Tell-Tale Signs…


…There is lots of real depth in this little story.

It is culled from the pages of, ‘Folk Tales of the British Isles’ and is full of that rare and ever dwindling commodity known as Folk Wisdom.

This re-telling then is necessarily based on the translation of Sean O’Sullivan who reports thirty-two other versions of the tale none of which, sadly, now appear to be freely available.

The tale fairly bristles with three-fold quandaries and displays an initial three-fold structure which ultimately, and to the apparent chagrin of the story-teller, shifts to four.

This inter-play between Form and Content can hardly be accidental.

Ostensibly an answer the riddle tale, as is the way with these things, it throws up more questions than it answers.

At the forefront of which are:

Why does Death curl around the hearth ?

Why does a tied sheep stand for Strength?

Why is Youth  housed below stairs?

There are more, loads more…


8 thoughts on “Tell-Tale Signs…

  1. Death curls round the hearth because he is cold? Death is a cold thing to suffer?
    The sheep is tied up because, strength, once it’s released, is unpredictable?
    Youth is housed downstairs to keep it sacred and out of the way of people wishing to steal it?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought more about this after reading the correct tale of Gilgamesh (and boy, did that ever unleash a whole new world of thoughts for me). First of all, fire and death are opposites, as are a sheep tied up and the idea of strength, and youth and something under (the underworld or death). This is the duality of life as we know it, which I am certain that the ancient ones thought about a lot because they were so much more in tune with the magic of the universe. They heard things we have lost the ability to hear, and saw things we miss day to day. Youth was just a breath away from that underworld, and the world was full of everything that was sacred.

    I am working on my notes from Gilgamesh, and it is amazing. I think if I reread it a thousand times in this lifetime, I could still find something new I missed before. It is so incredible that someone or several or more people could write such a complex tale so truly long ago. It is full of symbolism, something I love fully and believe in. Thank you one and all for sharing not only your talent, but such a fine thing to learn in this very wonderful and magical time of my life. For those of you who don’t know me, I will be 78 this year in November, so it is truly as I have said to be here and enjoying the opportunity to share something so truly life-changing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah so . . . Well, that changes some things then. Nonetheless, I like the one you all created best so far. It is easier for me to see and understand a lot of the symbolic meaning of it. Thank you very kindly.

        Liked by 2 people

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