Tales Of The Magic Tree: VIII, Time To Go Boating 'LINK'
There is no known source for this tale. It also includes another Dante reference, this time to Inferno, xvi, 66. Dante's influence is everywhere seen in the Decameron, from its subtitle (a reference to Inferno, v) to its physical arrangement and careful attention to Medieval numerology. Also Boccaccio often tells tales about the lives of people whose souls Dante had met in his epic journey through the afterlife.
Tales of the Magic Tree: VIII, Time to Go Boating
This tale is originally found in Hitopadesha, a Sanskrit collection of tales. Boccaccio, though, may have directly taken the tale from The Seven Wise Masters, which, although oriental in origin, was widely circulating in Latin at the time the Decameron was written. Elissa narrates.
Because of its "graphic" nature, this tale has at times been translated incompletely, as in John Payne's translation, where Alibech's sexual awakening is left untranslated and is accompanied with this footnote: "The translators regret that the disuse into which magic has fallen, makes it impossible to render the technicalities of that mysterious art into tolerable English; they have therefore found it necessary to insert several passages in the original Italian." No known earlier versions of it exist.
Despite having a reputation for wielding ancient mystical powers at various times in his life, Adol does not have any innate magical power of his own. All magical abilities that he gains during his adventures come from magical artifacts, or were bestowed upon him by powerful mystical entities (The Six Priests of Ys, the Five Great Dragons of Altago). However, Adol demonstrates a nearly impeccable mastery in the utilization of these abilities.
Although the Saxons finally conquered Britain, the Celts remained strong in Cornwall, Cumberland, and Wales. There, the Celtic people retained a degree of independence and kept alive the memory of old champions like Arturus. Celtic bards traveled from court to court recounting folk tales of the past. Over time, Arturus, the military leader, became King Arthur of England.
But the story of King Arthur as we know it today is mostly the work of Sir Thomas Malory. In his Le Morte d'Arthur (The Death of Arthur), printed in 1485, he retold many of the tales that had first been circulated by word of mouth and were then written down. He dressed Arthur in the fashions of his own times, transforming him into a 15th-century hero. As Homer was to Odysseus, so was Sir Thomas Malory to Arthur.
Legend says that Merlin, the magician, conjured the table for Uther Pendragon, Arthur's father. On Uther's death, Merlin gave the table to Arthur. The idea of a table where all were equal, where no man sat in state above his peers appealed to the romantic idealism which, especially in Victorian times, surrounded the knightly legend. In reality, any leader of Arthur's time would have had to impose a fierce discipline or risk being deposed.
Sumerian culture and civilization have many facets, each of which demands a life-time of study. I had therefore decided long ago to limit my researches to Sumerian literature, and particularly the myths and epic tales. For more than two decades now, with the help of the contributions of numerous Sumerologists dead and alive, I have been trying to piece together, translate, and interpret the sacred and not so sacred stories revolving about the Sumerian gods, as inscribed primarily on clay tablets dating from the first half of the second millennium B.C. Over the years, I have published dozens of scholarly monographs and articles on the subject, and my Sumerian Mythology made a first attempt to present a relatively de- tailed and systematic treatment of the ancient Sumerian myths. These studies and researches were of course known internationally, but only to a very limited group of scholars, the relatively few Orientalists specializing in the history and culture of the ancient Near East.
Honored and cherished among the Sumerians were the gifted minstrels who, accompanied by the harp and lyre, sang the brave deeds of their heroic lords and chanted stories about the life of the gods. At first these tales of the gods and heroes were handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth only. But later the Sumerians invented and developed writing, the magic means of communication with the past and future. And so by about 2000 B.C. many of the ancient Jays came to be written with reed stylus on drab but immortal clay.
him in a last battle in Cornwall, where Arthur himself was sorely wounded (A.D. 542). The queen retired to a convent at Caerleon. Before his death Arthur conferred his kingdom on his kinsman Constantine, and was then carried off mysteriously to "the isle of Avalon" to be cured, and "the rest is silence." Arthur's magic sword "Caliburn" (Welsh Caladvwlch; see p. 224, note) is mentioned by Geoffrey and described as having been made in Avalon, a word which seems to imply some kind of fairyland, a Land of the Dead, and may be related to the Norse Valhall. It was not until later times that Avalon came to be identified with an actual site in Britain (Glastonbury). In Geoffrey's narrative there is nothing about the Holy Grail, or Lancelot, or the Round Table, and except for the allusion to Avalon the mystical element of the Arthurian saga is absent. Like Nennius, Geoffrey finds a fantastic classical origin for the Britons. His so-called history is perfectly worthless as a record of fact, but it has proved a veritable mine for poets and chroniclers, and has the distinction of having furnished the subject for the earliest English tragic drama, "Gorboduc," as well as for Shakespeare's "King Lear" ; and its author may be described as the father - at least on its quasi-historical side - of the Arthurian saga, which he made up partly out of records of the historical dux bellorum of Nennius and partly out of poetical amplifications of these records made in Brittany by the descendants of exiles from Wales, many of whom fled there at the very time when Arthur was waging his wars against the heathen Saxons. Geoffrey's book had a wonderful success. It was speedily translated into French by Wace, who wrote "Li Romans de Brut" about 1155, with added details from Breton sources, and translated from Wace's French into Anglo-Saxon by Layamon, who thus anticipated Malory's
The Breton sources must next be considered. Unfortunately, not a line of ancient Breton literature has come down to us, and for our knowledge of it we must rely on the appearances it makes in the work of French writers. One of the earliest of these is the Anglo-Norman poetess who called herself Marie de France, and who wrote about 1150 and afterwards. She wrote, among other things, a number of "Lais" or tales, which she explicitly and repeatedly tells us were translated or adapted from Breton sources. Sometimes she claims to have rendered a writer's original exactly :
Little is actually said about Arthur in these tales, but the events of them are placed in his time -- en cel tems tint Artus la terre - and the allusions, which include a mention of the Round Table, evidently imply a general knowledge of the subject among those to whom these Breton "Lais" were addressed. Lancelot is not mentioned, but there is a "Lai" about one Lanval, who is beloved by Arthur's queen, but rejects her because he has a fairy mistress in the "isle d'Avalon" Gawain is
The oldest of the Welsh tales, those called "The Four Branches of the Mabinogi" ["Pwyll King cf Dyfed," "Bran and Branwen," "Math Sor of Mathonwy," and "Manawyddan Son of LIyr."] are the richest in mythological elements, but these occur in more or less recognisable form throughout nearly all the medieval tales, and even, after many transmutations, in Malory. We can dearly discern certain mythological figures common to all Celtica. We meet, for instance, a personage called Nudd or Lludd, evidently a solar deity. A temple dating from Roman times, and dedicated to him under the name of Nodens, has been discovered at Lydney, by the Severn. On a bronze plaque found near the spot is a representation of the god. He is encircled by a halo and accompanied by flying spirits and by Tritons. We are reminded of the Danaan deities and their dose connexion with the
Pwyll is bound in honour by his word, and Rhiannon explains that the banquet cannot be given to Gwawl, for it is not in Pwyll's power, but that she herself will be his bride in a twelvemonth; Gwawl is to come and claim her then, and a new bridal feast will be prepared for him. Meantime she concerts a plan with Pwyll, and gives him a certain magical bag, which he is to make use of when the time shall come.
The previous tale was one of magic and illusion in which the mythological element is but faint. In that which we have now to consider we are, however, in a distinctly mythological region. The central motive of the tale shows us the Powers of Light contending with those of the Under-world for the prized possessions of the latter, in this case a herd of magic swine. We are introduced in the beginning of the story to the deity, Math, of whom the bard tells us that he was unable to exist unless his feet lay in the lap of a maiden, except when the land was disturbed by war. [this is a distorted reminiscence of the practice which seems to have obtained in the courts of Welsh princes, that a high officer should hold the king's feet in his lap while he sat at meat] Math is represented as lord of Gwynedd, while Pryderi rules over the one-and-twenty cantrevs of the south. With Math were his nephews Gwydion and Gilvaethwy sons of Don, who went the circuit of the land in his stead, while Math lay with his feet in the lap of the fairest maiden of the land and time, Goewin daughter of Pebin of Dol Pebin in Arvon.
A long series of tasks follows. A vast hill is to be ploughed, sown, and reaped in one day; only Amathaon son of Don can do it, and he will not. Govannon, the smith, is to rid the ploughshare at each headland, and he will not do it. The two dun oxen of Gwlwlyd are to draw the plough, and he will not lend them. Honey nine times sweeter than that of the bee must be got to make bragget for the wedding feast. A magic cauldron, a magic basket out of which comes any meat that a man desires, a magic horn, the sword of Gwrnach the Giant 041b061a72