February for Manannan – 15 A Story

Part I Book IV: His Call to Bran
Another excerpt from Lady Gregory’s Gods and Fighting Men (1904).

AND there were some that went to Manannan’s country beyond the sea, and that gave an account of it afterwards.

One time Bran, son of Febal, was out by himself near his dun, and he heard music behind him. And it kept always after him, and at last he fell asleep with the sweetness of the sound. And when he awoke from his sleep be saw beside him a branch of silver, and it having white blossoms, and the whiteness of the silver was the same as the whiteness of the blossoms.

And he brought the branch in his hand into the royal house, and when all his people were with him they saw a woman with strange clothing standing in the house.

And she began to make a song for Bran, and all the people were looking at her and listening to her, and it is what she said:

“I bring a branch of the apple-tree from Emhain, from the far island around which are the shining horses of the Son of Lir. A delight of the eyes is the plain where the hosts hold their games; curragh racing against chariot in the White Silver Plain to the south.

“There are feet of white bronze under it, shining through life and time; a comely level land through the length of the world’s age, and many blossoms falling on it.

“There is an old tree there with blossoms, and birds calling from among them; every colour is shining there, delight is common, and music, in the Gentle-Voiced Plain, in the Silver Cloud Plain to the south.

“Keening is not used, or treachery, in the tilled familiar land; there is nothing hard or rough, but sweet music striking on the ear. “To be without grief, without sorrow, without death, without any sickness, without weakness; that is the sign of Emhain; it is not common wonder that is.

“There is nothing to liken its mists to, the sea washes the wave against the land, brightness falls from its hair.

“There are riches, there are treasures of every colour in the Gentle Land, the Bountiful Land. Sweet music to be listening to; the best of wine to drink.

“Golden chariots in the Plain of the Sea, rising up to the sun with the tide; silver chariots and bronze chariots on the Plain of Sports.

“Gold-yellow horses on the strand, and crimson horses, and others with wool on their backs, blue like the colour of the sky.

“It is a day of lasting weather, silver is dropping on the land; a pure white cliff on the edge of the sea, getting its warmth from the sun.

“The host race over the Plain of Sports; it is beautiful and not weak their game is; death or the ebbing of the tide will not come to them in the Many-Coloured Land.

“There will come at sunrise a fair man, lighting up the level lands; he rides upon the plain that is beaten by the waves, he stirs the sea till it is like blood.

“An army will come over the clear sea, rowing to the stone that is in sight, that a hundred sounds of music come from.

“It sings a song to the army; it is not sad through the length of time; it increases music with hundreds singing together; they do not look for death or the ebb-tide.

“There are thee times fifty far islands in the ocean to the west of us, and every one of them twice or three times more than Ireland.

“It is is not to all of you I am speaking, though I have made all these wonders known. Let Bran listen from the crowd of the world to all the wisdom that has been told him.

“Do not fall upon a bed of sloth; do not be overcome by drunkenness; set out on your voyage over the clear sea, and you may chance to come to the Land of Women.”

With that the woman went from them, and they did not know where she went. And she brought away her branch with her, for it leaped into her hand from Bran’s hand, and he had not the strength to hold it.

Then on the morrow Bran set out upon the sea, and three companies of nine along with him; and one of his foster-brothers and comrades was set over each company of nine.

And when they had been rowing for two days and two nights, they saw a man coming towards them in a chariot, over the sea. And the man made himself known to them, and he said that he was Manannan, son of Lir.

And then Manannan spoke to him in a song, and it is what he said:

“It is what Bran thinks, he is going in his curragh over the wonderful, beautiful clear sea; but tome, from far off in my chariot, it is a flowery plain he is riding on.

“What is a clear sea to the good boat Bran is in, is a happy plain with many flowers to me in my two-wheeled chariot.

“It is what Bran sees, many waves beating across the clear sea; it is what I myself see, red flowers without any fault.

“The sea-horses are bright in summer-time, as far as Bran’s eyes can reach; there is a wood of beautiful acorns under the head of your little boat.

“A wood with blossom and with fruit, that has the smell of wine; a wood without fault, without withering, with leaves of the colour of gold.

“Let Bran row on steadily, it is not far to the Land of Women; before the setting of the sun you will reach Emhain, of many-coloured hospitality.”

With that Bran went from him; and after a while he saw an island, and he rowed around it, and there was a crowd on it, wondering at them, and laughing; and they were all looking at Bran and at his people, but they would not stop to talk with them, but went on giving out gusts of laughter. Bran put one of his men on the island then, but be joined with the others, and began to stare the same way as the men of the island. And Bran went on rowing round about the island; and whenever they went past his own man, his comrades would speak to him, but he would not answer them, but would only stare and wonder at them. So they went away and left him on that island that is called the Island of Joy.

It was not long after that they reached to the Land of Women. And they saw the chief one of the women at the landing-place, and it is what she said: “Come hither to land, Bran, son of Febal, it is welcome your coming to us.” But Bran did not dare to go on shore. Then the woman threw a ball of thread straight to him, and he caught it in his hand, and it held fast to his palm, and the woman kept the thread in her own hand, and she pulled the curragh to the landing-place.

On that they went into a grand house, where there was a bed for every couple, three times nine beds. And the food that was put on every dish never came to an end, and they had every sort of food and of drink they wished for.

And it seemed to them they were only a year there when the desire of home took hold on one of them, Nechtan, son of Collbrain, and his kinsmen were begging and praying Bran to go back with him to Ireland. The woman said there would be repentance on them if they went; but in spite of that they set out in the end. And the woman said to them not to touch the land when they would come to Ireland, and she bade them to visit and to bring with them the man they left in the Island of Joy.

So they went on towards Ireland till they came to a place called Srub Bruin. And there were people on the strand that asked them who they were that were coming over the sea. And Bran said: “I am Bran, son of Febal.” But the people said: “We know of no such man, though the voyage of Bran is in our very old stories.”

Then Nechtan, son of Collbrain, made a leap out of the curragh, and no sooner did he touch the shore of Ireland than he was a heap of ashes, the same as if he had been in the earth through hundreds of years.

And then Bran told the whole story of his wanderings to the people, from the beginning. And after that he bade them farewell, and his wanderings from that time are not known.

Inspiration

So the first two days of writing for NaNoWriMo are over (actually, I could still want to write later, though I don’t want to burn myself out). Today is also a “longer” day, cuz of daylight savings, you know. Anyway, it’s been pretty great. I have written just about 5000 words today alone (I also wanted to catch up since I didn’t meet yesterday’s goal since we had a family thing).

I love the beginning of things, I am a good starter of projects. My problem is when I’m just over half way through and things seem to dry up and become a slog for me. The well can’t always be full, and that’s fine. And sometimes we also need breaks, which is also fine. But I do know my patterns, that’s for sure, they have become increasingly clear over the last few years, especially as my memory has gone to crap. Ah well… I always endeavour to do better, and am not too harsh on myself if I take longer than I would like.

But back to happy writing things, I am really enjoying writing this. I still have to get a better hold of who my main characters are, who I want them to be and how they need to interact with each other, but the other details are coming through nicely. Some new developments have already come about, deeper plot roots, and some not so nice things that will eventually happen.

Needless to say, I feel inspired, and happy to be finally writing the damned story, FINALLY! After all my planning. Perhaps next time (I may do my own “write a novel in a month” periodically, or at least one other time during the year), I will only start planning one month ahead, instead of two.

I’m also not letting myself get caught on things I know don’t sound like I really want them to, and I just keep plugging. It’s a first draft. It’s going to suck in places, probably the better part of it! Especially seeing as I am not usually a teller of my own stories.

The one thing that has made me a little apprehensive is that I am writing about Gods, the main character must work with Them in order to save Midgard and the livelihoods of all beings of the 9 worlds. No she’s not the sole savior, there are others who are like her (I don’t like the sole savior thing). But back to my apprehension, the character of Odin in my story is so far quite different from what I feel most people see him as, but I do know there will be some shifts from time to time to the “Odin” most know and fear. Alas, I’m just going from what it seems He wants to be seen in this, as a character, and as an aspect of Who He can be. Let’s face it, He can be Anyone He wants, He has but to put on the mask.

There will of course be many travels to quite a few of the 9 worlds, magick, and I already know if I enjoy this story enough, it will move beyond the Norse pantheon. This has been quite a different experience from last year’s, and I’m excited to see how well it goes. I want to know this story, all the details I haven’t glimpsed yet.

She Moved Through The Fair

What’s this? I’ve sung again? I thought I’d sing a love song, and since it’s the season of the Dead, it’s a sad one.

I thought I’d do a song before I begin NaNoWriMo on Friday. What’s NaNoWriMo? If you don’t know already, It’s National Novel Writing Month. I’ve been itching to write a story or two for some time now, and I’m feeling pushed. Writing has never been my thing, I have some pretty great ideas for stories, but I am a singer, my creativity has always come out best that way.

However, with all the hoo-haa of this year, lots of things have been changing or coming to light for me. That, and it’s a bit of a dedication to my Lady, considering what the topic is and all. I may or may not try to do something with it after I go back and edit and whatnot, but who knows!?

So if you are Wrimo-ing this year, add me as a writing buddy! I’m under the same name there, Miaerowyn.

 

While things have been quiet around here for a little while (for reasons), they will continue to be so during November while I furiously type away. I may or may not write about what’s been going on, I haven’t decided yet. Suffice it to say, this past year has had me deep in Shadow work. Most of the time I’m ok with the fact that I’ve been in darkness, just because I know eventually I will be able to really appreciate the happy times more, that I will be stronger, and more focused. I also know there’s a lot of learning and work in this, but that definitely does not make it any easier. I suppose after Who came to me last year, I’m not surprised everything has changed.
I’ll leave it at that for now, I’ve got a curry dinner to make. Hope all is well for you out there, this season.

Hail to those who have passed this year, Hail to the Ancestors, and Hail to the Gods!

Macedonian Fairy Tale – Justice Never Dies

Once, in the autumn, a boy found an eagle that could not fly. He felt sorry for it and took it home with him. The boy took care of the eagle all through the winter. In the spring the feathers on the eagle’s wings began to change. New feathers grew. The boy said to the eagle, “Now you can fly and you can go to your friends.”
The eagle was happy and said to the boy. “You have been very good to me. What can I do for you?”
“How can an eagle help me?” the boy answered.
Then the eagle said, “Take one of my feathers, one from the wing, and hide it. If you should ever be in trouble, beat the feather between two stones, and I’ll come to help you.” After he said that, the eagle flew away.

The time came when the boy left home to try his luck in the world. As he was walking by a river, he saw a man sitting and thinking on the bank of the river. There was a wolf behind the man and the wolf was looking at the man.
“You, my friend, there’s a wolf behind you!” shouted the boy.
The man instantly jumped into the river. The wolf ran away and the boy kept on walking.

After a while, the boy found a big fish on the bank of the river. The water had splashed on the shore and thrown the fish right out of the river. The boy felt sorry for the fish and pushed it back into the water with his stick.
The fish turned its head to the boy and said, “What would you like me to give you? I want to pay you back for the help you gave me.”
” What can a fish give me ?” the boy laughed.
“Cut off one of my scales and keep it,” the fish replied.
“Then if you ever need my help, beat the scale between two stones and I’ll come to help you.”

The boy kept on walking and met the man he had saved from the wolf. The man said to the boy, “Hello, my friend, God be with you.”
“God be with you too,” the boy replied.
“I want to do something for you,” said the man, “because of what you did for me. You know, when you saved me from the wolf.”
“What kind of man are you?” asked the boy.
“I’m the devil!”
The boy was frightened when he heard that and cried, “I don’t want your help, I’m afraid you’ll do something bad to me!”
“Don’t worry,” said the devil. “I must do something good for you, nothing bad. Take three hairs of my head and go to the nearest city. That’s where the king’s daughter lives. Her name is Dunya and she’s very beautiful. She’s decided to marry anyone who can hide from her for three days without her finding him. Make a bet with her that you can do it. Then burn my three hairs and I’ll come to you and tell you what to do. Believe me, I’ll help you become the king’s son-in-law.”
The boy took the devil’s hairs and went away. The devil jumped into the river.

Then the boy went to the city that the devil had told him about. He told a messenger from the king’s palace that he wanted to make a bet that he could hide from the king’s daughter. The messenger told the boy that many young men had tried their luck doing it, but had lost the bet and gotten killed by the king. If he couldn’t hide from the king’s daughter, they warned him, he would also get killed!
“Don’t worry about me!” the boy cried and he went to get a room at the inn. When he got in his room, he burned the devil’s hairs. Instantly the devil appeared.
“I know why you’re calling me,” said the devil. Where is the eagle’s feather you have? Beat that feather between two stones and the eagle will come here because he will know you need him.”

The boy did what the devil told him to. Instantly the eagle flew down to him and asked, “Why are you calling me?” “I made a bet with the king’s daughter.” replied the boy. Please help me hide from her so she won’t be able to find me.”
The eagle called four more eagles and said to the boy, “First eat and drink. Then spread yourself across our backs!”
The boy ate and drank and then spread across the eagles’ backs. The eagles flew up in the sky, above the clouds, so that no one could see the boy. The next morning, before sunrise, the king’s daughter bathed herself nicely and climbed up a high tower, from which she could see the whole world. She looked through a telescope but she couldn’t see the boy anywhere. Then she looked out at the ocean. Still she couldn’t see the boy. Then she looked up to the sky. First she saw a dark cloud, and then she saw a piece of the boy’s clothes sticking out behind it.
After a while, the boy went to see the king’s daughter. “No one has hidden better than you,” she praised him, “but I found you anyway. You were hiding above the clouds on the backs of five eagles.”

The boy went away. Then, as the devil had told him to do, he beat the fish scale between two stones and went to the shore where he had first seen the fish.
“Why are you calling me?” the fish asked the boy. The boy told the fish everything that had happened and finally said, “I would like you to hide me someplace where nobody can see me.”
“Come here and get inside my mouth,” said the fish. The boy got into the fish’s mouth. The fish swam under water and hid itself under a rock in the sea.
The next morning, the king’s daughter got up, washed her face nicely as usual, and climbed to the top of the tower. She looked all over the sky and the earth but she couldn’t see the boy. Then she looked through the telescope at the ocean. She saw a piece of the boy’s clothes caught in the fish’s teeth. That was a fine surprise for her!
At a certain time, the boy came to the king’s daughter again. “Were you able to see me this time?” he asked.
“Yes, as God wills, I saw a piece of your clothing in the fish’s mouth.”

The boy left. That night, he decided to hide for the third time. This time, the devil blew on him and turned him into an apple. He put the apple under the king’s apple tree, near a spring, where the king’s servants always got water. The servants saw the apple on the ground and thought it looked strange. One of them picked up the apple and went running back to the king’s daughter to show it to her. She liked the apple so much that she stuck it in her bodice.

The next morning the king’s daughter climbed to the top of the tower again. She saw the whole world, the sky, the earth, and the sea. But she couldn’t see the boy anywhere. Happily she called out, “Oh, boy, boy, where are you?”
At that moment, the apple rolled out of her bodice. It turned into the boy again. “I’m here!” the boy cried.
The Queen’s daughter held out her hand to the boy and said, “From this moment, I am yours and you are mine!”
And that is how the boy who was always doing good things for people became the king’s son-in-law.