April 8, 2021

L is for Luilekkerland

         (My #AtoZChallenge theme this year is Mythical and Imaginary Places.)
        Luilekkerland is the Flemish/Belgian/Dutch name for a place also called Schlaraffenland in German.  Its most common name, however is Cockaigne.  Whatever you call it, it’s a land of glorious excess.  Click through to find out more (and see more pictures) in 

the post about Cockaigne.

        Luilekkerland translates as “lazy delicious land,” and that pretty well covers the main activities here: not working, and eating.  It leaves out sex, but maybe that’s too much work!  However, artists and writers who don’t want to leave out anything have created maps of Cockaigne, with different areas of indulgence and excess laid out in loving (or satirical) detail.  This Italian map from 1575-90 is entitled “Description of the Great Land of Cockaigne Where He Who Sleeps the Most Earns the Most.”  It includes a Sea of Good Greek Wine, a countryside where marzipan and every sort of confection grows, and a great mountain of grated cheese, topped by a caldera of macaroni.  The bridges are made of melon slices, the trees grow pancakes beneath clouds that rain honey, people are arrested for working, and oddest of all, there are owls that lay fur coats if you beat them with sticks!  However, there is also a Fountain of Evil.
        The second map includes hundreds and hundreds of labelled places.  You could pore over it for hours - especially as it’s in a mix of Latin and German.  However, I can make out The Foolish Sea and The Drunken Lake, The Empire of Great Stomachs, Tipplers’ Kingdom, an island of tobacco, and more.  This mapmaker also sounds a warning, though, with the Hellish Realm to the south.
        The MORAL of Luilekkerland/Cockaigne: Imagine a land where everyone could do whatever they wanted… no masks, no gun control, no environmental regulations… What could possibly go wrong?
              OR:  Beware of what you wish for.  But ALSO: If they don’t have a mountain of dark chocolate, I’m not going.
        So, what would you demand the Land of Cockaigne provide, before you’d really consider it perfect?  And where do you see the intersection between free will and self-control?

[Pictures: A selection of fanciful scenes describing the land, sites, and customs of Cockaigne, etching, Italy, 1575-1590 (Image from The British Museum);

Accurate Utopian Map of the Newly Discovered Fool’s World, the Often Mentioned but Never Discovered Land of Cockaigne, engraving by an Anonymous Author, c 1730-40 (Image from Wikimedia Commons).]


Olga Godim said...

Don't think I would like this place. I mean, not working and eating all day? I would get bored pretty soon.

Weekends in Maine said...

I don't think this is the place for me. I've always said one of the reasons our Maine summers are so special is that they're short. We don't have endless days of sunshine and perfect weather so when it does happen we cherish it. Those moments are memorable. I don't think having everything you think you want actually leads to happiness. Weekends In Maine

Mike said...

I think some things could go wrong here!

Pax said...

I think one of the things that make life worth living is challenge (and not just the A-Z Challenge!). Similar, perhaps, is creating something -- which implies learning the skills, practicing, and being inspired (maybe not in this order). This includes work. The satisfaction of a job well done -- and this happens in the context where there are other things in addition to work. No, I'm afraid that even with a mountain of dark chocolate (definitely a temptation) I am not a candidate for Cockaigne or Luilekkerland.

Lisa said...

It must be some work to beat the owls out of fur coats! What an odd thing that is. I suppose it must be magic that raises the animals they eat, plants the crops, harvests, and cooks it all. I wonder what they do with the dirty dishes?
Sounds boring to do nothing but eat and maybe wander around all day. If you get in trouble for working, then someone is working, policing the people. Oh, I am getting all mixed up!

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

I agree with you all that this really would not be my scene.
Lisa, you make an excellent point that the police would have to be working to enforce the law of laziness - definitely a contradiction.

Deborah Weber said...

Perhaps an amusing place to visit, but I'm not sure about living there. Still, I wouldn't mind seeing the honey clouds. I wonder if they require giant bees to maintain.

JadeLi said...

Seems like a great place for a vaca -- and seems like a vaca like a lot of people have -- but to live there year-round would extract the joy out of everything I think.

My "L" Tull song of the day is here:

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

Hmmm, pancakes and marzipan. A place like that sounds great to me right about now :D

The Multicolored Diary

Lady In Read said...

while I would love to visit this "lazy delicious land" for when I need a vacation, living here might get too boring too soon..
But love the maps of this place...
The Lake Poets and Their “Lake Poems”

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

Going there is just asking for trouble.

Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge with an A-Z of Faerie: Ly Ergs

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Hmm, it actually never occurred to me to go for vacation! lol But you know, I still don't think I'd really like it.