… “What, not even Stoneland?”
“Not even Stoneland,” smiles Wen.
“Pity, they will never know what they are missing.”
“There was one thing.”
“Well, two things, really.”
“These days ‘really’ is not a precise term, but proceed anyway.”
“No, no of course not… it’s just that, it struck me that the stones were conceived as shadows.”
“Shadows of what?”
“The ancestral realm.”
“And the second thing?”
“We’re being haunted.”
“By a shape!”
“It’s a Cop.”
“It’s still a Cop.”
“Or a very big Long Barrow.”
“But it’s a hill.”
“It’s still a hill.”
“Or a very big Long Barrow.”
“They didn’t build Long Barrows that big.”
“It’s absurd. It’s preposterous. They simply couldn’t have.”
“They built Silbury.”
“Silbury’s not a Burial Mound.”
“No, but the ‘Archaeos’ used to think that it was.”
“The ‘Archaeos’ are always getting it wrong.”
“They think it’s a hill.”
“They thought all the ‘Motte and Bailys’ were mediaeval.”
“Precisley, it’s definitely a big Long Barrow.”
“It’s not definitely anything but what makes you so sure?”
“Most of the sites hold a lot of people and there are thousands of them. A lot of them would have taken huge numbers to construct and there are thousands of them and yet, the burials are relatively few. Even at the massive sites…”
“Where are all the bones?”
“I knew you’d come around to my way of thinking.”
“Especially on Ilkley.”
“We know Ilkley’s a Necropolis…
“…And yet, there are hardly any cairns.”
Beyond the forest’s leafy shade,
The hooded one, with giant’s pace
From pinnacle to pinnacle
Leap’t silently, in moonlit grace…
In eremitic solitude
In caverns deep to meditate…
Within, the riddle of the night,
A key that will elucidate…
Beyond the stones, to four once nine
To where the goddess meets her mate
And heavens dance at winters turn
Bends earthwards to illuminate.
“No one in their right mind believes that stones can walk.”
“Despite the fact that the Folk-Record is unequivocable on this point.”
“It is also unequivocable about stones dancing, and drinking from streams.”
“I may be able to clarify the streams. They may be underground.”
“They may even be telluric currents, but you promised.”
“That, unfortunately, is deductive reasoning for you. It was the only bit of wall we had not checked.”
“We had so checked it… last time.”
“Only from a distance and that does not count.”
As it turned out there proved to be another bit of wall we had not checked.
Also distant and too far away to consider once the snow started.
I mean, really started.
There were compensations though, like the trees and the wildlife.
“Are you sure it isn’t the Throne-Stone?”
“Not near enough to the wall and the gate.”
“But the wall is a mnenomic. Your mind could easily have contracted the distance.”
“Not the right size, or colour.”
“Like that’s not easily accounted for.”
“Maybe you’re right and I’ve discovered a new species of stone, which can walk!”
“But that would be a New-Old species of stone.”
“So perhaps it just went for a stroll, again.”
“What, in the snow?”
…That night the world took on strange colours and my dream-girl became a tree.
If I were a Druid I would say that I had fallen under the sway of a wood nymph, a Dryad…
She is certainly very beautiful and pulls me away from the busy road where traffic endlessly flashes through the ever screaming air…
She always wins.
I always turn from the road and allow her to take my hands in hers.
We roll down the embankment conjoined…
We roll together
for all eternity
but then collide with the bole of the tree
and she is gone.
Field-Mouse was out gathering wild-beans for winter when Buffalo came down to the meadow to graze.
‘He will mow down the long-grass with his prickly tongue and there will be no where left to hide,’ thought Field-Mouse, ‘I will offer him battle, like a man would do.’
“Ho, Buffalo!” squeaked Field-Mouse, “I challenge you to a fight.”
Buffalo went on grazing.
Field-Mouse repeated his challenge but still Buffalo went on grazing.
With his third challenge, Field-Mouse laughed contemptuously at Buffalo’s inaction.
“You had better keep still, little one,” said Buffalo, still grazing, “or I will come over there and step on you.”
“You can’t do it!” squeaked Field-Mouse in defiance.
“If you don’t be quiet I will certainly put an end to you,” said Buffalo, quietly.
“I dare you!” said Field-Mouse.
Before Field-Mouse had quite finished, Buffalo charged at him…
“It has to be the Stone on Gardom’s Edge…”
“What does?” says Wen.
“My Robin Hood Stone… I mean it didn’t look much like the stone on Gardom’s Edge but that could have been the angle.”
I study the sketch in our guide book.
“A lot of these stones look different from each and every angle you know.” …
…“Let’s go find the Hud Stone,” say I.
“Is the Hud Stone the same as the Robin Hood Stone?”
“Well of course it is!”
“The same stone that we are not totally sure exists at all?”
“Well it most surely does exist if it is what Mr Harris is calling the Gardom Stone.”
“All these names are apt to become a tad confusing don’t you think?”
“Not at all, it’s just one more way of marking time.”…
…A short walk later and we are approaching what are undoubtedly the outer precincts of a prehistoric enclosure.
Just then I catch sight of the Gardom Stone from some distance.
There is always a thrill when seeing a site or stone for the first time, but in this case the thrill is tempered somewhat by the simultaneous realisation that, even from this distance, it is obvious that the Gardom Stone is not the Hud Stone.
“It’s there,” I say, “but it is not the Hud Stone.”
“It’s been called, ‘The Devil Stone’ before now.”
“I can see that too, but let’s face it, we’ve had more than enough truck with that particular personage these last few months.” …
…“Is it significant,” interrupts Wen.
“Is what significant?”
“The fact that a lot of these stones look different from every angle… I mean it starts to look like another involution.”
“It’s spatially significant for your ubiquitous theory but how so otherwise?”
“Well, take your traditional temple of the elements.”
“Which few people ever do…”
…“Of what does it consist?” says Wen, ignoring me.
“It consists of a uniform central point and the distinct cardinals.”
“Eloquently put, O Something Feral, eloquently put,” she smiles.
“Oh I see, the distinct cardinals have been collapsed into a central point…”
“Collapsed and reversed, which is something of an involution is it not?”
“It is indeed, Little Grub, and if that is what they were doing…”
“It is genius.”
“Genius, yes, but to what end?”
I am late.
I am expected in Leicester and now my only option is to catch the last train.
The last train to Leicester is a slow train and also appears to be experiencing difficulties.
Stopping where there are no stations.
That sort of thing.
It becomes clear that many of my fellow passengers are not going to get to their destinations and as the ticket inspector makes his round they discuss alternatives together.
As this is an unfamiliar route I assume that Leicester too is now out of the question.
A strange thing about the ticket inspector, although this is a new route and I have never met him before, he knows my name…
…and uses its familiar form.
“You’ll be in Leicester in twenty minutes time.”
Not only does the ticket inspector know my name and use its familiar form, he is also incredibly accurate.
My alarm clock is due to go off in precisely twenty minutes time.