Category Archives: Folk Tale

Harvest of Wyrms…

*

‘The Witch’, they called her but she minded not, tending to her herbs and the animals and birds which nature’s highest intelligence brought to the garden of her single roomed house knowing her abilities to hold and to heal…

It started slowly.

A black stain on the stone and the gentle glooping of mud or oil disturbed by rising vapours.

But by noon the single roomed house had begun to rise through the air…

She peered from a window of the house, now tower, at the receding garden, far below, and smiled.

Unfurling her wings she hopped from the window…

*

‘Heart and Soul’…

*

The first key…

Bigger than me…

and inside, a box; identical but smaller, in order to fit, with another key.

*

Key number two…

As big as you…

whose mote is my beam, now clearly seen as I click the lock and find inside another box, identical but smaller…

*

Key number three…

What will we see…

as we flick the lock and peer inside the box? A heart, blood red and still beating…

*

The ground starts to shake with footfalls much bigger than me and a large eye appears at the church window.

‘Fee… Fi… Fo… Fum…’ says the Giant.

*

 

 

Tom Banjo…

*

Down the dark stairwell,  a silent progress plotted.

‘Twas death in that  house were Tom but spotted.

…He reached the door, a tree clad Owl hooted.

Three seconds more and Tom was Seven League Booted.

One stride it took to clear that grim ravine.

By the dimly waking watchers, Tom was never seen.

A toe hold caught the receding lip of night.

Poor Tom was spilled out, and tumbled into flight…

*

In the glow

far, far below…

High keening Kites.

*

*Tom Banjo is a character who appears in the Grateful Dead song entitled ‘Mountains of the Moon’. About two-thirds the way through the song, and upon hearing of the Marsh King’s daughter, Tom mysteriously disappears…

Armoury Show…

*

The prosperous town of Armore was built next to a forest.

Late one night Old-Man-Log came out of the forest and sat down in the middle of the town’s market square.

He opened up the palm of his right hand and started cackling.

The next morning as the sun came up he was still sitting there cackling at the palm of his hand.

The towns-folk of Armore gathered around him to learn the source of Old-Man-Log’s amusement.

There in the middle of his palm was a little red man who was dancing.

“Who is that little red fellow?” asked the townsfolk falling over themselves to get a better look  at him.

“Why, his name is Mammon,” said Old-Man-Log, “see how he dances and spins for your amusement growing redder and redder?”

“Let me see…”

“And me…”

So it went with the towns-folk of Armore as they pushed and shoved and trampled each other in order to get a better look at the spectacle being played out before them…

At the end of the day when Old-Man-Log returned to the forest forty of the towns-folk lay dead.

*

The next day Old-Man-Log was sitting in the market square again and this time the crush to see his show left eighty people dead.

The day after that, the death toll was one-hundred-and-sixty.

Finally Old-Man-Log said, “People of Armore, why do you put up with this day after day. Don’t be killed. Pick up stones and stone me.”

Without hesitation the towns-folk of Armore immediately picked up stones and threw them at Old-Man-Log.

They stoned him from all directions and before long he lay dead.

*

But then the dead man’s body began to stink.

The stench was so bad that people fainted and died.

The wind blew and wherever it carried the foul smell people died.

The dead man opened his mouth and spoke, “People of Armore, why do you put up with this. Don’t be killed. Bring your hauling ropes and haul me away.”

*

Without hesitation the towns-folk of Armore immediately ran for their hauling ropes and tied them around the body of Old-Man-Log.

They began to tug the ropes but Old-Man-Log’s body was hard to shift.

The towns-folk tugged harder and one of the ropes snapped. The men pulling the rope fell on top of each other and died.

Another rope snapped killing more people and then another with the same result.

The dead man opened his mouth again, “People of Armore, why do you put up with this. Don’t be killed. Sing me my song.”

He sang it to them, “Pull our log/Old-Man-Log/Pull our log…”

*

Altogether the towns-folk sang the dead man’s song and the body began to move…

It moved so quickly, sliding along the ground that whenever anyone stopped for breath they were run over by the body and killed.

When at last Old-Man-Log was sung back into the forest the few towns-folk that remained returned to their homes to sleep.

Next morning when the towns-folk of Armore awoke they remembered nothing of Old-Man-Log.

It was as though they had been intoxicated.

*

Threshold…

rs-266*

We live with hidden presences.

The village street, its air heavy under the hot sun, its surface baked hard beneath our feet, is lined with dwellings.

Vessels of the, as yet, unknown…

Before we enter any one of these home-steads we are confronted by a labyrinth painted in brightly coloured sand.

As the morning sun rose through the sky the Mistress of the House laid out this elaborate design and we cannot now enter her dwelling without passing through this pattern, the new focus, of those auspicious natural forces.

A protective screen now guards the home.

We cannot see that screen, we can only see the focus.

A reflection of the inner workings of cosmos has been externalised at the boundary: that line which divides inner and outer; the pure form from the purely chaotic or accidental.

The boundary is always fraught with danger.

It represents the primal division at the heart of all things.

A wholeness has been rent so that creation can occur.

This labyrinth is a symbol but it is also both more-and-less-than any symbol. As the day progresses it will be worn away by many feet entering and exiting the house. The coloured sand will mingle with the dust of the street. The symbol will lose its true form like the stone temples and that illusory stability which sees them abandoned when their utility is spent. They are both constructed, despite the appearance, merely to capture the momentary, unpredictable reality of the unseen.

Labyrinth and temple express an untold reality as that which is hidden but held in external form.

Both are held open for the invisible yet still, in other ways, sensed powers.

Both then hold these powers in partial and temporary control.

Both mark a transition from inner to outer and suggest movement to come…

Like all vessels of divinity they are potential turning points.

They contain and obfuscate.

Imbued with powers of their own they yet point beyond themselves to the divine wholeness.

We forget this at our peril.

*

Bardic Study – The Iron Stone…

hm15-1494*
Another early song from Robin Williamson.
Not too much to interpret, perhaps, in this weeks offering.
Just a straight forward description of the finding of a stone, which we are bound to assume is the account of a true story.
And maybe, the answer to a mystery…
*
A long wind
A weaving mind
Over all the land the wild flowers grow,
Echoing kind to kind.
On that day when I found the iron stone
Heavy in my hand in the sloping rain.
*
Except, as descriptions of a day go that is, perhaps, far, far and away so far from normal as it is possible to be…
‘Long’ in time? Resulting in the ‘Weaving’ of mind?
The story teller could be fishing.
A ‘long wind’ where wind rhymes with mind would lead to a ‘slow reveal’…
It is extremely difficult not to be persuaded of some form of leave taking or transport here.
Who regards plant growth as an echo?
In a later version of this song ‘sloping rain’ becomes ‘floating rain’ which adds immeasurably to the other worldliness of the occasion.
*
Ever the seas rolled on
And o’er my heart
They roofed their slates of grey,
The iron stone I found it on that day.
*
As is that…
Has the singer collapsed on the beach?
All the seas raise grey slates over the singer’s heart?
In their natural course?
Okay, so maybe the stone itself is having this effect on its finder?
*
The iron stone I brought it home.
Heavy in my hand I brought it home,
Black as the thoughts of doom,
A man told me it came from the moon…
*
The last line, perhaps, indicates that the singer found the stone when still young…
*
Flying through time it flew…
*
Well, if it did come from the moon then it would have had to fly through time, or is it the singer who flies through time?…
*
Upon the long beach where I found it,
Dancing horses told their tale.
*
A poetic description of the sea but by this stage there could very well be talking horses prancing about upon the seashore…
*
Among the stones it called me,
There my hand it knew.
Seeing in the thickness of its thick black sight,
Forests and centaurs and gods of the night,
Never that sun shone on…
*
Ah ha!
It is a scrying stone, or at least it is being used as one.
The transfer of abilities from singer to stone supports the earlier interpretation.
*
Where High Atlantis raised her shores,
How sang the dragons of the sea.
The Stag Hunt rushing round the world,
One turn of light its gone again.
*
The Stag Hunt is spectral.
*
The eyes of Merlin speak beneath their crown of silver grey.
A piece of iron, black and heavy.
Smooth and rounded by the sea,
Holding its sand and stones.
*
It is tempting, perhaps, to regard the last three lines as spoken by Merlin…which may or may not be referring to the stone.
*
To recap…
Boy  notices a smooth rounded dark stone amidst the pebbles on a rainy, windy beach.
He picks it up and is immediately transported to a wild flower strewn place where the rolling seas seem to speak to him and guard his emotions.
He takes the stone home and is told by a man that it comes from the moon.
Later he notices that by gazing into its dark depths he can see visions from an otherworldly realm.
And supposes that he encounters Merlin who speaks to him.
*
 Personally, I think this is a birth-day song, but I could be wrong.
*
 And the mystery it solves?
“He turned up good when he was fourteen, he was handsome and he was good and nobody remembers teaching him anything.”
– Billy Connolly (on Robin Williamson)
*

Sun, Moon and Stars…

Foxave.jpg374

*

… “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
End Measure
Sod of End
Fuagh!

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.”

*

Something round…

rs-042*

“How old is it?”

“How old is what?”

“The Turnip Lantern Tradition?”

*

rs-058*

“It is truly ancient.”

“That is good.”

“There appear to be others who agree with you.”

*

rs-093*

“A heartening sight.”

*

rs-086*

“A truly heartening sight, although it may need more.”

“How much more do you mean?”

“To affect change people will have to become pro-active.”

*

rs-041*

And with that…

The Grey Hobbit…

Ran off, through the trees…

*

hm15-022*

…and disappeared back…

down it’s Hobbit-Hole.

*

Of Trolls and Sustenance…

hm15-1175*

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…

*

hm15-1176*

P.S. He does not look quite so grumpy, since we have been feeding him.

*