Hi-ho the Carrion Crow, bow and bend to me…
…There usually is.
Perhaps one reason for the tale’s obscurity these days is its perceived, overtly, Christian message.
This takes the form of a priest who is captured and tortured by Helga’s Viking fosterers, provokes in her the first stirrings of love and compassion and affords the young girl opportunity to embrace the process which results in the fusing of her day/night time personalities and her achievement of wholeness in mind and form.
However, the culmination of this process is complicated somewhat by the priest’s death at the hands of robbers and his subsequent appearance in a dream vision and by the denouement of the tale which sees the Changeling Child whisked away to heaven by the priest only to return a short time later and find her original home now long lost to the ravishes of time.
The Rip Van Winkle like nature of the priest’s ‘heaven’ may give inkling to the original story source for this episode, as might his appearance on horse-back wielding his cross much like a knight would wield his sword.
As an other-world component of the story the Christian priest is perhaps less dramatically successful than he might be as a ‘Fairy King’ or ‘Lord of Light’ but still gives us pause for thought and contemplation as to the precise mode of consciousness his figure represents.
That’s almost all, folks…
‘What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
long live the weeds and the wildness yet.’
All photographs – Sue Vincent.
All epithets – The Grateful Dead, ‘Mountains of the Moon’.
Epitaph -‘Inversnaid’, Gerard Manly Hopkins.