Thursday, January 29, 2015

Storytelling for Week 3: Prisoner in the Sun

All days were the same here.  Every morning when the sun became too bright to bear, I sat up on a little pile of dirt that had become my spot in the garden of Lanka.  My formerly yellow sari was now covered with the filth of my garden domain.  I stared at the sun because it reminded me of Rama, we used to joke about how his smile was as blinding as the sun’s rays.  Every night ends with the rising of the sun.  Just like this nightmare, this place, my spot in the garden, the cowls of rakshasis.  They were all temporary.  Like how the moon temporarily replaces the sun in the sky.

(Picture of a painting by Vincent van Gogh from Wikipedia.)

“Always staring off into space dear?  Are you trying to remember what your little lover looks like?”  One of the rakshasis cackled at me.  They appeared and disappeared periodically to torture me in the garden, their movements always silent.  It was hard to tell the difference between the rakshasis, all had jet black hair with ghostlike skin.  Or maybe I couldn’t tell any of the rakshasis apart from each other because every time they appeared my eyesight would go blurry.  They always knew how to bring tears to my eyes.  It was their voices more than anything.  

“How could the foolish girl even remember what her little Rama even looks like?  It’s been far too long and humans do not possess the longevity of memory like us asuras.  You know he has long forgotten you, he probably cannot even recall your name.  Besides, even if you were with him it was only a matter of time till he took another wife.  One with a slighter waist and more delicate feet.  He would never want a girl who lies around in the dirt all day.”  Another rakshasis bellowed at me.  There were three of them dressed in black from head to toe.  They mocked me as they danced around my spot in the dirt.  

“Oh precious and beautiful Sita born by mother nature herself.  Look at you now.  You were a princess and future queen of a pitiful human kingdom but now you’re exactly back to where you came from, dirt.”  Remarked the last rakshasis as they all cried with laughter.  They made obnoxious royal gestures to me and started to throw chunks of dirt.  My eyes became hazy with tears, “This is only temporary.”  

“Listen to me you foolish little brat.  Ravana cannot touch you without consent, but there is no curse to prevent us from bashing that pathetic brain out of your dainty little skull.”  The first rakshasis pulled my face towards hers and I was finally able to look one of them in the eyes.  They were like a shark’s eyes, cold and lifeless.  

“King Ravana wants you as his Queen.  I am certain that he will not mind if not all of you is intact.” With this statement all three of them jeered and pranced on me.  Their hands ruffled and violated every part of me.  They acted out breaking off my limbs from my body and snicked the entire time.  Just as I thought their pretend game was about to turn very real, an order to stop echoed across the trees.  All three immediately stopped and backed away, leaving me tussled and unkempt, lying on the ground.  

“I told you to guard her, not barrade her.”  It was Ravana, all of this twenty eyes glared at the rakshasis with displeasure.  
“We were just trying to convince her to go to your house my lord, and live out the rest of her piteous life in the pleasure you provide,”  hissed the rakshasis that had grabbed my face.  
“My sweet Sita, you are filthy.  I would not have resorted to having you stay in my garden if you had not refused to sleep in the palace.  Come inside and bathe.  I shall set you up in your own room and tell you latest of Rama’s excursions.  This is no place for a woman of your stature.  If you fear the rakshasis I will bring the people of your land to wait on and serve you.”  Ravana pleaded to me.  It was difficult to avoid his gaze because there were ten heads avertly paying attention to my every move.  I could not even bring myself to imagine what he would do to me if one of his tentacles could touch me.  When I did not answer him he continued with frustration.  “Give me one reasonable answer why you will not enter the palace.”  

“You cannot see the sun rise.  And that is the only thing keeping me alive.”  I replied as a swift movement caught my attention. Something flickered behind a tree in the forested part of the garden. For a moment it looked like the tail of a monkey. "Impossible," I thought to myself. "It must have been a cattail flower flickering in the wind."

Author's Note: Sita was definitely my favorite character from the Ramayana. I loved her loyalty, so I decided to write this story about what she endured while being held captive. I think Sita's captivity will be the basis of my storybook project that I will expand upon. However, I wanted to end this short story on a happy note with Sita noticing Hanuman. It was pretty difficult finding a picture to match this story, so I just went with a beautiful landscape of a sunrise.

Narayan, R. K. (1972) The Ramayana.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Week 3 Readying Diary B: Ravana Battles Rama

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 131-171 of The Ramayana by R.K. Narayan.

  • Is Hanuman the original Ant Man?  (a superhero who can shrink smaller or grow bigger) 
  • I like that Sita refuses to live in Ravana's palace and keep her penance of living the woods. Even though  in the woods she will be guarded and harassed by demons.
  • Maya seems to be the most convenient god to have around.  
  • How does Ravana not see his downfall coming when a monkey, one of the two creatures he does not have protection against, burns down his entire kingdom???
  • There seems to be quite a lot of brotherly conflict in the Ramayana. 
  •  Unlike Ravana, Rama trusts the small voice in his entourage that encourages him to do the right thing. 
  • I love that every creature helped put up the bridge, even the squirrel. 
  • The story definitely left out that Sita befriended one of the rakshasis…
  • How long is this fight going to last if a partially paralyzed Rama can wound Ravana while on Hanuman's back?  
  • Ravana will let his palace be destroyed twice before waking Kumbakarna. 
  • Ravana still thinks he can't be killed by Rama because he is mortal but I guess he's fine with Rama being strong enough to kill all of his demon friends and family.  
  • It's commendable that Rama showed Ravana so much honor during their fight and the sequential funeral for a man that kidnapped his wife.  
  • Ok Rama you have proof from Hanuman (your new best friend who has no loyalty to Sita) that she was not being unfaithful and refused Ravana's advances.  After all she's been through she should not have to walk through fire for you.  
  • Bharata truly is a man of his word.  
  • I'm glad this version ended before the decimation of Rama and Sita's marriage.  After everything I'd much rather read a story with a happy ending.  
("Killing of Indrajit" painting by Balasaheb Pandit Pant Pratinidhi from Wikipedia.)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Week 3 Reading Diary: Meeting the Monkeys

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 89-130 of The Ramayana by R.K. Narayan.

  • So I guess Jatayu really was watching over Sita the whole time… 
  • Hanuman and Rama experience love at first sight?  
  • I see the story of Vali and Sugriva as a foil for Rama and Ravana.  After Rama/Vali pursued a demon and left their forest abode/monkey kingdom.  The main difference is that Lakshmana chased after Rama, where Sugriva ended up staying behind.  If Lakshmana had been there when Sita was kidnapped maybe he and Rama would have more of a tempestuous relationship.  
  • Sugriva and Rama have both lost their wives and are in exile.  
  • Vali has a lot of profound things to say especially since he just received a life ending injury.  
  • Wait is Tara the original wife of Vali or Sugriva's wife?  Where is Sugriva's wife?!
  • Rama used to throw clay at Kooni for her hunchbacked appearance!!!! I knew there was a reason for her manipulation.  
  • Wow Rama and Lakshmana are great at keeping their oath.  They passed up a monkey palace to sleep in the forest during the raining season.
  • Facial details are not important when needing to identify Sita.  Just look for her feet and delicate waist, they're one-of-a-kind. 
  • Sampathi had his wings burnt?!  Dang if only he had been able to warn Icarus.  
  • I see that the animal kingdom will be the key to defeating Ravana…

(Image Information: Sampati, by Balasaheb Pandit Pant Pratinidhi  from Wikipedia.) 

Famous Last Words For Week 2

Thinking back on this past week I got to do some of my favorite things!  Classes were canceled, games were attended, board games were played, movies were watched and laughs were had.

Last Saturday I attended the bedlam basketball game where OU had an easy victory over OSU.  It was a lot of fun and one of my first basketball games since working for the OU Athletic Department last year.  I definitely got a headache from being seated by a group of students who started the chants for the entire student section! But it was well worth it.  I looked on the Twitter handle of the OU Men's basketball team after the game, and there was a picture of the team high-fiving fans!  Can you find me?

(Photo from @OU_MBBall)

On Friday I went to see the movie Selma.  I highly recommend that everyone go and watch it.  It's heartbreaking but just goes to show how AMAZING the people who organized civil rights movements were.  And that's the thing that I really took away from it, they were just people but they did AMAZING things.  At one point in the film when someone is arguing and saying that they've done all that they can do for the movement.  Martin Luther King Jr., who was played by David Oyelowo, says that he's just a preacher from Atlanta and look what he accomplished.  I was blown away by the simplicity of how change only needs one person.  

During this week we got to see some early signs of spring!  And also a little bit of snow.  Only in Oklahoma do you have a snowy mornings followed by a wonderful weekend of sun.  After spending the weekend playing board games, cards and eating good food, it's due time to catch up on the homework I have been procrastinating.  In one of my other classes I actually have to do blog posts as well.  So this semester I'll be running two blogs and absorbing all of the tech and design information I should already know.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Indian Epics: Topics Brainstorming

Possible Topics -

1. Sita's Abduction.  After reading that the demon Ravana fell in love with Sita before he abducted her I've become very interested in their dynamic.  I feel like there is a lot you could do with that situation in a storybook.  Could she eventually experience Stockholm Syndrome?  Or would she just detest him the entire time?  Her situation reminds me of Persephone and Hades from Greek mythology.  The possibilities to maybe do a crossover or reference Persephone in Lanka are intriguing.  I feel like there's a lot of potential here and this is the most interesting topic to me.   
Research.  I know quite a bit about Greek mythology as well as the story of Persephone and I feel like they have many similarities  Both Sita and Persephone were daughters of nature who were kidnapped from loved ones by someone who intended to marry them.  They were both forced to live in dark kingdoms with Ravana being a demon and Hades being god of the underworld.  
2. Rama as a child.  Rama is often described as perfect, but I really don't think he started out that way! I feel like it would be interesting to see him as a child because the story jumps from when he was born to when he was old enough to marry.  This wouldn't just be about Rama but all of his brothers growing up.  
Research.  While browsing a Wikipedia page on Kooni (who is also called Manthara) I noticed a section talking about a young Rama.  It talks about how when Rama was playing a game he accidentally broke Kooni's knee.  I found this really interesting because up until this point I did not see Rama as a character that had made any mistakes.  I feel like exploring Rama's adolescence and immaturity would be a new perspective on him.  And since there are so many storybooks set in modern day I feel like this idea could easily transition from past to present.  

3. Ahalya's solitude.  Another interesting topic would be to write a storybook about Ahalya's point of view when she's trapped in the slab.  It could feature stories of her thinking back about her life, or even her witnessing other epic stories happening in front of her.  
Research.  The story of Indra seducing Ahalya would be interesting because she would be looking back on it with a guilty conscience.  She could also observe Rama's battles of slaying Thataka or her son, as this occurs just before he releases Ahalya from the curse.  The story of Rama and Sita's meeting happens just after she is released, so maybe Ahalya could catch a glimpse of young love.  I feel like she would have some interesting thoughts on love after being imprisoned for 100 years.  

4. Ravana in Lanka.  Vayu and Agni used to live freely as gods but now they are Ravana's slaves.  For some reason this makes me think of Disney's Beauty and the Beast.  I feel like a storybook could revolve around Vayu and Agni acting as Lumiere and Cogsworth with Ravana living as the Beast who gets his life interrupted by Belle (Sita).
Research.  I am quite familiar with Beauty and the Beast having watched it over and over since childhood.  Many of the other storybooks have reimagined the tales of Ravana, Rama and Sita.  I feel like this would be another way to tell their story.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Storytelling for Week 2: The Pearls of Peril

Cries and sobs erupted outside the palace walls, the people of Ayodhya were in disarray.  They chanted the name of Rama, their lost king, who was forced to live in exile for the next 14 years due to conditions step by his stepmother Kaikeyi.  

Far away from the revolt of the kingdom, there sat a woman hunched over in a dimly lit room.  Kooni was seated in the only furniture of her quarters, the best accommodations from being a servant to the king’s third wife Kaikeyi her whole life.  The only light in the room was from a small fire in the corner, as Kooni sat in the chair she twiddled with a string of pearls.   She smiled a devilish grin as she twirled the pearls of her exploits around her hands.  
Kaikeyi then burst into the room bringing in a gust of air, she had been running after her son asking for his forgiveness before racing to the servant quarters to see Kooni.  

“This is all your fault!”  She shouted while her eyes burned with resentment.  
“Calm down.  You received exactly what you wished for.”  Kooni countered without even looking away from the pearls.  
“I am your queen, address me when you speak.  I never wanted my son to despise me or the kingdom to protest me.  You must fix what you orchestrated you serpent.”  

Kooni began to cackle when Kaikeyi called her a serpent, she finally turned around and faced her accuser.  “My, my.  You certainly have aged in the days since our last discussion.  As I said previously, you only have your youth and your beauty.  Do not let these setbacks take away the only things you have ever had. In only a short time you have become years older and far less pretty.”  

“All I ever had was my sons.  I shared four sons with Dasaratha and his other wives.  Now the king has fallen from shock, none of my sisters will look at me and my son wants nothing to do with me.  I was perfectly content watching Rama grow to be king, you manipulated that away from me.”  Kaikeyi screamed at her trying to preserve the tears behind her eyes.  
(Image information: Picture of Kooni and Kaikeyi
from Story of Rama.) 
“You are so unfortunate.  I will keep you in my prayers.  I shall pray for the strong woman who was queen and fought for her son to receive what is rightfully his.  I shall pray for the girl, who has taken that woman’s place, to one day realize that you had everything handed to you on a silver platter and you squandered  it.  So the wives of the king, despise you?  Only because of their envy, you sacrificed two wishes granted by the king in favor of your son.  Oh the kingdom cries because they support their beloved Rama.  Rama is so perfect, Rama is so righteous.  What about your own son Kaikeyi?  I would rather have a king that has never crippled a poor, old handmaiden.”  Kooni then stood from her chair and the pearls fell to the ground, her back struggled to regain its former shape.  Kaikeyi had seen Kooni’s hunchback before, but never knew what had caused it.  

“Take what is yours, and never let the small minded people in this city change you.  You are not selfish for pronouncing your son as king, the people are selfish to not give him a chance.  Rama may have their affection now, but if he were king he would show his true colors.”  Kooni uttered, as her mind flashed back to the time when Rama accidentally struck her with a stick while playing a game with his brothers.  An occurrence that ignited her to knock Rama off the throne ever since that day.

Kaikeyi turned and left the servant quarters with confidence to face her harassers and for this moment in time both women got what they wanted. 

Author's Note: When reading The Ramayana I was really interested in why Kooni manipulated Kaikeyi to use her wishes to dethrone Rama.  The book did not really give an explanation of her motives until the end when it said Rama used to throw clay at Kooni.  So I decided to write my own version of why she intervened.  I consulted Wikipedia and it talked about another episode where a young Rama broke Kooni’s knee on accident while playing a game.  I decided to alter that and make it the motivation behind her character to dethrone Rama as well as be a reason that she was hunchbacked. It was a lot of fun to write because I felt like her dialogue resembles Olivia Pope's father in the TV show Scandal who is a master manipulator.  I chose an image that I thought would represent the strained argument between Kaikeyi and Kooni, with Kaikeyi being torn on what to do.  I wanted the reader to take away that Kaikeyi was in a tough predicament and that in her mind she wasn’t being selfish making her son king.  In her own mind she is being selfless and sacrificing her two wishes for the betterment of her son. 
Bibliography -

Narayan, R. K. (1972) The Ramayana.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Week 2 Reading Diary B: The Exile of Rama

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 53-89 of The Ramayana by R.K. Narayan.

  • I'm glad that Bharata unlike his mother has a heart, and I love that Bharata and Rama have an intellectual debate on who should rightfully rule the kingdom.  
  • If Jatayu, a great eagle, swore to protect Rama, Lakshmana and Sita, then why does he let Kamavalli, Kara's demon army and eventually Ravana all lurk in the forest?  
  • Lakshmana is the best brother ever.  He follows Rama into exile, builds them a perfect hut to reside in AND saves Sita from being kidnapped.  I'm starting to feel that maybe Lakshmana should rule over the kingdom.  
  • I have to admit that it's pretty clever of Surpanakha to convince Ravana to seize Sita, did not see that coming.   
  • How does a golden deer undoubtedly captivate Sita, who abandoned all material possessions of the palace to accompany Rama on his exile in the forest, and make her convince Rama to chase after it?  What if she just thought it was pretty but didn't want it as a pet or anything? I guess the fates work in mysterious ways.  
(Image Information: Picture of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana living in exile in the forest from Wikipedia.)

Week 2 Reading Diary A: Rama's Origin

This is a Reading Diary that details my thoughts from pages 1- 53 of The Ramayana by R.K. Narayan.
  • King Dasharatha biggest problem is that he can't have children, but he has three different wives who can bear him legitimate heirs… I'm having a hard time believing that a guy who lived for 60,000 years with at least three wives was having long lasting fertility problems.  
  • Am I the only one who would be kind of pumped if Vishnu reincarnated himself as a monkey rather than a human and took on the ten-headed demon?  
  • Definitely noticing a theme of women getting punished by association.  Thataka and Ahalya were both condemned for being around men committing evil deeds that they themselves were not committing.  
  • In a way, Indra profited from seducing Ahalya because he became the "thousand-eyed god."  While she was imprisoned in stone to repent for a 100 years.  
  • I'm a little sad that all of the details about Rama and Sita's wedding were omitted from the text.  Narayan's version even notes that the wedding preparations "is one of the most fascinating sections of the epic" (33).  If it's so fascinating why aren't any descriptions included?  This is supposed to be the wedding of two reincarnated gods who were previously married in heaven.  This wedding should be X100,000 times better than William and Kate's!  
  • What does Kooni gain from having Bharata as king instead of Rama?  I'm so confused why she interfered and changed Kaikeyi's mind because it seems like everyone loves Rama…
  • 14 years of exile is very specific.  Does Kaikeyi only want her son to be king for that long?  
(Image Information: Picture of Sita and Rama at their wedding from Wikipedia.)  

Friday, January 16, 2015


As I look through the books, portfolios, resources, storybooks and videos, there's one thing that comes to mind, I HAVE NEVER SEEN OR DONE ANY OF THIS BEFORE IN MY LIFE.  Everything is unfamiliar, but isn't that in some way part of the college experience?  Seeing, doing and experiencing things completely out of your comfort zone.  Needless to say my curiosity is intrigued by all the possibilities of a storybook.  

The only previous exposure I have to Indian culture is watching Slumdog Millionaire and a Bollywood movie entitled Kuch Naa Kaho.  (And I'd highly recommend both movies.)  This is my first time to take a class that is focused around traditional epics but I have read many just for fun.  I'm a BIG fan of Greek mythology and I'm sure I will be drawings connections from Indian Epics to Greek Epics frequently in this class.   

I have no association with Indian or East Asian culture.  Unfortunately, I have never traveled to that side of the globe.  However, this image caught my eye while exploring the website, I recognized that the name of one of the gods, Brahma, is a very similar to the name of the highest Hindu social caste, Brahmin.  I'm guessing that in some epics of India that Brahma must be a powerful god.  I know about the social caste system because of discussions in school as well as peers I went to high school with telling me that they were from the Brahmin caste.   

(Image Information: Picture of Indian deities from Wikipedia.)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Storybook Favorites

The first storybook that caught my attention was "Every Lover a Soldier: Tales of Epic Love".  I enjoyed how the storybook told the three love stories in a classic but modern way, with the three women gossiping about how they fell in love.  Savitri's love story really peaked my interest because it involved a common theme in epic tales of a lover following their spouse into the underworld.  Unlike Orpheus, Savitri's tale had a happy ending, which I did not expect.  

The next storybook I read was "The Diary of Karma", I thought it was very clever that the author told these tales from diaries because the adventurer "might just eat you up." I also think telling the stories through diary entries is very effective because it shows progression and builds up to the effect of karma.    I also like that the diaries show remorse, but indicate that their actions are unchanged.  I liked how some of the stories had the diary show the passage of their lives and then how karma got them in the end,while Ahalya's Diary was used as a means of redemption after her curse.  

The last storybook that I viewed was "Blogging for Bad Guys", a forum that hosts the evil ones featured in Indian Epics.  I loved how it turned the villains from epics into angst sounding teenagers. This was a very creative way to poke fun at the trivial things over which Ravana and Kaikeyi waged war.  The little details in the storybook such as the time period on the post being a "long long time ago" and Ravana being emo about having acne on some of his ten head were hilarious.  I also thought it interesting that the author depicted Ravana as a good guy early on but who gave into a hedonistic lifestyle, this is something that was not represented in other storybook's interpretations.      

(Image information: Picture of Ravana provided by Museum Syndicate.)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Introduction: The Loves of My Life

Let me start out be saying that my name is Jennifer Nygren but I prefer to be called Jenny.  I'm a junior majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Spanish at the University of Oklahoma.  Instead of telling you what I'm involved in, I have decided to write about my passions and interests, because I feel that helps people know so much more about who I am.  I have a compiled a list of three things that I love, in no particular order and in complete spontaneity.  These are just three loves that spoke to me while writing this post on a cold day in January. 

Firstly, I love traveling and exploring new places.  I should be more specific and say that I love arriving at a new destination and soaking in the surroundings.  The actual aspect of traveling is not a favorite of mine.  I'm prone to motion sickness, but I guess that since my distaste of being in planes or cars for an extended period of time is minuscule when compared to my love of seeing the world.  No matter how many times I've gotten sick on transportation, the idea of traveling to a new corner of the world is effervescent.  I actually have plans to study abroad in Spain (fingers-crossed that everything works out).  

(Image Information: Personal photo taken at an overlook in Hawaii in December 2014.)  

Secondly, I love football.  The football program was a big influence to me when I chose to attend the University of Oklahoma.  Growing up my dad was a "traveling salesman" and was frequently out of town, but during the times when he was in town we'd spend hours watching football games on Saturdays and Sundays.  This passion even led me to pursue a marketing internship with the OU Athletic Marketing Department, which I held from 2013-2014.  

(Image Information: Personal photo of me working on Owen Field at an OU Football game.)  

Thirdly, I love art.  Growing up I was always a bit of tom-boy, but a tom-boy that loved reading, writing and photographs.  One of the reasons that I am taking this class is because the homework is doing activities that I think are fun!  I feel like there is a thrill in art.  You can turn each page in a book and never know what's written on the other side.  You can start writing and have no idea where the story is going to go.  And you can take a photograph and have no clue how it's going to turn out.  Below is a picture of me and my best friend, Tori, taken on a Polaroid camera during a night of unexpected experiences.  It could have turned out atrocious, but instead it preserved one of my new favorite memories.

(Image Information: Personal picture taken at an Ihop in January 2015.)  

Week 1 Storytelling: Lucky For Me

"Two men, one of whom was considered lucky, and the other unlucky, went out fishing in the sea. A storm arose, and upset their frail craft. They swam for their lives; but, as the shore was far, and the sea rough, they gave up all hope of seeing land again.
The man who believed himself specially unlucky said to the other, "But for me, you would be safe; it is my ill-luck that has raised the tempest."
While the other was endeavouring to reply, he felt a rock under the water, and stood upon it, as if in water knee-deep, and soon gave a helping hand to his com- [85] panion. "Behold," said the latter, "to the lucky man the sea is knee-deep?'"
(Original fable)
“The Lucky Man And The Sea” by Ramaswami Raju, from Indian Fables (1902). Web Source: The Baldwin Project.

~ ~ ~

"Lucky For Me"

On a morning like any other, two unordinary men went to find work in a small coastal village.  The first man, who was called Felix was looking for a small job to help pass the time while on his countrywide expedition.  Felix was embarking on a journey of self-discovery and adventure before his plans to attend medical school.  Financing his journey was of no issue since Felix was born into one of the country's most powerful families.  As he arrived at the village the townsfolk immediately took notice of the traveler, whose golden hair and warm smile distracted them from their daily duties. 

With the town's attention centered on Felix, the arrival of another traveler went seemingly unnoticed.  A young man, who was similar to Felix in age and stature, was unfortunately dissimilar in finance and family.  The people who knew the second man growing up called him Mal, but he was unsure if this was his birth name, since he had never met his parents or any surviving family to confirm his identity.  Mal often drifted from town to town looking for work, but because he received no schooling growing up, any job that came his way would soon be lost to "unforeseen circumstances."  People often had a hard time warming up to Mal.  He was raven-haired and had sharp, angular facial features that made him look unapproachable.  

Eventually, both men heard news that a local fisherman was looking for help bringing in his nets during the busy fishing season.  Felix and Mal agreed to share a boat as they drifted out to sea to retrieve the fish from the nets.  As they sailed further from the dock, Felix told tales of his previous adventures that all seemed to include him being caught in impossible circumstances before miraculously escaping at the dire moment.  Mal would not have believed him if he did not have tokens to go along with each of his tales.  

Suddenly, the amber sun disappeared behind the clouds.  When the two men were over a mile away from the shore, rainclouds appeared as dark as Mel's hair.  The fiendish wind pierced their sails as Felix and Mal scrambled to turn their small boat back towards dry land.  Alas, their boat was too small to last against the bellowing winds and thrashing waves and it soon split in half with both men being pelted into the water.  Felix and Mal attempted to swim back to land, however it seemed impossible as the currents kept pulling the men deeper into the sea.  

Picture of a 1796 oil painting done by J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) entitled “Fishermen at Sea.”  Source: Wikipedia.

"I'm sorry friend, but I never should have stepped off shore.  Quite literally there always seems to be a black cloud that follows me wherever I go," said Mal to Felix as he assumed it would be best to atone for his misfortunes before the sea swallowed him.  

As Mal was talking, Felix felt the wind start to calm down, this in turn caused him to relax as he stopped thrashing about in the water.  His foot graced a rock and he began to feel around with his feet and discovered that somehow, the water was only knee-deep.  

As Felix stood upon the rocks, the waves lessened and he reached out to Mal with a triumphant grin.  "Oh Mal, had I not just been telling you of my excursions? And how they always end with a timely escape.  Stick with me and I'll get us out go any bad situation!" Felix exclaimed as he laughed and started to march down the improbable rock path towards the shore.  

"At least when you're unlucky all of the time, you don't have to be thrust into terrible situations just to be thrust out of them."  Mal mumbled to himself as he followed Felix up the path, with newfound affection for his afflictions.  

~ ~ ~

Author’s Note: This story was based on "The Lucky Man And The Sea" from Indian Fables written by Ramaswami Raju where two men, one who was lucky and the other unlucky, are fishing when a storm arrives and their boat is destroyed.  They are swimming for their lives when the lucky man stands up and says, “To the lucky man the sea is knee-deep.”  In my interpretation I decided to add a backstory for these two characters and even gave them names (Felix means "lucky, successful", while Mal is short for Malvolio and means “ill fated”.)  I added adjectives that stood for darkness and light to further express the contrast between Felix and Mal.  I also decided to end the story on a happier note with Mal realizing being lucky isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.  I chose this image because I felt like it has a great contrast between light and darkness, which was a motif throughout my story.  I wanted the reader to take away that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  If you’re used to always being lucky, then maybe you don’t realize that there are probably quite a lot of unlucky things happening to you as well.