Melusina

While my fox head was drying I decided to make another small puppet. This one is based on the mermaid melusina, she is sometimes portrayed as serpent tailed, sometimes with a double tale ( it seems Starbucks have chosen her for their logo ) and sometimes as a mermaid with a single fish tail. I have chosen a single tail, which also means she could be used as an ordinary mermaid in any puppet show.Nearly finished
image

One Saturday, the old father inquired at dinner after his daughter-in-law. Raymond replied that she was not visible on Saturdays. Thereupon one of his brothers, drawing him aside, whispered that strange gossiping tales were about relative to this sabbath seclusion, and that it behoved him to inquire into it, and set the minds of people at rest. Full of wrath and anxiety, the count rushed off to the private apartments of the countess, but found them empty. One door alone was locked, and that opened into a bath. He looked through the keyhole, and to his dismay beheld her in the water, her lower extremities changed into the tail of a monstrous fish or serpent.
Silently he withdrew. No word of what he had seen passed his lips; it was not loathing that filled his heart, but anguish at the thought that by his fault he must lose the beautiful wife who had been the charm and glory of his life. Some time passed by, however, and Melusina gave no token of consciousness that she had been observed during the period of her transformation. But one day news reached the castle that Geoffry with the Tooth had attacked the monastery of Malliers, and burned it; and that in the flames had perished Freimund, with the abbot and a hundred monks. On hearing of this disaster, the poor father, in a paroxysm of misery, exclaimed, as Melusina approached to comfort him, “Away, odious serpent, contaminator of my honourable race!”
At these words she fainted; and Raymond, full of sorrow for having spoken thus intemperately, strove to revive her. When she came to herself again, with streaming tears she kissed and embraced him for the last time. “O husband!” she said, “I leave two little ones in their cradle; look tenderly after them, bereaved of their mother. And now farewell for ever! yet know that thou, and those who succeed thee, shall see me hover over this fair castle of Lusignan, whenever a new lord is to come.” And with a long wail of agony she swept from the window, leaving the impression of her foot on the stone she last touched.
The children in arms she had left were Dietrich and Raymond. At night, the nurses beheld a glimmering figure appear near the cradle of the babes, most like the vanished countess, but from her waist downwards terminating in a scaly fish-tail enamelled blue and white. At her approach the little ones extended their arms and smiled, and she took them to her breast and suckled them; but as the grey dawn stole in at the casement, she vanished, and the children’s cries told the nurses that their mother was gone.
Progress shots

I need to make a decent cross bar to hold the strings , and find out how to string her up to the best effect ( at the moment she is on crossed paintbrushes with rough parcel string )

2 responses to “Melusina

  1. I like the way costume draped around her breasts references the figureheads of sailing ships.

    You’re on a roll with this puppet business. I blink for a moment and there’s another you’ve produced. At this rate you’ll be opening a puppet theatre by the time we get to the completion of the Challenge in the summer!

    Well done. And I love those sketches of ‘Oh, what big eyes/ears/teeth you have’.

    • Thank you Clive, I’m pleased that you saw the figurehead reference.
      I think that my puppet producing time will be slowing down soon. The winter is always my time for hibernating with small craft based activities, but as the days get longer I am more drawn towards painting,and sketching outdoors. Although I am enjoying the puppets a lot, and find myself thinking about ways to use all the ideas I have….it really has been great fun.

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