What is interior to us,
Is exterior to them.
What is exterior to us
Is interior to them.
… “Before Ogma, I swear.
Before Sun and Moon and Stars,
before Sky, Land and Sea, I swear.
Before the Sidhe-Folk, I swear…
Defenders of the land,
victory and defeat are created in each of you.
What I ask of you in dealing with this foe
is not the work of cowards.
Our hosting in this conflict
will defeat those who have destroyed
the prosperity of the land.
Circling leftward I curse them!
Rod of Aspen
Sod of End
May the foe-men be hindered.
May fear be heard among them.
The End-Time has taken form.
Ravens will come upon our foe with doom,
and be their shared torment.
Their end goes before us to the foe;
they are mournful and doomed.
O, my Warrior Band;
my most warlike host,
in the burning fields of battle,
High-Folk will sustain your form in the clouds of the sky.
O you, my Glorious Ones,
a nine-fold brightness is upon us,
through the powerful skill of our men-of-art,
the battle fire will not falter until victory is won.
My Troops, greatest of sea-like hosts,
here in the beauty of the land,
a frenzy of battle invites you to embrace fate.
With mighty waves of golden, powerful, burning fires,
and battle lust may you seek out your foe upon the field,
embracing fate in a frenzy of battle.”
Tomf, the Troll, rises from the river bed after a long, long, sleep.
He is feeling grumpy but only because he is hungry.
Off in search of chocolate, cake, liqourice, orange juice, tobacco and cough sweets he goes…
Oh, and bananas too, I nearly forgot the bananas…
Where grub is concerned he is not too particular…
Just in case you missed him, here is a close up…
P.S. He does not look quite so grumpy, since we have been feeding him.
…Well, she felt that horrud. Howsomediver, she hard the king a coming along the passage. In he came, an’ when he sees the five skeins, he says, ‘Well, me dare I don’t see what ye will ha’ your skeins ready tomorrer night as well, an’ as I reckon I shorn’t ha’ to kill you, I’ll ha’ supper in here tonight.’
So supper and another stool was brought for him and down the tew they sat.
Well, he hadn’t eat but a mouthful or so, when he stops and begins to laugh.
‘What is it?’ says she.
‘Why,’ says he, ‘I was out a huntin’ today, an’ I got away to a place in the wood I’d never seen afore. An’ there was an old chalk pit. An’ heerd a sort of hummin’, kind o’. So I got off my hobby, an’ I went right quiet to the pit, an’ I looked down. Well, whar should there be but the funniest little black thing yew iver set eyes on. An’ what was that dewin on, but had a little spinning wheel, an’ that were a spinning a wonnerful fast, an a twirlin’ that’s tail. An’ as that span sang:
‘Nimmy nimmy not… I’m tha’ Tom Tit Tot…’
Well, when the mawther heerd this, she fared as if she could ha’ jumped outer her skin for joy, but she di’nt say a word.
Next day, that there little thing looked so full of malice when he came for the flax. An’ when night came, she heerd that a knockin’ agin the winder panes. She oped the winder, an’ that come right in on the ledge. That were grinning from are to are, an’ Oo! Tha’s tail were twirlin round so fast.
‘What’s my name?’ that says, as that gonned her the skeins.
‘Is that Solomon?’ she says, pretendin’ to be afeared.
‘Noo, t’aint,’ that says an’ that come fudder inter the room.
‘Well, is that Zebedee?’ says she agin.
‘Noo, t’aint,’ says the impet. An’ then that laughed an’ twirled that’s tail till yew couldn’t hardly see it.
‘Take time, woman,’ that says, ‘next guess, an’ you’re mine.’ An’ that stretched out that’s black hands at her.
Well, she backed a step or two, an’ she looked at it, and then she laughed out, an’ says she, a pointin her finger at it:
‘Nimmy nimmy not… Yar tha’ Tom Tit Tot…’
Well, when that hard her, that shruck awful an awa’ that flew into the dark, an’ she niver saw it noo more.
Well, the next day, har husband he took her inter the room, an’ there was the flax an’ the day’s vittles.
‘Now, there’s the flax,’ says he, ‘an’ if that ain’t spun up this night off goo yar hid.’ An then he went out and locked the door.
He’d hardly goon, when there was a knockin’ agin the winder.
She upped and she oped it, and there sure enough was the little oo’d thing a settin on the ledge.
‘Where’s the flax?’ says he.
‘Here te be,’ says she. And she gonned it to him.
Well, come the evenin’, a knockin come agin to the winder. She upped an’ she oped it, and there were the little oo’d thing, with five skeins on his arm.
‘Here te be,’ says he, an’ he gonned it to her.
‘Now, what’s my name?’ says he.
‘What, is that Ben?’ says she.
‘Noo, that ain’t,’ says he. An’ he twirled his tail.
‘Is that Ned?’ says she.
‘Noo, that ain’t,’ says he. An’ he twirled is tail.
‘Well, is that Don?’ says she.
‘Noo, that ain’t,’ says he. An’ he twirled his tail harder, an awa’ he flew.
Well, when har husban’ he come in: there was the five skeins riddy for him. ‘I see I shorn’t hev for to kill you tonight, me dare,’ says he. ‘Yewll hev yar vittles and yar flax in the morning,’ an’ away he goes.
Well, ivery day the flax an’ the vittles, they was browt, an’ ivery day that there little black impet used for to come mornin’s and evenin’s. An’ all the day she set a tryin’ fur to think of names to say to it when te come at night. But she niver hot on the right one. An’ as that got to-warts the ind o’ the month, the impet that began for to look soo maliceful, an’ that twirled that’s tail faster an’ faster each time she gave a guess.
At last te come to the last day but one. The impet that come at night along o’ the five skeins, and that said, ‘What, aint yew got my name yet?’
‘Is that Nicodemus?’ says she.
‘Noo, t’ain’t,’ that says.
‘Is that Sammel?’ says she.
‘Noo, t’aint,’ that says.
‘Ah well, that’s sure to be Methusalem?’ says she.
‘Noo, t’aint that norther,’ that says.
Then that looks at her with that’s eyes like a cool o’ fire, an’ that says, ‘Woman, there’s only tomorrer night, an’ then yar’ll be mine!’ An’ away te flew.
to be continued…
…Well, she were that frightened. She’d allus been such a gatless mawther, that she didn’t se much as know how to spin, an’ what were she to dew tomorrer, with no one to come nigh her to help. She sat down on a stool in the kitchen, and lork! How she did cry! …
…All on a sudden she heard a sort of knockin’ low down on the door.
She upped and oped it, an’ what should she see but a small little black thing with a long tail. That looked up at her right kewrious, an’ that said:
‘What are yew a cryin’ for?’…
…‘Wha’s that to yew?’ says she.
‘Niver yew mind,’ that said, ‘but tell me what you’re a cryin’ for.’…
…That oon’t dew me noo good if I dew,’ says she.
‘Yew doon’t know that,’ that said, an’ twirled that’s tail round.
‘Well, says she, ‘that oon’t dew no harm, if that doon’t dew no good,’ and she upped and told about the pies an’ the skeins an’ everything.
‘This is what I’ll dew,’ says the little black thing: ‘I’ll come to yar winder iv’ry mornin’ an’ take the flax an’ bring it spun at night.’
‘What’s your pay?’ says she.
That looked out o’ the corners o’ that’s eyes an’ that said: ‘I’ll give you three guesses every night to guess my name, an’ if you hain’t guessed it afore the month’s up, yew shall be mine.’
Well, she thowt she’d be sure to guess that’s name afore the month was up. ‘All right,’ says she, ‘I agree.’
‘All right,’ that says an’ lork! How that twirled that’s tail…
to be continued…
…The king he were a comin’ down the street an he hard her sing, but what she sang he couldn’t hare, so he stopped and said: ‘What were that you was a singun of, maw’r?’…
…The woman, she were ashamed to let him hare what her darter had been a doin’, so she sang, ‘stid o’ that:
‘My daughter ha’ spun five, five skeins to day, my darter ha’ spun five, five skeins today…’
‘S’ars o’ mine!” said the king, ‘I never heerd tell of any on as could do that.’
Then he said; ‘Look here, I want a wife, and I’ll marry your darter, but mind now ‘leven months o’ the year she shall ha’ all the vittles she likes to eat, and all the gownds she likes to git, and all the cumpny she likes to hev; but that las’ month o’ the year she’ll ha’ to spin five skeins iv’ry day, an if she doon’t she’ll loose her hid.’
‘All right,’ says the woman: for she thowt what a grand marriage that was. And as for them five skeins, when te come tew, there’d be plenty o’ ways of getting owt of it, and likeliest, he’d ha’ forgot about it.’
So they was married.
An’ for leven months the gal had all the vittles she liked to ate, and all the gownds she liked to git, an’ all the cumpny she liked to hev.
But when the time was gettin’ oover, she began to think about them there skeins an’ to wonder if he had ‘em in mind. But not one word did he say about ‘em an’ she whoolly thowt he’d forgot ‘em.
Howsivir, the last day o’ the last month, he takes her to a room she’d niver set eyes on afore. There worn’t nothing in it but a spinnin’ wheel and a stool. An’ says he, ‘Now, me dare, hare yow’ll be shut in tomorrow with some vittles and some flax and if you hain’t spun five skeins by the night, yar hid’ll goo off.’
An’ awa’ he went about his business…
to be continued…
“What’s your name? Why, it’s pudding and tame.
And if you ask me again I’ll tell you the same.”
Once there were a woman and she baked five pies. When they came out of the oven they was that over baked, the crust were too hard to eat.
So, she says to her darter.
‘Maw’r,’ says she, ‘put you them there pies on the shelf an’ leave ‘em there a little, an they’ll come agin’.
But the gal, she says to her self, ‘Well, if they’ll come agin anyway, I’ll ate ‘em now.’
And she set to work and ate ‘em all, first and last…
…Well, come supper time the woman she said, ‘Goo you and git one o’ them there pies. I dare say they’ve came agin now.’
The gal she went an’ she looked, tho’ she already knowd what she’d find ‘cos there warn’t nothin’ but the dishes. So back she come and says she, ‘Noo they ain’t come agin.’
‘What, not none on ‘em?’ says the mother.
‘No, not none on ‘em,’ says she.
‘Well, come agin, or not come agin,’ says the woman, ‘I’ll ha’ one for supper.’
‘But you can’t, if they ain’t come,’ says the gal.
‘But I can,’ says she, ‘Goo you and bring the best of ‘em.’
‘Best or worst,’ says the gal, ‘I’ve ate ‘em all, and you can’t ha’ one till that’s come agin.’
Well, the woman she were wholly bate, and she took her spinnin’ to the door to spin, and as she span she sang:
‘My darter ha’ ate five, five pies today, my darter ha’ ate five, five pies today…’
to be continued…
Hi-ho the Carrion Crow, bow and bend to me…
…There usually is.
Perhaps one reason for the tale’s obscurity these days is its perceived, overtly, Christian message.
This takes the form of a priest who is captured and tortured by Helga’s Viking fosterers, provokes in her the first stirrings of love and compassion and affords the young girl opportunity to embrace the process which results in the fusing of her day/night time personalities and her achievement of wholeness in mind and form.
However, the culmination of this process is complicated somewhat by the priest’s death at the hands of robbers and his subsequent appearance in a dream vision and by the denouement of the tale which sees the Changeling Child whisked away to heaven by the priest only to return a short time later and find her original home now long lost to the ravishes of time.
The Rip Van Winkle like nature of the priest’s ‘heaven’ may give inkling to the original story source for this episode, as might his appearance on horse-back wielding his cross much like a knight would wield his sword.
As an other-world component of the story the Christian priest is perhaps less dramatically successful than he might be as a ‘Fairy King’ or ‘Lord of Light’ but still gives us pause for thought and contemplation as to the precise mode of consciousness his figure represents.
That’s almost all, folks…
‘What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
long live the weeds and the wildness yet.’
All photos – Sue Vincent.
All epithets – The Grateful Dead, ‘Mountains of the Moon’.
Epitaph -‘Inversnaid’, Gerard Manly Hopkins.
‘…The Earth will see you on through this time…’
…There always is.
The Marsh King sinks back beneath the waters with the unnamed Egyptian Princess in his thrall.
Some time later a green shoot with a water-lily bud appears above the slime.
The bud unfurls to reveal a small girl-child.
The child is spotted by a watching Stork and is taken to a barren Viking couple who, quite naturally, are enthralled with the gift and immediately besotted with the child.
Children normally display both the physical and temperamental characteristics of their ancestors, predominantly their parents, and usually in more or less equal measure.
Here, these tendencies are pronounced.
Helga, for this is the name the Viking couple choose for her, is a beautiful girl-child during the day, albeit displaying a strong blood-thirsty streak, whilst as the sun sets she turns into a compassionate, toad-like monster!
Is the name significant?
How important is it that Helga is the only named character in the story?
Could any device be better chosen to make us consider the diurnal polarity of Day and Night and their profound affects upon our consciousness and its natural tendencies?
If we are in any doubt as to what we are to make of these devices we are introduced to the somnambulistic nature of both Denmark and the nether regions of Marsh-Land later in the tale.
To make matters worse, Helga’s apparent beauty beguiles all those who gaze upon her and blinds them to the reality of her brutish day-time nature.
It is only her adoptive Viking mother who witnesses and begins to see and realise the true nature of the problem presented to both her, and by extension us, in the form and expressions displayed via the mysterious Marsh King’s Daughter.
There is more…