Richard Harland - Ferren and the Angel

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Selected Extracts


Myths and Sacred Objects


Neath brought out the totems and set them up in a line. There was a can of fly spray, a plastic cigarette lighter, a wind-up alarm clock, and a Baby Jane Ma-ma doll. The People knelt around in a half circle.

Neath began with an after-dinner prayer:

'For the day in the sun,

For the work that is done,

For the food in our tum,

O great Ancestral totems we thank and praise thee.'

Then he pointed to each totem in turn. They were all polished and clean, all kept in immaculate condition.

'See!' he said in a hushed whisper. 'See our Fly Spray Can, with strange holy writing all over it! And our Alarm Clock, with such tiny tiny knobs and levers! Look at our transparent plastic Lighter, with the sacred fluid inside! And our wonderful Baby Jane, so perfect, so shapely!'

The People gazed with reverence.

'What skill!'

'What craft!'

'The work of the Ancestors!'

'Yes,' said Neath. 'Our Ancestors. They have departed, but they have left us their tokens. . . . . . . . To stand over us! To be near us in our helplessness! To protect us through the nights!'

With infinite delicate care he picked up the can of fly spray. He raised it aloft in both hands.

'Behold!' he cried. 'The Guardian Fly Spray!'

He performed the traditional ritual, pointing the can from side to side, sweeping it high and low, rotating it in every direction. The People responded by chanting the traditional phrases.

'O Unique New Formula!'

'O Instant Knockdown!'

'O shed thy Most Perfect Active Constituents over us!'

The phrases had been handed down from generation to generation. No-one knew what they meant, but everyone knew they were very solemn and very religious.

As the chanting died away, Neath returned the can to its place in the Sanctuary. Then he picked up the plastic cigarette lighter.

'O Light in the Darkness!' he proclaimed.

He went round the People one by one, holding the lighter up exactly five centimetres in front of their mouths. The People breathed deeply in and out, drawing spiritual sustenance from the nearness of the totem.

'We are humble and unworthy!' they cried.

'Inspire in us the Flame of thy Spirit!'

'And let thy Soothing Power enter into each and every one of us!'

Back into the Sanctuary went the cigarette lighter. Next came the Ritual of the Alarm Clock. Neath held the clock by its carrying handle and swung it solemnly from side to side.

'Ten Past Three!' he intoned, standing in front of Mell.

'Rrrring rrring!' Mell sang out at the top of her voice. She jumped up and danced around, still rrring-rrringing.

'Five to Seven!' Neath intoned, standing in front of Tunks. Up jumped Tunks, and started dancing and rrrring-rrringing too.

'Twelve Past Nine!'

'Eight Oh Six!'

'Twenty Five to Two!'

One by one the People jumped up and joined in the singing and dancing. Soon everyone was whirling around, leaping and kicking and beating the air in time to the rhythm.

'Rrrring rrring! Rrrring rrring!

Rrrring rrring! Rrrring rrring!'

The dance went on until the People had whirled themselves into exhaustion. Puffing and panting, they knelt down around the Sanctuary in a half-circle again.

Then Neath began the fourth ritual. He placed the Baby Jane Ma-ma doll in the centre of the half-circle. The doll was dressed in woollen baby-clothes and lay on her back in a basket. With elaborate religious gestures, Neath rolled up her woollen top to expose her chubby painted midriff.

Then he went across to the three dinner bowls and collected a tiny smear of stew on the fingers of his right hand. He came back and prostrated himself before the doll. Then he touched his fingers very reverently against her pink painted midriff, depositing the sacrificial offering of stew on top of her pink plastic belly button.

The People similarly prostrated themselves and prayed the traditional prayer:

'O Jane of Janes and Baby of babies,

We offer our most humble food to thy belly,

For plump is thy belly and rounded upon thee;

O be near us and hear us,

Take pity upon thy People,

And make us rounded and solid as thou thyself art rounded and solid.


Then they whacked their foreheads fervently with the flat of their hands, and rose to their feet. The evening religious ceremony was over.



Ferren and the Angel

Ferren & the Angel


Ferren and the White Doctor

Ferren & the White Doctor


Ferren and the Invasion of Heaven

Ferren & the Invasion of Heaven


Ferren's World

Ferren's World


About Angels

About Angels





Extracts from the First book in the Heaven & Earth Trilogy ...
Ferren sees an Angel fall to Earth ... Miriael teaches Ferren about the World ...
Myths and Sacred Objects ... Forest of the Morphs ...



Read extracts from Ferren and the White Doctor
or the latest novel, Ferren and the Invasion of Heaven



- Ferren Home - Ferren and the Angel - Ferren and the White Doctor - Ferren and the Invasion of Heaven -

The FERREN series is published by Penguin Books Australia




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1997 - 2015

Richard Harland.