Weaving a tale around mystery

In the previous Wayfarer articles I have covered tales from very long ago, away in the distant past when tales were passed on by word of mouth.

In those far off days a tale was often woven around anything that did not have an easy explanation. In many cases things happened and the more puzzling it was to understand the more elaborate tales were woven around it. For example, why on a calm day do the waves lash up on to the beach with such a resounding roar.

Some would say that Neptune was angry at the local inhabitants, for say catching too much fish, or perhaps any other reason which may have angered him depending on the imagination of the storyteller. Others would correctly surmise that there was a storm at sea many miles away, but that of course would not provide a very interesting tale to tell to an inquisitive audience. But whatever explanation can be given to unexplained happenings there is always someone to weave a tale around it and the more mystical or horrifying the tale the more captivating it was. There is the tale of Sir John Cathcart of Lendalfoot and his many widows, surely everyone must have gathered what was going on, but his status was such that nothing was done about it until his last wife took revenge on the many wives that had preceded her. There is the ‘Maid of Curragh’ and the fact that her stone has never been moved in any way, throws up the concern that she will start up her nagging once again should it be moved. Who wants to take that risk? I notice that a vehicle is once again parked nearby in the field no doubt in the hope that any escape the Maid may attempt will take her far away.

All these and many more tales have come down through the ages and are no doubt embellished on each telling. But they are fun to listen to as nowadays we can put a modern interpretation upon them. But can we? An easy explanation is not always the answer which can be more complex than first thought of. It is nice sometimes to put our own interpretation on events along with an imaginative tale to keep up everyone’s interest.

Nowadays there are many books recounting these historic events, but when I first heard of most of them they were passed to me by word of mouth. So just realise that while we go about our daily lives history is happening around us all the time and some events which may not attract your attention may catch someone else’s and in years to come provide a tale to enthral the listener. So keep your eyes open and I will see you next week.