Posts Tagged ‘Legends’

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen

November 24, 2012
Weirdstone journey

Weirdstone journey

Weirdstone Edge

Weirdstone Edge

A wonderful dramatisation by BBC Radio 4 of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, a book first published in 1960. Narrated by Robert Powell.

Based upon a local legend. A farmer takes a white mare to market, on the way he meets a tall thin man with a beard, unbeknown to him a wizard. The wizard offers to buy the white mare. The farmer declines the offer, believing he will get a better price at market. The wizard says not, and he will await his return. With no sale, the farmer returns to find the wizard still willing to buy the white mare. The wizards taps a large rock with his stick, which reveals an iron gate. He taps the gate, which in turns opens to reveal a passage leading into the cliffs. At this point the farmer is afraid, says take the horse, but the wizard says no, you must be paid. He leads him into a cave full of sleeping knights, each with a white mare, bar one. He then takes him into a second cave full of gold and jewels and says help yourself. Next day the man tries to find the iron gate, but in vain. In time, even the location is lost.

This is the tale a man tells to children who have come to stay. Next day, they set off to try and find the iron gate.

Alan Garner used a local legend as the starting point for his book The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and the story is firmly set in the part of Cheshire that he knew so well, Alderley Edge.

This was a tale that had been passed down within his family, part of the family oral history.

Sir William Collins published The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, this was when Collins was a real publisher, not part of HarperCollins, part of the Evil Murdoch Empire.

Wonderful use of language.

The usual crass stupidity of the BBC, a wonderful dramatization, only available on-line for seven days.

Ballads, Stories, Legends & Songs

November 2, 2012
Ballads, Stories, Legends & Songs - Lawrence Heath

Ballads, Stories, Legends & Songs – Lawrence Heath

Ballads, Stories, Legends & Songs is an exhibition of illustrations by Lawrence Heath at the Guildford Institute in Guildford.

Many are illustrations for a forthcoming book on Surrey Folk Tales (The History Press: April 2013) by Janet Dowling. Some were album covers.

Most were what I could only describe as amazing woodcuts, or at least they were in the tradition of woodcuts.

For a few, he described what the illustrations were, but for the vast majority, it was describe the legend.

I only got a handful, and even then I do not know if I was correct. One appeared to be King Arthur pulling Excalibur out of the stone (I actually know King Arthur but not seen him lately). Another possibly George slaying the dragon. For the vast majority, I had not a clue what they were.

Printed sheets were available, on which you could have a guess, then pop it in a box. Whether this was just for fun or maybe win one of his illustrations, I am not sure.

Also available were printed postcards, very well produced, but somewhat bizarrely printed on both sides. Here he has lost a trick, print on one side and sell as postcards.

He also had postcards (again printed on both sides) for the exhibition, but sadly did not say what the illustrations were. The website printed on these cards an invalid website.

This is the most professional exhibition I have so far seen at the Guildford Institute. I hope he will exhibit again at Guildford House.

Ballads, Stories, Legends & Songs, Guildford Institute, 29 October to 16 November 2012.

Synchronicity: I was quite surprised to find Lawrence Heath was someone I was at university with, although I have no memory of him. Last week at the Guildford Book Festival, one of the authors I was also at university with (and was in my college), and as write presenting Newsnight (on which two people I know).

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