April 23, 2019

V is for Vegetable Lamb

        My theme for this year’s April A-Z Blog Challenge is fantastical creatures, celebrating my upcoming book, On the Virtues of Beasts of the Realms of Imagination.  Please check out my Kickstarter Campaign for lots of fun details about the project.

        To learn all about the vegetable lamb, start by reading this previous post.
        And now that you know what the vegetable lamb is… I particularly enjoy imagining how magical creatures might have a place in our modern world, but this is one of the few illustrations I’ve made that directly addresses that.  I have chosen to grow my vegetable lambs in an urban pot garden, rather than a medieval cottage garden or a renaissance herbal garden, for example, because it seemed to me that traditionally fantasy is much more commonly set in rural or preindustrial scenes, and the recent proliferation of urban fantasy focusses more on horror or “gritty” stuff.  I wanted some cozy urban fantasy.  The fire escape obviously makes this a city scene, and the fan in the upper window shows that it’s modern rather than being, say, Victorian.

        How do you think mythical creatures would fare in the modern world?  We hear plenty about vampires and werewolves, but what about some of the other creatures in the alphabet so far?

The alphabet of mythical creatures doesn’t stop there, of course.  Click the link to read 

[Picture: Enchanted Garden, rubber block print by AEGN, 2014.]


Kristin said...

I am afraid those lambs will caper around and tumble off the fire escape.

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

I love this illustration. I would totally grow vegetable lambs of my balcony if I had one :D

The Multicolored Diary

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Kristin, don't worry -- they're tethered by their stems!

Zalka, me too, although I feel bad enough if I let an ordinary plant die. I guess I wouldn't forget to water them if they baa-ed at me.

Deborah Weber said...

I love this on so many levels. A vegetable lamb! Seriously how can you not smile at the concept. And I most definitely want one in my pot garden. Your block is truly amazing - you never fail to amaze me at what you're able to accomplish, and it was fascinating reading about this particular process. Nice one indeed!

Jz said...

I love the concept - and the print!

Happy A-Z'ing

Sue Bursztynski said...

What a delightful idea, to grow a vegetable lamb on your balcony. I do have a balcony, but I assume you’d have to feed it, because there wouldn’t be any grass there for it to eat. If you were feeding it so it didn’t starve to death(how sad to think it’s the “natural” way!)would it mature into a sheep? And how do they reproduce? Do seeds drop out of the lamb’s wool, maybe? Mediaeval peasants were a practical lot, they had to be, and I suspect this would be a joke story around the fire.

You might like to check out the Xanth stories of Piers Anthony, which are full of puns, such as a shoe tree, from which you can literally pick shoes. They have this sort of whimsy.

Xanth will be part of my X post when I can rouse myself from bed to do it!

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Sue, the vegetables lambs do mature into sheep, but they remain connected to their plant. The question of reproduction is a good one, though. I'm guessing they have seeds inside like any other fruit, but I haven't seen that mentioned in any of the primary sources. I wonder whether they have to be pollinated by bees looking for nectar in their ears! As for the origins of the story, there's more about that in my older post, but most scholars think it's a garbled understanding of travelers reporting back to Europe about cotton: a plant that grows wool on it, just like a sheep!