Category Archives: Folk Tale

Gate to the Land of Youth II…

*

… Within the walls of the white-washed house Fin, and his Merry-Men, found an old man lying bent on the edge of the hearth with a sheep tied to the wall alongside.

They sat at table and the old man raised his head and acknowledged them.

‘Little enough chance of sating our thirst and hunger in this hovel,’ thought Dermot.

Just then the old man called loudly for food and drink, and up from the floor below came a strapping young lass who wasted no time in setting the table with a feast fit for kings.

But no sooner had Fin and his Merry-Men put fork to food than the sheep which was tied to the wall broke its hempen rope and rushed toward the table sending the food and drink to the floor.

“By the Gods!” cried Conan, “look at the mess you have made of our supper, and we so badly in need of it.”

“Get up and tie the sheep, Conan,” said Fin.

So, Conan got up and, grabbing the sheep by the scruff of the neck, attempted to drag it back towards the wall.

Try as he might he was unable to do so.

“What’s this,” laughed Dermot along with all the other men, “Conan, the great warrior, defeated by a sheep.”

“I am more than happy to stand aside and let a better man have a go,” growled Conan.

“Get up and tie the sheep, Dermot,” said Fin.

So, up got Dermot and he too tried to drag the sheep to the wall but was unable.

Each of Fin’s men in turn attempted the task and failed until, eventually, Fin himself was forced to stand and tie the sheep but all to no avail.

That sheep was not for budging…

To be continued.

*

The House that Fish Built: Mead…

France & Vincent

*

…So, Long-Horn O’Leary was taken into the presence of the one whose mouth is sweet: “Welcome,” said Maeve, “in preference to Connor Cruel-Crest, I assign to you a cup of gold with a bird chased in silver on its bottom. Take it with you as a token of award. No one else is to see it until, at the days end, you are in the mead hall of king Grim-Gaze. When the champion’s portion is exhibited among the men of Albion then shall you bring out the cup in their presence and none of them will dispute further with you.”

Then the cup with its full of luscious mead was given to O’Leary, and he downed the contents in a draught.

“Having tasted the mead of kings,” said Maeve, “I wish that you may enjoy it a hundred years at the head of all the men of Albion.”

*

View original post 316 more words

Gate to the Land of Youth…

*

Fin and his Merry-Men were hunting atop a hill.

All day they were there yet caught no glimpse of game.

As evening drew in, Fin spoke, “let’s turn for home, boys, there is naught for us on this dismal hill,” he said, “’twill be late when we get there and a hunger and thirst will be on us.”

“A hunger and thirst on us, already,” said Conan, and spat into the ground.

*

So Fin and his Merry-Men turned and set off down the hill-side.

Before long a Black Fog fell and they lost their way.

“No good ever came from a fog of this sort,” said Fin resignedly, “we’re out for the night now, boys, and no mistake!”

As the Merry-Men set too, assessing their predicament, Dermot spied a white-washed house in the gloom.

Whichever way he turned the house still loomed.

“This way for a home-stead,” cried Dermot, “maybe we’ll find food and drink this dreary night after all.”

So Fin and his Merry-Men followed Dermot to the white-washed house…

To be continued.

*

Bent-Black-Sun-Day…

 

*

“There is one thing that still troubles me,” said Wen who really seemed to have the ‘Rapunzel’ thing stuck in her craw.

“Yaas,” said Don, in his most irritating drawl.

“Shouldn’t the seasons be sisters?”

“On what grounds?”

“Well, I’m presuming that Mother Nature is an Enchantress precisely because of things like her ability to transform the world through her seasons.”

“This is true, Little Grub,” said Don with the kind of tired air which suggested he would not be around for very much longer, “but the seasons are really contrived in so far as they are useful for sustaining our life through crops. Agriculture is a technology. A very ancient technology but a technology nonetheless. In that sense the seasons are man made.”

“And that’s why we can have the debate over whether or not there are really three or four seasons,” said Wen.

“Or even two. In the four season year there are really only two pivotal points and their inverse or reflection.

Wen considered this idea for a bit and then pressed on with her original line of thought, “so the brothers are really alchemists?”

“The first alchemists, adding their art to nature, I like that, Little Grub, can I go to sleep now?”

“Only if you give me something to ponder while you’re gone.”

“You seem to be doing rather well in your pondering without me.”

“But it’s not the same.”

“Why, oh why, my Little Grub, would the day of the king’s death be now known to us as Bent-Black-Sun-Day?”

*

A short time later Don re-entered the temple room somewhat bleary-eyed.

“Better?” asked Wen doing a poor job of camouflaging her excitement.

“You have been grubbing,” stated Don by way of an answer.

“The bent twig of darkness grows the petals of the morning and shows to them the birds singing just behind the dawning.”

“Ah, Little Grub, ’tis music to my ears.”

*

Mountains White as Clouds…

rs-185*

… “As I see it,” continues Wen, “we have two possible identities for an Old Woman who tends a Herb Garden and can be described as an Enchantress, or an Ogress…”

“Only two?”

“She is either Mother Earth or she is Mother Nature.”

“The first is very old and the other is much, much older than the first.”

“The different versions may even be emphasising different roles.”

“Basile’s Ogre would be Mother Earth.”

“The Grimms’ Enchantress would be Mother Nature.”

“Or, we may be able to argue for a combination of both the roles in one character?”

“That’s what’s been bothering me so much,” says Wen, “I can’t help feeling there ought to be a third Mother.”

“Which would be Petrosinella or Rapunzel.”

“No names, you said.”

“Ah, so I did…”

“Perversely, I almost feel like the third role should be Mother Sun.”

“Why?”

“Because the Herb Child has sun rays for hair.”

“And the Prince would be?”

“The Prince would be Father Moon.

In the Grimm tale he visits at night and has his blindness banished by the Sun’s tears.” …

*

Keys to the House of Don: Crucible…

rs-254*

‘…Such a situation invites the approach of treating the various versions  as at least theoretically, the garbled remnants of an episodic whole. While such a method can never lead us to the definitive story but merely and at every turn to a series of closely parallel yet different approximations of the definitive story, some approximations will be seen to be better or nearer the definitive story than others… ‘

Crucible of the Sun

… “Well, first off I suppose I’d better decide which of our seasons to drop,” said Wen, looking somewhat bemusedly at the sky, “and after much deliberation, I’ve decided that I’m going to drop winter.”

“Why, oh pray tell us why, Little Grub?”

“Because, psychologically, winter is death and the seasons should be all about life.”

“An admirable piece of deduction!”

“We do have a problem though.”

“We do?”

“We need to know the length of the year?”

“Don’t worry about being too precise just go with a thirteen month year.”

“Why?”

“Because in one of the extant versions of the story the princess had twelve hand-maids, and take the summer as being five months long, because of the king’s five eye patches.”

“Which makes autumn and spring each four months in length.”

“Perfectly balanced, that is, Little Grub, perfectly balanced.”

“And summer is not?”

“No, the fifth month of summer is an imbalance, hence the king’s baleful eye signifying the late summer sun which will blight the crops if they are not gathered in.”

“Does that also work psychologically?”

“How do you mean Little Grub?”

“If the Ego is not transcended, for want of a better term, then the ‘fruits’ of the individual life turn rancid?”

“I think that is true. The Ego turns to Super Ego instead of turning to the Id, takes everything, especially itself, hyper-seriously and cannot tolerate anything without its own image.”

“So why did you go with nine hand maids for the princess?” said Wen.

“They linked with the children ‘lost’ beneath the sea and signified the nine months of gestation.”

“The ‘seals’, the sea being both a watery womb and the subconscious?”

“We’ll make a lunatic of you yet, Little Grub.”

“I’m not sure I want to be a lunatic,” said Wen and then went on, “so I would have a spring smith forging the year, a summer warrior defending the year, and an autumn wizard contemplating the year,” with scant regard for just how mad that made her sound.

*

Keys to the House of Don: Heart…

rs-203*

…’Wen is still worried about the insanity of it all… but fairy stories only appear insane to us now because we have become so separated from truth…

As children we accepted their subconscious logic intuitively.

It both satisfied our sense of justice in the developing weirdness of the world around us and reassured us that all would eventually be well again… in fact… was still well… even though it did not necessarily appear that way…’

The Heart of Albion.

…”That’s both disingenuous and tautological, Donald Sams and you know it,” said Wen displaying her grasp of formal logical terms.

“It may though, simply be mischief with a serious point.”

Wen said nothing.

“We know the builders of the megaliths had developed pin-point astrological accuracy with their, still held by many to be rather crude, structures, which by definition are anything but.”

“Agreed.”

“So, why wouldn’t they load their mythologies with such information? Especially, if it looked like they were about to be wiped out for any reason.”

“They could do that but the stories would have to have been operating functionally in order to be properly seeded.”

“Well, who’s to say they weren’t? The combination of cosmological and psychological truth would make for a pretty harmonious culture.”

“The one constantly verifying the other and vice versa?”

“Pretty much.”

“So that would mean every character should have both a cosmological and a psychological explanation.”

“Pretty much.”

“I think I can probably work out the psychological attribution of the three brothers.”

“Oh, you can, can you?”

“They’re the centres aren’t they, and that’s why they built the king’s castle because in a sense they construct the Ego?”

“Yes, they’re the centres. The warrior is the heart… The wizard is the intellect… and the smith is movement.”

“But what about cosmologically?”

“I think it allows us to posit a three season year for the ancients.”

“So, why are the brothers seasons?”

“Because they live by the sea and could thus be described as ‘sons of the sea.'”

“Ingenious!”

“Things are definitely beginning to look up but you can jolly well work out the seasonal correspondences for yourself.” …

*

Keys to the House of Don…

rs-201*

…”I do have my reputation as an I.M.O.M to consider.”

“An I.M.O.M?”

“An International Man of Mystery. And there, if you only knew it, is the first key.”

“Which is?”

Don reaches ‘blind’ behind his head and extracts from the mahogany bookcase a slim, yellow covered, paperback. He opens the book and starts to read…

‘The key to understanding these tales is to ask yourself questions. If you are alone do not be afraid to address thin air. If you ask your self enough questions your soul eventually answers and before long you will no longer be talking to air you will be walking on it…’

– The Initiate

“I take it no one answered the question?”

“You can take it that no one even realised they were expected to.”

“The magic halter?”

“Cosmologically, the magic halter is the…”

“One step at a time!”

“Cows don’t wear halters. This is the clue that tells us that the cow is not really a cow and that the halter is not really a halter.”

“Plus the fact that the cow is ‘wondrous’ and the halter is ‘magic’.”

“If the wondrous cow is the Moon and the magic halter governs the whereabouts of the Moon, then the question is, ‘what governs the daily position of the Moon’ ?”

“What force governs the daily position of the Moon?”

“Easy now, the force of gravity.”

“More specifically?”

“The force of gravity in relation to the Moon and the Earth.”

“They didn’t know about gravity in those days.”

“They knew though, by observation, that the Moon followed a regular course or pattern in the sky and that ‘something’ governed that.”

“Which was?”

“The Moon’s orbit around the Earth. The halter is an orbit.”

“That sounds like its the wrong way around, could they have thought that the Earth circuits the Moon?”

“Perhaps, but in the story the wondrous cow does make a daily circuit of the land.”

“And the land, is the Earth… okay.”

“Cosmologically, then, the magic halter is the Moon’s orbit. It is the Moon’s cycle perceived from the Earth. The Moon completes the same cycle each month that the Sun completes in a year, traversing each of the Zodiacal Houses, which means that psychologically speaking the Moon is the seed of the Sun.”

“You’re going too fast again, and anyway, they couldn’t have known all that, way back then.”

“But if they didn’t know that, then, how did it get into the story?”

*

…and Red-Fox.

*

…In another part of the meadow Red-Fox was hunting mice for breakfast. He saw one and jumped on him with with all four feet but the little fellow got away.

In his disappointment Red-Fox heard a distant call, “Bring a knife!”

He started in the direction of the call and as it got louder he continued.

By and by he came across the body of Buffalo lying on the ground with Field-Mouse still standing atop it.

“If you dress this Buffalo for me I shall give you some of the meat,” said Field-Mouse.

“Very well,” said Red-Fox, and he dressed the Buffalo while Field-Mouse sat on a mound nearby looking on and giving orders.

“You must cut the meat into small pieces.”

When Red-Fox had finished his work Field-Mouse paid him with a small piece of liver. He swallowed it quickly and smacked his lips, “May I have another piece?” he asked.

“Why, I gave you the largest piece,” said Field-Mouse, “How greedy you are. You may have some of the blood clots.”

So poor Red-Fox took the blood clots and licked the grass. He really was very hungry, “I have six little ones to feed at home, may I take some more meat?”

“You can take the four feet of Buffalo,” said Field-Mouse, “that ought to be enough for your little ones.”

“And what of my wife,” said Red-Fox.

“Why, she can have the head,” said Field-Mouse.

Thereupon Red-Fox jumped on Field-Mouse who just had time to let out a faint squeak before he disappeared.

*