Further Fictional Research into the Practices of the People of Drejnev

This short story is a continuation of a much earlier theme which can be read on this blog under the titles ‘Estuaries’ and ‘Histories’.

Produced by Benjamin Norris exclusively for http://iial.wordpress.com

The following text was recorded during the final therapeutic hypnosis session of an anonymous male patient who requested assistance in overcoming nicotine addiction, shortly before his untimely death involving a automobile accident on the M32 outside of Bristol. I have researched that which can be researched, and have included four slides with which to better illustrate the patient’s lucid monologue.

“The known facts surrounding the religious practices of the people of Drejnev were recently expanded upon and resurfaced in popular consciousness thanks to the discovery of a written text documenting the second dynasty of the settlement, something previously thought impossible due to the wideheld belief that the Krozkaw people who populated the settlement had been unable to develop the skills needed for writing. The text itself was unusual in that it consisted not of paper and ink, but of a remarkably long and thin strip of silver birch bark, removed from the tree trunk in a single cut measuring approximately thirty seven metres long, and three and a half centimetres in width. This strip of bark had been carefully and meticulously wound around a typically Drejnevian totem mast (made from the dark wood so representative of the people’s folk crafts) in tight concentric circles. The pole stood at a height of two and half metres, and was crowned by a delicate carving of the Farikh; the totemic deity (generally believed to be of Saharan origin) which is usually recognisable as a black bird of some sort, often adorned with womanly breasts and hips.

artistic rendering showing similar finds in Drejnev

The silver birch, being a tree of pale colour and littered with dark speckled blemishes, allowed the ‘writer’ to align the light and bruised patches of the strip of bark along the totem to create a series of motifs, a simple alphabet of twenty-two figures not dissimilar to morse code in its conception.

Upon finding this discovery (conservatively dated at approximately 900 b.c), anthropologists were put to work finding a way to ‘crack’ the code that spiralled its way around the staff, a task which took Mr. Conrad Davies of the IIAL and his team eight years to fully complete. Upon presenting their findings to the Royal Society, the research team had to admit to some awkward confusion. Whilst the totem did seem to reveal some of the few, yet well known histories of Drejnev (particularly the ceremonial usage of sage, and the instructions for a legendary ceremony involving the sajtkoz – a wind instrument whose ancestors still exist in central Europe to this day), the code could be read concisely and perfectly accurately in three separate ways, revealing three very distinct and fluent texts. The placement of the birch blemishes were not difficult to identify, indeed, the peat marshes near the river it was discovered in were notoriously effective as a preservative (see Drejnev Marsh: The Umber Man and other finds Millford and G. Walch 1944 Keele Press) and have informed Western Europe for decades on this abandoned culture. The problem lay in whether to firstly take into account the spaces between the blemishes, which were mostly uniform in size and placement, and by no means accidental when one considers the minute attention to detail paid to the remainder of the staff, and also whether to make the rather arrogant assumption that the Krozkaw wrote from left to right, as is common in Europe, but rare in the Middle East and Orient, where many scholars have placed the people’s origin.

Peat marshes of Drejnev, showing ruins of former habitation

When one considers the content of the two ‘alternative’ translations of the text, there is little wonder as to why the Davies team were left daunted and confused. Let us examine the first of the alternative readings, that which is read from right to left, using the twenty-two arrangements identified as the alphabet of the Krozkaw. The text primarily and thoroughly describes the restoration plans for the Cathedral of Chester made in 1057 a.d by Leofric, Earl of Mercia (a leader who would most likely be lost in the annals of time were he not so strongly remembered due to his relationship with Lady Godiva), shortly after the razing of Worcester. The staff, when read in reverse, is essentially little more than a list to be presented to the guilds of Cheshire concerning building materials and the relevant taxation, and the list is repeated indentically three times before being completed by a short rhyming couplet which can be roughly translated as ‘That is all, and that’s your lot, so put a penny in the slot (sic)’. One member of the research team has been asked to check upon the historical accuracy of such a list, but as yet all research has been inconclusive due to the lack of recorded material in 11th century Mercia.

Archaic map of Mercia, showing all the cities mentioned in the Krazkow text as those supplying materials for Chester cathedral

The third translation of the Drejnev totem is perhaps even more confusing. As mentioned previously, the spaces between the ‘characters’ found in the narrow strip of bark are uniform, and there is even archaelogical evidence that a fine tipped tool has been employed to smooth them down and clean them, accentuating the difference between light and shade. When these spaces are added to the ‘alphabet’ as extra characters, we find ourselves with a total of twenty-nine symbols, and a radically different translation that is concise and consistent when read from left to right, or vice versa. This third reading has so far been unpublished, to avoid attracting the attention of petty conspiracy theorists and hobbying fanatics, who would no doubt enjoy making a meal of the bizarre coincidence it reveals and claiming some sort of truth from sheer impossibility. The text read as follows:

 Solutions to the popular crossword puzzle in the Daily Telegraph caused an outrage with security officers who were responsible for guarding the secrets of the planned invasion of Europe by the allies in June 1944. Members of MI5 noticed that some of the clues appeared to give away vital code names invented to cloak the what was to be the largest seaborne attack to date. The answer to the clue ‘one of the U.S.’ turned out to be, for instance, UTAH, and another, OMAHA – beaches on which the American armies were to land. Another answer was MULBERRY, the floating harbors that would accommodate and supply ships. NEPTUNE was the naval support. Most suspiciously of all, there was a clue about ’some big-wig’ which produced the answer OVERGRAUT, the codeword invented to describe the entire operation. The writer of the crossword was Mr. Leonard Dawe, a 54 year old school teacher who, after lengthy interrogation, was found to be completely innocent of any wrong doing. 

The 'D-Day' Crossword, reproduction courtesy of The Daily Telegraph

It was not difficult for the research team to look into any historical correlation that may fit this translation, as the text merely recounts a well known story much loved by the British public. Upon speaking with the relevant authorities, Mr. Davies was able to confirm that the information given up by the third and final interpretation of the Drejnev staff was entirely accurate, with one notable exception – the answer to the crossword clue ‘some big wig’ which was printed in the newspaper, was not ‘overgraut’, but instead ‘overlord’ – a solution which makes considerably more sense in context.”

Section taken from Nonsensical True Histories Under Hypnosis, vol I by Dr. Raymond Pluhar, Thornbury Books 2009

About Benjamin Norris

Published writer of short stories, long stories, poems. Well received art critic and cultural commentator for Berlin magazines. Collaborator with operatic societies. Co-writer of fictional historic psycholinguistic journals. Lecturer of architecture and art history at a Budapest University. View all posts by Benjamin Norris

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