“Ah, me, ah, me,” the corpse did cry;
“My soul does wish for crossing!
For my poor bones, dug up and dry
The ravens now are tossing.”
Years did pass. The ravens died.
The corpse was left alone.
From yellow-white to white-as-frost
Did turn each brittle bone.
“Ah, me, ah, me,” the corpse did sigh;
“I yearn to cross that river
Of my poor bones I’ll make a raft,
My dry soul to deliver.”
He rattled up his bones a bit,
With eerie eldritch force,
Jumping ‘gainst the water’s edge,
To plot the river’s course.
“Ah, me, ah, me,” the corpse did cough,
“I must plot this thing correctly
Else to the deep, deep riverbed
My bones will sink directly.”
Years did pass. No raft was made.
The ghost was body-bound.
Though the bones were old enough to float
(If the will to cross was found.)
“Ah, me, ah, me,” the corpse did whine,
“There’s so much planning left
The wind’s direction, the current’s speed,
Each bone’s shape, and heft…”
To that spot he’s anchored yet,
And e’er he will remain thus.
For in the Land of Death, he knows,
He’d never again complain thus.
I will admit that I have not been overzealous in checking the science behind the ability of one’s skeleton to ford mythological bodies of water, but as far as I can tell, the passage of time increases the dryness and brittleness of bone, leaving it less dense, and therefore, more buoyant.
I’m not really sure that matters, but I spent way too much time looking it up, so I figured I’d share.
My name is Jeff Mach (“Dark Lord” is optional) and I build communities, put on events, and make stories come into being. I also tweet a lot over @darklordjournal.