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Author Topic: PseudoPod 711: Les Lutins  (Read 484 times)

Bdoomed

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on: July 07, 2020, 06:16:32 PM
PseudoPod 711: Les Lutins

Author: Jonathan Louis Duckworth
Narrator: Larissa Thompson
Host: Alasdair Stuart
Audio Producer: Chelsea Davis

PseudoPod 711: Les Lutins is a PseudoPod original.



Content Warning:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



Show Notes
EA YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtLeMuTcFDtF2C3MiF6GPfQ

EA Twitch
https://www.twitch.tv/eapodcasts/videos

Search & Rescue Creepypasta
https://creepypasta.fandom.com/wiki/I%27m_a_Search_and_Rescue_Officer_for_the_US_Forest_Service,_I_Have_Some_Stories_to_Tell
CreepyPod
https://www.creepypod.com/

The Hole in the Ground
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hole_in_the_Ground_(film)

“My Belgian mother read me a French storybook when I was very young about a wayward Teddy Bear named Mitch who becomes lost in the woods and enslaved (very dark for a children’s storybook, in retrospect) by a cruel Lutin, depicted in the story as a surly dwarf in rustic clothes. The lutins in this story have very little to do with that depiction, because in “Les Lutins” I wanted to strip away the folkloric associations of lutins and reduce them to the most primal state of superstition: the alien existence of an Other presence. The lutin in that children’s book represented human cruelty, while the lutins in my story represent something more nebulous, perhaps lost innocence.”





It began with sparrows, finches, and swallows. Little dead birds Magritte would find littering her lawn. It didn’t trouble her at first, for songbirds died all the time. But then in successive weeks she’d wake to find entire flocks of birds littered on her property, under the shady sycamores and in her rose garden, their flight feathers plucked and their delicate necks broken. These birds had menaced her garden in the past, but still she’d cry to see them killed, so pretty they were. She didn’t know what to make of it all, whether it was the work of cats or a man with a disturbed mind and brutish hands. Four years after her husband died at the Battle of the Somme, Magritte may have felt like an old woman, but with her golden hair and bright green eyes, she was still young and pretty enough to attract that sort of attention. 

She was on the verge of contacting the local police when early one morning she found a huge magpie left outside her bedroom window. There was a patch of semi-firm mud there, where she’d emptied her chamber pot the night before. Crisscrossing the muddy patch were prints—humanlike footprints no bigger than postage stamps. Seeing the prints, Magritte recalled her grandmother’s stories of the lutins, the little people of the forest. They were mischievous imps who played tricks on people, and especially loved tying women’s hair into knots as they slept. Even as a child she’d never believed the stories, despite the gravity with which Grandmother described them. 

“Never chase a lutin into the forest,” Grandmother, a crooked old woman with a frightening mole on her elbow, had said. “No matter how peeved he makes you.” 




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Marlboro

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Reply #1 on: July 07, 2020, 11:19:42 PM
Congrats on getting your story featured, JDuckworth! I liked it.



JDuckworth

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Reply #2 on: July 10, 2020, 04:23:09 PM
Congrats on getting your story featured, JDuckworth! I liked it.
Thanks! I'm so happy to see it finally out in the world, and I thought Larissa did a superb job bringing it to life.

I'm curious what your interpretation of the story is, with regards to whether the lutins are real or not.



Marlboro

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Reply #3 on: July 13, 2020, 01:32:26 PM
Hmm...well, the ambiguity is part of what makes it scary.

The woman is clearly disturbed, but I'm not convinced she's a killer. She did dislike her neighbor and his dog and got into physical conflicts with both of them. But did she kill them? Early in the story it's mentioned that the rats that she's been at war with have disappeared, which fits in with the "she's killing anything that ticks her off while in another state of mind" theory, BUT it's also said that birds are turning up dead. She has no motive to kill the birds that I can see. I think something else is killing them.

At the beginning she believes the creatures are real. She subconsciously thinks they can be a sort of substitute for her children. By the end of the story she believes that the creatures are malicious and fears being accused of their crimes. Now, if she was in "protective mother" mode she wouldn't have turned against her substitute children so easily. I think she's disturbed, but not completely deranged.

So far, I've given my reason for why I believe that the creatures are real, and why I think the woman is still somewhat rational about the danger they pose.
So why do the creatures bear a resemblance to her real children at the end? I think the creatures just like the woman and her home. Figuratively, they're like cats in the beginning. First they clear out the pests (the rats), then they leave "gifts" (the birds.) Then they take things up a notch; they become more like dogs by "defending" the woman from her neighbor and his dog. But only after she shows hostility towards them. By the end they've gone up another level and have physically taken on the appearance of the lady's children.

So, I think the creatures are real. They have an affinity for the woman, want to please her, and want to defend her. I don't think they are necessarily evil or malicious but they are dangerous - because they take all of their cues from the lady of the house and she is a very troubled woman.


^Apologies for my terrible grammar and punctuation.



JDuckworth

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Reply #4 on: July 14, 2020, 01:47:32 AM
Hmm...well, the ambiguity is part of what makes it scary.

The woman is clearly disturbed, but I'm not convinced she's a killer. She did dislike her neighbor and his dog and got into physical conflicts with both of them. But did she kill them? Early in the story it's mentioned that the rats that she's been at war with have disappeared, which fits in with the "she's killing anything that ticks her off while in another state of mind" theory, BUT it's also said that birds are turning up dead. She has no motive to kill the birds that I can see. I think something else is killing them.

At the beginning she believes the creatures are real. She subconsciously thinks they can be a sort of substitute for her children. By the end of the story she believes that the creatures are malicious and fears being accused of their crimes. Now, if she was in "protective mother" mode she wouldn't have turned against her substitute children so easily. I think she's disturbed, but not completely deranged.

So far, I've given my reason for why I believe that the creatures are real, and why I think the woman is still somewhat rational about the danger they pose.
So why do the creatures bear a resemblance to her real children at the end? I think the creatures just like the woman and her home. Figuratively, they're like cats in the beginning. First they clear out the pests (the rats), then they leave "gifts" (the birds.) Then they take things up a notch; they become more like dogs by "defending" the woman from her neighbor and his dog. But only after she shows hostility towards them. By the end they've gone up another level and have physically taken on the appearance of the lady's children.

So, I think the creatures are real. They have an affinity for the woman, want to please her, and want to defend her. I don't think they are necessarily evil or malicious but they are dangerous - because they take all of their cues from the lady of the house and she is a very troubled woman.


^Apologies for my terrible grammar and punctuation.
I appreciate this take, I think what's most interesting is the possibility you've raised that the creatures take on the appearance of her children as a way of comforting her. That's not something I considered when writing it, but, you know, death of the author and all that.

I also wonder how readers/listeners interpret the standing stone that gets mentioned early in the story. That ties into the other stories in the collection, who are all linked by the "Old Letters" motif, but it's a very minor point in the story itself that could be entirely ignored if you think there's nothing actually supernatural going on. But with the "it's all in her head" theory, the obvious problem is of course, how is this woman killing all these birds?



Scuba Man

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Reply #5 on: July 15, 2020, 10:18:39 PM
I had to take a pass on this episode. Weird how different stories can trigger different people... well, differently.

"What can do that to a man?  Lightning... napalm? No, some people just explode [sic]. Natural causes".  Source: Repo Man.