Patchy Kettle’s Lantern

Today is Lantern Day, which honors Patchy Kettle, the most merry of the Jackalopian gods, and the favorite god of jackalope children. A lantern is Patchy Kettle’s commonest symbol, an accoutrement he carries both night and day. The description of the lantern differs from story to story, it is sometimes made of copper or bronze or rusted iron, or carved from chalcedony, or constructed of bones and wire, using chicken bones. The light has been provided by sheep tallow candles, or fueled by pumpkin seed oil or urine or salt. People often misunderstand the lamp of Patchy Kettle, confusing it with the lamp of Diogenes, who lit his lamp in the daylight to search for an honest man. Patchy Kettle had this to say about honest men:

The problem with “calls for the severest and most indignant repudiation on the part of all honest men” is that “honest men” was and will always be a mythical entity that was of no use to anyone except liars. Abandon your belief in “honest men”, and continue to resist your desire to revive that belief. Only then can you ask yourself, “What can be accomplished?”

This quote comes from the Esornom Imaginaria, one of the two most popular books for tales about Patchy Kettle. The Esornom Imaginaria is divided into five books, this passage can be found in the Book of Ornasein, which is about the adventures of Patchy Kettle and a young poet-monk named Ornasein, who is the narrator. Ornasein tells us he is the duke of a rich province and he has many good wives and a horde of children. Many citizens admire and respect him, and few vilify him. His book is a fond reminiscence of a time when he was young, poor, mostly drunk and carefree. He remembers drinking so much that he is amazed at how his memories can be so vivid and full of detail. His stories have plenty of adventure, romance, horror, ironic twists, plus good advice from Patchy Kettle to his young companion. Ornasein confesses that he ignored all the advice, and thus became a rich, successful man who is miserable and powerless, crushed out of existence by his obligations to his wealth, family and nation. No longer human, he has become a machine that serves the whims and needs of other people. At the end of his book, he gets drunk one night, packs a knapsack with cheese, buffalo jerky and almond cakes, and runs away from everything. We learn in the other four books of the Esornom Imaginaria that Ornasein died years later in a state of bliss.

© 2017 lcmt

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