Category Archives: Fairy Tale

All – Ex – Andros…

3

  One is All…

In Alchemy there are no short cuts.
Many are those who have spent a life-time seeking its treasure in vain.
On the other hand, everything it promises to reveal is freely given at the outset.
One need only attend properly to its stories and dictates to succeed in the quest…
*
THE TREASURE OF ALEXANDER
In my native land where I was an orphan there stood a stone statue upon a golden column on which was written:
‘Behold! I am Hermes, he who is three-fold in Wisdom. I once placed marvelous signs openly before all eyes; but now I have veiled them by my wisdom so that none should attain them unless he be a sage like my good self…’
On the breast of the statue one could read:
‘Let him who would learn and know the secrets of creation and of nature look beneath my foot.’
I reflected on what this might mean and started to dig beneath the plinth…
Before long I came to a dark underground chamber in which winds arose and blew without ceasing.
I could go no further.
Exhausted by my toil and full of chagrin at my failure I sat down to rest and immediately fell asleep.
It was then that an old man appeared, resembling myself in build and appearance.
‘Arise and enter into this chamber so as to obtain a representation of nature!’ He said.
‘I cannot,’ I replied, ‘for I can see nothing in the darkness, and the winds that blow there will put out every torch flame.’
‘Then why don’t you put your light into a glass vessel…’ He said.
I immediately awoke, set a light inside a glass, as instructed, and entered the chamber.
There before me sat an Ancient Man on a Golden Throne, holding in his hand an Emerald Tablet on which was written:
‘This is the secret of the world and nature… the knowledge of creation and the cause of all things’…
*
All…Ex…Andros…
Could anything be clearer or simultaneously more obscure?
How many Fairy Tales commence with a ‘Native Orphan’ who ends by first recognising and finally realising their ‘High Estate’?
And what should be made of our immobile Stone Figure which stands upon Gold?
He is a God, no less, yet he points not at heaven above but below to the earth.
Or of the Old One who appears in dream as our ‘bodily’ twin?
A simulacrum…
Nature’s representative advises we still the flickering, buffeted flame of our minds eye in order to see…
Deep in the Dark of our Earth the enthroned kin who holds…
A Jewel in the Crown…
*

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The Eye-Guy…

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*

SPOILS OF THE ABYSS

 When Pryderi, Lord of Underhill, was treated for the

 injury done to his arm by Tyrnonos, Thunder-of-Water,

 his leech, Nudd, found that he was unable to save the limb; so

 he hacked it down to a stump and put a silver hand on Pryderi which

 was so cunningly crafted that it had all the movement of a natural hand.

*

Yet still Pryderi had no end of pain and trouble with the arm

and he was forever lying sick in his bed from the grief of it…

*

“Not a particularly auspicious start, and no sign of our ‘Eye-Guy’.”

“Give it time.” …

“Did they have ‘bionic’ hands in those days then?”

“A ha… I don’t know, did they have ‘bionic’ hands in those days?”

“I think not.”

“We are dealing with the Crafty Folk here, remember?”

“I still think not.”

“So, to what can the silver hand or arm refer?”

“It would be useful to know which we are dealing with, actually.”

“Some sources specify hand, some specify arm, and this lack of precision may itself be the clue to our non literal interpretation. You’d think they’d know!”

“You would.”

“Let’s settle on limb, then. To what can the silver-limb refer?”

“If it’s silver it could have something to do with the moon?”

“I think that’s a very auspicious start.”

“Or a tree?”

“Even better, what sort of tree?”

“A birch tree.”

“Now, I know that is an incredibly auspicious start.”

*

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Egg of the Id…

*
When Fionn was a boy he was fostered on the hermit, Finaghast, who was to be his instructor.
The old hermit had been living by the river Boyne with the aim of catching the Salmon of Knowledge.
Tradition had it that the first person to taste the flesh of that salmon would receive
the gift of past and future sight and would become the wisest man in all Erin.
Finaghast had spent many years fishing in the river, hoping that
one day the Salmon of Knowledge would swim by.
*
One day, as Finaghast was pitching Fionn his, Auraicept, by the river, there were unusual stirrings in the water of the Boyne.
Old man and boy peered into the river and saw a beautiful, speckled salmon swimming swiftly towards them.
“The Salmon of Knowledge!” cried Finaghast running for his fish-net.
As he returned to the river-bank with the fish-net to hand, the Salmon of Knowledge leapt out of the water and gazed into his eyes.
*
Finaghast-the-Hermit, immediately collapsed to the ground in a deep sleep, for it was an ability of the Salmon that whosoever its gaze first fell upon when breaching the water course would always be put into such a condition.
Fionn ran to Finaghast and attempted to shake him awake, but to no avail.
With his instructor lost to the world it was left to the pupil to land the fish, which Fionn did, eventually, after an almighty tussle.
Still unable to wake his instructor, Fionn, set about cooking the salmon in the hope that the aroma of the broiling fish would bring old Finaghast round.
It nearly worked too, but just as the fish was softening nicely, and Finaghast began to stir, a drop from the boiling pot fizzed out and caught Fionn plumb on his thumb, so scalding him.
Fionn instinctively stuck his thumb into his mouth to cool it.
*
When Finaghast woke from his sleep he noticed a great change in his young pupil.
There was a light behind his eyes, like that of a flame, and his cheeks were glowing brightly.
“Fionn, did you eat of the salmon?” asked Finaghast.
“I did not eat of the salmon,” said Fionn.
“Fionn did you taste any of the salmon at all?” asked Finaghast.
Fionn then explained all that had happened and the old hermit realised that the grace of wisdom had been granted, not to him, but to his foster son…
*

Craft of the White-Crow…

*

Whiter than the swan on a lake

Whiter than the gull of the stream

Whiter than snow on the high-peak.

*

Like a wave of the sea from ebb to flood

Slender as the tall-birch, blowing…

Of a shape-sweet as full bodied clover, bobbing…

Of a colour-fair as summer’s bright morn, glowing…

Your presence, the dawning glory of the land.

*

Lovely the sun’s smile, rising…

Lovely the moon’s sheen, climbing…

 Lovely the stars gleam, shining…

 More lovely, the blush of your cheek.

*

Caladur: Visions…

*

The hermit showed Ewan a path

which led under the cliff, into the wood,

and on to a thorn tree beneath which was a well-spring.

He bade Ewan return to him at night-fall with his visions…

“Become not weary of looking,” he said, “what you seek lies

within the purvey of spirits, and that takes time.”

*

So Ewan took the path and found the well-spring,

which had been furnished with a hexagonal stone well-head.

He peered over the rim of the well-head and into the water,

but all he could see was his own visgae and the thorn tree behind it.

*

Three times Ewan peered into the well and he looked longer

and harder each time until just as he was wearying of the endeavour,

the water in the well, clouded and cleared so that it was as if

he was peering into another world.

 

Caladur: Still Water…

*

…”Surely I heard a voice,” said Ewan,

“although that voice was neither mine nor yours?”

“I heard it too,” said the hermit,

“and many more like it before. In solitude

there will be voices as in still water, there are visions.”

*

As Ewan thought on those words he saw only before him,

the racing, tumbling, burbling stream outside.

“Where is the still water of your visions?”

“Not far,” said the hermit,

“but the looking is longer than way that reaches it.”

 

Caladur: Stream…

*

In the morning the hermit set two bowls

of milk with bread on the table,

and Ewan sat where the murmuring

of the stream outside came in at the window,

and a soft air came with it, and made his world anew.

*

Ewan ate with few words for his tomorrow had come

and still he knew not whether to stay or go…

He looked at the hermit as he thought,

and the hermit looked back and nodded,

as if he had heard all he was thinking.

*

At one time there was a voice which said simply,

‘For delight men stay but for desire they go on.’

An again the hermit nodded, though he had spoken no words.

*

 

Caladur: Twilight…

*

…When Ewan looked at the hermit’s face

he could hardly see it for the twilight

was covering him little by little…

Only, his two eyes stood out clearer in the fading light,

and Ewan’s heart lay open to them like water to stars.

*

‘The words I told him not,’ thought Ewan,

‘He has gleaned them with those eyes!’

*

Then the hermit stood up and went out.

When he returned he had brought heather and fern

and he made up a bed for Ewan beyond his own.

They slept as darkness descended.

 

Caladur: Wayward and Wise…

*

…But the hermit spoke on, “The part of a man

is to know whether his desire be a wise child or a wayward one.”

“And if a wayward child?” asked Ewan.

“Then swiftly will he be led wandering,

and just as swiftly left to wander,” said the hermit.

“And if a wise child?” asked Ewan.

“The wise child will never completely leave the wanderer,” said the hermit.

“How so can this be true?” asked Ewan.

“By nature,” replied the hermit, “for every man is that which has been,

and that which shall be.”

And Ewan was yet more astonished.

Caladur: Threshold…

*

…So Ewan stood up

and went  to the door in the rock,

and called to the hermit,

who came to the doorway and stood

shading his eyes with his hand…

*

The hermit took in the figure

which stood on the threshold

and invited him into his cave.

He bade him sit at his table and eat.

*

As Ewan sat and ate he found himself

telling the tale of the child that came to his kingdom

and led him from it into his new life

as a wanderer of which this was his first encounter.

*

“Aye,” said the hermit, “desire is a child, yet will he

take a man by the hand and lead him away.”

And Ewan was astonished at the hermit’s wisdom…

*