Sunday, 11 June 2017

Lord Halewyn

Having an enchanting voice can make you millions, nowadays, not so in the Middle Ages. The best you could hope for was to become a minstrel, or a singer at a noble court. However, there were men who exploited their gift for a personal goal...

Lord Halewyn sang his chant so well
Whoever heard it came under a spell

By the magic of his voice Halewyn lured spellbound maidens to his lair in the greenwood, where he raped and killed them, until one of them outfoxed him. The story dates from ancient times and was told all over Europe in widely different versions. Around 1400, some Flemish bard composed a ballad on Halewyn's undoing you can now read here in English by clicking the pic.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

A Crack in the Wall

Far away, somewhere, and ages ago, there were two farms bordering on each other.
Both had been part of a Roman estate with a spacious and sumptuous villa, but as the times of the Empire were fading from living memory the surviving structures of the main buildings had become split up between two feuding families.

Thus says the opening of an age-old tale of two unfortunate lovers, separated by a physical wall as well as by the social divide between their families. The story of Romeo and Juliet is a Renaissance example of this genre and generally known, but its roots lie in pre-classical times, when Pyramus and Thisbe met with the same unfavourable circumstances for their budding romance in ancient Babylonia.

I wrote this short story in the same vein, but took the liberty to alter the storyline considerably in a rather ironic way. As a background I chose an early medieval setting, a time when the Western Roman Empire had ceased to exist, but before Christianity could stymie the natural impulse of female sexuality.

I hope you'll enjoy the result.

Friday, 28 April 2017

De Cucullina Rubra Fabula

Red Riding Hood in Latin

"In casa prope ora silvae vixerunt mater et ab omnibus amata filia. Maxime autem omnium eam amabat avia quae in altera silvarum parte habitabat. Die puellae natali dederat ei paenulam rubram quam ipsa ut puella diu gerere solita fuerat. Ex eo proneptis cucullo rubro paenulam cotidie gerebat quam ob rem latus ei nomen Cucullinae dedit Rubrae."

This is the first paragraph of my personal representation of 'Red Riding Hood' written in Latin and situated in a classical setting. It offers a new and intriguing perspective on this age-old fairy tale, not least by its lively dialogue between the young heroin and the big bad wolf, which is quite different than tradition has it.

Read the complete tale by clicking the picture link below.

If you don't read Latin – a forgivable imperfection, these days – don't hesitate to order the English (or Dutch) translation available on demand. You'll find the appropriate link at the bottom of the story.