Jasminka and Friends:
Ferris Gilli and Norman Darlington
and one very cooperative dragonfly

Dragonflies figure in myth, art, literature, music, pharmacopeia and gastronomy worldwide. In Japan, the tonbo is a beloved cultural symbol and a season reference for autumn, while for some Native American tribes they are shamanistic protectors of children, vehicles for the human soul, and intermediaries to the spirits. In the folklore of northern Europe dragonflies were considered malevolent. Popular names include the English darning needle (from the belief that they would stitch your eyes shut), the German Wasserhexe ("water witch"), and the Serbian vilin konjic, ("little fairy's horse"). The name that is used for them in the Romance languages seems to derive from the Latin libellus, "booklet". Indeed, if you come upon one resting on a weed stalk with its wings out in horizontal position, it does look like a small book that has been left open.

It's a special experience if the dragonfly will remain at rest so you can take pictures of it from all different angles. Jasminka has been able to do just that. Her four haiga, with texts by Ferris and Norman, convey the magic of that moment, while also hinting at the full range of meaning that this ancient creature holds in the human imagination.

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