Category Archives: Folk Tale

Curse of the Hay-Collar III…

rampant pictish beast


Now, that night at meat was an uncomfortable one for the Lord

of Dyved, for his companions found sport in ribbing him about

the day’s proceedings upon the Fair-Mound of Arbeth.


“So, was it blows and wounds or were wonders seen today?” asked Idig Arm-Strong.

“Why, I saw a great wonder,” said Tyrnonos. “A woman of uncommon looks rode past that

hill today, only to pull away from our chase without varying her pace.”

“And there’s some who’d say, they saw no looks at all either that way or this,” said


 And all the company laughed.

 “And there’s others who’d say, that such a slight was no wonder at all but a blow,” said

Hevydd Broad-Back.

And the company laughed louder.

And so it went…

Until even Talyssinthe-Bard stood up and sang a ribald lay about a lame buck.  …


Excerpt from, Crucible of the Sun, by Stuart France

Curse of the Hay-Collar II…

rampant pictish beast


… So, the Lord of Dyved climbed the Fair-Mound of Arbeth and the seven chieftains of

Dyved climbed with him…

 As they sat in counsel on the top of the Fair-Mound, they saw a woman, wearing gold

brocade, riding by, on a pale white horse.

Of comely bearing, and fair in face and form she was, and a fine, fitting, match for any young man.

She was approaching along the highway which ran past the hill.

“Men,” said Tyrnonos, Thunder-of-Water, “does anyone here recognise that woman?”

“No, indeed, Lord,” they all answered.

“Then let one of you go to find out who she is,” said Tyrnonos.


Caradawg went but by the time he had reached the highway, despite her

steady pace,  the horse-woman had already gone past without so much as

a look to the left or to the right of her. He followed on foot as best he could

but the greater his speed, the farther ahead she drew and when he saw

that his pursuit was in vain he returned to the Fair-Mound and said to

Tyrnonos, “Lord, it is pointless to follow the horse-woman on foot.”

Now, Tyrnonos, who was a prince among princes, was not used to such treatment from

woman kind.

“All right,”  he said, “but there is some meaning in this, let us return to the hall

and see if she rides past this way tomorrow.”

“A wonder indeed, we have seen today,” said Unig-the-Tall to Hevyd Broad-Back,

“a woman who will not stop for the lord and his company!” …


Excerpt from, Crucible of the Sun, by Stuart France

Curse of the Hay-Collar…

rampant pictish beast


Tyrnonos, Lord of Dyved, ruled the seven townships in a dark land.


Tyrnonos was known as the Thunder-of-Water,

for his mother found him in a cavern, behind a water-fall,

and there was no braver man in all the realm.


Tyrnonos had a mare in his household and he regarded her as the best horse in all nine

worlds.  Every May Eve, she foaled, but no one ever knew anything more of the foal,

so that the Lord of Dyved said to his Master of the Horse, “We are fools to lose the foal of

this mare every year.”

                        “But, what can be done about it?” asked the Master of the Horse.

                        “Three days hence it will be May Eve,” said Tyrnonos, “and I intend to find out

what fate the foals have met with.”


 So, Tyrnonos went with the seven chieftains of Dyved to hold counsel upon the

Fair-Mound of Arbeth, and to see what could be seen.


The seven chieftains  of Dyved who were to sit in counsel  with Tyrnonos where these:

                        Caradawg-the-Hound, Hevyd Broad-Back, Unig-the-Tall, Idig Arm-Strong,

Hwlch Bone-Lip, Ynawg-the-Small and Gruddyeu Long-Head.


Said Talyssin-the-Bard to Tyrnonos before he set foot on the Fair-Mound, “Lord, the ancient

lays are clear as a scryed lake and on one point they all agree; it is the property of this hill

that whenever a man of royal blood sits upon it, one of two things occurs: either he

receives blows and wounds, or else, he sees a wonder.”


 “Well, I do not expect to receive blows and wounds in the company of such a host as this,”

said Tyrnonos, Thunder-of-Water, “but I should very much like to see a wonder.” …

Excerpt from, Crucible of the Sun, by Stuart France

A dog called Toby? III

Domingos Sequeira – Tobias heals the blindness of his father


… “On a recognised Pilgrimage route?”

“Why not?”

“Well, that would explain the presence of the two other Archangels in the paintings even though there is no mention of them in the story.”

“It would.”

“So where does Tobit travel to?”

“It’s just given as a ‘far distant land’ in the version we have but it, maybe, can’t be too far distant if Tobit is related to the family he stays with, which he is.”

“And this artistic tradition surfaced how long after the ‘dissolution’ of the Templars?”

“Enjoyed, ‘dissolution’. Oh, about a hundred years or so.”

“Hmmm. I’m beginning to see what you mean. Gabriel’s ‘lily’ is orthodox. Raphael’s ‘vial’ presumably holds eye ‘salve’ for Tobit, the fish by this stage is purely symbolic, but what of Michael’s golden apple?”

“I was hoping you might be able to throw some light on that?”

“Light from the Garden of the Hesperides, perhaps?”

“Which is guarded by a dragon.”

“A hundred headed dragon.”

“And they call this tradition Neo-Platonic?”

“Not hard to see why, but Ninevah and large ‘fish’, too, appear to be related?”

“That’s what we originally got excited about. We were following the Johannine link, Jonah swallowed by the ‘Whale of God’ et al.”

“‘Make straight the way of the Lord’, pretty much proven, now, wouldn’t you say?”

“We would.”

“And Toby?”

“Has to do with threes, and is the right provenance and time and tradition for the link with the puppet play to be sustained. You were quite right about the word play on that one, all those years ago.”

“‘To be’?…”

“Quite. Threes’ certainly play their part. Not least in Tobit’s age when he dies, but I’m not altogether sure whether a fish actually posseses the attributed organs, which in itself maybe suggestive, but if Sara ‘gets’ the ‘heart’ and Tobit gets the ‘gall’, who gets the ‘liver’?”

“The dog!”


Whether or not ‘Toby’ gets the liver, he always gets the sausages…





The Wisdom of Sun and Moon VI…



… Once he had procured the Naxian Stone, king Solomon kept Asmodeus under vigilant watch and restrained him from leaving the palace until he had built the Temple.

Upon its completion, Solomon said to him, “It is written: He hath as it were the majestic strength of a rhino.  By way of allegory, we say that ‘majestic strength’ refers to the ministerial angels, while ‘rhino’ refers to the demons. But what is your advantage over us?”

Said Asmodeus, “Remove the chain from me and give me your signet ring, and I will show you my advantage.”

So, Solomon removed the chain from Asmodeus and gave to him his ring.

Asmodeus immediately swallowed the ring, positioned one of his wings on the earth, and the other wing in the heavens and hurled Solomon a distance of four-hundred Persian miles from the place where he stood.

 Thus deposed and expelled from his kingdom, Solomon went about like a pauper begging for a piece of bread, while Asmodeus held sway in the temple and palace alike, impersonating the king.

There were none in the kingdom who could see through Asmodeus’ disguise.

In every place that he went, Solomon would say, “I am the preacher. I used to be a king over Israel in Jerusalem and this was the portion of all my labour.”  At which he would show people his regal staff, and profer his bowl for alms.

The Holy Men soon began to question themselves, saying, “Had this pauper been a mad man, he would not repeat incessantly only this one thing. What is this that we have here?”

 Then they sent into the neighbouring kingdoms, asking the people there whether the king had come to them recently. They replied, saying, “Whenever the king comes and goes he demands that women cohabit with him during their period of separation!”

At hearing this, the Holy Men brought back Solomon, who had been deposed, and they gave to him the anklet and chain with on them inscribed the Ineffable Name.

When Asmodeus returned to the palace, and saw Solomon holding the anklet and chain he flew off into the sky, making good his escape.

 Even so, Solomon was forever filled with constant fear, trepidation and terror at the thought of Asmodeus’ return.



The bed of Solomon!

Sixty mighty men are about it,

O’ valiant men of Israel!

(Song of Songs 3:7-8).

The Wisdom of Sun and Moon V…


After three days, Asmodeus was brought before Solomon.

In his hand, he had taken up a stave which men use to measure, and he immediately measured out four cubits on the palace floor. Throwing down the stave before Solomon, he said to the king, “This man has naught in the world save four cubits of the grave. Were you not satisfied in conquering the whole world that you had to come and conquer me?”

Solomon said to him, “I do not want anything from you. I only wish to build the Temple and stand in need of the Naxian Stone.”

Asmodeus answered the king, “The stone has not been delivered into my keep, but rather, into that of the Prince of the Sea. And he has given its secret to none, save to the hoopoe bird, seeing that she alone is faithful in keeping to her sworn oath.”

“And what does she do with it?”

“She takes the rare stone to those desolate mountains where there is no settlement of any kind, and lays it on the ledge of a mountain. This is the reason her name is translated by us in the Aramaic tongue, ‘Mountain Carpenter’, seeing that she will first cleave the mountains, and then bring there seeds from other trees, and throw them down, causing them to spring up in those places.”

Soloman sent out Benai to search for the hoopoe bird.

He found a nest that had fledglings, and covered the nest over with a plate of translucent glass.

When the mother bird returned to her nest, seeking to go inside and feed her chicks, she could not do so.

So, she went off then to the mountains, and returned with a Naxian stone, hoping to cut the glass plate.

But Benai took the stone from her and returned to the palace with the treasure.



The Wisdom of Sun and Moon IV…


… Benai, the son of Yehoda, said to Asmodeus, “Tell me,  the reason for all the things that you did on the way to the palace.  When you saw that blind man who erred on the road, why did you lift him up and put him on the right path?”

Asmodeus answered, “It was because I heard a proclamation over him in heaven, saying that he was wholly a righteous man, and that whoever gratified his soul would have a portion in the world to come.”

“And what was the reason, when you saw the house of merry-making, that you began to cry?” asked Benai.

Answered Asmodeus, “It was because the man who had just been married, unawares of his plight, was to die within thirty days. His bride would perforce keep herself unwedded for thirteen years more, until she could be wedded again in a marriage to the younger brother of her deceased husband, now but a child.”

“And what is the reason, when you heard that man saying to a shoemaker, ‘Make me a pair of shoes that will last me for seven years,’ that you began to laugh?” asked Benai.

Answered Asmodeus, “It was because that man had not even seven more days to live. What use, then, is it to him having shoes that will last him seven years?” …


A dog called Toby? II…

William-Adolphe Bouguerea


… “If a story is canonical in one tradition and uncanonical in another it immediately raises two questions.”

“What makes it ‘canonical’ for one tradition?”

“And what makes it ‘uncanonical’ for the other?”

“One might have supposed that it would have been more likely to be canonical for the Hebrews, considering its age and subject matter?”

“Many years ago when we first became aware of Apocryphal Bible stories, we got very excited about this tale when we heard about it, especially in view of the fish connection. We immediately procured a copy of said Apocrypha, at no little expense, and looked at this story first, fully expecting to be accosted with highly significant arcane knowledge… and drew a blank.”

“And now?”

“Well now, I strongly suspect that there is highly significant arcane knowledge within it.”

“Which would be?”

“The trouble with arcane knowledge, it’s very difficult to transmit in mundane terms.”

“But one has to, at least, try.”

“Agreed. The first clue to the importance of this story is to realise that it is a Grateful Dead tale. I know, I know, this element of the tale has not yet been given.”

“So, you had better make amends post haste, hadn’t you…”

“…Before Tobit sends his son, Tobias, on the ‘errand’ there is a long introduction to the tale which establishes Tobit in, for wont of a better term, ‘righteousness’. He lives in Ninevah, a place which does not recognise his religion, and yet he continues to practice that religion despite persecution from the ‘local authorities’. As part of this practice he comes across a dead man who has been flung out into the street and his body left to rot. Tobit, an old man, single handedly buries the body and performs the funeral rites of his religion but then falls asleep by the side of the grave in exhaustion. As he sleeps, sparrows fly over him and their droppings land in his eyes so that when he wakes up, he is blind.”

“Blimey! At this stage it does not appear that the Dead were overly ‘grateful’.”

“Quite. But all good things come to those who wait.”

“So, then what?”

“Well, it is at this point that Tobit, now having lost his sight, and the means to a livlihood, decides to send out his son to bring in what he is owed.”

“Understandable, perhaps, but it is hardly earth shatteringly arcane, is it?”

“No, but listen, although, ‘errand’ is an interesting enough term for Tobias’ journey, in itself, what if we were to deem it a ‘pilgrimage’, instead?” …



Tobias and the Angel, Davide Ghirlandaio (David Bigordi) (Italian, Florence 1452–1525 Florence), Tempera and gold on wood

David Ghirlandaio  circ. 1479



The Wisdom of Sun and Moon III…


… While Asmodeus was being drawn along in his binding, every tree that he passed, he would brush himself against, and cast it down.

Every house that he approached, he would cast down.

He reached the dwelling place of a certain poor, elderly woman, being but a sepulchre carved from the rock.

She came out and began pleading with him that he was not to destroy her humble abode.

He then bent down his great stature, breaking a bone within himself, while doing so, he became awakened to a sense of his condition.

Asmodeus then saw a blind man who had erred as he walked along the road.

He lifted the man up, and put him back on the right path.

Asmodeus then saw a house where there was merry-making, and within which the people were exceedingly happy.

He began to cry.

Asmodeus then overheard a man saying to a shoemaker, “Make me a pair of shoes that will last me for seven years!”

He began to laugh.

Finally, Benai and Asmodeus, reached their destination…



The Wisdom of Sun and Moon II…


… So, Solomon sent for Benai, the son of Yehoda.

He gave to him a chain and an anklet inscribed with the Ineffable Name and woollen yarns, and leather sacks containing wine, and told him what he must do with them.

Then Benai went to the mountains and while Asmodeus was in the celestial realms he dug a cistern beneath that which was made by Asmodeus and drained out the water that was in the upper so that it emptied itself into the nether, and then he clogged them both up with the woollen yarns.

When Asmodeus was in the terrestrial realms Benai carved out a cistern above the one made by Asmodeus, pouring in to it wine which then emptied into the other, after which he covered it over again and climbed up into a tree.

When Ashmodeus eventually came to the cistern and examined his seal, he opened it and found that, instead of water, there was wine inside it!

‘Wine is a mocker, and strong drink is raging,’  he reasoned, ‘I shall not drink of it.’

But when he began to thirst the more and more he changed his tune, thinking, ‘yet wine makes glad the heart of man and turns the face more radiant than oil.’

So, Asmodeus drank of the wine but soon became drunk and fell into a stupor.

Benai then came and cast upon him the chain and the anklet given to him by Solomon and locked them.

When he awoke, Asmodeus saw, to his dismay, that he was fettered in iron and tried to break loose.

But Benai said to him, “my Master’s name is inscribed upon your hands and feet and you are bound!” …