A Thistle, A Thorn As An Image Of A Man With A Wounded Soul

A Thistle, A Thorn As An Image Of A Man With A Wounded Soul
A Thistle, A Thorn As An Image Of A Man With A Wounded Soul

Video: A Thistle, A Thorn As An Image Of A Man With A Wounded Soul

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Here we invite the kind reader to recall together with us two episodes from Leo Tolstoy's story "Hadji Murat".

Hadji Murad An engraving from a lithograph of 1851
Hadji Murad An engraving from a lithograph of 1851

This is how this tale begins:

Illustrations by E.E. Lancere for the story
Illustrations by E.E. Lancere for the story

(Note that one of the names of Tolstoy's story “Khoja Murat” was “Thorn”).

Plowman. Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy on arable land
Plowman. Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy on arable land

And here is how the story "Hadji Murat" ends:

We believe that the readers themselves will make a conclusion about how worthy people are in the community of all living beings and plants on planet Earth. Meanwhile, if people were less predatory and selfish, more just and attentive to their own kind (we are not talking about brotherly love for each other) - how many human tragedies on Earth could have been avoided. How much more fruitfully would human potential be used if there were not so many senseless human sacrifices in the world, since very worthy people are dying. And it is not their fault that they are drawn into senseless confrontations. The same is the case with thistle: it is not necessary to fight against it as with a harmful weed, but to cherish and cultivate it in every possible way, given its miraculous medicinal properties. But more on that in the next article.

Thistle thistle (Carduus acanthoides)
Thistle thistle (Carduus acanthoides)

We can only add the thought that, as history shows, scientific discoveries, the most important truths, symbolic images do not come to mind of one person. So in our case: not only Tolstoy saw the symbol in the thistle. Even in ancient times, people saw in this prickly handsome man with a modest lilac corolla such a fighting spirit that even devils were afraid of, since the plant retained its shape and combat effectiveness after ruthless pruning. That is why the glory of the most warlike flower was fixed for him everywhere. Among the Scots, it personifies challenge and retribution, on the continent it serves as an emblem of courage and protection, and in China it symbolizes fortitude and longevity.

Still, an amazing miracle is Nature: she creates such living and plant specimens, with which it is sometimes difficult for a person to understand. For example, in the Christian religion they could not find a worthy place for a “thorn”. The thistle aroused dislike among the churchmen, because this plant did not want to show obedience - the main requirement of any religion. So in Christianity they gave a wayward flower to anathema and even branded it as a symbol of evil and sin, accused of fierce anger at virtue. In biblical mythology, the thistle appears as a symbol of God's punishment for the sins of Adam: … “Cursed is the earth for you, with sorrow you will eat from it all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles she will grow for you; and you will eat the grass of the field. " In Christian iconography, the thorny thistle has become an emblem of courage:images of many holy martyrs were framed with thistle twigs. And yet a glorious specimen from the kingdom of Flora continued to retain its popularity, because it had too much merit (note, both genuine and imaginary). So, in folk magic from time immemorial, this fighting thorn, capable of causing a stir among the servants of Satan, was recognized as the strongest amulet. It was believed that the thistle reliably protects against damage and the evil eye, magic spells and dark spells. And its twig, hung over the doors of the house, guarantees its inhabitants complete immunity from evil spirits.capable of causing a stir among the servants of Satan, was recognized as the strongest amulet. It was believed that the thistle reliably protects against damage and the evil eye, magic spells and dark spells. And its twig, hung above the doors of the house, guarantees its inhabitants complete immunity from evil spirits.capable of causing a stir among the servants of Satan, was recognized as the strongest amulet. It was believed that the thistle reliably protects against damage and the evil eye, magic spells and dark spells. And its twig, hung over the doors of the house, guarantees its inhabitants complete immunity from evil spirits.

Thistle thistle. Illustration from
Thistle thistle. Illustration from

There are many legends, historical facts about the merits of the thistle in military affairs. We will not dwell on them, they are readily available on the Internet. Let's just say that this plant has become the idol of the Scots for some distant time. The Order of the Thistle (IX century) was even founded, which was restored already in the XVII century.

The emblem of the Order is a four-pointed star with a thistle in the center and a proud motto around the emblem: "No one will insult me ​​with impunity." There was also the second regalia of the Order, it was a neck chain with golden thistle flowers alternating along the upper and lower edges.

In heraldry, the national emblem of courage and perseverance in the form of a stem with a red flower corolla and two green wavy leaves of a thistle decorates some (as you know, there are several) coats of arms of Scotland, Great Britain, and Nova Scotia (province of Canada).

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