Category Archives: Folk Tale

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.

*

 

Mister Fawst! A Magical History…

 

*

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

MISTER FAWST – A Doktor of Theology.

SPENSER – His Valet.

ROGER – His Clown.

BLACK AND WHITE – His good and bad Angels.

ACEDIA AND VAINGLORIA – His Children.

CARBS and CHOLES – His Scholarly Friends.

MEPHISTO – A Shady Magician.

VICES AND VIRTUES – X6.

*

FIT ONE: CEREMONY

The Vices and Virtues rise, one by one, and speak, in turn:

Ira: Not warlike. Blood-Spilled! Not romantic. Heart-Thrilled! Not adventurous. Action-Filled!

Invidia: Instead, our muse intends to trill it’s heaven-sent verse ‘gainst this…

Luxuria: …Our players willed to shape the Fawstian Fall for well or ill.

Tristitia: We’ll, for him, plead a base-born life to lead: Uphill! So shortly sped and earned divinities title of Theology, a Doktor, learned!

Avaritia: Up and up… he kept on rising, ’til waxen-wings stopped him flying!

Gula: But first, before that flight, is he within an earth-bound state, and study found…

Acedia: There to slake his lack with subtle sorceries, black!

Vanagloria: The Arts of Dark pursuing, all thought for his Soul’s chief-bliss, denying…

The Vices and Virtues remain standing.

Mister Fawst is seated behind his study desk in the East before the Veil of the Beyond. He is writing something with Feather-Quill and Ink on Parchment…

Chime!

Mister Fawst: (pauses and looks skywards)

Mephisto: (from Beyond the Veil) Settle your scores, Fawst, and sound the depths of that which you profess. Come, display your divinity, the balance of all the arts!

Mister Fawst: (showing no signs of having heard Mephisto’s voice, sighs) Ah! (he picks up a tome from his desk and holds it to his chest) Sweet Reason! Oh, how you have ravished my heart!

… to be continued.

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…

*

 

 

Caladur: Musings…

*

… And as the hermit entered in at his doorway,

the shadow was momentarily cool and dark upon him,

and then he was gone from sight like a fox to its earth.

*

But Ewan mused awhile longer on the scene

that he had just witnessed.

All that he had seen seemed to him

to be both strange and good,

like some elvish tale told to children,

who also have dealings with the little things of earth

and have chosen to live far from man.

*

Ewan wondered if, after all,

this might be the end of his desire…