I promised you something on faeries a few posts ago, so here it is.
Firstly, on my way to Scotland recently near the borders, I passed through a place called Earlston, and as I entered the town, I briefly noticed an old rusting sign saying that this was the birthplace of Thomas the Rhymer. I’d heard that name before but I couldn’t place where. When I got to the cottage in Scotland I was to share with one of my brothers and father, I asked them about it, thinking particularly that my dad would know for the amount of times he’d travelled this route. But no, neither of them could shed any light on the matter. So, I promptly forgot about it.
About a month later, I was listening to the wonderfully weird and at times, spooky, Mysterious Universe, a free podcast available for download (here, if anyone is interested). The episode I was listening to had an interview with a guy who had written a book about faeries, elves, gnomes etc. It seems, from what this author was saying, that most faerie stories actually ended up pretty badly for any human protagonist and that these otherworldly beings were quite vicious little buggers (most faerie stories that we hear about in popular mainstream media have often been sanitised (thank you, Disney)).
Anyway, the host of Mysterious Universe asked the author ‘are there any faerie stories that ended happier?’ The one (of a few) that sprung to mind for the interviewee was that of….Thomas the Rhymer! Legend has it that he kissed, or slept with, the Queen of Elphame, the queen of the faeries. Thomas went back to her castle (in one version, she’d turned into a hag and then back again by this point) and spent an evening at a party. When the queen took him back afterwards, it turned out that seven years had passed. She offered him a token at their parting; the gift of being a harper or a poet. Thomas chose the latter, hence, presumably, his name. It’s also believed that this story is the source for the better known one of Tam Lin. Just thought I’d mention it.
The other thing of faerie (I prefer that spelling) relevance is that of a few pictures I did for a project in trying to come up with templates that can be used so that children can be photographed and then ‘put’ into the pictures. I had to get images off the internet for these mock-ups and meld them together in Photoshop in a way that I found more pleasing and authentic than others I’d seen on the web. I’ve tried numerous times to contact the owners of the images I’ve used but to no avail so, I’m putting them up. If anyone out there comes across these images and knows who the author is, please let me know and I’ll contact them immediately.
In the first one, I went for a misty type image which kind of adds a little more mystery to it. The second one is more Christmas themed and is my favourite. I did a few others, but I didn’t think they were up to the standard of these two. Hope you like them 🙂