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Myth of the spirit swan

Hál ádafin áçelnnesked narei (Nem: 'When the Spirit Feather was send from the sky') is a Faren myth, that tells about the Spirit feather.


In the ancient times the gods decided to reveal writing to the people, in order for them to praise their divine works in their poetry, and make their names immortal in statues of stone. They send a divine swan down on Salan and reveal its arrival to the ancestral Farens in a dream. The ancestors then begin a great chase in order to catch it. The myth tells how they finally manage to trap the swan, and remove one of its perfect quills, and it sheds a bottlefull of its divine blood. The ancestors then use the quill and the blood to write the first words in Nem (Faren language).

Historical Basis

The myth is set during the Time of Wander, when the ancestral Farens were moving west, before the tribes settled in the valleys of Farinos (Silver Stream). Even though some ancient works of literature have been claimed to have been written with the Spirit Feather itself, no works of writing can be conclusively dated that old. The oldest known dated writing in Nem commemorates the 200th anniversary of the founding of Silford (600 years before present) leaving at least 200 years gap in between the revelation of writing and the surviving works.


This myth is one of the myths that the most of the Nem speaking area has in common, even though the details differ. The worship of a bird-figured god of writing, resembling the Faren god Naruseińkuatam Alte (Lord Peacock) is common even in other cultures, possibly due to the later influence of Faren literature on the world.

Variations & Mutation

The specific mechanics of the feather differ by the tradition. By the most common version the Ancestors hunted down the swan, and used its blood to write the first words. In other versions they used their own blood, or the quill worked without needing ink.

In Art

Bird and feather motives are popular in faren art related to writing, such as reliefs in libraries and decorations in ink bottles. The northern city states prefer images of white water fowls such as swans and geese, while in the south spectacularly coloured tropical birds are more common.
Hamsa Damayanti Samvad by Ravi Varma Press (1890)

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