The Devil’s Portrait

A scene in “A Night on Bald Mountain” in the animated musical feature “Fantasia” (1940) by Walt Disney Studios

Most fairy tales and folk tales introduce a reader to an assortment of magical creatures and beings, from fairies and nymphs and unicorns to dragons and queer beasts and mermaids.  However, of all places, Eastern Europe often ignores fantasy in pursuit of a closer enemy: the Devil and his consorts.  Throughout almost all of these stories, demons and devils disguise themselves as ordinary humans in order to create mischief among mortals.  But more often than not, a paradoxical question arises.  In some tales, the Devil is almost sympathetic about his “job,” punishing sinful humans with a sense of righteousness and wicked pleasure in achieving justice.

Who is this figure, then?  Personified evil?  A symbol of evil?  A fallen angel?  An instrument of God?  An immortal “hired” to keep humans in check?  Or just supernatural trouble?

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How Warszawa Won the Heart of a Siren

Warsaw, or Warszawa as it is known to the natives, is the capital of Poland today.  75% of its walls, edifices, and monuments were obliterated by the German Nazis during World War II.  However, once upon a time, Warszawa was unfamiliar with such intent vandalism and destruction or being a travel spotlight in an ignored European country.  Once, Warszawa was only a small fishing village by the river Vistula.

When monarchy was the prefered form of government, Poland’s major cities today were nothing more than villages spotted along the Polish countryside, each depending on fertile farmland or opulent streams and rivers for their livelihood and trade.  Warszawa was no different, depending on the Vistula for supplying fish to the neighboring villages.

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Scribo, ergo Sum


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