A short story about royal lineages and the precious seal of the ANDRIANARIVO

Edith

In 1800, Edith Elise's ancestor, Prince Andrianarivo - one day destined to be come the future King of the Kingdom of Madagascar - found himself in the middle of a series of revolts and tribal wars. The prince had grown up in a tumultuous situation during which the Madagascan Monarchy was often in grave danger.

 

Rather than respond to the ongoing rebellions with an iron fist and with inevitable bloodshed, more wisely and with due nobility, the Prince chose to give up the throne and leave the capital Antananarivo to find hospitality, at least initially, in the city of Antalaha, situated on the shore of the Indian Ocean to the north of the island of Madagascar.

 

But life in this city, whch was still subject to the malign influence of the capital, was hard to reconcile with the sovereign spirit and peaceful nature of this great African prince, who sought a more tranquil environment, which would ideally no longer be influenced by an excessively turbulent and violent reality.


And so the young and bold Prince preferred to retire inland to the small village of Ambohitralanana. 

The inhabitants of this village welcomed him warmly, aware of the honour that this wise and enlightened prince paid to them, staying with a small tribal community. They were soon also deeply fascinated and surprised by the humanity, great character, deep culture and manners of a profoundly noble and generous man: a man who had learnt to renounce great honours and riches to indulge his deep and intimate desire for peace and spirituality. The young prince too found himself at ease in that simple, yet generous and proud community, and decided to remain there for the rest of his life, where he took a young and beautiful woman named Misy as his bride, with whom he had fallen madly in love. It is a beautiful and tender love story between a noble and powerful Madagascan Prince and a simple but beautiful girl from the a small village at the heart of this large African island.


 

From this union, two children were born:

1. Rasoanirina, who had no descendants

2. Andrianaly, who married Claire Matify, the Governor of the Province of Diego-Suarez, which was subject to the rule of the vast French Empire, but also under the influence and control of the powerful British Empire. During the Napoleonic Wars, there were continual skirmishes overseas, though mostly naval battles, between the French and English.

From this marriage the following children were born:

1. Augustin Andrianaly

2. Sidonie Rasoanandrasana (Edith Elise's grandmother).

The descendants of Prince Andrianarivo received the royal seal in pure gold as their legacy.

The seal is a ring engraved with the image of a noble cavalier, adorned with all the symbolic regal attributes that characterized the Malagasy royal lineage of the Andrianaravo and still do today.

Edith Elise's mother, Eudoxie, who currently resides in Spain, safeguards the ring and royal seal of the Andrianarivo.

It is intriguing and fascinating to know that the ring, generation after generation and almost as if by miracle, adapts to the finger of the man or woman who is its legitimate custodian: "...and the little slave girl will become a Goddess!" ... This is also the case for the delicate and slender hand of the beautiful Eudoxie, who seems to be perfectly suited to fit the fine and prestigious royal seal of the Andrianarivo!


 

VANILLA
On the paradise island of the senses, what prevails is flavour, because its pervasiveness, intensity, and profound emotions that it can instill make it the absolute sovereign in all the cities and palaces of the world.

The original fruit of a wild Mexican orchid, even the Aztecs were familiar with and regularly made use of vanilla. For centuries, the used it to prepare chocolate-based drinks to sweeten the naturally bitter taste of the cocoa bean.

Hernán Cortés, the bloody and ruthless Spanish conqueror who brutally ravaged and destroyed the Empire of that magnificent pre-Colombian civilisation, brought a few vanilla plants to Europe among innumerable riches that were plundered from the Americas. It was thanks to the many naval expeditions of the great Genoese explorer Christopher Columbus and other enlightened navigators however, that the taste for vanilla as we know it today spread to Europe, valued as one of the finest and used spices.

The plants were brought from the Americas to Europe and then to the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean and produced flowers, as they did in their countries of origin in Central America, but as there was nothing to pollinate them (such as the bees in the Melipona genus), none of them ever produced the pods containing the precious vanilla. Therefore, all attempts to produce this precious spice in other continents floundered, and for the next two centuries Mexico and Central America maintained a monopoly on the production of the fine black vanilla pods. 

In 1841, on the islands of Réunion, to the east of the island of Madagascar, a brilliant man: a young and simple twelve year old slave boy named Edmond Albius disovered, perhaps by chance, that by manually pollinating the hermaphrodite flowers they would complete their natural cycle and even plants grown away from their native land of Central America would produce the precious pods.

This simple but ingenious pollination process is conducted manually, replacing the natural pollination carried out by insects such as bees, and is still used today in the absence of useful insects. 

Incidentally, that brilliant young slave, despite, through is curiosity and ingenuity, having set in motion an extremely lucrative process, especially for those who produced and dealt in spices in those settings, died in 1808. He had become a free man, but he died as dirt poor as the day he was born.


Interview with Edith Elise Jaomazava

Edith Elise Jaomazava
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