Leonora Carrington 1917 - 2011
White girl dappled mare
the stags and the ferns in the wood.
Tuft of black hair caught on a thorn
She went by so fast
Now she is gone.
The young man, dressed in purple and gold with a blonde wig and carrying a jukebox, threw a tantrum and fell on the mossy knoll in a passionate fit of weeping.
"She never returned," he cried.
"Sentimentality is a form of fatigue," said the Happy Corpse, greyish, swinging to and fro on the gnarled elm, like a wasps' nest.
"Nevertheless," shrieked the youth, "I must seek her because I am in love."
The Happy Corpse laughed. "You mean your secret thread got wound around a galloping damsel. The thinness of it being pulled is a sinful waste and woeful want."
The young man's wig fell off, showing a skull covered with black bristles.
"However," continued the Happy Corpse, "if you catch hold of me and ride on my back, I may help you find this woman."
"Whoop!" yelped the youth and grabbed at the corpse, which fell into ashes and appeared at the other side of a brandleberry bush.
"Not so fast."
Around and around the brandleberry bush they ran, and as the young man got nearer and nearer the corpse got thicker and thicker, till the youth leapt on its back; whereupon the Happy Corpse stamped its foot and away they ran.
Excerpt from The Happy Corpse story by Leonora Carrington, (written 1971), first published in a French translation in Le Nouveau Commerce, no. 31 (1975).
From the book The Seventh Horse and Other Tales (1988)
You can read my favourite Carrington story, The Skeleton's Holiday, in full right here.