“The Makali Tree grows in the Himapan forest.”
The gas-light flickers in the breeze and our shadows are thrown onto the wooden screen, elongated so that they no longer look like us and I almost feel myself in a mythical place.
Nimran continues. “One day Queen Maddi is walking in the forest when she sees a tree on which are growing sixteen tiny fairy fruit women …”
Nimran is telling a story from the Jakkata tales. Nimran continues until my eyelids grow heavy and in my dreams I enter the Himapan Forest.
What I learn later is that these fruit women of Thailand are very powerful. If anyone eats one, that person will lose his power.
Some years later when I was much older and living in Europe I came across the Greek nymph of wild flowers ‘Anthousa’ said to have hair like hyacinth flowers.
For me what both of these images celebrate is the essential wildness of women. They are not domestic images. And the following quote ties in nicely with this theme.
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own