monk replied; “I mean, . . . he stammered, “that was my name in the monastery . . . that was what I was called this morning.”

‘The oldest monk among those at the door now looked thoughtful. It was to him that the others always turned whenever any knowledge of the past was wanted. “Attend my words,” he suddenly said to the prior. “Three hundred years ago a brother monk, named Jubilo, wandered off and was never again seen. My Father–my brother monks—I am of the opinion that we have before us, this day, a true marvel! I am sure this poor monk and that Jubilo, of three hundred years ago, are the same!”

‘Then the prior, believing, took the monk warmly by the hand and brought him into the monastery, and all rejoiced.’

‘That, ‘said the passarinno to the owl, ‘is the story of my ancestress, the passarinna of long ago. The Giralda knows I speak truth.’

And the wind, as he finished the tale, remarked, “That’s all the story, sir; but the passarinno does speak truth.”

“Truth it is,” replied the raven, “and I’ll keep the story going.”

Then the sunny wind brushed the tail feathers of the raven and blew along his leisurely way, through the streets of Seville.

The raven sat stolidly in his niche, gazing with keen eyes at the city spread out below the Giralda–its flat-roofed houses gleaming in soft colours, from blue and gray to palest pink. He watched the women watering their carnations on the roofs. He saw the motionless, dusky Guadalquiver, in the late afternoon light. His eyes followed the group of boys coming to the Cathedral to practice their solemn dance. Turning his wise, old head, he looked toward the gardens of the Alcazar, then down at the Court of Oranges, and at the roof of the vast Cathedral below him–its parapets, and buttresses. His roving gaze went all over the city until sundown. The bells of the Giralda sent out their evening peal, and el Cantor’s vibrating tone fell softly on the waiting breeze. The raven sturdily croaked, croaked, until el Cantor stopped singing; then, humping himself into a ball, he tucked his head under his feathers and went to sleep.

RAVEN OF THE GIRALDA - The Raven Sings

From: TOWER LEGENDS

ISBN: 9781907256349

URL: http://abelapublishing.com/tower-legends_p27279490.htm

Also available as an eBook in PDF and ePub

Footnotes

1 The name of the Lord a most steadfast tower.

2 Passarinna (the feminine form of passarinno) is the diminutive of the Old Spanish pasara (in modern Spanish, pajara). The nearest equivalent today is Passerina (sparrow), the painted finch.

Raven of the Giralda - Sevilla_La_Giralda

Here’s something that might interest you……

For more than half a century, America’s vast literary culture has been disparately policed, and imperceptibly contained, by state and corporate entities well placed and perfectly equipped to wipe out wayward writings. As America does not ban books, other means—less obvious, and so less controversial—have been deployed to vaporize them. The purpose of Forbidden Bookshelf is to bring such disappeared books back to life so that readers may finally learn what those in power did not want anyone to know.

By looking deep into the darker trends and episodes in US history, these brave works help show how America became the land it is today, and how we might start to change it.

 

http://www.openroadmedia.com/forbidden-bookshelf

forbidden Bookshelf

 

An Excerpt from “Wonder Tales from Baltic Wizards”

 

THE stars shine down!

The Northern Lights flash over the sky,

and the Milky Way glows white!

Listen to the song of the Wizard

of the Crystal-Lighted Cavern!

 

AH! BEAUTIFUL was Linda the lovely daughter of Uko. She showed all the skypaths to the little birds, when they came flocking home in the springtime or flew away in autumn. She cared as gently and tenderly for the little birds, as a mother cares for her children. And just as a flower bespangled with a thousand drops of dew shines and smiles in the morning sunshine, so Linda shone while caring for her little winged ones.

Thus it was no wonder that all the world loved Linda. Every youth wished her for his bride, and crowds of suitors came to woo her.

In a handsome coach with six brown horses, the Pole Star drove up, and brought ten gifts. But Linda sent him away, with hurried words:

“You always have to stay in the same place. You cannot move about,” said she.

Then came the Moon in a silver coach drawn by ten brown horses. He brought her twenty gifts. But Linda refused the Moon, saying:

“You change your looks too often. You run in your same old way. You do not suit me.

Hardly had the Moon driven sorrowfully off, before the Sun drove up. In a golden coach with twenty red-gold horses, he rattled up to the door. He brought thirty presents with him. But all his pomp, shining splendor, and fine gifts did not help him. Linda said:

“I do not want you. You are like the Moon. Day after day you run in the same street.”

So the Sun went away sorrowful.

Then at midnight, in a diamond coach drawn by a thousand white horses, came the Northern Lights. His coming was so magnificent, that Linda ran to the door to meet him. A whole coach-load of gold, silver, pearls and jewelled ornaments, the servants of the Northern Lights carried into the house and his gifts pleased her, and she let him woo her.

“You do not always travel in the same course,” said Linda. “You flash where you will, and stop when you please. Each time you appear robed in new beauty and richness, and wear each time a different garment. And each time you ride about in a new coach with new horses. You are the true bridegroom!”

Then they celebrated their betrothal. But the Sun, Moon, and Pole Star looked sadly on. They envied the Northern Lights his happiness.

The Northern Lights could not stay long in the bride’s house, for he had to hurry back to the sky. When he said farewell, he promised to return soon for the wedding, and to drive Linda back with him to his home in the North. Meanwhile, they were to prepare Linda’s bridal garments.

Linda made her bridal robes, and waited and waited. One day followed the other, but the bridegroom did not come to hold the joyous wedding with his beloved. The winter passed, and the lovely spring adorned the earth with fresh beauty, while Linda waited in vain for her bridegroom. Nothing was seen of him!

Then she began to grieve bitterly and lament, and to sorrow day and night. She put on her bridal robes and white veil, and set the wreath on her head, and sat down in a meadow by a river. From her thousand tears little brooks ran into the valleys. In her deep heart-felt sorrow she thought only of her bridegroom.

The little birds flew tenderly about her head, brushing her with their soft wings, to comfort her. But she did not see them, nor did she take care of them anymore. So the little birds wandered about, flying here, flying there, for they did not know what to do or where to go.

Uko, Linda’s father, heard of her sorrow and how the little birds were untended. He ordered his Winds to fetch his daughter to him, to rescue her from such deep grief. And while Linda was sitting alone in the meadow weeping and lamenting, the Winds sank softly down beside her, and gently lifting her, bore her up and away. They laid her down in the blue sky.

And there is Linda now, dwelling in a sky-tent. Her white bridal veil spreads round her. And if you look up at the Milky Way, you will see Linda in her bridal robes. There she is, showing the way to little birds who wander.

Linda is happy! In winter she gazes towards the North. She waves her hand at the Northern Lights flashing nearer and nearer, then he again asks her to be his bride.

But though he flashes very close to Linda, heart to heart, he cannot carry her off. She must stay forever in the sky, robed in white, and must spread out her veil to make the Milky Way.

 

From: Wonder Tales of Baltic Wizards [1928]

ISBN: 9781907256585

URL: http://abelapublishing.com/wonder-tales-from-baltic-wizards

Wonder Tales from Baltic Wizards - Cover

Wonder Tales from Baltic Wizards – Cover

 

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