The official blog of Historical Fiction author, Mary Anne Yarde, and home to The Coffee Pot Book Club. Come and join Mary Anne on the hunt for everything historical, as well as mythological. Oh, and let's not forget the odd book or two! Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy...
The Land Of Merlin ~ Dinas Emrys #FolkloreThursday #Arthurian #Britain #legend
The search for King Arthur continues...
As I said,
I am back on with my search for Arthur. Now, I am sure you are aware that
Arthur is an elusive King. He is like a phantom or a wisp of smoke. You think
you have caught him and then... Nothing. He disappears into thin air.
easily run with a theory as to who he was, but I am not going to do that. I
want to stick with the legend because that
is what fascinates me. I love folklore. I also love how there always seems to
be a ring of truth in it, as I am going to demonstrate today!
Geoffrey of Monmouth and King Arthur
be disputed that Geoffrey of Monmouth gave us the Arthur we know and love. It
is easy to mock his work, but for hundreds of years, Monmouth's Arthur was
considered to be factually correct. So for the sake of this post, I am going to
pretend that what Monmouth said is historically true — you will see where I am going with this in a minute!
of King Arthur does not start, surprisingly, with Arthur. The story begins with
Merlin that prophesied the coming of Arthur, and it was Merlin and his magic
that made sure the rightful king of Britain pulled the sword from the stone. If
it had not been for Merlin, there would be no Arthur.
is said, first came to the attention of Vortigern — King of the Britons — when he was a child. Vortigern, in his wisdom,
had invited some Saxon mercenaries to Briton to fight with him against the
troublesome Picts and Scots. But the problem with Saxon mercenaries is that
they couldn't be trusted. Vortigern soon found himself running for his life
from the very men he had paid to defend it.
To cut a
long story short, Vortigern ended up in Gwynedd, North Wales. More precisely,
he ended up on a hill, in which he decided to build a fortress on. Unfortunately, what ever he built, collapsed. Vortigern's magicians told him
that he needed to spill the blood of a child without a father, onto the stones.
Once he did this, then the fortress would stand.
There was a
child, Myrddin Emrys, who seemed a likely candidate. But Emrys was no ordinary
child, and he was quite attached to his life and didn't want to
die. Nevertheless, he was brought to the usurped King...
"Why have my mother and I been brought into your presence?"
"My magicians have advised me," answered Vortigern, "That I shall look for a fatherless man, so that my building can be sprinkled with blood and thus stand firm."
"Tell your magicians to appear in front of me," answered Merlin, "and I will prove that they have lied."
The History Of The Kings Of Briton.
Emrys challenged the
King's magicians and instead gave a plausible reason why the fortress would not
stand. He said that two dragons were imprisoned at the bottom of an underground
lake beneath the hill. If they set the dragons free, then the foundations of
the fort would stand. All they had to do was release the dragons, which they
built his fort and out of respect, he named the fort after Emrys. He called it
But here is
where it gets interesting. In 1945 the hill was excavated by archaeologists,
and they found an unground lake. So maybe there is a little bit of truth in Monmouth's story after all.
is now under the care of The National Trust, and they welcome visitors. But
walkers are warned to tread softly on the hill, for a dragon sleeps beneath it.
If you fancy finding out what happened after the death of King Arthur then why not check out my historical fantasy series — The Du Lac Chronicles...