I could never find it. All I could recall were the following facts:
One, the book was large (though I was small), hardback and falling apart, even then. The thick card cover was an orange russet-red. It’s cover was a stylised representation of a serpent, wyvern, dragon, wyrm, etc.
Two, it had something to do with the ‘four winds’. Though now my Google searches suggest this is something Inuit, or perhaps Nordic, or maybe Finnish. This cannot be right, then.
Three, the Andean warrior giving his own blood as nourishment for the talking condor who carried him to the heavens; the warrior was trying to retrieve his lost star-bride. They flew over the mountains to find her, but it all ended in tears.
Four, I remember a man in a hot and tropical country lazing idly, eating almonds, chilling out and being punished, of course, for his sloth.
Five, a man whose vision could split stone, and a friend of his whose strides would take him miles with every step. Useful mates, I always thought.
Six, the story of Otesanek, the wooden and splintery baby devouring all in its path. A mother’s love gone wrong, and so on. It was Czech I think. I enjoyed the violence of the film.
The art was of that fantasy style popular in the 1970s and early 1980s. Who bought the book (was it even
) or what happened to it, nobody seems to know, but my mum does think she can remember it. Though the picture I paint must be so vivid perhaps it was me who lodged the thing in her brain.
Amazon was useless. Abebooks a fucking joke. Booksellers smug, ignorant, bemused, or all three. Like I was looking for
by JR Hartley or the
. Google image searches threw up all manner of fantastic images, but not the ones I craved. In Oxfam and the British Heart Foundation I'd try and relax my eyes as I looked at the shelves, like one of those 90s magic eye pictures, hoping the book would materialise. It never did.
Every time I visit my mum, I rummage in the loft, bang my head on beams with cobwebs knotting in my hair, but I never find it.