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The Moddey Dhoo

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G’day all,

-This is Joey, proud son of Rebecca, wishing you all a very happy new year~

To wrap up 2017, tonight we’ve shared on You n’ Taboo a little story written by Jonas Kyratzes called ‘The Moddey Dhoo’, in reference to the Manx folktale.

I stumbled upon this article by complete accident only a couple of months ago. I was feeling awfully nostalgic at the time, so I decided to revisit some old flash games I enjoyed when I was in primary school. One in particular was called ‘The Fabulous Screech’, and I remember it as one of the first games that emotionally affected me.

Upon revisiting it, however, I discovered that it was not a standalone title. Rather, it was a part of a collection of games and short stories collected under the title- ‘The Lands of Dream’.

Since then I have downloaded and played all the games I could, pertaining to The Lands of Dream. They are wonderful, by the way. I recommend them to anyone interested in good, meaningful ‘interactive novels’, as they are called. (As they are more like books than games.)

As for the short stories, (all compiled under the heading: ‘The Oneiropolis Compendium’), they are equally as flavoursome and anecdotal as the games- if not more so. This particular story is a favourite of mine, as it puts a refreshing spin on the classic Manx story.

We learned about The Moddey Dhoo during our time on The Isle of Man. Whilst there, we visited the beautiful Peel Castle, or the ruins thereof. Mum and I headed down some crumbling brick stairs that were far, far older than us and we came to a dark, dank cellar dug out on the edge of a cliff face, so that the barred windows overlooked the rough ocean.

We spent quite a bit of time in that cellar, and from a plaque we learned that the area was used as, as well as a cellar, a prison and a guard house in its lifetime. While we were chatting about how we ‘couldn’t imagine anyone spending more than a few hours down here at a time’, a father and two small children- a girl and a boy- came lolloping down the stairs.

“Okay kids, let me tell you a story…” the father began, and mum and I decided to listen in. I sat down in a corner and watched.

“…this room was used as a guard house many, many years ago. One cold, dark, rainy night, four men were all sat around a fire pit, over where that boy over there is sitting-”

(That boy was me.)

“-taking turns patrolling the castle. Every hour they would change patrol. At midnight, they all heard a big, loud barking and howling from outside.    They were all frozen-   with fear.    The person that was meant to be outside didn’t come back, so one brave man decided to look for him…   after half an hour, the same thing happened. There was a loud barking, and the man never came back…”

At this point, my mother, the two children and I were completely wrapped with what he was saying.

“…the third man sitting around the fire decided to look for the two missing men, and the same thing happened again.     So the two guys left are looking at each other, frightened of what was out there, when all of a sudden-

pat.. pat.. pat..

-they hear something walking down the stairs. Do you know what it was…?”

(A pause, for effect)

“…it was a big, black dog. Bigger than you or I; it was as big as a car and as dark as night. And its eyes were two burning flames. It didn’t attack the men, though. It simply crept up to the fire and sat with them.    Well, the two men tried to reach for their gun, but every time they moved, the dog started growling at them…

…in the morning, when the next group of guards came to swap posts, the dog was nowhere to be seen, and all they saw were two dead guards-     who died of fright.”

That, we later found out, was the legend of The Moddey Dhoo, more or less.

So, in conclusion, what can we take away from this? I would say this-

Death is both scary and romanticised in many different ways and in many cultures, all around the world. This is, at it’s core, because death is a hard beast to understand. We spend our entire lives living and no one knows why it is that all living creatures must stop. It is scary because we don’t know, and will never conceivably understand what lies beyond death, because as far as we know it’s a one-way door.

There is, however, light at the end of this tunnel. Through tales such as The Moddey Dhoo we get to see death in a different way, one that makes it a tangible, understandable thing. We are reminded that death is but a mere part of life, and that fear of death is the only thing stopping us from truly living.

Find where the original inspiration came from at –

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