Daily Prompt: Translate

I am back, I am planning on eating sushi, and I am almost certainly going to make fun of paranormal romance at some point in this article. In my opinion, this is the beginning of a very good day. Now, for those of you curious about my title I have been through some of my favourite beings from folklore and introduced them to modern life. Not all of them make this transformation easily, and more than a few have eaten door to door salesman when they wouldn’t go away, but I encourage you to do it anyway. Conflict is a big part of any story, and the harder a time your characters have fitting into their setting the more fun you will have. Let’s get started.

Baba Yaga: Now, if you’ve followed me for a while you will have no doubt seen me write about Baba Yaga before. She is a witch turned up to eleven and is one of the coolest beings I have ever learned about and I am determined to include her in as many novels as I can. However, there are certain aspects of her character that don’t gel with modern life. In her stories she placed great stock in manners, often rewarding those with good manners and eating the rude with her iron teeth. The problem I see is that modern life (children especially) just aren’t that polite, certainly not to her standards, but if she’s trying to blend into modern life then she can’t eat them like she normally would. Another thing is her tendency to fly around in a mortar and pestle, and while this is cool, I can’t help but wonder how she copes with things like skyscrapers, power lines, and aeroplanes. My final concern is her travelling house (which walks on chicken legs that would shame a T-Rex). I can imagine her plonking her house down in someone’s garden and in the morning people calling the police to force her to move. All of these things would complicate her existence, but rather than this being a bad thing, it adds extra layers of conflict to the story. Part of any story involving her would be overcoming these complications but having to obey the rules of this new world to do so.

Koschei, The Deathless: I love me some old legends, and Koschei is definitely one of the oldest. He is the guy that may well have inspired Voldemort and his horcruxes, because he hid away his ‘death’ in the eye of a needle, inside an egg, inside a hen (Inside lots of things hidden on an island that didn’t technically exist). Now, the first problem I see him facing is his hidden death. He’s immortal because it’s hidden away from him, but the more advanced technology gets, the less hidden areas of the map there are. Sure his island might have been unfindable way back when, but imagine if someone were to discover it. The other problem I can see him facing is his identity. Nowadays people exist on dozens of different systems, databases, and other records. Imagine him going down to the DVLA/DMV and trying to apply for something useful like a driving license.

“Pardon me, sir, it say’s here you are several millennia old is that right?”

Most people are likely to believe that he’s lying and delusional (psychiatric hospital for him), or that he’s trying to assume someone’s identity (Identity fraud court case). I rarely see novels where characters who live longer than normal have to face these sorts of problems when trying to live normal lives, and rather than skating over it I would love these to be extra layers of problems for the character to overcome.

Ares (and other gods of war): Ah now this one is interesting. War nowadays is not the grand affair sometimes written about in history. They used to be epic tales of good conquering evil (good and evil being largely dependent on who is telling the story), but the more advanced warfare has gotten, the more grisly and terrifying it has become. War isn’t something fit for ballads, it’s something people would rather didn’t happen at all. But where does that leave a chap like Ares and other gods of war. In our modern lives people are often looking for their identity, a way of defining themselves that makes them uniquely…well, them. Perhaps the many gods of war could be having similar misgivings. Sure I don’t doubt he could kick off a war, but if that war went nuclear then who would be left to worship him once the bombs fell. My favourite idea so far is his brother/sister/father/mother gods all band together to try and find him a new hobby to keep him occupied, or help him reidentify himself.

Originally this article was going to be five examples but I ended up writing much more than I intended for the first two and so decided to shorten it to three. I hope you have enjoyed this article, and if you have anything you would like to add, or other examples you want to tell me about then be my guest. Until then I will be back next Sunday with more of my usual ramblings.