Tag Archives: mythology

Overkill Hill…

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Never look back!

It is good advice, unfortunately, in story-telling this advice,

when given, is never adhered to.

Orpheus… Lot… Dr Faustus…

They are all concerned with Soul.

The Soul that turns to look back is caught in time.

It may be an ‘intention thing’, like trying to serve two masters, do not walk one way and look the other.

There are any number of mythological monsters depicted in this way to prove it.

Tiamet… Nergal… The Dread Beast of Mercia.

The hero ‘slays’ them all, by moving forward.

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But going back to take another look, that is different.

That is part of going forward.

And it is also inevitable.

This time we inadvertently found ourselves following our own advice from one of our books.

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We started at Hordron’s, that hoary old receptacle of time, went on to Strines, the ‘Peacock Pub’, and finished up at the Old Horns Inn.

And this time when we got to Bradfield, ‘Castle Hill’ was illuminated.

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No need to wonder where we will be heading next then.

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But first, we had another encounter with one of our mounds to experience.

We needed more photographs.

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And photographs…

Were duly forthcoming.

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Once we had braved the curiously over-friendly sheep…

Field-Mouse…

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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…

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The Old Woman’s Hole…

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PC 963 Kraas turned and walked head-long into the sea breeze.

Her hair flicked in the wind like rampant flames.

“You know, I can’t help feeling we’ve missed a trick with this one.”

“It’s mentioned in the book,” replied Jaw-Dark pensively, “and in any case, it’s a pleasant enough spot.” He paused and bent down to look through a large eye-shaped ‘blow-hole’ in the promontory.

“What’s that?” said Kraas.

“Well, that depends…” said Jaw-Dark.

“That depends upon what?”

“…Upon your perspective,” finished Jaw-Dark.

“Nothing is ever straightforward with you is it?”

“The Irish name for this and other similar landscape features is Poll na Seantuinne.”

“Which means?”

“‘Hole of the Old Wave’.”

Just then the sea crashed beneath the promontory and the foaming waves, in the mouth of the sea cavern, a hundred feet below could be clearly seen through the ‘chasm-hole’.

“Seems an apt description,” said Kraas, “if a tad unnerving.” Her gaze followed the slow drag of the tide and then lifted to the sky where wisps of grey cloud scudded on the wind, “in the beginning,” she said, “everything was chasm and chaos.”

“There is though another interpretation.”

“Which is?”

Poll na Sean Tiene means ‘Hole of the Old Fire’.”

“Okay, I can see where that might fit in with some of their concerns. Especially with all this baleful eye stuff.”

“Personally though I prefer the third alternative…”

“Ever the storyteller,” smiled Kraas, “Well, I’m waiting!”

Poll na Seantuine,  is the ‘Hole of the Old Woman.”

Kraas’ smile turned to a grimace, “Well, I wouldn’t go shouting that particular preference from the cliff tops if I were you,” she said through the grimace, and then added more seriously, “so which one is it?”

“Unfortunately for us and also quite possibly for them too, it is more than likely that it is all three of them.”

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Lands of Exile:

KITH ‘N’ KIN

Stuart France & Sue Vincent

The Beeley Stone, ‘liberated’ from the churchyard at Bakewell, stands proudly in the centre of its village green once more. While the locals enjoy the fruits of its restoration, Ben, who had led the daring raid against authority, still languishes in jail.

Don and Wen, arrested and released without explanation in Ireland, now plot an erratic course through the wild places of Wales, while Jaw-Dark and Kraas, seeking the legendary stone of Fergus Mac Roy, have been separated in the most uncanny of circumstances…

As the darkness closes around them, the Black Shade haunts the moors above Beeley and, in the shadowy rooms of the old tower, an ancient and even stranger story begins to unfold…

The Celebration of Mister Fox: more and less…

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…More, because our Foxes are one-third Man

And also less, because our Foxes are one-third Man.

Huh?

Man’s individuality makes them more yet,

By its very nature,

That individuality has to be less than whole.

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Unlike Animals all the species of Man,

And there are many, can be traced back to one common ancestor,

And they have named her Lucy, which means ‘light’…

‘We did too, see Foxes,’ objects my Companion, ‘proper ones!’

Well, quite…

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The Celebration of Mister Fox: bestial cluster…

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Bear and Wolf,

And Dog and Fox are all closely related.

It is tempting to imagine a common ancestor;

Bigger than Wolf but smaller than Bear.

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But the official line has something

Much less rapacious originally slink down from the trees.

To replace what?

The Dinosaurs whose more agile brethren had taken to the air.

I wonder what Linnaeus would make of the Mister Fox procession,

As it snakes its way through the alleys and walkways

Of the Saturday night revelers, encouraging all to join its wake.

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“We saw Foxes!” says my companion.

Well, yes and no…

We saw something less

And something more than Foxes…

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Free Day III …

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… 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

The Marsh King’s Daughter…

 

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‘…Hi-ho the Carrion Crow, Fol-de-rol-de riddle…’

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Although the second longest of Anderson’s Fairy Tales, The Marsh King’s Daughter is relatively little known and perhaps, even, considered to be one of his ‘lesser’ tales.

It is a huge, sprawling epic of a yarn, which like most of his stories draws liberally from the ancient sagas, legends and folk tales which Hans imbibed in his youth.

Unlike some story tellers, although Anderson approaches the traditional devices with free reign, he never loses sight of their psychological and spiritual import and consequently, whilst sometimes apparently piling device upon device in wild profusion, there is always a satisfying, not to say, profound pay off to his seemingly more fantastical meanderings.

In these posts then, rather than retell the story, we intend to focus on aspects of the tale in order to investigate and elucidate the psychological and spiritual components of the story as a whole.

The Marsh King himself, though central to the plot, plays a comparatively minor role in the story, appearing just once, initially disguised as a tree stump.

It is a cunning disguise which gives the foul fellow the opportunity to drag an unsuspecting princess to her apparent doom beneath the marshes.

But wait, how did such a delicate, pretty one find herself on the edge of a marsh in Denmark?

She was sent from Egypt by her dying father to look for the antidote to his wasting disease.

And how did she get there?

She donned a feathered cloak and flew there as a swan.

Then, why didn’t she simply re-don the cloak and fly away when the Swamp Man revealed himself to her?

Because her jealous sisters, who had flown with her, stole her cloak and destroyed it…

Spatially, the construct is no less dazzling.

Here, as in most traditional stories the horizontal polarity of Egypt and Denmark constitutes a world and its other-realm.

The Outer, wasteland, can only be re-invigorated from the Inner depths which appear to be somewhat murky.

The healing herb reputedly grows in a bog, the domain of the Marsh King.

Already, the mix of natural metaphor and deep psychological insight  begins to weave its ancient magic.

But there is more…

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Signatures…

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Back in the low slung car I stare into the gloom.

A quiet has descended with the mist.

It is the silence that preludes any portentous event.

The car lurches and veers suddenly and we bounce up a dirt track and skid to a halt at the foot of Dragon Hill.

“You didn’t mean to come this way did you?”

“This way, that way…what does it matter?”

“Who knows?”

It is my turn to look mysterious as we set off up the hillock.

The chill snags my breath as we climb and the mist swirls and eddies, clinging to our legs and arms like star stuff.

I nearly lose my balance a number of times for no apparent reason, a sure sign if one were needed that we are approaching the numinous…

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Skunk seeks medicine: Whistle…

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… Rice-Bird now knew the thing that Skunk feared and he began to throw his voice in a whistle from Skunk’s back-pack.

“Ugh!” cried Skunk when he heard the whistle and he turned and fled in the opposite direction.

But Rice-Bird threw his voice into a whistle again and again stopped Skunk in his tracks.

“Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!” cried Skunk.

But whichever way Skunk fled, Rice-Bird threw his voice into a whistle which sounded like it was coming from up ahead and it was not long before Skunk was exhausted from running in circles without getting anywhere.

Skunk collapsed onto the ground, prostrate. “I am tired,” he said to himself, “it is too much for me to be carrying such a weight on my back, I will hang up my brother, here, while I go on and then return for him later.”

So Skunk stripped off all Rice-Bird’s adornments, for Rice-Bird was again playing dead, and hung him up on a thorn bush.

As Skunk turned to leave, Rice-Bird emitted a low whistle, and Skunk swiftly scampered away from the thorn bush in fear.

With one long, strong, final blast of a whistle, Rice-Bird sent Skunk far and away up the valley at a pace before he finally disappeared in a cloud of dust.

“That’ll teach him,” laughed Rice-Bird, unhooking himself from the thorn bush.

He had lost the beads from around his neck but at least he was still alive…

to be continued