A Child's Bestiary

by Valentine Wolfe

Released 2016
Released 2016
We've created a musical Cabinet of Curiosities, featuring all manner of beasts, creatures, fiends, and oddities.
  • 04:40 Lyrics
    A Taxidermist's Toybox

    Cleaning off the skin 
    Scraping off the chaff 
    Got to keep the cuts small 
    Make the feathers last 
    Jiggle in an eye 
    Paint on the claws 
    Arrange a pose 
    And then it’s done 
    Beauty in this death 

    Jackdaw, magpie, rook, crow 
    Say them all and then you’ll know 
    What’s the secret? 
    Never tell 
    Bad little ones under my spell 

    Receive the little birds 
    In spirits of wine 
    Got to sew the beak shut 
    With a bit of twine 
    Then untie the skin 
    Head turns toward the left 
    Twist ligament 
    This is my design 
    Beauty in this death 

    What life has gotten wrong 
    I can now correct 
    My own interpretation 
    My revisions to the script 
    When a mind is fertile 
    Ready for suggestion 
    What to say 
    How to move 
    Beauty in this death 

    Creating works of art 
    Making something new 
    From a lifeless dead thing 
    Giving a new hue 
    I work my magic only 
    With one goal in mind 
    To breathe new life 
    To start afresh 
    Beauty in this death

     

  • 04:06 Lyrics
    My Black Hen

    My Black Hen 

    Hickety, pickety, my black hen, 
    She lays eggs for gentlemen; 
    Gentlemen come every day 
    To see what my black hen doth lay. 

    My black hen gives me 
    Such black feathers 
    Each one tied in a knot 
    Each a rung on the ladder 

    The blackest curse 
    Turns the soul 
    In a witch’s ladder 
    With thirteen rungs 

    Malediction 
    With cord magick 
    And a cross of black pins 
    Check for it under the bed 

    The gentlemen come 
    They can’t stay away 
    Though the danger beckons 
    They follow its clarion call 

    Gentlemen should harbor 
    Some caution 
    Though they are tempted this way 
    Best to just stay away

  • 06:29 Lyrics
    Wynken, Blynken, And Nod

    Wynken, Blynken, and Nod 

    Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night 
    Sailed off in a wooden shoe — 
    Sailed on a river of crystal light, 
    Into a sea of dew. 
    "Where are you going, and what do you wish?" 
    The old moon asked the three. 
    "We have come to fish for the herring fish 
    That live in this beautiful sea; 
    Nets of silver and gold have we!" 
    Said Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. 

    Ghost children 
    Playing in the dark 
    Ghost children 
    Living worlds apart 

    The old moon laughed and sang a song, 
    As they rocked in the wooden shoe, 
    And the wind that sped them all night long 
    Ruffled the waves of dew. 
    The little stars were the herring fish 
    That lived in that beautiful sea — 
    "Now cast your nets wherever you wish — 
    Never afraid are we"; 
    So cried the stars to the fishermen three: 
    Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. 

    Ghost kisses 
    Catch them while you can 
    Ghost kisses 
    Never leave my hand 


    All night long their nets they threw 
    To the stars in the twinkling foam — 
    Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe, 
    Bringing the fishermen home; 
    'Twas all so pretty a sail it seemed 
    As if it could not be, 
    And some folks thought 'twas a dream they'd dreamed 
    Of sailing that beautiful sea — 
    But I shall name you the fishermen three: 
    Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. 

    Ghost wishes 
    One by one to make 
    Ghost wishes 
    Dreadful the mistake 

    Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes, 
    And Nod is a little head, 
    And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies 
    Is a wee one's trundle-bed. 
    So shut your eyes while mother sings 
    Of wonderful sights that be, 
    And you shall see the beautiful things 
    As you rock in the misty sea, 
    Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three: 
    Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. 

    Ghost children 
    Playing in the dark 
    Ghost children 
    Living worlds apart

  • 05:06 Lyrics
    Kraken

    Kraken by Tennyson 

    Below the thunders of the upper deep 
    Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea 
    His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep 
    The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee 
    About his shadowy sides; above him swell 
    Huge sponges of millennial growth and height 
    And far away into the sickly light 
    From many a wondrous grot and secret cell 
    Unnumbered and enormous polypi 
    Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green 
    There hath he lain for ages, and will lie 
    Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep 
    Until the latter fire shall heat the deep 
    Then once by man and angels to be seen 
    In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

     

  • 03:17 Lyrics
    Corvidae

    Corvidae, come after me 
    Corvidae, I shall not flee 

    One for sorrow 
    Two for joy 
    Three for a girl 
    Four for a boy 
    Five for silver 
    Six for gold 
    Seven for a secret never told 
    Eight for a wish 
    Nine for a kiss 
    Ten for a bird 
    You must not miss 

    One for sorrow 
    Two for mirth 
    Three for a funeral 
    Four for birth 
    Five for heaven 
    Six for hell 
    Seven for the devil, his own self

     

  • 04:31 Lyrics
    Silent Siren

    Silent Siren 

    IV. 
    Dissolving into sea foam 
    She floats among the waves 
    The storm rolls on, the sea grows calm 
    Her memory fades away 

    III. 
    The pain of slicing knives 
    Separates her flesh 
    The dance leads on, she hides her frown 
    Each step to please her prince 

    II. 
    To a witch she sells her voice 
    Her siren, clarion call 
    All for the love of an unknown man 
    And half his worthless soul 

    I. 
    Her first trip to the surface 
    She saves a drowning prince 
    He never knew of his protector 
    Never caught her name 

    There’s a moral to this tale 
    A lesson to be learned 
    Don’t trade your voice for anything 
    Own it, don’t silence your song

  • 05:08 Lyrics
    La Fée Verte


    I’m trapped in this bottle 
    Please set me free 
    Then I will be all yours 
    For this night 
    Your inspiration 
    Your darkling muse 
    Your Green Fairy 
    La Fée Verte 

    Drink, drink 
    With me tonight 
    Drink, drink 
    Deep with me tonight 
    Never has a poison 
    Tasted so sweet 
    Never has your nightmare 
    Spoken this way 

    La Fée Verte 
    They whisper my name 
    They long for my touch 
    Horrific visions I bring 

    La Fée Verte 
    One little sip 
    One little taste 
    Let me show you the way 

    La Fée Verte 
    The night comes alive 
    A swirling haze 
    Dancing with you 

    La Fée Verte 
    Do you long for your muse 
    Shall I visit you 
    Open your mind to my world

  • 06:32 Lyrics
    Peter the Wolf

    Peter the Wolf. 

    Once upon a time in Russia... 


    Peter awoke from the nightmare with the taste of blood still in his mouth. He could remember fleeting images: the silver moon hanging in the darkened sky, the pale light illuminating the forest with an unworldly glow, and thick summer air, hot and stifling around him. 


    Peter sat up, and the nightmare continued. As he looked around his cottage, he could remember the shrill sounds of screaming birds. Could birds scream? As his memories grew more vivid, Peter remembered them screaming. 


    He could remember drinking with his friend Utkin. Last night, he remembered a look of terror in his eyes, and his mouth contorting into another silent scream. Odd that he remembered Utkin’s screaming silently, but not the birds. 

    He idly tried to remember where Utkin went after he started screaming… 


    As he looked around the cottage, with debris and destruction littering the small room, he tried to banish the images of sheer terror returning to the edge of consciousness, like a recalled echo, telling himself that he and Utkin must have drank enough for their ancestors last night. 

    Peter got out of bed, and the nightmare continued. He remembered the tiger. 


    The great siberian tiger slunk out of the forests, and towards the cottage where Peter lived alone with his grandfather. Grandfather was a mighty hunter. Peter remembered not understanding why Grandfather didn’t lift his heavy rifle from above the mantle and come for the mighty cat as he had so many times before. 


    Peter noticed the rifle wasn’t above the mantle. Nor did he see grandfather in the ransacked cottage. Grandfather’s bed was unmade, his boots gone, his chair empty. 

    Peter remembered the heat of the tiger’s breath. Peter remembered the sharp claws going for his throat. Peter remembered swatting them away as playful as a kitten, laughing at the tiger’s frantic attacks and roars as if it were a game. 

    Peter remembered snapping the tiger’s spine, and wondering why the tiger was so delicate. 

    It was then Peter remembered the taste of blood in his mouth. He wondered how it got there. 


    He padded to the door of the cottage and opened the gate, shaking the rest of his sleep away from his eyes. In the light of dawn, he saw what was left of Grandfather and Utkin, their blood and bodies staining the grass, torn into shreds by the predator. 

    Peter found his friend and his Grandfather, and the nightmare went on and on and on…

  • 05:24 Lyrics
    Ouroboros

    Ouroboros 

    Darkness is beautiful
    When you can see the spark
    Of a tiny, little light
    Dancing through the shadows

    Darkness is terrible
    When the light seems far away
    Much too far away to reach
    Midnight is closing in

    Fear will choke down our resolve 
    Like a serpent maw grown wide 
    Her tail inching ever near 
    We’re consuming our own fears 

    Surrendering our days of bliss 
    Precious moments in the sun 
    One life, one chance to live 
    That’s all we ever have 

    “And by strange alchemy of brain 
    Our pleasures always turn to pain 
    Being young and dipped in folly 
    We fall in love with melancholy.” (E.A.Poe) 

    We are the snake 
    We are the serpent 
    We are eating our own tail 
    And the circle grows ever smaller 
    And the noose grows ever tighter 
    We are slowly choking on our own fear

NOTES
A Child's Bestiary: Nine tracks of macabre oddities from the imagination, an exploration of a grotesque menagerie, lurking under the guise of a child's innocent rhymes.

Enter the Bestiary with A Taxidermist's Toybox, a track inspired by surreal horror of the television show Hannibal. My Black Hen is a witches scene, our very own version of a Hexensabbat. Wynken Blynken and Nod are here, the beautiful lullaby taking on a tragic and ghostly interpretation, inspired by post-mortem photography. Then Alfred, Lord Tennyson provides the lyrics for our next creature, the mythical Kraken.

Corvidae is a sinister nursery rhyme that inspired the entire creation of this imaginary exhibition. We then return to previous inspiration with Silent Siren, a Hans Christen Andersen tale, familiar to most of you, but much more aligned with the source material. And what would our bestiary be without fairies, especially one that some say enables perception of all these wonders? La Fée Verte, or The Green Fairy, appears with promises of exotic dreams and visions…

The next tale, Peter the Wolf, features a young boy named Peter, his grandfather, and his own animal nature lurking beneath the surface.

And our final beast is the Ouroboros, circling around itself and bringing our collection of songs to a close, with some words from our favorite poet, Edgar Allan Poe.

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