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Sandman Vol 2 40

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"The Parliament of Rooks": One day, Lyta Hall puts her son Daniel Hall to bed while she talks to her friend on the phone. In sleeping, Daniel enters the Dreaming.

Quote1 I keep telling you: It's the mystery that endures. Not the explanation. A good mystery can last for ever. Quote2
-- Cain

Appearing in "The Parliament of Rooks"

Featured Characters:

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Synopsis for "The Parliament of Rooks"

One day, Lyta Hall puts her son Daniel Hall to bed while she talks to her friend on the phone. In sleeping, Daniel enters the Dreaming.

On the steps of the House of Secrets, Daniel encounters Matthew the Raven and Eve, who lead him inside to take tea with Abel. Their gathering is interrupted by Cain, who maliciously suggests that each of them tell a story to the little boy.

Cain offers a mystery; the mystery of the parliament of rooks. Each member of the corvidae family of birds has an interesting name for a gathering thereof: a murder of crows, a tiding of magpies, an unkindness of ravens, and a parliament of rooks. The last gets its name from the fact that often, these gatherings of rooks will form a circle around a single rook, like in a parliament or trial. That bird makes specific calls until one of two outcomes occurs. Either the entire gathered parliament flies away leaving the lone rook alone in the field, or they all turn on that rook and peck it to death. The reason why the birds do this is the great mystery.

Next, Eve reluctantly tells a story. She explains that Adam had three wives. The first was Lilith. She was a powerful woman, who would not be subservient to him, and as such, she was expelled from the Garden of Eden, and would not return. Some say, she mated with the angels and demons. The second wife had no name. She was made from nothing, before Adam's eyes. He watched as her bones formed, and then her organs, and then her muscles, bile and skin. Because he had seen what she was made from, Adam would not look at her. Some say she was destroyed by God, others say she was simply cast out of the Garden. At last, Eve was made from Adam's rib, and as is commonly known, she and Adam ate from the Tree of Knowledge, and were cast out of the Garden as well.

Next, Abel tells his story; a secret. He tells that long ago, before the known world was a speck in space, Death and Dream went walking. One day, they passed by two brothers who were fighting. The one brother had offered a sheep to the creator, and the other his crops of fruits and vegetables. The creator was more pleased by the sheep, and so the elder brother who had offered crops became angry, and killed the younger. Death came to him, planning to take him to a garden of her own. Dream, however offered the younger brother a place in his own garden, as a guardian of secrets. He was given his own house full of secrets to look after, but he soon grew lonely, so he visited Dream. Dream offered him a gift. When the younger brother returned to his home, he found another house full of mysteries next door to his own, and his elder brother was its custodian. Reuinited, the brothers lived side by side for eternity.

Matthew wonders if all of these stories are true, and Abel nearly gives away the secret of the parliament of rooks, but Cain prevents him, sending everyone home instead.

As Eve carries Daniel and Matthew from the house, Abel defies his brother, poking his head out the window, and revealing that it is not a parliament at all. The rook in the centre of the circle is a story teller, and the result is the other rooks' response to the story. Angrily, Cain kills his brother again, warning that mysteries are more exciting to the mind than the secrets behind them.

Lyta realizes that it's her son's dinner time, and goes to wake him. She picks him up in her arms, but she is confused to find a very dirty raven's feather with him. She thinks little of it, wondering about the mysteries that surround her son.


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