Sketchbook Page 39: F is for Fawn (a grave for Mr Tumnus)

December 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Faun Burial

Faun Burial (probably Roman)

Bones from a Bestiary part 6: F is for Fawn (a grave for Mr Tumnus)

This is the sixth in a series of chimerical creatures; the aim is to create an alphabet of fabulous beasts over the coming months.

With recent advances in genetic engineering it should be possible to manufacture such creatures in the laboratory; although the results will not always be practical (or, indeed, humane) …

The faun is a half human – half goat manifestation of forest and animal spirits which help or hinder humans at whim; from the head to the waist being the human half, with the addition of goat horns to the crown of the head. Romans believed fauns inspired fear in men traveling in lonely, remote or wild places. They were also capable of guiding humans in need, as in the fable of Satyr and the traveller – in the title of which Latin authors substituted the word Faunus.

Fauns and satyrs were originally quite different creatures: whereas fauns are half-man and half-goat, satyrs originally were depicted as stocky, hairy, ugly dwarfs or woodwoses with the ears and tails of horses or asses. Satyrs were also more libidinous than fauns, less foolish, and more knowledgable.

Ancient Roman mythological belief also included a god named Faunus and a goddess named Fauna who were goat people.

Mr Tumnus is a fictional character in C.S.Lewis’ series The Chronicles of Narnia . He is featured prominently in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and also appears in The Horse and his Boy and The Last Battle . He is close friends with Lucy Pevensie and is the first person she meets in Narnia, as well as the first Narnian to be introduced in the series. Lewis said that the first Narnia story, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, all came to him from a single picture he had in his head of a faun carrying an umbrella and parcels through a snowy wood. In that way, Tumnus was the initial inspiration for the entire Narnia series.

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