Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zaffre, alchemy, and coming full circle in the end

We started the month with blue, and we end it with blue as well. I totally planned it that way.
(I didn't.)
Zaffre is a shade of dark blue, and also a substance used in alchemy, usually meaning cobalt oxide or cobalt arseniate. While zaffre itself does not have a story to go with it, alchemy definitely does. A while ago I did a storytelling program about alchemy for high school chemistry classes. One of the most fun topics I ever worked on.
One of my favorite alchemy stories comes from the Italian epic Orlando Furioso. It tells us about a wizard-alchemist names Atlantes who lives in a tower, searching for the secrets of the Philosopher's Stone. One day his experiment (getting a bunch of substances hit by lightning) leads to unexpected results: Instead of the Stone, he accidentally creates a hippogriff (don't you just hate it when that happens?). With the help of his new pet, he builds himself a magical castle, and starts enchanting and kidnapping people to keep him company. After a whole bunch of folks go missing, his spells brings to him the knight Astolpho, who is smart and well-equipped enough to break the spell, steal the hippogriff, and go off to have many adventures, now that the owns a flying mount. The adventures include a trip to the Moon where all lost things can be found (including the knight Orlando's wits, who had recently lost them, and some of Astolpho's own wits, which he did not know were missing). The story is long, but fun to tell, you can read a re-worked version of it here.

Thank you all for sticking around from A to Z! Until next April, I will be blogging about storytelling, stories, storytellers, books, travels, and the occasional SCA event. If you would like to learn more about the world of the word, you can click Follow (to the left to the left) or follow via email or Twitter. You can also check out my other blog, the MopDog, where I write about weird Hungarian things.


  1. Congrats on finishing A to Z. Whew! We did it.

  2. Thanks for sharing your stories on the A to Z - it has been a lot of fun hearing about different coloured princesses and the many and varied adventures of heroes and heroines from around the world :)

    I look forward to reading more about storytelling from you in the future. If you ever want to share some tales in a guest post over on my blog, I'd be glad to host you :)

    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

  3. Congrats!!

    Thanks so much for a month long of great posts. So glad I got to find your blog!

    Timothy S. Brannan
    The Other Side, April Blog Challenge: The A to Z of Witches

  4. Congratulations for completing the challenge so colourfully! I have enjoyed reading about all the colours and stories. This Zaffre is a new one for me. I am now following your blog and hope to keep visiting here for more fun stories!

    Beauty Interprets, Expresses, Manifests the Eternal

  5. I've enjoyed your stories as well. A-Z is finally over...until next April. :)

  6. Cobalt is my favorite color! I made my bridesmaids wear it . . .

  7. My favourite colour, too.

    Thanks Csenge - it's been an honour to be on #Team Damyanti with you.

  8. Thanks for sharing these multi-coloured stories with us!
    I've learned so many new colours and about folkstories too!
    Congratulations on crossing the A to Z finishing line!

  9. Hey there, just following up on my invitation for you to guest post on my blog :) I don't have too many stipulations, I just enjoy hosting folks, so if you have an event/book/skill you want to promote, or if you'd like to give my readers an insight into what you do - any, or all would be great :)
    My direct email is - if you want to discuss it in more detail just drop me a line :)

  10. What a great story! I love that the knight finds some of his own wits. That must have been a fun moment. ;)

    Thanks for a great A to Z. I've really enjoyed reading your posts, and look forward to future ones. Very glad indeed to have found your blog. :)

  11. I really enjoyed all your posts and it was great to find someone who was doing a colour theme too! Hope to stay connected! Love :) P.S. Zaffre I did too! ;)

  12. Back in college I hung out with a woman who was a storyteller. I went with her to a few of her meetings and got enraptured in the stories. I would love to hear you tell one or twenty. Congratulations on completing the A to Z.

  13. I think I missed your A to Z blogs...but it's great to meet you! I look forward to reading your future posts.

  14. What a lovely story! I love cobalt blue and have always been intrigued by alchemy. Congratulations on completing the A-Z challenge. Have you read about the follow up or recap post on May 5th? You can get more info here: I am going to participate. :)