Category Archives: Mythology

Curse of the Hay-Collar II…

rampant pictish beast

*

… So, the Lord of Dyved climbed the Fair-Mound of Arbeth and the seven chieftains of

Dyved climbed with him…

 As they sat in counsel on the top of the Fair-Mound, they saw a woman, wearing gold

brocade, riding by, on a pale white horse.

Of comely bearing, and fair in face and form she was, and a fine, fitting, match for any young man.

She was approaching along the highway which ran past the hill.

“Men,” said Tyrnonos, Thunder-of-Water, “does anyone here recognise that woman?”

“No, indeed, Lord,” they all answered.

“Then let one of you go to find out who she is,” said Tyrnonos.

 

Caradawg went but by the time he had reached the highway, despite her

steady pace,  the horse-woman had already gone past without so much as

a look to the left or to the right of her. He followed on foot as best he could

but the greater his speed, the farther ahead she drew and when he saw

that his pursuit was in vain he returned to the Fair-Mound and said to

Tyrnonos, “Lord, it is pointless to follow the horse-woman on foot.”

Now, Tyrnonos, who was a prince among princes, was not used to such treatment from

woman kind.

“All right,”  he said, “but there is some meaning in this, let us return to the hall

and see if she rides past this way tomorrow.”

“A wonder indeed, we have seen today,” said Unig-the-Tall to Hevyd Broad-Back,

“a woman who will not stop for the lord and his company!” …

 

Excerpt from, Crucible of the Sun, by Stuart France

Curse of the Hay-Collar…

rampant pictish beast

*

Tyrnonos, Lord of Dyved, ruled the seven townships in a dark land.

 

Tyrnonos was known as the Thunder-of-Water,

for his mother found him in a cavern, behind a water-fall,

and there was no braver man in all the realm.

 

Tyrnonos had a mare in his household and he regarded her as the best horse in all nine

worlds.  Every May Eve, she foaled, but no one ever knew anything more of the foal,

so that the Lord of Dyved said to his Master of the Horse, “We are fools to lose the foal of

this mare every year.”

                        “But, what can be done about it?” asked the Master of the Horse.

                        “Three days hence it will be May Eve,” said Tyrnonos, “and I intend to find out

what fate the foals have met with.”

 

 So, Tyrnonos went with the seven chieftains of Dyved to hold counsel upon the

Fair-Mound of Arbeth, and to see what could be seen.

 

The seven chieftains  of Dyved who were to sit in counsel  with Tyrnonos where these:

                        Caradawg-the-Hound, Hevyd Broad-Back, Unig-the-Tall, Idig Arm-Strong,

Hwlch Bone-Lip, Ynawg-the-Small and Gruddyeu Long-Head.

 

Said Talyssin-the-Bard to Tyrnonos before he set foot on the Fair-Mound, “Lord, the ancient

lays are clear as a scryed lake and on one point they all agree; it is the property of this hill

that whenever a man of royal blood sits upon it, one of two things occurs: either he

receives blows and wounds, or else, he sees a wonder.”

 

 “Well, I do not expect to receive blows and wounds in the company of such a host as this,”

said Tyrnonos, Thunder-of-Water, “but I should very much like to see a wonder.” …

Excerpt from, Crucible of the Sun, by Stuart France

Skunk seeks medicine: Wolf…

*

… After leaving Skunk, Young-Wolf had overtaken his brothers and told them that, “Skunk was carrying a poor Rice-Bird in his back-pack.”

They all came back down the valley looking for Skunk.

They heard his stick-game song and crept up on him stealthily.

They saw Skunk squirming about between his sticks playing the game by himself.

They saw Rice-Bird’s, beads and shells piled up between the rows of rotten wood and feared the worse.

Young-Wolf crept up behind Skunk,  deftly placed his foot on Skunk’s tail and at the same time seized him by the nape of the neck.

Skunk did not stir.

“Fetch me a wooden club and let me club him to death,” said Young-Wolf to his brothers.

But that roused Skunk.

“Eh! What, am I an old woman that you should club me to death like that,” said Skunk, “put me down and let us meet face to face!”

“Your brave talk is only on account of your musk-sac,” said Young-Wolf, he called to his brothers, “hurry up with that club!”

His brothers handed Young-Wolf a wooden club and he clubbed poor Skunk to death.

Then the Wolf brothers took the beads and shells of Rice-Bird and went on their way.

This far and no further for Skunk.

*

Skunk seeks medicine: Stick-Game…

*

… Once Rice-Bird’s whistle could no longer be heard, Skunk soon forgot his fear.

He came to a shady place.

“Ah, this would be a good place to play the stick-game,” thought Skunk.

He gathered some chunks of rotten wood to put up in a large circle.

Then he took five more chunks of wood to represent his lost wives and seated himself among them, “move over a little,” he said to the ‘youngest of his lost wives’, “you are hampering my play, move over!”

Then Skunk arranged the rotten chunks of wood in two rows, with each chunk facing an opponent of the other side. He piled all the shell and bead ornaments that he had stolen from Rice-Bird in the middle between the opposing sides.

When everything had been properly arranged, Skunk again began to sing, “White-Skunk is playing the stick game, White-Skunk is playing…”

Every so often he would turn to scold one of his ‘lost wives’.

“Move over you, you will cause me to lose, and nobody can beat me for I am on my way from the Camp of the Clever Fellows.”

So went Skunk wriggling about on his haunches, talking and singing to the rotten chunks of wood.

He gave himself up to the wild enchantment and thrill of his game.

Skunk had become so enraptured by his own game that he failed to realise that the Wolf brothers had re-entered the valley and were looking for him.

to be continued

Skunk seeks medicine: Rice-Bird…

*

… As Wolf approached, Skunk called out, “Oh brother, you are on your way but do not come up to me, pass around at a safe distance, I have come from the camp of the Clever Fellows and their power is contagious.”

“Yes brother,” replied Wolf “it is as you say, the power of those Clever Fellows is contagious.”

So Wolf passed by without coming too close to Skunk and did not realise that he was hiding a ‘dead’ Rice-Bird in his pack.

Skunk went on and just up the way he met another Wolf Brother who reacted in the same way to his warning.

“So be it, if you are on your way from the camp of the Clever Fellows!” said Wolf as he too passed by at a distance.

The same thing happened with two more Wolf brothers but then Skunk saw the youngest of their kin approaching towards him apace.

“That youngest Wolf will be dangerous to meet,” thought Skunk, “he is so spirited and bold.”

Skunk fell onto his back as before and again called out as a warning, “I am on my way from the Camp of the Clever Fellows, you will do well to pass by!”

“Yes, yes,” replied Young-Wolf, “but it is a while since we last met, you must needs give me your hand.”

Young-Wolf went straight up to Skunk with his hand held out.

“No, brother, no,” cried Skunk, “I am contagious!”

“Yes, yes,” said Young-Wolf, “but you must still shake my hand,” and so saying he approached Skunk and seized his hand, catching a glimpse of  Rice-Bird in Skunk’s back pack.

“So be it with you on your way from the camp of the Clever Fellows,” said Young-Wolf affecting ignorance of his discovery, and off he went.

So Skunk continued on his way believing he had fooled Young-Wolf as well as the rest of the Wolf brothers…

He began to forget his earlier fears and eventually raised his voice in song…

to be continued

Skunk seeks medicine: Longhouse…

*

… Skunk came to a longhouse, and recognised the people there as those who pushed his musk-sac back into the river in repulsion, he said to those people, “I am on my way from the camp of the Clever Fellows, but I will stop awhile and sing you some of their songs.”

The people gathered around in readiness and expectation of the power songs and Skunk sprayed them with his musk. He made them pungent and foul to the taste for these were the plant people like celery, and ginseng and garlic.

Skunk went on up the valley and saw another longhouse.

He recognised these people as those who had tried to to recover his musk-sac for him.

“I am just on my way from the camp of the Clever Fellows,” he said to them.

The people gathered around.

He danced and sang for them and they watched enraptured.

Skunk continued on his way up the valley.

Rice-Bird spied him and played dead for fear of attack.

“Oh, Brother,” said Skunk seeing the dead Rice-Bird, “those Clever Fellows have killed you in their envy for your ostentatious pomp,” he was eyeing the beads around Rice-Bird’s neck, “such a proud one should always be wary of such victimisation.”

Just then Wolf came dashing down the valley.

Skunk quickly hid Rice-Bird in his back pack and laid on the ground so Wolf wouldn’t see…

to be continued

Skunk seeks medicine: Clever Fellows…

*

…That night as Skunk was going along he came to the camp of the Clever Fellows.

He saw them all far off because there was such a lot of them.

And he could see something else as well, shooting between them one to the other, sparkling like lightning as it went.

Skunk’s beady black eyes lit up at the sight of his musk-sac and as he approached closer to the camp he was thinking all the while on how he might retrieve his power.

“I’ll make an exchange with them,” thought Skunk.

Just then the musk-sac was cast out of the circle in his direction.

Scooting along the ground it came and Skunk swiftly turned around and the musk-sac ran up and into his body.

At the same time Skunk hurled the shrub-sac back into the circle of Clever Fellows who continued to fire it one to the other until its sparkle died out.

Before that happened Skunk had scampered away thinking, “If they catch me they will kill me.”

When the shrub-sac had puttered out the Clever Fellow’s wanted to know what had happened.

“I saw Skunk skulking around awhile back,” said one of them. “He must have switched his musk-sac for this dud.”

But by then Skunk was far away, hiking swiftly along the valley.

“Now I shall visit my vengeance on all those who found my musk-sac so repulsive,” he thought to himself…

*

to be continued…

Skunk seeks medicine: Meadow-Lark…

*

… So Skunk went on the land but before long he accidentally stood on and broke Meadow-Lark’s leg.

“Lima, lima, lima,” cried Meadow-Lark in distress.

“If you tell me where I can find my musk-sac,” said Skunk, “I will fix that leg with some brushwood.”

“All right,” said Meadow-Lark, “but it will not be easy for you to retrieve your musk-sac.”

“You must tell me anyway,” said Skunk.

“It is being held by some Clever Fellows who have given it to one of their orphan children as a toy,” said Meadow-Lark.

Skunk did not like the sound of that at all.

“They are rolling your musk-sac back and forth between themselves and the child,” went on Meadow-Lark. “Sparkle, sparkle, sparkle goes your musk-sac and so pacifies the child.”

“We’ll see about that,” said Skunk, becoming angry, he fashioned a wooden leg out of brushwood for Meadow-Lark and again went on his way thinking how best to prise his musk-sac from the hands of those Clever Fellows.

A little way along the track Skunk came upon a pungent shrub and fashioned for himself a makeshift musk-sac.

In comparison to his own musk-sac it was very weak but it was better to have that than nothing at all.

On went Skunk feeling a little better about his prospects…

to be continued

Skunk seeks medicine: Raft…

*

…”My musk-sac… my power,” cried Skunk as he drifted along the river on his raft of logs.

Someone hailed him from the river-bank, “Yes, your musk-sac came floating past here,” they said, “we tried to retrieve it, but it was floating down the middle of the river.”

“My thanks, nonetheless,” shouted Skunk, “I will return and show you my good will.”

Skunk continued to wail about his lost musk-sac and a little further on somebody else hailed him from the river-bank, “As a matter of fact your musk-sac floated ashore here, but we pushed the filthy thing back into the current.”

“My curse upon you,” shouted Skunk, “I will pass back along this way and you will feel my vengeance.”

So it went with Skunk on his journey.

Some there were who, sensing its power, had attempted to retrieve the musk-sac for him whilst others, thinking it repulsive when it drifted to the shore, had thrown it back into the current of the river.

Skunk promised boons in abundance to those who had tried to help and the force of his wrath to those who had not.

By now, Skunk had drifted on his raft of logs to the lower reaches of the river.

Here, he went ashore to continue his search over land. …

to be continued

*

Skunk and Eagle: Power…

*

… As Skunk neared the ledge of the cliff-face, buttock first, Eagle picked up the round stone out of the fire and threw it at him.

The hot stone tore through Skunks body, and out through his mouth, carrying with it his musk sac, which both fell into the river below.

Skunk too fell, head over heels down the cliff-face, and suddenly found himself back among the rocks at the side of the river.

“Ugh!” he gasped and immediately realised that he was without his power, his musk sac.

Skunk jumped up and searched around for his musk sac.

It was nowhere to be found.

“My musk sac has floated away on the current of the river,” he thought.

Skunk built himself a raft from logs and quickly climbed on board.

“However far it has gone, I will follow it,” thought Skunk.

He forgot all about Eagle and his wives.

Skunk floated down river on the raft of logs bewailing the loss of his musk sac, “my power, my power,” he moaned pitifully, “I must re-gain my power.”

*