Tag Archives: alternative history

Free Day III …

Ilkwknd 109

… Our-Father, Lady, Countess-Grae passed light and demure across the softly shifting shades of a turquoise beach.

Formless as beauty likened to the morning mist, her presence cleansed and refreshed the air as she danced; flitting capriciously between the stark but numerous clumps of white seaweed which lay sprawled like bleached and dying spiders: upturned and struggling in the yet cool but rapidly warming, morn-time sun.

They straddled the beach like shredded robes with their puckered strands wafting playful death throes in the sea breeze and as robes which had been wrenched, torn and wildly flung to lie forgotten upon the rising mounds of the blue dunes they appeared to have been discarded and scattered amid the sea’s insatiable passion for the sand.

And in her innocence, in her uncertain, whimsical passing Our-Father, Lady, Countess-Grae’s ruby feet caressed that same dry and now sullied sand: with all its succulence spent and with its surface baked-dry in the aftermath of the sea’s relief.

Yet cajoled and enticed by the arch of her feet and the spring in her step as she ran, the sand was compressed and spilled forth a deeper moistness; the dark clammy grains of which clumped and clung in a rich blue pulp and which squashed and squelched between the niches of her toes; cold, and invigorating as the new day which dawned all around.

A girl again, her laughter bubbled between short gasps, gurgled, giddy and pure as she moved; her reckless spirit sprightly and unabashed, flowing swifter and swifter, until, exhausted from running but still in playful mood she succumbed, collapsing onto the blue-green terrain beside a large vermilion boulder which squatted upon the lip of a small rock pool: its shade only vaguely unsettling her as she fell, splaying out her pale, slender limbs in limp, abject surrender to her surroundings.

As she gradually began to recover and her breath grew more even, her fingers scratched and gently scraped at the purple moss that spread like speculative boredom in dark, sporadic patches across the rock’s hunched and brooding form.

But she remained unmindful of the delicate intricacies and patterns which she so idly created for she was lost in the emerald-green sky and there she bathed her resting soul in the lushness of its translucence…

Earl Grae slumbered sardonically in his shell.

“…Still on your mind then?”

“Is what still on my mind?”

“Samuel.”

“I don’t understand.”

“The ‘he’ look, behind you.”

The etchings which she had scratched in the moss spelled Samuel.
“I still don’t understand.”
“The ‘He’, that is his name.

That is what he is ‘called’. That is what he is ‘known as’ or ‘goes by’.

That is his title; ‘hearkened unto’, or ‘requested by, the Lords’.

“Oh!” She read the name pronouncing each letter “… Who decided?”

“You did.”

“I did?”

“Just then…”

“Oh!”

“…When you were bathing…”

“Sa-M-U-El… mmm, I like that.”

“I like it too. A commendable choice…”

“Why, thank you, it was nothing… but, does Sam-U-El struggle, does Samu- El hurt?”

“Yes, of course he does but he loves it to death.”

“Oh death, Samuel has touched death then?”

“Grasped dear, grasped.”

“Sorry, grasped. How do you know?”

“I read it somewhere…

Here, tell me what you think.”…

The Aetheling Thing

Only to build with…

*

“It doesn’t work quite so well with stone.”

“So it woud seem, but it might have once

before we became so ‘stone-blind’.”

“I can think of a lot of things to call our culture

but ‘stone-blind’ would not necessarily be top of the list.

We still use stone you know.”

“I know, but we only use it to build with.”

 

 

Amnesiac…

*

Spontaneous Internal Combustion.

You may have heard of the phenomenon?

It can now be regarded as the final death-knell for the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection.

It is hardly likely that any ‘new species’ would simultaneously errupt on the face of the planet like so many hot flushes.

Yet, once a memory is framed, and accepted, it can be true at all times and all places without ‘compunction’.

It also means, that we are born into a past that never happened,

and pass-on into a future that is real.

 

Of Truth and Legend…

*

‘The Silver Well: Legend says that St Augustine once visited Dorset. While there he met some shepherds grazing their flocks and asked them whether they would prefer beer or water to drink. The temperate shepherds replied ‘water’ whereupon St. Augustine struck the ground with his staff, crying, ‘Cerno El’ as the water gushed out. The words were supposedly a pun on Cernel, the old name of the village and meant ‘I perceive God.’

It is thought that the above legend was invented by the Benedictine monks of Cerne Abbey to serve as an attraction to pilgrims.
Closer to the truth perhaps is the story of St. Edwold, a member of the Mercian Royal Family who one day had a vision of a silver well. He went wandering through the countryside and when he came to Cerne he gave some silver pennies to a shepherd in return for bread and water. The shepherd then showed him a well where he could drink and St Edwold recognised it as the well of his vision. He built a small hermitage by the spring and lived there until his death in 871…’

Information Plaque, Cerne Abbas

*

‘Are the monks responsible for the Legend of Silver Well such villains if they tweak the truth in order to entice pilgrims to their shrine?

People who have embarked on a Pilgrimage always get something, even if that something isn not quite what they bargained for.

And how true is the earlier story of St Edwold for that matter?

There was doubtless a hermit and a hermitage at one time.

How he actually came to be there is quite another thing altogether.’

Excerpt from, The Heart of Albion by Stuart France and Sue Vincent

 

 

Albion…

*

…And then we come across the church.

Cue mass excitement as we take in all the
Giants, which appear to sprout from every orifice…

The body of the church you see is an education in itself.

You probably already know about consecrated ground and unconsecrated ground.

It is the Inner and the Outer, pure and simple.

And this symbolism is carried into the structure of the building.

The gargoyles, the Sheila-na-Gigs, the Green Men, the Giants, the Dragons and the like, they are all on the outside of the church building.

They do not make it into the ‘ark’.

The inside is for all the saints and angels. Do you see? It is the same symbolism.

The Inner and the Outer.

*

…They do have something of the ‘otherworld’ about them these places.

Not so much Giant Hill itself perhaps although it may have been different had we gone into the Trendle.

It fact I am pretty damn sure it would have been different in the Trendle.

Wen was all for it… even with the helicopter buzzing us overhead. And her logic was very persuasive.

‘No unauthorised person beyond this point,’ said the sign.

‘But we are more authorised than anyone ever could be,’ said Wen.

It is difficult to disagree but then the village of Cerne Abbas is in itself quite otherworldly too.

I got exactly the same feel from it as when I first went to Glastonbury.

It felt like we had left England and gone abroad, perhaps to France…

‘Albion!’ smiles Wen, ‘The whole of these Blessed Isles used to feel like this…’

Excerpt – The Heart of Albion by Stuart France and Sue Vincent

Others like us…

*

… ‘Remind me again, why we are going to Cadbury?’

Part of my reluctance for these, what might be called, impromptu assignations are the inevitable ruptures they make in the overall scheme of things.

Once a pattern has started to form it is somewhat disconcerting to have to unravel it all or even to amend it slightly to accommodate the new strand and even though I know that it is good for the flexibility of the mind and really what we should be doing all of the time it is still an effort and as such is ripe for avoidance if at all possible.

Plus the fact that it is another hill.

On a very hot day!

*

…Still, as we make our way out of the car-park and look up there does not appear to be much of a hill left to climb.

The Silver-Bullet, bless her aerodynamically modified sides, has already taken us up most of the height.

There is, though, a plague of gnats playing along an extended stretch of the tree tunnel which leads up to the hill-top.

Wen and I both turn our back on them which allows us to see the advertisement for the nearby pub which has been strategically placed for those descending the height.

‘Still looking for the castle?’

‘At least that’s lunch taken care of,’ grins Wen.

The thought of lunch and an invisible castle revives me somewhat.

After all what we have here is another Uffington.

Looked at in those terms it is difficult to imagine anything I would rather be doing really, although I still somehow doubt that there will be anything as spectacular as Uffington at the end of this particular tunnel of trees… Interesting how indolence passes from the body to the mind like that.

The best way out of it is to move and to move quickly so I put on something of a spurt to reach the top and leave Wen trailing…

‘It’s the thought of beer and food which does that you know…’

*

…There is something otherworldly about walking up a hill, crossing that threshold between the heat of a summer sun and the cool green of the trees. Glimpses of a landscape that conforms to what we have come to know as sacred are seen through breaks in the gnarled trunks, squirrels scamper busily along the branches and the inevitable sound of birds accompanies each breath.

Beside the track steep banks rise, channelling our footsteps through a narrow passage, guarded by ancient sentinels, rooted in earth. As the trees thin and the shade gets left behind it is almost like pushing through a tangible veil as we emerge into the unprotected sunlight of the summit. Looking back, the tunnel of trees closes in verdant darkness behind us, shutting us off from the world we left some five hundred feet below.

A solitary figure stands upon the far bank… there are always three, it seems, somehow. Although I know he is only another walker…I see the glint of a spear and a cloak flapping in the non-existent breeze…

*

‘…Remind me again why we are going to Cerne Abbas intead of staying at Cadbury?’

Excerpt taken from, The Heart of Albion by Stuart France and Sue Vincent

Sheer Fantasy…

golden-dawn

*

Ish-na-e-cha-ge, First-Born-Being, roamed among the Animal-Nations.

He understood their ways and their languages.

They beheld him in wonder and awe and could do nothing without his knowledge.

He pitched his tent in the centre of the land and no spot was impenetrable to his gaze.

Even so he longed for companionship.

From a splinter drawn from his Big-Toe he formed Little-Boy-Man and taught him everything he knew.

Eventually the time came for their parting.

“What shall I do without you?” pleaded Little-Boy-Man.

“If you get stuck,” replied First-Born-Being, “look to the end of the road where two trees meet.”

*

Bent-Black-Sun-Day…

 

*

“There is one thing that still troubles me,” said Wen who really seemed to have the ‘Rapunzel’ thing stuck in her craw.

“Yaas,” said Don, in his most irritating drawl.

“Shouldn’t the seasons be sisters?”

“On what grounds?”

“Well, I’m presuming that Mother Nature is an Enchantress precisely because of things like her ability to transform the world through her seasons.”

“This is true, Little Grub,” said Don with the kind of tired air which suggested he would not be around for very much longer, “but the seasons are really contrived in so far as they are useful for sustaining our life through crops. Agriculture is a technology. A very ancient technology but a technology nonetheless. In that sense the seasons are man made.”

“And that’s why we can have the debate over whether or not there are really three or four seasons,” said Wen.

“Or even two. In the four season year there are really only two pivotal points and their inverse or reflection.

Wen considered this idea for a bit and then pressed on with her original line of thought, “so the brothers are really alchemists?”

“The first alchemists, adding their art to nature, I like that, Little Grub, can I go to sleep now?”

“Only if you give me something to ponder while you’re gone.”

“You seem to be doing rather well in your pondering without me.”

“But it’s not the same.”

“Why, oh why, my Little Grub, would the day of the king’s death be now known to us as Bent-Black-Sun-Day?”

*

A short time later Don re-entered the temple room somewhat bleary-eyed.

“Better?” asked Wen doing a poor job of camouflaging her excitement.

“You have been grubbing,” stated Don by way of an answer.

“The bent twig of darkness grows the petals of the morning and shows to them the birds singing just behind the dawning.”

“Ah, Little Grub, ’tis music to my ears.”

*

…and Red-Fox.

*

…In another part of the meadow Red-Fox was hunting mice for breakfast. He saw one and jumped on him with with all four feet but the little fellow got away.

In his disappointment Red-Fox heard a distant call, “Bring a knife!”

He started in the direction of the call and as it got louder he continued.

By and by he came across the body of Buffalo lying on the ground with Field-Mouse still standing atop it.

“If you dress this Buffalo for me I shall give you some of the meat,” said Field-Mouse.

“Very well,” said Red-Fox, and he dressed the Buffalo while Field-Mouse sat on a mound nearby looking on and giving orders.

“You must cut the meat into small pieces.”

When Red-Fox had finished his work Field-Mouse paid him with a small piece of liver. He swallowed it quickly and smacked his lips, “May I have another piece?” he asked.

“Why, I gave you the largest piece,” said Field-Mouse, “How greedy you are. You may have some of the blood clots.”

So poor Red-Fox took the blood clots and licked the grass. He really was very hungry, “I have six little ones to feed at home, may I take some more meat?”

“You can take the four feet of Buffalo,” said Field-Mouse, “that ought to be enough for your little ones.”

“And what of my wife,” said Red-Fox.

“Why, she can have the head,” said Field-Mouse.

Thereupon Red-Fox jumped on Field-Mouse who just had time to let out a faint squeak before he disappeared.

*