Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lady of the Moon

In this part of February the phrase "Let's drink ourselves into a stupor," springs to mind. The Norse Gods had the right idea about their Valhalla. It was essentially an all you could eat and drink bar, and all you had to do to get into it was to lose your life bravely in the course of pillaging your more distant neighbors. Mind you I have also heard of an Abyssinian regime where being on the verge of unconscious was pretty much a way of life. And as every one knows, there's no winter in Abyssinia.

The Abyssinian story comes to me from Samuel Baker, all of whose books I once read. But never once in any of them, did I read about how he met his second wife. He was on a hunting expedition in the Balkans with Duleep Singh, the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire. As an entertainment they visited an Ottoman Slave Market. At the slave market Samuel was outbid for a fair skinned girl of German Origin who'd been taken during Ottoman operations in Transylvania. But Samuel bribed the girl's attendants and off they ran. Her name became Lady Florence Baker. The Acholi of Northern Uganda called her Lady of the Moon. She was born in 1841 and she died in 1916.

No comments: