covenant6452 wrote:The sins of the past are visited on the future.
I found the story in Människohamn was an interesting one with many layers of mystery spread over a long time, and with even a bit of ambiguity as well. What happened to the salt trader Magnuss who landed on the paradise of an island a llooonngg time ago? What was it beneath the sea and why would it need steps? (This I liked as it made me think of something Cthulhulian, some great God slumbering beneath the waters.)
I've got questions...again. Mainly,...Where was everybody kept? Where was that place under the water?
The first thing that came to mind for me was the "fairy realms" or "otherworlds" of Celtic mythology.
The Otherworld (orbis alia) in Celtic mythology is postulated (but not known) to be the realm of the dead, the home of the deities, or the stronghold of other spirits and beings such as the Sídhe. Tales and folklore describe it as existing over the western sea, or at other times underground (such as in the Sídhe mounds) or right alongside the world of the living, but invisible to most humans.
The Irish believed in an Otherworld, which they described sometimes as underground, such as in the Sídhe mounds, and sometimes located on islands in the Western Sea. The Otherworld was variously called Tír na mBeo ("the Land of the Living"), Mag Mell ("Delightful Plain"), and Tír na nÓg ("Land of the Young"), among other names. It was believed to be a country where there was no sickness, old age, or death, where happiness lasted forever, and a hundred years was as one day.
In the original folklore, there is quite a bit of fear surrounding people and spirits crossing over from this world and the Otherworld.
Celtic folklore and mythology are full of tales that tell of humans wandering into the Otherworld, and of supernatural beings crossing over into the human realm. This is considered most likely to happen at particular, liminal places, or on special days of the year. For instance, on the Gaelic festival of Samhain (November 1, seen by many as the Celtic New Year), it is believed that the boundaries between the worlds become even more permeable than usual, and mortals might cross over to the spirit world - usually accidentally - and the inhabitants of the spirit world might cross over into the mortal realm. The spring festival of Beltane (May 1) is also seen as a time when the Otherworld is particularly close at hand.
Traditionally, much folklore and folk practice is concerned with preventing the intrusion of spirits into this world, or the loss of humans to the Otherworlds, and many charms and taboos exist for protection from these incidents. Some of this is seen in fairy lore, where humans fear the fairies might steal human babies and leave Changelings in their places. However other traditions think more kindly of the fairies and other spirits, and encourage the leaving of offerings for them, such as milk and baked goods, in order to form a treaty or friendship with them.
This seems to be the inspiration for Neverland in Peter Pan
, although Neverland is meant to represent all kinds things such as the world of child hood and imagination. Barrie returned to the idea of the Otherworld in Mary Rose
, where a child vanishes on an Island in the Hebrides while on a family holiday. She reappears after 21 days on the same island, apparently unaware that any time has passed. Mary Rose is permanently warped by her experience and is seen talking to beings who can't be seen. Unlike Peter Pan
we never learn anything about the Otherworld that Mary Rose has traveled to, other than she wants to return.
I would be curious as to what people make of the world down the stairs described in the novel. It seems to have psychological implications, a place where people are immersed, so to speak, in their own favorite dreams. Humans seem so self-absorbed, so to speak, that they have lost all contact with the rest of the human race. The inhabitants always keep their backs to Anders so that he can never see their faces.