Fantasy, Fiction, ireland, Lore, love, Magik, Nordic, Orkney Islands, scottland, Seals, Selkie

Romance of the Scottsh Sea: Selkie Lore

“As soon as the seal was clear of the water, it reared up and its skin slipped down to the sand. What had been a seal was a white-skinned boy”
-George Mackay Brown


Selkie
is the Orcadian dialect word for, “seal”. The word derives from earlier Scots, selich, (from Old English, seolh) So, selkies are a very common sight across Orkney. Heads bobbing above the waves, they are often seen  by the shore, watching  inquisitively with uncannily human eyes.

In the Faroe Islands there are two versions of the story of the Selkie or Seal Wife. A young farmer from the town of Mikladalur on Kalsoy island goes to the beach to watch the selkies dance. He hides the skin of a beautiful selkie maid, so she can not go back to sea, and forces her to marry him.
He keeps her skin in a chest, and keeps the key with him both day and night. One day when out fishing, he discovers that he has forgotten to bring his key. When he returns home, the selkie wife has escaped back to sea, leaving their children behind. Later, when the farmer is out on a hunt, he kills both her selkie husband and two selkie sons, and she promises to take revenge upon the men of Mikladalur. Some shall be drowned, some shall fall from cliffs and slopes, and this shall continue, until so many men have been lost that they will be able to link arms around the whole island of Kalsoy. Unlike the Finfolk, who retained their malicious tendencies  throughout the years, the selkie-folk have come to be regarded as gentle  creatures,  with the ability to transform from seals into beautiful, lithe  humans.

In the surviving folklore, there is no agreement as to how  often the selkie-folk were able to carry out the transformation. Some tales say  it was once a year, usually Midsummer’s Eve, while others state it could be  “every ninth night” or “every seventh stream”.

Regardless of how often they were able to transform, the  folklore tells us that once in human form, the selkie-folk would dance on  lonely stretches of moonlit shore, or bask in the sun on outlying skerries (rocks).

The selkie skin

A common element in all the selkie-folk tales, and perhaps  the most important, is the fact that in order
to shapeshift they had to cast off  their sealskins. Within these magical skins lay the power to return to seal  form, and therefore the sea.

If this sealskin was lost, or stolen, the creature was  doomed to remain in human form until it could be recovered. Because of this, if  disturbed while on shore, the selkie-folk would hastily snatch up their skins  before rushing back to the safety of the sea.

Amorous encounters

. The selkie-men were renowned for their many encounters with  human females — married and unmarried.

A selkie-man in human form was said to be a handsome  creature, with almost magical seductive powers over mortal women. According to tradition, they had no  qualms about casting off their sealskins, stashing them carefully, and heading  inland to seek out “unsatisfied women”.

Should such a mortal woman wish to make contact with a  selkie-man, there was a specific rite she had to follow. At high tide, she  should make her way to the shore, where
she had to shed seven tears into the  sea.

The selkie-man would then come ashore and, after removing  his magical sealskin, seek out “unlawful love”.

In the words of the 19th century Orkney folklorist, Walter  Traill Dennison, these selkie males:

“. . . often made havoc among thoughtless girls, and  sometimes intruded into the sanctity of married life.”

There is a folk song called, “The Maiden & The Selkie,”  that is a very lovely and tribal depiction of the romance of the Selkie-man to the women of the Orkneys, to hear it click the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om8LzIcFmbA

If a girl went missing while out on the ebb, or at sea, it  was inevitably said that her selkie lover had taken her to his watery domain —  assuming, of course, she had not attracted the eye of a Finman.

But while the males of the selkie race were irresistible to  the island women, selkie-women were no less alluring to the eyes of earth-born  men. The most common theme in selkie folklore is one in  which a cunning young man acquires, either by trickery or theft, a selkie-girl’s  sealskin.

This prevents her from returning to the sea, leaving the  seal-maiden with no option but to marry her “captor”.

The tales generally end sadly, when the skin is returned,  usually by one of the selkie-wife’s children. In
some accounts, her children go  with her to the sea, while others have them remaining with their mortal father. Tragic and connective the lore of the Selkie is a profound representation of the human connection and longing for the sea.

Literature

The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry or The Grey Selkie of Suleskerry is a traditional folk song from Orkney. The song was collected by the American scholar, Francis James Child in the late nineteenth century and is listed as Child ballad number 113.

“The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry.”

An earthly nourris sits and sings,
And aye she sings, “Ba lilly wean,
Little ken I my bairns father,
Far less the land that he staps in.”

Then ane arose at her bed fit,
And a grumly guest I’m sure was he,
Saying “Here am I, thy bairns father,
Although I am not comely.”

I am a man upon the land,
I am a silkie in the sea,

And when I’m far frae every strand,
My home it is in Sule Skerry.”

“It was na weel”, the maiden cried,
“It was na weel, indeed” quo she,
“For the Great Silkie of Sule Skerrie,
To hae come and aught a bairn to me!”

Then he has taken a purse of gold,
And he has laid it on her knee,
Saying, “give to me, my little young son,
And take thee up thy nouriss fee.

It shall come to pass on a summer’s day,
When the sun shines hot on every stone,
That I shall take my little young son,
And teach him for to swim the foam.

And thou shalt marry a proud gunner,
And a very proud gunner I’m sure he’ll be,
And the very first shot that e’re he shoots,
he’ll kill both my young son and me.”

An interpolated 5th stanza has also been heard:

‘Twas weel eno’ the night we met,
When I’d be oot and on my way,
Ye held me close, ye held me tight,
“Just ane mair time ere the break o’ day!”
Phrase Key

nourris = nurse
ken = know
 staps = stops
bed fit = foot of the bed
 grumly = strange

The version I like best of this was done by Joan Baez. To hear it click below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zZy2Q3QY0Q&list=PL4593CF2488169FD8

Great books for more on Selkies:

  • Thomson, David. The People of the Sea: A Journey in Search of the Seal Legend
  • Katharine Briggs, An Encyclopedia of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Brownies, Boogies, and Other Supernatural Creatures
  • Williamson, Duncan (1992). Tales of the seal people: Scottish folk tales
  • “The Brides of Rollrock Island” by Margo Lanagan

Source material: http://www.orkneyjar.com/index.html

http://www.stolaf.edu/people/hend/VictoryMusic/July-MusicTrad_SelkieLore.htm

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American ghost story, American Hauntings, American Lore, autumn, Bell Witch, Bell Witch Haunting, fall, Fantasy, Fiction, Ghost, Halloween ghost story, Haunting, Kate Batts, Lore, love lost, Magik, mischief, paranormal, Paranormal activity, Poltergeist, prophesy, spirits, Tennessee Lore, Uncategorized, Witch Ghost

American Ghost Story: Kate Batts, Witch & Poltergeist

THE ULTIMATE POLTERGEIST

So to prepare for the onset of All Hallows Eve, I have found for you a tale most intriguing. This juicy local lore hails from the south, deep in the history of Tennessee, from a small town called Adams.  It’s about a witch, whose name was Kate Batts, and about her grudge-match with the head of a family by the name of Bell.  The Bell family was comprised of what has been recorded and acknowledged as, “good folks.” The torment of the father, Ol’ Jack Bell, as the witch spirit called him, was shared by all of his loved ones on the estate, but especially his daughter Betsy, who was forbidden by the ghost to marry  the man she had planned on. It was said that the witch ghost, was a woman who had been cheated by John Bell, and was hell bent on revenge and planned to act as executioner.

The Goodspeed brothers wrote a local history in 1886, and it said the following:

“A remarkable occurrence, which attracted wide-spread interest, was connected with the family of John Bell, who settled near what is now Adams Station about 1804. So great was the excitement that people came from hundreds of miles around to witness the manifestations of what was popularly known as the “Bell Witch.” This witch was supposed to be some spiritual being having the voice and attributes of a woman. It was invisible to the eye, yet it would hold conversation and even shake hands with certain individuals. The feats it performed were wonderful and seemingly designed to annoy the family. It would take the sugar from the bowls, spill the milk, take the quilts from the beds, slap and pinch the children, and then laugh at the discomfort of its victims. At first it was supposed to be a good spirit, but its subsequent acts, together with the curses with which it supplemented its remarks, proved the contrary.”

For four years the family of John Bell was forced to endure what has come to be called a “noisy spirit” or poltergeist of a type which was unique
when compared with similar events documented before or after it. Developing the ability to speak, the spirit soon began to call itself “Kate”, after an odd local woman named Kate Batts. People in the community  referred to it as “Kate Batts’ witch”, though its physical form, if any, was never truly identified. The center of the unseen entity’s activity was John’s youngest daughter, Elizabeth (Betsy) Bell, a very attractive girl, who suffered from physical abuses brought on by the spirit which included merciless beatings, scratching, slapping, and constant mental anguish brought about by the spirit’s seemingly inexhaustible mischief and verbal harassment. It consistently ridiculed the choice of Joshua Gardner as her future husband, and induced in Betsy, and her father, a sickness, the symptoms of which included odd physical disturbances that eventually resulted in the death of John. The spirit could read the thoughts of those around it, describing in great detail the backgrounds of total strangers. It could accurately describe simultaneous events in other areas of the world within moments of being asked. Kate could move objects, sing, preach, and accomplish the most baffling pranks without detection. Its knowledge of the universe was astonishing, yet curiously incomplete in many details. Upon being exposed to both Baptist and Methodist doctrines, Kate began to display violent and contradictory behavior resulting, no doubt, from the many differences of those philosophies. Perhaps the spirit’s most astonishing manifestation occurred when four other spirits named Blackdog, Mathematics, Cypocryphy, and Jerusalem appeared briefly during the later years of the haunting. All seemed to be subservient to Kate and were invisible as well. It was during this period that the spirit’s mischief grew more intolerable with each passing day. Its evil hatred was often matched in kind with benign understanding and kindness, making it, in essence, a great paradox in the spirit realm, and an unwelcome guest in the intensely religious community it had chosen to haunt.
 (http://bellwitchlegend.blogspot.com/)

There were many superstitious people in the country who believed the witch was a reality, something supernatural, beyond human power or comprehension, which had been clearly demonstrated.  This is the way many reasoned about the mystery.  Kate arrogantly claimed to be all things, possessing the power to assume any shape, form or character, that of human, beast, varmint, fowl or fish, and circumstances went to confirm the assertion.  Therefore people with vivid imaginations were capable of seeing many strange sights and things that could not be readily accounted for, which were credited to the witch. Kate was a great scapegoat.
The goblin’s favorite form, however, was that of a rabbit, and this much is verified beyond question, the hare ghost took malicious pleasure in hopping out into the road, showing itself to every one who ever passed through that lane.  This same rabbit is there plentifully to this day, and can’t be exterminated.  Very few men know a witch rabbit; only experts can distinguish one from the ordinary molly cottontail.  The experts in that section, however, are numerous, and no one to this good day will eat a rabbit that has a black spot on the bottom of its left hind foot.  When the spot is found, the foot is carefully cut off and placed in the hip pocket, and the body buried on the north side of an old log.
(http://bellwitch02.tripod.com/index.htm)

As the story grew in popularity people would come to visit the witch and people would travel hundreds of miles to come and see the effects she had on the Bell family’s life. Until one day in 1820 when the witch spirit accomplished her task! John Bell died.
At his funeral it was aid that she danced, laughed, and made quite  spectacle of herself. It took a while for the strange things to end though, and it is still said that her spirit took up residence in what is now referred to as the Bell Witch Cave. Others believe that it is the point from which she entered the world.  Regardless, after John’s death, she said she would be back in seven years….and she was.

In 1828, Kate Batts reappeared. She visited the home of John Bell Jr. She conversed with him about the past, present, & future as well as making some predictions. She also said that there was a reason for John Bell Sr.’s death, and that she would return once again in one-hundred & seven years hence. That places a re-occurrence in 1935, of which nothing that I know of has been found. But there are those who say that after her second return, that she never really left, that her spirit, mischievous, still lingers on, and that if you go to the Bell Cabin site or the Bell Witch Cave, that you are certain to get a little pinch!

Movies made based on the lore:

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Bell Witch Haunting (2004)

An American Haunting (2005)

Bell Witch: The Movie (2007)

The Bell Witch Haunting (2013)

For more information on the Bell Witch lore,  you can check out these sites:

http://www.bellwitchcave.com/

http://www.bellwitch.org/story.htm

http://bellwitchlegend.blogspot.com/

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Fantasy, Fiction, greek, imps, ireland, Lore, Magik, mischief, scottland, Uncategorized

Imps In The Pantry: LORE OF THE MISCHIEVOUS


“We have a task before us which must be speedily performed. We know that it will be ruinous to make delay. The most important crisis of our life calls, trumpet-tongued, for immediate energy and action. … It must, it shall be undertaken to-day, and yet we put it off until to-morrow, and why? There is no answer, except that we feel perverse, using the word with no comprehension of the principle. … [Then] The clock strikes, and is the knell of our welfare. At the same time, it is the chanticleer note to the ghost that has so long overawed us. It flies—disappears—we are free. The old energy returns. We will labor now. Alas, it is too late!”

–Edgar Allan Poe

The Imp of the Perverse is a metaphor for the urge to do exactly the wrong thing in a given situation for the sole reason that it is possible for wrong to be done. The impulse is compared to an imp which leads an otherwise decent person into mischief. So to further understand these creatures, let us explore the definition of them:

imp noun \ˈimp\
: a small creature that plays harmful tricks in children’s stories

: a child who causes trouble in a playful way : a mischievous child

Full Definition of IMP

1.obsolete : shoot, bud; also : graft
2. a : a small demon : fiend
2.b : a mischievous child : urchin

Origin of IMP

Middle English impe, from Old English impa, from impian to imp
First Known Use: before 12th century

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/imp

“The creature known as an Imp is a sentient beast not more than two fores tall that is said to resemble a thin lizard-like goblin with wings. Additionally, the Imp has an unusual looking face that resembles a smooth, bone-like mask with glowing red eyes. Imps have been favoured as intelligent and loyal familiars among many archmages over the centuries…” -Santharia

Originating from Germanic folklore, the imp was a small lesser demon.

It should also be noted that demons in Germanic legends were not necessarily always evil. Imps were often mischievous rather than evil or harmful, and in some regions, they were portrayed as attendants of the gods. Imps are often shown as small and not very attractive creatures. Their behavior is described as being wild and uncontrollable, much the same as fairies, and in some cultures, they were considered the same beings, both sharing the same sense of free spirit and enjoyment of all things fun. It was later in history that people began to associate fairies with being good and imps with being malicious and evil. However, both creatures were fond of pranks and misleading people. Most of the time, the pranks were harmless fun, but some could be upsetting and harmful, such as switching babies or leading travelers astray in places with which they were not familiar. Though imps are often thought of as being immortal, many cultures believed that they could be damaged or harmed by certain weapons and enchantments, or be kept out of people’s homes by the use of wards.

Imps were often portrayed as lonely little creatures, always in search of human attention. They often used jokes and pranks as a means of
attracting human friendship, which often backfired when people became tired or annoyed of the imp’s endeavors, usually driving it away.
Even if the imp was successful in getting the friendship it sought, it often still played pranks and jokes on its friend, either out of boredom or simply because this was the nature of the imp. This trait gave way to using the term “impish” for someone who loves pranks and practical jokes. Being associated with hell and fire, imps take a particular pleasure from playing with temperatures.
To this end, it came to be believed that imps were the familiar spirit servants of witches and warlocks, where the little demons served as spies and informants. During the time of the witch hunts, supernatural creatures such as imps were sought out as proof of witchcraft, though often, the so-called “imp” was typically a black cat, lizard, toad, or some other form of uncommon pet.
Imps have also been described as being “bound” or contained in some sort of object, such as a sword or crystal ball. In other cases, imps were simply kept in a certain object and summoned only when their masters had need of them. Some even had the ability to grant their owners wishes, much like a genie. This was the object of the 1891 story The Bottle Imp by Robert Louis Stevenson, which told of an imp contained in a bottle that would grant the owner their every wish, the catch being that the owner’s soul would be sent to hell if they didn’t sell the bottle to a new owner before their death.

Imps can be found in art and architecture throughout the world, usually carefully and painstakingly hidden under the eaves of a church or the foot of a ceramic cup, so they can only be found by the most interested and observant of people.
Imps may be described as an evil spirit or demon. They frequently appear in children’s stories such as ‘Silvia’ in which she is followed by a black Imp. Since their time, they have become more overlooked as not many people actually know what they are.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imp

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Fantasy, Fiction, ireland, Lore, Magik, scottland

Scottish Lore: The Kelpie or Waterhorse

A WATERKELPIE is a creature that lives in the deep pools of rivers and streams and is not to be confused with Loch Ness, who is theorized as many other things. The name may be from Scottish Gaelic, “cailpeach,” or, “colpach,” meaning: heifer and colt. Kelpies have been described as a young, sleek, handsome horse black or brown in color who can shapeshift into human form. It is said the creature’s skin is like glue and once enticing a rider onto his back they are stuck to be dragged to their water death and eaten. The Water Horse in other Celtic myths refers to the creature as, “A beautiful white mare who lures riders unto it’s back before running into the water and sometimes off cliffs, drowning their riders.”

Rhiannon, the Welsh goddess of horses, is said to ride a White mare as well which leads some to think of her as a Goddess of death because of the Water Horse story. Some tribes also refer to the “Water Horse” instead of Death who “Rode upon a pale horse.”

In many of the deep pools of the streams and rivers guardian-demons were believed to reside, and it was dangerous to bathe in them. It was the common opinion that some rivers and streams were more bloodthirsty than others, and, therefore, seized more victims than their milder companions. When an accident did happen, comparisons of course were drawn between the number that had been drowned in this and the next stream or river, and the stream or river was spoken of with a sort of awe, as if it were bloodthirsty and a living creature and much of this was attributed to the ever hungry Kelpie.

But I is also said that a Kelpie might be caught, and when caught, could be made to do all of the heavy work on one’s farm. If you were the one planning to catch the Kelpie, you would want to watch for an opportunity of casting a bridle over their head on which had been made an, “X,” or a star. When this was done the creature would become quiet. And when you set him free, be sure to look him square in the eyes, repeating the words–

“Sehr back an sehr behns. Cairrit a’ the Brig o’ Innerugie’s stehns.”

There are accountings and stories alike, quite old, of a men who had an encounters with a Kelpie:

Sometimes, when a castle or mansion was being sacked, a faithful servant or two contrived to rescue the plate-chest, and to cast it into a deep pool in the nearest stream. On one occasion a diver went to the bottom of such a pool to fetch up the plate of the neighboring castle. He dove, saw the plate-chest, and was preparing to lift it, when the Kelpie ordered him to go to the surface at once, and not to come back. At the same time the Kelpie warned him that, if he did come back, he would forfeit his life. The diver obeyed. When he reached the bank he told what he had seen, and what he had heard. But others caustically threatened him and promised him a large reward, so the man dove again. The others looked on from the embankment, and within just a moment or two the diver’s heart and lungs rose and floated on the surface of the water. They had been torn out by the Kelpie of the pool.

Another tale of a Kelpie encounter:

“A hardy Highlander was returning home on one occasion from a sacrament. He was on horseback. He had charge of a number of horses that were at pasture on the side of a lonely loch. The loch lay on his way home, and he would pass it, and see whether it was all well with the animals. One afternoon he came upon them all in a huddle, and to his astonishment, he saw in the midst of them what he thought was a large grey horse that did not belong to the herd. He looked, and in the twinkling of an eye, he saw an old man with long grey hair and a long grey beard. The old man turned with a wicked glare in his eyes hungry and threatened, and started after the farmer. The farmer, fearing for his life, immediately started off, and for miles, over rocks and rough road, the farmer galloped at full speed until his home was reached and he was certain the grey man was no longer following him.”

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Fiction, love, Ritual, Short story, yule

The Philosopher’s Song


 She smokes as she walks, the Philosopher

with eyes that are masked by the moon

she will play you a song and then leave when she’s done

but you’ll find, her song never leaves you

Her laugh brings you joy when you think of her

and her countenance brings you a tear

but the wisdom she knows only just seems to grow

were you ever a child, my dear?

She smokes when she walks, the Philosopher

fighting injustice with truth

even when you are grey, there will not be a day

that I go without thinking of you

My philosopher stands when its difficult

she is barefoot and baring her soul

if you’re quiet and poor, even if you’re a whore

she will come share a drink with you

You’re a Saint, You’re a Sinner, Philosopher

You are friends with the homeless and gay

Silence Masses, and watch what true love really looks like

and maybe you’ll get there someday

My Philosopher Sister is beautiful

her hair is as dark as the night

I watch her go onward and following after

are those who would bask in her light.

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Fantasy, Fiction, Short story, Uncategorized

The man with the iron heart.

 

Within the expanse of a certain crag, beneath a certain door in a stone house, I once certainly, quietly, assuredly spied a man in a room that had one window that was permanently and firmly shut on principle alone, and many drapes hung high up to the rafters. They hung dead without the breeze like summer sails pulled down for winter, and a pair of them draped every one of the stone house’s octagonal walls. White, they fell from the ceiling and onto the floor, puddling at the man’s feet as he stood in the very middle of the room.

The man was neither tall nor was he short, and neither handsome nor plain, but rather frumpy indeed with shoulders both narrow and round. He was wearing a simple tan overcoat and hung his orange umbrella from his trouser pocket. The man was not wearing any shoes at all. He  sighed and turned himself round and round, and spinning in slower and slower circles, with his eyes closed, just clutching and clutching at his chest. He was clutching at his heart. Upon closer inspection, I noticed the hole, or rather a square, on the man’s left breast where his heart should have been. He sobbed never lifting a lid, and turned his slow circle once again.  It was then, I decided that the man needed help, so pulling my eye away from the key hole,  I tried the knob of the door to see if it would open.

No budge. No creak. No Give.

I tried again.

No luck.

I twisted, wrenched and pulled, and fought with the knob, my desperate need to help the man becoming greater and greater by the moment. Until, no longer thinking about whether or not the man would hear me, I cried out to the door, ” OPEN!”

In response, a great gust of hot air knocked me completely over  casing me to fall forward, the door flew ajar like a hatch in a vacuum, and though I could hardly see a thing for the ferocious gust, I tumbled into the room and became tangled with a drape.

The curtains lashed against the unwanted currents. A window previously hidden, opened on both latches and came apart, banging against the exterior stone walls. The man face down on the floor was still clutching, and clutching at his heart, looking winded and anguished.

But why?

Was it because of the hole, err, square?

The man lay on the floor, splitting at the seams of what had previously been a perfect square hole. It tore with the wind, and grew larger, and larger still. I watched, cringing, waiting for the moment he’d be wrenched in twain, but the moment wouldn’t come. Instead, the wind sucked the halves of his tan coat right off his body, and the man still made no sound.

I tried to stand and released myself from the strangling fabric as the wind blew me further into the room and almost out the window. Fortunately, I had gotten caught on something. It was the orange umbrella,  still  clung to the man’s trousers and he had taken a hand off his square heart hole to grasp it, and as he did, he looked me square in the eyes.

They were magnificent.

Like a storm his eyes glowed with blue lightening embers. They crackled with energy and pain and seemed to change the colour of the room to a deeper more violet hue. Distracted by my own sudden realization of the man’s beauty, my grip on the orange umbrella slipped, and I was sure to be sucked out the window, when the man let loose his square holed heart entirely, and grabbed onto both of my hands with his.

“Hold fast.” He ordered, not in the desperate tone I had imagined, but in a deep and growling thunder. The air sizzled and whizzed by our faces. He was heavily anchored to the floor, but my whole self was quite airborne.

All of a moment, but seemingly much longer than that, a square of  iron slowly began to rise from the man’s square heart hole. It oozed and slid with an efferent ache from the man’s chest and rose promptly into the air.

He looked at me again, and Shuunk! We were lifted off the floor and out of the window. The second the iron hit the floor the weightlessness had caused us to be rendered from the stone house and into the air.

My eyes fastened to his like a harness, and forever we flew onward, tumbling over until we gained some composure above the thermals.

Over the city streets the wind carried us. Beyond the walls of the town we were blown; past hills, farms and fields, and rivers, to the very edge of everything I knew, until we landed upon a cliff.

The sky grew to a deep purple, it was so dark with clouds. The cliff-side rolled and edged off to the sea.

It was endless.

Everything was endless.

I simply gazed out to my left and scanned over the vast aubergine endlessness until my eyes alighted on the man’s eyes. They shocked me once more, though the lightning was gone from them. The crackling had ceased. The sparking violet storm had calmed itself within the soul of the man.

“I-,” I tried to begin.

“I know who, and what you are, Girl,” he said to me.

Taken aback, I glanced at the place on the man’s left breast. It was healed, and he had transformed. He had grown taller and more graceful, with silver curling hair pushed back from his face by the wind. He had become broad shouldered and strong, yet slight, with a handsome face and sharp dark eyes. His serious mouth had said something to me I just realized, but I hadn’t caught it.

“What, was that you just said?” I inquired.

But before I could gain my answer from him, everything began to rush around me, so I closed my eyes, trying to clear my head.

When I opened them, I was back in the stone house, lying outside the door of that certain room.

I stared at the ceiling, trying to grasp whether or not what had just happened, had indeed happened, so I quickly flipped over and peered within the expanse of that certain crag, looking for, but not finding any billowing curtains, nor the orange umbrella, nor the man who held it. ”

No,  I would not have found them for they  would have been sucked out too, but how-” I thought.

The room was still, simple, and dark.  The window once closed, was now ajar, and lightly tapping against the outside of the stone house’s wall as the curtains billowed promisingly.

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Fantasy, Fiction, Herbology, Lore, Magik, Nordic, Ritual, Short story, Uncategorized

It Began in Winter

It ended in winter.

The nights had grown longer and the snows deeper. Anouc, looked out the window once again praying to Elt that the sun would once again rise. She had seen it once before, she knew she had, but it had been so long it felt as though it were a dream. The glaciers sat in the bay, as though dead, but to Anouc, everything seemed dead…

Her love Bran, to whom she’d been wed a year, had given up on her, on life, and on everything but drinking. They had lost their farm, and their first child, and moved into her families old hut near the fields. Drunk each evening, her father and her husband would carry on late into the night. Raucous, and unabashed they disenchanted the girl of her dreams with every toast to their manhood and prowess, though how much prowess it took to stalk and then capture a mug of ale, she being a woman, was just not sure.

She lay in her bed flipping over and over again, thinking of how nothing in her life had turned out the way she had expected it to…she merely shivered against the cold and waited for the dawn to come again.

***

With the loudest crash, Bran burst, still drunk into their small room, smelling like shit and vodka. She looked at him, appalled, and made a decision then and there to leave. Forever.

Anouc got up, and pulled off her shift to wash. Bran mistaking her intention glared at her with selfish hunger, grabbing her by the waist and pulling her close saying, ” Frisky eh? Les see wha we can do abou’ tha’t!”

“Get off me. Bran. BRAN! Le’ go. Let me go!” Anouc cried as she tore herself away from him.

“A’ right girl, a’right then. Leave. Leave wit ya. But don e’spect me to come an fetch ya. Don ya’ e’re come back. Who needs ya…sure as Elt not I. Bran lumbered across the room and plopped his great self down onto their cot.

Quickly she pulled on her dress, and tied on her outer garments, then grabbing up her cloak, she went out the door, numbly, for she knew no other way to feel.

She quietly walked past the other rooms to the fireside, pulled a sack of smoked fish from the store, and a couple bottles of ale. She stuffed these things into another bag, along with what precious few possessions of hers she could gather from around the house, a bit of cloth with stitching, her needles and thread, a round glass that had been her mother’s, and the corn doll she had made for the festival a few days hence. With those things in her pack, she left the cottage farm and told herself that she would never come back, and she didn’t.

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