Folke Filbyter

Folke Filbyter

Swedish legend portrays Folke Filbyster as the pagan founder of the Folkung Dynasty.  His grandson was kidnapped by Christian monks.  Folke spent twenty-five years searching for him on horseback and later finds him in the King’s service.  The artist, Milles, depicts this quest by showing his terrified horse fording a treacherous stream and a frightened Folke counterbalancing the horse’s movements.  His cognomen Filbyter is believed to mean “foal biter” and refers to a man who castrates colts with his teeth.  Maybe this is the real reason that his horse is terrified.  Anne and I saw this statue on our walk, on Saturday morning.

Over a week ago Anne and I rented the documentary, earth.  It was originally released into theaters, earlier this year, on Earth Day. It is the first film in a new Disney nature series.  Narrated by James Earl Jones, the movie tells the story of three animal families and their journeys across this planet.  earth combines action, scale and location and captures intimate moments of our planet’s wild and elusive creatures.  It is a gorgeous movie.  It was five years in the making and its production values boasts over one-hundred and fifty days on filming from the air.

On NPR’s On the Media, a news show that tries to tell the behind the scenes stories of the news business, there was an expose this week about nature documentaries.  Instances of fraud that were illustrated in the article include such notable nature documentaries as Wings of Migration.  Many of the birds that were filmed while in flight were not wild birds at all, but instead were farmed raised birds and they weren’t migrating.  March of the Penguins made the assertion that the penguins that were filmed, mated for life, they don’t, it was an editorial decision to lie.  Monogamous penguins were thought to be more marketable then their real natures.

So what constitutes the difference between a fraud and a legend?  Is it simply the passage of time?  earth was not mentioned at all in the On the Media  article, but it still suffers from association with its competition.  There was one thing that all three movies were true to and that was their beautiful nature photography.  It was only with their narrator’s voiceovers that two of them got into trouble.  Maybe like the silent statue of Folke Filbyster, the viewer should be allowed to invent their own stories and ask their own questions.  Like, how the heck did a statue of Folke Filbyster end up outside the fire station in downtown Clayton?

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