Sunday, November 16, 2008

Themed Article 3: Custom and Tradition

     Primitive superstition and worship.  Forgive the terms from a past era, but visiting a shrine and tying a piece of rock in a loop of cloth and hanging it around your neck to fight an illness is not strictly religion, since it delves into the land of medicine, and isn't strictly medicine, since a spirit powers the rock.

     How do these things spread?  Surely by word of mouth.  You wouldn't just believe something like this unless you heard it from someone you trusted, or you were desperate.

     Who do we trust?  In another time, if we lived in a large clan, some of use might be brave and take the word of the itinerant story-teller, but family, proximity (for repetition), and familiarity (700 repetitions, ad-people say, to make it stick in your brain forever) suggests more people would get more knowledge from village wise-folk.  People have a tendency to be able to recognize smarts, given enough time, and surviving a long time in such a time suggests intelligence.

     So you're a village elder, and have some clan-cred, and a distant cousin (aren't they all?) comes calling. 

     He's deathly sick.

     You've noticed its been getting worse (you are perceptive, remember?)

     Some people wouldn't want to admit they don't know how to help.
Some people wouldn't want to tell them that it looks just like that thing that killed Fred and his brother, and would he kindly move away quickly.
Some people wouldn't want to tell them that there was no hope.

     Someone smart (that's you) might say something smart, like:
Go now (emphasize now!) to the place, the special place (if they say they ask which one, tell them they know the one!) and grab a piece of it and carry it with you for magic.
Who knows?  When you die, people might carry away pieces of your gravesite.

     (Note, I haven't put the first two "themed" articles up yet. The "theme" is that they were all drafted in the same setting, at the end of a day of study.

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