Post #27.10, Weds., Dec. 22, 2021

Historical setting: 588 C.E. Forest Primeval

         The old woman, Guldilyn, who starts the story gathers everyone close and invites us all to watch the clouds swirling intensely into this golden winter’s sunset.  The storyteller is nearly still. Then she speaks in a voice strong and slow spreading through the gathered crowd with a story greater than any single voice.

         “When you see the clouds gathering in gray wads like dust, turning and rising, moving together, spreading wider than you thought was ever the full breadth of sky, you might be looking up at dust rising under the hammering of silver hoofs, the howls and the bellows of one hundred bowman riding into the hunt, or is it an army of a thousand with swords?! Five hundred thousand with steel hooves – dust swirling, smoke rising in billows after the roiling clouds, wild, raging riders on the wild horses — it is the hunt!

         Now all of us who were watching are absorbed into the story –closer we move in round the fire finding safe places in the darkening night. Someone starts the chant — meaningless syllables of galloping, galloping, set off by shouts and hollers of huntsmen – ghost riders in the sky!

         “You!  All of you, who think you are men of courage, women of strength!  Are you afraid to look up at the turning churning skies over us all, because you know this is the night of the Wild Hunt?  The race across the reaches above us has begun! The horde of hunters are gathering up the souls, whisking off the nameless dead of the forever of wars and eternal losses, plucking up the living souls among the throngs.”

         One man stands up, starring at the darkening sky. “It was the Hun up from the East, comes reigning the terror of full war!”

         Another stands, catching a full bowl of ale in a single swallow – not his first.  “See there in the mist!  Atilla has met his match in Dietrich von Bern!” [Footnote]

         Druid Largin argues the guesses of ale. “Dietrich? ‘tis Theodoric the hero of the hunt.”

         “Twas Dietrich.”

         “Theodoric.”

         “We say Dietrich!”

         “You visit us by the river here and we say Theodoric.”

         The storyteller steps between them. “Don’t you hear that Theodoric is the same name as Dietrich? But in this snatching of souls the warriors are nameless – no one comes from death with an earthly name in the wild hunt across the heavens.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_von_Bern retrieved 7-20-21

(Continues tomorrow)

Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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