D2 was our gracious host for the evening as we invaded his rather splendid home for a night of tales from Sheffield, Norway, Lincolnshire, Oxford, Derby and Ireland.
We began proceedings with saying our farewells to River, who shall be starting a brand new adventure in Ireland (although there is a good chance she might get another job over there and so this might not be her last meeting after all… she’s not getting ANOTHER leaving card, mind!). We wish her well and expect lots of Guinness to be brought over when she visits!
Waaaaaayyyyy back in January, I remember Strider suggesting I do an evening of storytelling for the Grove. I decided that ‘The Locksley Show’ wasn’t the way to do this, so I made it a night where everyone could join in. I was MC for the night, in other words.
I began with a tale from my homeland, ‘The Dragon of Wantley’ the tale of a foul-mouthed and drunken knight who took on a dragon that was terrorising the people of Wantley (which it turns out may have been a corruption or amalgamation of two separate villages: Wharncliffe and Wortley).
This was the very first time I told this story and was relaxed enough to fill it with as many swear words as I liked. “The dragon screaming in agony as it died in an explosion of its own defecation” became a lot more colourful, shall we say. The original story comes from a ballad that may have come from the 16th Century, to a tune that is now forgotten… D2 suggested we resurrect this with AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’:
In the town of olllld Wantleeeeeeeyyyyy…
There was a dragon that killed gleeeefulllyyyyy,
to a knight,
More of Morrrrreee Haaaallll,
He had spiked armor, a foul mouth and some bigbaaaallllssss
He went to the well.
The dragon did yell,
They fought like hell
The blood did spill
Until he kicked it…..
Uuuuhuuuup the ARSE!’
Dumbledore came next with the ‘Billy Goats Gruff” complete with songs we all joined in with and even agreed that that the original ending didn’t make sense… How does a goat carry two spears!?
River, handed out items she no longer had any use for and broke in D2’s ukulele with two songs.
Apparently, the ukulele was out of tune to which Strider responded: “That’s all right, you sing in tune and we’ll listen out of tune to make the balance…”
Strider needs a public health warning! He is a dangerous punner and kept making puns that had real punch and lots…. lots of reference to the TARDIS, or was it TARDISES… TARDISI?
As punishment, I made him go next as he regaled us with a tale from Lincolnshire about a local king that was made a saint, but when his body was refused entry into the church (Cathedral?) lightning burst open the doors. We chatted later and he has now been charged with finding out the tales of the Green Mist and the Green Children… both set in the same county.
Briseilid read us a wonderful poem about Elen of the ways. It sprung to my mind, the delicate beauty of a single snowflake and the beautiful pinky-blue vanilla skies you get in winter. Very few poems evoke imagery or emotions in me, which is why I liked it and I like Cymro’s poems.
Danceswithweasels read out the tale of tightrope walkers in Derby from the 18th Century! They were called ‘Funambulists’ and were all the rage. Dances told us how they travelled around the country to walk on ropes attached to various high buildings and even tried to outdo each other with elaborate and even dangerous stunts such as one example called the ‘Flying Donkey.’ And of how the one who started it fell to his death, but the company kept going! I mean, that’s some serious street theatre.
Dumbledore went again to tell us the unfortunate tale of Hoffnung (Yes, BOTH Strider and D2 made comments about David Hasselhoff…) and his pulleys and wheelbarrows filled with bricks… who’d have thought genius could be so dangerous!?
I finished off with the tale of Oisin and Tir Na n’Og and even used real Gaelic phrases like ‘Fit as fuck…’ It’s TRUE… Cymro’s Welsh and backed me up….
All in all, I think we had our very first proper Eisteddfod. We have tried to do poetry nights before, with little success, but to have a night set aside for telling stories and poetry… needs to be done again.