By Thomas Macintyre
…Belka the squirrel had been swishing her tail back and forth, and when I looked at her she held out a walnut for me to take. “This is a present” she said, as I took the nut. “It is a nut that was too high for you to reach in the tree. We must all help each other you know – humans and animals and all other life on earth.” Having thanked Belka I waved a last farewell to my friends and began the walk back through the reeds. Just as I was about to begin the walk up the hill I heard a loud croak from Irenushka the frog and then the words of the Water Fairy being sung across the reeds: “Tom, we also have a gift for you. Keep walking, you will feel it soon.” I heard soft chanting words blowing in the breeze: “Earth fire wind and hail; open the realm of the fairytale.”
Soon after, as I reached the road that would take me to that other world, I heard a roaring thunder and saw the heavens open up as a torrential rain began to pour. Soaked in seconds I trudged along, my socks squelching in unison with the klomp, klomp of my wooden shoes on the road. For a second I felt a twinge of annoyance at being wet and cold, but then I stopped on the road and felt a sense of goodness swell up inside of me. Looking up at the sky as rain drops pounded my face I thought to myself: ‘the blessed water in a fairytale – the parting gift from Romashki.’ (Excerpt from page 153). Continue reading →
By Thomas Mcintyre
Once upon a time…Do you, my dear reader, believe it is possible to live in a fairytale? This may seem like a strange question on a rural sociology blog, and indeed it is. It is not a question I thought seriously about before, though I confess I have been predisposed to curling up on a chair in front of the fire and entering the world of fairytales through a book or through my imagination… but to live in one! This seems rather preposterous, and you would be forgiven for wondering what this has to do with serious anthropological research. But like any good research, setting out into the unknown has raised some strange questions I have had to stew on. If you answer a tentative yes to the opening question, as I am now inclined to do, then would you entertain the thought of writing a fairytale thesis? After all, if the reality you are studying is a fairytale, then would it not only be appropriate that the written representation of this reality should also be a fairytale? Now, I suppose you would like me to explain what I mean by living a fairytale and writing a fairytale thesis, especially its academic justification and application. But first things first: my arrival to Romashki.
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Thomas Macintyre is a MSc student enrolled in the Master International Development Studies. For his MSc thesis research he spent 3 months in an ecovillage in the Ukraine, to study everyday village life. Thomas’ post is the first of a series in which he shares his experiences of the “life less ordinary” he has lived for 3 months.
Imagine if you can a little village surrounded by forests beside a little lake. Squirrels play in trees amongst the woodpeckers, frogs play hide and seek with the cranes in the lake, and when the sun has set, the wild pigs come out to sniff and dig around the fields and gardens in the village, curious as ever as to see what is new. Continue reading →