Category Archives: Inspired by fable

First Line Friday: July 19th, 2019

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Picture from Bob Williams, Arx Cynuit

 They congregated up in the hills, far away from judging eyes.  This would be the last time that any of these people would see these Northern barbarians. Fight or die Cobanorum had said and they would follow this exhortation to the end. Far below  they could see the torches zigzagging up the heather-clad slope. The Norsemen had beached their boats at sunset and after making their usual offerings to their ineffective Gods had decided the auspices were right for an assault on the lonely village.

Toothless old men, young boys, women with babies at the breast, young girl, all were assembled at the call to repel this parasitic invader. Those who would take their women and children, mock their Christ, their priests, and without compassion, maim, disfigure and take the life of their brave fighting men.

Their weapons were the tools of the field but they had one advantage, they were fighting for their lives, their homes, all that was held dear. Death had no meaning, for life would never be the same if they were defeated. In their favour was the gift nature had bestowed upon them, the sheer sea cliff, the stone, turf-clad walls, built to protect them from this predicted onslaught. All they had to rely on was the knowledge and belief that their courage would be as strong as the mighty earthen banks built over time with the strength of theirs and their ancestor’s own arms.

The result of their struggle is well known and I am happy to tell you of their victory. Thus was the legend born we know as the battle of Arx Cynuit, the last attempt by the accursed Danes to subdue this island race.

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Filed under As you read it, Christian, Factual, From the heart, History, Inspired by fable, Old knowledge, Self compositions, Short story

A pirate’s tale, though not so tall #seashanty #young-at-heart

Pablo the pirate

is home from the sea,

his left leg has a wooden stump

just below the knee,

ask him how he lost it

and he will tell to you,

a crocodile bit it off,

in the land of Umpaloo,

he would have had the other

but for him he was too clever,

he tied it up behind his back

making it difficult to see,

so that big green, nasty, greedy croc,

only got one leg for his tea.

 

 

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Filed under As you read it, Comic verse, Inspired by fable, Self compositions, Singalong, Whimsical

Friday Fibonacci, Crossing the lines

NVR (1)

Stop

look

listen,

for the shrill

blast on the whistle,

a warning to the unwary,

or a promise of release to the broken-hearted.

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Filed under As you read it, dystopian view, Fibonnaci, Inspired by fable, No offence intended, Self compositions

The Thursday photo prompt: Castle #writephoto

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“There it is,” the high-pitched cry pierced the gloom. As one, we looked across the dark, calm waters of the loch. Where once had been foreboding darkness we watched as the beam of a lantern appeared, illuminating one of the openings high in the castle wall. It was a wonder that no-one else could have seen it but it was our agreed signal. We trotted down to the shingle bank and positioned ourselves on either side of the little wooden boat resting just above the seaweed strewn tideline.  Taking up positions either side we pushed the boat into the water stern first. Then all four of us, standing knee deep in our breeches in the cold water, clambered aboard. We took up the oars and carefully fed them through the muffled rowlocks. Each one wrapped in strips of cloth to cover the sound of the creaking oars.

“Easy lads,” the coxswain breathed, “we don’t want any splashing to be heard or the game will be up.” We strained at the oars and the dinghy slid silently across the waters with barely a ripple. It was only a short pull but we realised the current was against us and though the evening was cold I could feel the sweat forming under my tunic and salty streams running down my brow. We finally got to the shore below the castle wall and shipping the oars ran the little craft up the sand. We three oarsmen leapt over the gunwale and leaving the coxswain seated in the stern, we started to drag the boat out of the water.

The lantern still shone from the walls but the beach seemed ominously quiet. It was supposed to be a secret mission. Our purpose was to take the sole prisoner held in the castle back to the mainland where a troop of horsemen were waiting to accompany her carriage on the route to Edinburgh.

From high on the wall we suddenly heard a shout and more lights started to appear. When the first discharge was heard we realised the plan had failed. We scrambled back into the boat and started to pull for our lives. Musket balls were raining down and forming fountains all around the boat but luckily none of us were hit.We finally arrived at the far side and found it deserted. It appeared everyone had run away when the first shots were heard. We thought it best to do the same ready to plan our next attempt at rescue.

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Filed under Flash fiction, History, Inspired by fable, On the lines of romance, Self compositions

Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt: Span #writephoto

span

It was a long walk but it was worth it. I had followed the old drover’s road from the beach at Porlock Weir. In times past the only way that the necessities of life could be carried to the outlying small settlements on the moor was either by pack-horse or pulled on sledges, called truckles. Their way had for centuries been blocked by a fast-flowing stream which had it’s birth on the high moor till it finally plunged into the sea at Becky falls. A total length of over forty miles as the crow flies but much further with all the twists and turns as it followed the contours of the land. This old bridge was the only crossing point. Still standing after probably hundreds of years but virtually disused; having outlasted it’s reason for being, now only serving as a mystery to any hiker who happened to come upon it in their travels.

Surrounded by dappled sunlight, I decided to rest, breathe in the cool air and enjoy the idyllic scene. I stretched out, my back propped against my rucksack on the large granite rock which formed a firm foundation for the little archway, like the roof support of some parish church nave. The only sound was of the rushing stream, each ripple and wavelet jostling it’s neighbour in the race to pass through the  narrow channel. In my drowsy state I imagined I heard the sound of whinnying, snorting and shouting. The use of the whip being unnecessary as the proud little Exmoor ponies would have known the direction they were heading and the path they needed to take. Back up to their homeland to discharge the sand for the farmers to mix in with with their cloying, damp, peaty soil from which to try and wrest a few reluctant crops.

The names of those who built this stout bridge are long forgotten but the moss-lined, grass-topped, faced stones remain as testimony to their skill as they helped others to carve a life from the inhospitable region they were proud to call their home.

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Filed under Alternative history, Flash fiction, History, Inspired by fable, Old knowledge, On the lines of romance, Self compositions

MLMM’s First Line Friday: July 5th, 2019

“Take the gun.” the second’s voice barked. With trembling hands I grasped the grip and slid the pistol from the velvet and silk case. My opponent, the Right Honourable Sir James Leeson Esquire and I turned and then stood back to back, he with a condescending smile, myself a frown, not of determination but resignation at this farce. We walked fifteen paces, counted out by my friend Tom Skeene and turned to face each other. My pistol held out at arm’s length straight in front of me pointing at James Leeson’s chest. Two shots sounded. I felt no pain, he had missed. I looked at his astonished expression. His arm dropped to his side, I saw the red stain spreading over the upper arm of his frilled, white blouson. It was done, honour was settled, without the senseless waste of life that usually accompanied such events. There was no elation, only intense relief. We both returned our weapons to the seconds and while the doctor attended to Sir James I slowly walked away.

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Filed under Alternative history, History, Inspired by fable, Self compositions

Thursday photo prompt: Open #Writephoto

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Having shown me the Priest’s hole John recognised that I was not only intrigued but downright jealous of his and Sue’s stately home in miniature. We continued up the staircase with John calmly leading the way. At the top he stopped suddenly. This made me pull up with a start. “What is it, man, are you okay,”  He smiled.

“This is probably what was once the long gallery but as you can see it is now just a series of rooms that we haven’t got round to fitting out yet, well, not much. We’ve put you in the one at the far end and don’t worry, there is a bit of furniture in there, no need to use the floor this time.”

”Great, “ I enthused, “but do you always keep all the doors open? Bit draughty isn’t it?”

”Well, funny you should say that but there’s a reason for it,” he put his finger to his lips. At that moment we heard Sue call up from the kitchen, “Haven’t you got him settled in yet John, the tea’s getting cold down here.”

”She means well, I’ll tell you later but don’t ask her about it. I can’t decide if she thinks I’m foolish or if she’s a wee bit worried.”

“Not long my dear, he’s been asking too many questions, wants to know the whole history of the old place,” he called back down. Turning to me he said, “We’d better get on, as you can imagine a place this old has stored up a few quirky habits that we can have a talk about later if we go down to the village for a drink.”

We proceeded along the corridor to the end. My room for the night was sparsely furnished, a double divan, a small bedside table, over large dark oak wardrobe, which had probably been in the house since it’s earliest days, due in part to the great difficulty anyone would experience in trying to remove it. A modern high-backed chair completed the tally. Leaving my bag on the bed we made our way back to the kitchen to rejoin Sue.

Whilst sipping our tea we discussed our plans for the evening but all the while I kept thinking about John’s enigmatic comment about the open doors. It was becoming increasingly difficult to contain my curiosity. Luckily the phone rang during our chat. It was Magdalena my partner checking that I had arrived safely as I had forgotten to ring her and confirm it. A cardinal sin in her eyes.

She then proceeded to announce that she had been able to leave work early and would we mind if she drove down to join us for the weekend. We agreed that it would be a great idea and settled down to await her arrival.

Knowing that Magdalena and I would be sharing the room I thought again about the doors. When Sue went out of the room I asked John if we could go out and move our cars around so there would be enough parking spaces on the gravel drive. He agreed guessing the true reason for my suggestion.

Immediately we were outside the door I voiced my concern. I asked whether Magdalena would be affected by the open door policy. He said that he had better tell me the curious story and later tonight would be a good test.

Sadly he was unable to elaborate as with a laugh, Sue came out of the house to join us thinking that we were hatching  some conspiracy against her.

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Filed under As you read it, Inspired by fable, On the lines of romance, Otherworldly, Self compositions, Short story

#SoCS June 29/19

 

horsemen

Picture ~ Albrecht Durer

For one, for all,

we ride, to the fore,

we four, we merry

Band of Brothers,

Conquest, War, Famine and Death.

 

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Filed under As you read it, faith, Inspired by fable, Otherworldly, Self compositions

50 wordThursdays #23 #Homage to danger

896F8974-2E17-496F-A5B3-13980C53551FBefore me, my destiny. Ahead, the  colonnade, bestrewn with offerings of the lucky few. I stood, decorated crystal vase in hand. Within, a host of freesias and orchids, their delicate hues and subtle fragrance assailed my eyes and ears. To my left stood former suitors to the Demi-goddess within. Medusa.

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Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #16

leda.jpegStine86Engel@pixabay.com.

I awoke with a start. Disappointed I found myself in my cramped bed-chamber but I was intoxicated with joy for I had dreamed of an encounter with the Gods. Voices from on high had echoed in my head. Inviting me to join with them in their magnificent palace in the skies. Zeus himself had called my name. He had sent a magnificent swan to stand beside my bower. I climbed upon the beautiful bird’s broad, silk-soft back and was carried up into the heavens. Faster than the wind we flew till we reached a golden castle adorned with towers and minarets. Oh, so gently the swan landed in a magnificent garden where fountains played and I was greeted by a group of hand-maidens who, laughing at my shy confusion, ushered me into a scented room. Along one wall was a carved ebony bench on which a smiling cherub sat, in his hands a lyre from which he teased a tune of infinite harmony. In the centre of the floor was a steaming pool of water on which floated many brightly coloured lotus blossoms. I was invited to bathe and afterwards. emerging from the pool was anointed with sweet perfumes. They wrapped me in silken robes and I was gently ushered into a room with white marble walls. Each covered in damask tapestries of intricate design. Dazzled by the opulence of my surroundings I was urged to recline upon an amber couch furnished with cushions of infinite softness. My feathery steed stood sentinel and held his wings above me as a canopy. I laid my head upon the pillow and immediately fell into a deep slumber. That is all I, Leda, remember of my encounter with the Gods, be it fantasy or frolic.

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Filed under Alternative history, Inspired by fable, Old knowledge, On the lines of romance, Self compositions, Short story