A spell to bring good fortune

johannsiemens_treeA spell to bring good fortune

This spell was the subject of a fascinating study some years ago by Professor Ptarmigan Child. His thesis makes for a very interesting read and, alas, I can here only provide the bare bones of his remarkable study.

In Ganhas, as I have mentioned before, magic is simply a part of life. Good fortune, in particular is a very common part of agricultural life. Professor Child was able to demonstrate that the repeated act of bending to sow seeds in the Spring and the repeated bending to harvest crops in the Autumn has the effect of generating good fortune about the roots of some of the commonest crops, in particular the potato, the beetroot and, also in some fruit crops such as the strawberry.

Farmers were in many cases reporting a yield of a half-tonne of good fortune for every acre farmed. Farms where new machinery was employed reported much smaller yields. Professor Child hypothesised that the ‘respect’ shown to the Earth through repeated bending, or rather ‘bowing’ is rewarded in both physical form (the crop) and in metaphysical form (good fortune).

Good fortune is, of course, invisible and nearly weightless and for many Ganhesi farmers it is considered a useless by-product. As you will no doubt be aware, it is impossible to sell good fortune and it will only very rarely attach itself to the farmer himself. However, if is is bestowed upon a second party, the full effects of the good fortune become apparent. The nearer the connection between the bestower and the recipient, however, the weaker the effect of the good fortune. A gift from father to son, for example, is practically worthless.

What good then is good fortune to the community that harvests it? Professor Child reports that some farming communities have found a very novel way of monetising good fortune. In some of the Northern reaches of Ganhas it has been used to provide a pensioning system for the elderly. Old women in particular sit on chairs alongside the few great roads of that region with several barrels of good fortune at their disposal. Travellers on those roads are petitioned by the elderly lady to perform some service – fetching water from a well, mending her roof or more simply providing her with a meal. If this service is performed the helpful stranger will receive his good fortune from her hands and continue a luckier man.

Some more entrepreneurial communities have further developed this system to provide actual financial gains without compromising the taboo of selling good fortune. They will sell goods – usually food – to strangers so that they are ready prepared to feed the elderly they encounter and receive their gift.

Professor Child also conducted a comprehensive study into the generation of good fortune, in which farmers used varying practices for their ‘respects’, bowing more or less etc. This led Professor Child to conclude that the singing of work songs by the farm hands is an important part of the procedure. He was in fact able to identify a number of folk-songs or, as he termed them ‘land-spells’ that were particularly effective.

Sample land-spell: (Please forgive my poor translation.)

Out rock, come on out with you
Jump, scarper, be gone
Build a wall over there at the ege of the field,
If you must.
But you’re not welcome here.

Out thorn, come on out with you
Jump, scarper, be gone
Build a fence over there at the ege of the field,
If you must.
But you’re not welcome here.

Out bird, out slug, out snail
Out rat and you imps that live under the ground
Get you over stones’ wall and over thorns’ fence
Don’t you know you’re not welcome here?

Come rain, come sun
Come soft air and rich mud
Come settle, come thrive
Come over stones’ wall and over thorns’ fence
Don’t you know that this is the place for you?

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