Beware of any species named ‘infausta’ because it sounds dreadful and means, in other languages, to suffer misfortune.

DSC_2048 Vangueria infausta_sm

Who would grow a tree known to possess evil powers? Only a sorcerer, whose research would confirm that one is specifically interdicted to make fire with the wood, and that the fanatical malediction is in reference to one’s cattle only bearing male offspring. I have surveyed Ariel’s garden and surrounding Eden and can safely say that there is no cattle around. There’s the odd skink and one particularly ugly toad, but no bison or yaks–I would have noticed.

In Africa Vangueria infausta is known as ‘wilde mispel’ (please don’t misspell it). The fruit is said to be similar to the apple (Eden again!). For those of you with a hankering for apple sauce (or male cattle), you may go to the garden section of your nearest Home Depot and purchase the seeds, which germinate freely when sprinkled with powder of algaroth and suspended over a cauldron of boiling ambergris.

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20 Comments

  1. I’m not sure I have the correct utensils for the germination of these seeds, Prospero. I gave my cauldron away at least three hundred years ago. And I think I’m fresh out of algaroth and ambergris.

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    • Millie, you may substitute for ambergris the bezoar from any ruminant animal’s intestines, and a copper pot is as good as a cauldron. I hope this helps.

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      • I just need to find a willing ruminant then. I’m sure a sweet natured cow would oblige. Thank you for the tip, Prospero. I may have a copper pot around here somewhere, too.

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      • Or male cattle (in case your area has already been devastated by the curse–ask your husband, he’s the expert in these crossover plant/cattle matters).

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      • Male cattle would do nicely. We have a dozen of them in the field at the back of our house. My husband is, indeed, expert in all things agricultural, having worked in that area for many years during school holidays (he was another teacher, like me). He regularly worked with the ‘beasts’ (as the male cattle are referred to around here).
        Thank you, Prospero. Your expert advice is always appreciated.

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  2. Ah, cauldrons aside, this belongs to the ‘katjiepiering’ family which, when taken as two words means ‘kitten’ (katjie) and ‘saucer’ (piering) – a very milky, ah, I mean murky business!
    Together, however, a much more mundane and less mysterious translation of ‘gardenia’ – unless one accepts the Eden implication!
    Either way, yes, a wood burning of which causes horrific side effects yet a use of leaves offers relief to many health ailments.
    An interesting dichotomy of a plant indeed!

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    • I would not wish to be a medlar in botanical discussions way beyond my ken(ya), but I do have some alchemical background, and was reminded of a certain fondness I have for algaroth (which could certainly be very useful to you, Prospero other than as an emetic), as it’s known among we cognoscenti as The Spirti of Philosophical Vitriol.

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      • Your comment is so witty that it has set off an alarm. “Caution, this comment is extremely witty,” my sophisticated software says to me before unleashing a cascade of dancing zebras (wearing feathered boas and obscene tutus) and sounding a shrill alarm designed to wake the dead and the near dead. Of course it meddles with the operating system–in truth a pernicious meddler–but I endure it as I like to be apprised of wit, that rare commodity, wherever and whenever it may be found.

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    • You are absolutely correct, Rob: Gardenia thunbergia (Katjiepiering) and Vangueria infausta are both in the Rubiaceae family, but coming from South Africa, you have a distinct advantage in firsthand knowledge over a poor sorcerer trying foolishly to recreate African vistas from a lilliputian island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

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      • Plus the ancient African lore, passed from father to son as the sun rises on the dawn of his day of initiation called – and here I can only hint at meaning as the full word given to the uninitiated would mean certain death – ‘umG…G..’.
        Roughly translated as ‘the gateway to the collective human consciousness of information, power and glory’.
        You can appreciate why the full knowledge of the word could be so devastating!
        I somehow feel your innate level of sorcery far outweighs my own skill with an African keyboard, I mean cauldron! 🙂

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      • Rob, your African keyboard-slash-cauldron has stood you in good stead, and always remember that true sorcery is not a cultural phenomenon, but rather an exaltation of the singular mind.

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      • Leading to a singular understanding/relationship of and to the collective mind?

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      • All understanding is singular and all cauldrons–including those dinted and those dreamily deemed metaphoric–are singularly useful.

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      • Like your style – love your comments! Thank you!

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      • Must add, this chat has inspired a poem – plan to let it simmer tonight and post tomorrow! 🙂 Thanks!

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      • Staying tuned for extra-terrestrial life–a given–and, with singularity of purpose, your new galactic poem.

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      • Pop on your antennae! 🙂

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  3. Ah…my apologies to your operating system, the dancing zebras, the dead and the near dead and your own long-suffering self. Some days I forget to drink my cease-and-desist potion but I am lately thinking I need to write me a reminder memo on that, and increase the dosage.

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    • Naturally I’m all for increasing the dosage of whatever hallucinogenic roborant you happen to have on hand or that you can wheedle from a neighbor’s medicine cabinet ( especially a neighbor with a devastatingly painful ailment)), but this sorry world needs wit nearly as much as a zebra (tap-dancing or in repose) needs stripes.

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  4. […] With acknowledgement to exiledprospero on Prospero’s Island as the inspiration for this following our blog conversation of yesterday! […]

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