Oski and the Amulet, revisited

Graphic novel originally commissioned by York Archaeological Trust for display at the Jorvik Viking Festival

text box 01
story box 01
in cave
pic-footer-camp-01
story box 02
sssssh coloured 02
story box 03
halls and cave
story box 04
oski light coloured
story box 05
wall carve
pic-footer-camp-01
story box 06
roam
mouse
ana footer
parrot
ana footer
an
ana m baby thing
ana m bird
ana footer
story box 07
carved three heads painted
story box 08
amanda hall in pastels 01
story box 09
farm 02
story box 09b
cellar colour
story box 09c
mala 06 darkened
story box 09d
oski head
story box 09e
mum n dad coloured
story box 09f
boat burial coloured
story box 09g
boat burial coloured cropped
story box 09h1
guilty coloured
story box 09h2
slaughter
story box 09i
mala swamp light 09 cropped
story box 09j
oski small
story box 09k
thunder goddess
story box 09l
ana oski 04
ana footer
story box 09m
nature girl 04
story box 09n
forest healing
story box 09o
creature spirits alarmed 02 coloured
flying horse ana
ana footer
story box 09p
journey coloured
story box 09q
fire
story box 09r
falling flames 02 painted squared right 07
falling flames 02 painted squared up 06
falling flames 02 painted squared left 09
falling flames 02 painted squared down 08
story box 09s
falling darkness 03 right painted
falling darkness 04 up painted
falling darkness 01 left painted
falling darkness 02 down painted
story box 09t
falling into ice 01
falling into ice 02 slim
story box 09u
falling into ice 03 short
story box 09v
ice cities -01coloured
story box 09w
ice cities -02 crop coloured
story box 09x
ice queen on tower
ana m ice
anna m ice speaks
ana footer
story box 09y
oski away version one
story box 09z
throng of frost 03 boo
story box 09za
creature spirits alarmed 03 coloured cropped
story box 09zb
deep under 02 temp
story box 09zc
dwarf in ice 02
come with us
story box 09zd
animals push 01 temp
story box 09ze
dwarves anvil
story box 09zf
into light 02
story box 09zg
high seat 04
story box 09zh
amulet 03
help with bear
story box 09zi
path of ice 01 temp
story box 09zj
howling
story box 09zk
huge pit 01 temp
story box 09zl
huge pit 02 down temp
story box 09zm
blue bear
story box 09zn
oski do 02
story box 09zo
throng of frost 03 boo flipped
story box 09zp
amulet hook
story box 09zq
huge bear 01 temp
story box 09zr
bear free 01 temp
story box 09zs
falls 01 temp
must leap 01 temp
story box 09zt
fell fall
story box 09zu
grassy bank
story box 09zv
ana elf 02
ana footer
jul come
story box 09zw
elf table
story box 09zx
jul log
story box 09zy
song weaves
story box 09zz
edge of night song
story box 09zza
stepped darkness
story box 09zzb
special one 04 darkened
story box 09zzc
trees come
story box 09zzd
path
story box 09zze
skulls
story box 09zzf
dare
story box 09zzg
fire wall
story box 09zzh
carved three heads painted darkened
story box 09zzi
tower dark enter
story box 09zzj
door 02 coloured
story box 09zzk
door open oski coloured 01
story box 09zzl
rocky place
story box 09zzm
oski halls 02
story box 09zzn
stairs 01
story box 09zzo
stairs 02
story box 09zzp
distant door
story box 09zzq
door flames
story box 09zzr
mala sudden
mala at last
story box 09zzs
mala swamp light 09
story box 09zzt
mala stairs coloured 07
story box 09zzu
mala n oski 03 cut
mala knew
story box 09zzv
mala 06 darkened flipped
story box 09zzw
mala to darkness
story box 09zzx
have parents
have you
have amulet
what wanted
story box 09zzy
tricked
story box 09zzz
mum n dad coloured
story box 09zzzb
brightly
story box 09zzzbc
oski light coloured
story box 09zzzd
cloak
ana oski cloak 01
ana footer
oski train 02 coloured
story box 09zzze
amulet hook flipped
story box 09zzzf
so so long
story box 09zzzg
LBSword
story box 09zzzh
mala falls 01
story box 09zzzi
frozen
story box 09zzzj
cellar colour
story box 09zzzk
her friends 01
story box 09zzzl
ana elf 02
ana footer
freinds along
story box 09zzzm
amulet 03
story box 09zzzo
her sword
story box 09zzzp
fwooosh
story box 09zzzq
aside
story box 09zzzr
unstoppable
story box 09zzzs
stands blow
story box 09zzzt
heap
die
story box 09zzzu
forever
story box 09zzzv
blade of light
story box 09zzzw
powerful
story box 09zzzx
rise above
story box 09zzzy
into bones
cannot
story box 09zzzz
story box 09zzzza
story box 09zzzzb
story box 09zzzzc
mala n oski 03
story box 09zzzzd
gloating
story box 09zzzze
limp
story box 09zzzzf
cracks
story box 09zzzzg
mala falls 01
story box 09zzzzh
mala falls 03 up
story box 09zzzzi
mala falls 04 left
story box 09zzzzj
mala falls 05 down
story box 09zzzzk
mala falls 06 right
story box 09zzzzl
mala falls 08 montage
story box 09zzzzm
story box 09zzzzn
scream
screaming
end 01.jpg
end 01
story box 09zzzzo
in cave
story box 09zzzzp
carved three heads painted
story box 09zzzzq
orphan
nothing
text box 01
story box 09zzzzb
story box 09zzzzr
creak
story box 09zzzzs
parents
story box 09zzzzt
holding
story box 09zzzzu
thunder goddess
story box 09zzzzv
text box 04
text box 05
text box 06
text box 07

.

Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

Oski and the Amulet – Graphic Novel Created for Jorvik Viking Festival

text box 01
story box 01
in cave
pic-footer-camp-01
story box 02
sssssh coloured 02
story box 03
halls and cave
story box 04
oski light coloured
story box 05
wall carve
pic-footer-camp-01
story box 06
roam
mouse
ana footer
parrot
ana footer
an
ana m baby thing
ana m bird
ana footer
story box 07
carved three heads painted
story box 08
amanda hall in pastels 01
story box 09
farm 02
story box 09b
cellar colour
story box 09c
mala 06 darkened
story box 09d
oski head
story box 09e
mum n dad coloured
story box 09f
boat burial coloured
story box 09g
boat burial coloured cropped
story box 09h1
guilty coloured
story box 09h2
slaughter
story box 09i
mala swamp light 09 cropped
story box 09j
oski small
story box 09k
thunder goddess
story box 09l
ana oski 04
ana footer
story box 09m
nature girl 04
story box 09n
forest healing
story box 09o
creature spirits alarmed 02 coloured
flying horse ana
ana footer
story box 09p
journey coloured
story box 09q
fire
story box 09r
falling flames 02 painted squared right 07
falling flames 02 painted squared up 06
falling flames 02 painted squared left 09
falling flames 02 painted squared down 08
story box 09s
falling darkness 03 right painted
falling darkness 04 up painted
falling darkness 01 left painted
falling darkness 02 down painted
story box 09t
falling into ice 01
falling into ice 02 slim
story box 09u
falling into ice 03 short
story box 09v
ice cities -01coloured
story box 09w
ice cities -02 crop coloured
story box 09x
ice queen on tower
ana m ice
anna m ice speaks
ana footer
story box 09y
oski away version one
story box 09z
throng of frost 03 boo
story box 09za
creature spirits alarmed 03 coloured cropped
story box 09zb
deep under 02 temp
story box 09zc
dwarf in ice 02
come with us
story box 09zd
animals push 01 temp
story box 09ze
dwarves anvil
story box 09zf
into light 02
story box 09zg
high seat 04
story box 09zh
amulet 03
help with bear
story box 09zi
path of ice 01 temp
story box 09zj
howling
story box 09zk
huge pit 01 temp
story box 09zl
huge pit 02 down temp
story box 09zm
blue bear
story box 09zn
oski do 02
story box 09zo
throng of frost 03 boo flipped
story box 09zp
amulet hook
story box 09zq
huge bear 01 temp
story box 09zr
bear free 01 temp
story box 09zs
falls 01 temp
must leap 01 temp
story box 09zt
fell fall
story box 09zu
grassy bank
story box 09zv
ana elf 02
ana footer
jul come
story box 09zw
elf table
story box 09zx
jul log
story box 09zy
song weaves
story box 09zz
edge of night song
story box 09zza
stepped darkness
story box 09zzb
special one 04 darkened
story box 09zzc
trees come
story box 09zzd
path
story box 09zze
skulls
story box 09zzf
dare
story box 09zzg
fire wall
story box 09zzh
carved three heads painted darkened
story box 09zzi
tower dark enter
story box 09zzj
door 02 coloured
story box 09zzk
door open oski coloured 01
story box 09zzl
rocky place
story box 09zzm
oski halls 02
story box 09zzn
stairs 01
story box 09zzo
stairs 02
story box 09zzp
distant door
story box 09zzq
door flames
story box 09zzr
mala sudden
mala at last
story box 09zzs
mala swamp light 09
story box 09zzt
mala stairs coloured 07
story box 09zzu
mala n oski 03 cut
mala knew
story box 09zzv
mala 06 darkened flipped
story box 09zzw
mala to darkness
story box 09zzx
have parents
have you
have amulet
what wanted
story box 09zzy
tricked
story box 09zzz
mum n dad coloured
story box 09zzzb
brightly
story box 09zzzbc
oski light coloured
story box 09zzzd
cloak
ana oski cloak 01
ana footer
oski train 02 coloured
story box 09zzze
amulet hook flipped
story box 09zzzf
so so long
story box 09zzzg
LBSword
story box 09zzzh
mala falls 01
story box 09zzzi
frozen
story box 09zzzj
cellar colour
story box 09zzzk
her friends 01
story box 09zzzl
ana elf 02
ana footer
freinds along
story box 09zzzm
amulet 03
story box 09zzzo
her sword
story box 09zzzp
fwooosh
story box 09zzzq
aside
story box 09zzzr
unstoppable
story box 09zzzs
stands blow
story box 09zzzt
heap
die
story box 09zzzu
forever
story box 09zzzv
blade of light
story box 09zzzw
powerful
story box 09zzzx
rise above
story box 09zzzy
into bones
cannot
story box 09zzzz
story box 09zzzza
story box 09zzzzb
story box 09zzzzc
mala n oski 03
story box 09zzzzd
gloating
story box 09zzzze
limp
story box 09zzzzf
cracks
story box 09zzzzg
mala falls 01
story box 09zzzzh
mala falls 03 up
story box 09zzzzi
mala falls 04 left
story box 09zzzzj
mala falls 05 down
story box 09zzzzk
mala falls 06 right
story box 09zzzzl
mala falls 08 montage
story box 09zzzzm
story box 09zzzzn
scream
screaming
end 01.jpg
end 01
story box 09zzzzo
in cave
story box 09zzzzp
carved three heads painted
story box 09zzzzq
orphan
nothing
text box 01
story box 09zzzzb
story box 09zzzzr
creak
story box 09zzzzs
parents
story box 09zzzzt
holding
story box 09zzzzu
thunder goddess
story box 09zzzzv
text box 04
text box 05
text box 06
text box 07
text box 08

.

Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

Just call me Pied

pied-02

Just call me Pied

pied 1.JPG

I know that secretly I am Adrian Spendlow the storyteller, but for the sake of this blog, and for the amazing Rollercoastival, I am Pied, yes call me Pied. I am the Pied Piper but you can call me Pied.

me pipe 02.jpg

I was too, many coloured i.e. pied and to be honest Piper is somewhat of an honorary title. Yes when I piped children agreed that they would follow me but the truth is that is because I made a very rude noise.

ellie-pink-ears-wide

My piping aside; what a great time we had. I was thrilled to have such good crowds of families. When you think that Coastival has around a hundred events going on, many of which are part of Rollercoastival, (the children’s and families’ activities), it was great to have such good sized groups.

kate-sat
Kate at work
spa cut 001.jpg

If everyone did as well for numbers there must have been thousands and thousands and thousands attending events. Well a lot.

beetle-creature

And what great groups they were. Everyone was game for fun.

coast 02.jpg

We told stories, we created stories we created the perfect place to live – and it was Scarborough!

We paraded,

martha-pipe
by Martha

we serenaded from balconies,

pippa.jpg
Pippa

we did art, (that’s why I am doing this blog cos of the great artwork),

marks dog only.jpg
Mark (one of the dads)
ins 02.jpg

we made or chose musical instruments.

me-king

There was a king,

.

me-castle

and he was in a castle.

You have to have a horrid bit for me the Pied Piper to rescue you all from so you can end up somewhere nice.

rainbow-mountains

We made up some horrid places;

dreams

all from the imaginations of children.

me-tower

We were kind and cuddly and that made the moody king grumpy. I will tell you how bad he is, he picks his nose! Starving we were, and we cried out, “We want sweets!” All we got was sprouts, and sprouts, oh and loads more sprouts; badly cooked. Even worse than that, he stamped on our tiddlywinks. We begged and begged for food and all we got were puddings, those really horrid sorts. His wife the queen wanted to go shopping so he stole all our money.

He even stole our teddy bears. The teddy bears got made alive and turned into monsters (they were rather silly monsters).

wolf ade 2 002.JPG
This wolf is by parent called Adrian

“You should be nice!” we cried.

creature pink ears.jpg

“I don’t like sharing! I shall send my silly monsters after you.”

We played hide and seek! Then we heard the sweet sound of the pipes and they led us away. The Pied Piper took us all away and we paraded through to Scarborough. It was lovely.

Footnote: the piping of course wasn’t lovely but I didn’t want to spoil the story with wizzpopping noises.

bouncy-01

Other children complained of the king forcing them to hoolahoop for his entertainment, bouncing balls for hours and lots of fighting. Worst of all being told they were funny! Naughty kings tell secrets, trip you up, sing songs about you and like fighting.

.

Most horrid of all he made them go to school! Good job we all escaped upon the Skylark

boats blue.jpg
This was actually about the Sea Goddess Ran but it fits here nicely

.

pied-spa-002
pied-spa-001
pied-spa-003.jpg

and followed Pied to Scarborough.

We told stories along the way. There were magical baby horses (‘called foals actually’),

pink snake.jpg

dragon-like serpents,

man-bear.jpg

a hero dressed as a bear,

lewis-tower

a beautiful young woman in a tower,

trolls in caves,

marks-sons-thing
by Mark’s son age 2
snake-tower

cattle from all over the world for the serpent to eat,

shrunken treasure,

shrunken.jpg
by Delilah

a funny little man in a cave,

ellie-troll
by Ellie

spears, weddings, unicorns,

matilda-02.jpg
by Matilda
moon-star.jpg

mums what help, dads what tell stories,

seeing the sea, rainbow bridges,

rainbow-bridge-by-delilah
by Delilah

wolves,

greg wolf.jpg
Greg was a helper and he lied about his age
wolf me.jpg
apple tree.jpg
apple and worm.jpg
me apple 02.jpg

apple trees,

tora.jpg

strange but beautiful ladies of the sea – what are they called again? Merrymaids is it????

under-001
under 002.jpg
under 003.jpg
under 004.jpg
under 005.jpg

There were also mystery sharks appearing in Scarborough (True!) and a true love story with a message in a bottle.

Oh and how the goddess of love she cried, oh how she cried.

blob.jpg

We were so glad to get away from the evil king, He had given us all bracelets with eyes in that watched you and he complained that we were whining all the time. He wouldn’t let us go near the glittering golden apples and oh how we longed to wear pink. He said we were never ready on time (which was true actually), called us Contrary Mary’s who never gave him any peace and quiet. He has got peace and quiet now, because he is all alone and we have ran away. We had to run away as he had sent tarantulas to scare us.

I will tell you how bad he was, he wouldn’t let our friends visit and gave us jelly that looked nice but was made with horrid things.

evie h.jpg

That is why we are happy to be in a magical land called Scarborough.

pink clouds.jpg

A magical land. Ask us what it is like if you like and we will tell you. It is nice. We are happy and we have friends. The whole world is places to play with cushions all over the place so you don’t bang your chin when you fall. Everything is made from Lego except the candy floss trees and the candy floss grass.

There is no school. No wait we missed school, so there is school; you learn how to wrap presents and how to make sweets, cos it is Christmas every day and there are always presents. The rullers at school are gummy bear rulers so we don’t really bother drawing straight lines much.

When you live in a candy castle all the stories have happy endings.

We live in a land where it is fine because you are with your mummies and everyone laughs at everyone’s jokes (even Adrian’s).

Come and live in tree houses with us there is bacon for breakfast and teddies hug you back.

marks lads teddy.jpg
Mark’s son aged 2 drew this teddy and it is the first time he has done a drawing to look like something

Even pringles are chocolate and chocolate twists grow from chocolate tress. Besides the chocolate fountain is an ever filling bowl of anything you want and a help yourself forever ice cream van.

stars.jpg

That is how great it is.

We didn’t want to live in the king’s castle any more as he had stinky feet and made us always be busy. If we didn’t work hard enough he chased us with ninja turtles.

libby beetle.jpg
This is Libby’s beetle not a ninja turtle

They were very naughty and played tricks on us all and called us cheeky monkeys.

No wonder we are happy in magical Scarborough with its candy castle.

kate house.jpg
by Kate

Sweetie land has toffee apple trees and it is sunny all the time. It is great to be all families together and we even like the blue sheep. Flying on foxes and magical unicorns are our favourite hobbies and everyone has a bicycle, and a tricycle and a unicycle what they can ride easy.

Peaceful it is and always warm and everyone can swim.

We play pass the parcel and hokey cokey and hopscotch and twister and football too.

Come with us, let the Pied Piper lead the way to where everything is sunny and warm.

pied-spa-003.jpg

(If i have missed anybodies name off or anything do please let me know)

.

.

Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

Hobb’s Tale of the Time of the Normans – (some of it is a bit grizzly).

Hobb’s Tale of the Time of the Normans – (some of it is a bit grizzly) – (Please share, like and add comments).

hood-02

There I was sat in the centre of the park by the river in my Hobb outfit, (which is basically a dress and tights), with a huge black cloak with a huge black hood; waiting. I was waiting to suddenly start in a deep scary voice. ‘Long long ago!’

hood-01

I could not see ahead of me because of the big hood, but eventually I heard a group approaching and saw their feet gathering around, ‘Long long ago!’

Luckily it was the right group!

two-towers-cut-to-one

Jules Montgomery of Barmby Moor School had asked me to be there to meet her group, or rather groups. They had teamed up with Garton on the Wold School for a trip to York to go around Cliffords Tower.

me-09d

There was only room for one of their groups at a time, so they were to split up and spend an hour in there and an hour with me.

special-one-03

Life with the Normans was Jules’ suggestion and, as they had been studying the topic, plus would be hearing the relative history of the tower, I thought I better be a bit different to all that. Jules suggested tales of the Normans from the local perspective.

me hood.jpg

Hence Hobb’s view.

Long long long

Long long long

me-09i

Long long long ago (the hood was off)

two towers cropped to wood.jpg

There used to be a great tower here upon a hill.

Do you know where it was?

two-towers-cut-to-one

“There!” “There!” There!” they all point.

Oh, no, you’ve got a new one.

In my-a-days it was over there. I point to where the Eye of York is now.

two-towers-cut-to-one-flipped

This one wasn’t there in my-a-days. It must be from your-a-days. What do you call it? “Cliffords Tower.”

clifford

Oh no, what did you call it that for?! You have called it after the enemy.

mountains

Clifford was one of the nasty bad guys from that horrible place over the mountains; the place of the red rose.

Ah, I think I know why it got called that. It is a joke.

hung

When they caught him they hung him. They hung him from the tower and left him there.

For a long long long time, is that enough longs or should there be more?

“More!”

For a long long long long long long long time, is that enough longs, er, yes perhaps so.

hung

A long long time he hung there, and people would look up as they passed and say, ‘Hello Clifford.’

Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ha ha ha. Ha…

Well perhaps it isn’t funny now-a-days, but it was then.

hung

‘Hello Clifford!’

‘ Ha ha ha ha ha ha,’ is that enough ha ha’s or should there be more?

“No!” “No more!”

After years of folk saying, ‘Where are we going fishing?’ Down past Clifford’s tower ha ha ha ha ha – it all wore a bit thin, but the name stuck.

That is what I say about it and I should know because I am Hobb.

Hello. “Hello.”

pig hut.jpg

Let me introduce myself I am Hobb, Hobb the pigman.

Not that I have got any pigs, but you know how you all have a pig in your house don’t you. “No.” “Yes.” “No.” Well some of you have. Everyone did in my-a-days. Not in your-a-days but in my-a-days. And you know how you would get fed up of them around your feet? And would push them out of the door, so they were all wandering about in the street. Well I felt sorry for them all and I have them all round at my house. I am always warm on a night, and I am never short of company. People don’t tend to like me very much, because of the smell, but the pigs like me, so that’s all right.

clipped faded.jpg
just-you-02-coloured

They was a tower here, a big castle on a hill you know, long long long before that-there William feller came here. The Saxons built it, or the Angles or both of them. That one was destroyed. The Vikings came and the Vikings destroyed it. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Is that enough Viking laughter? “No.” Everybody then; “Ha ha ha ha ha ha.“

globe

Well there I was in The Globe in Shambles having a glass of porter, and then I went across the street to a pub called The Globe and had a glass of porter. I like the Globe, but the porter isn’t as good, I don’t like The Globe but the porter is far better there and it is only across Shambles so I popped back into The Globe for another, while my pigs waited outside.

paris.jpg

It wasn’t so bad. We all got nattering and chatting and we got onto the Vikings. There was Ragnar you see, long long long long, shall I? No, OK, just the one long then, long ago there was a Viking king called Ragnar. Ragnar Hairy-breeks; he of the hairy trousers. He stormed through Europe taking town after town, city after city. He came to Paris, oh, he took his army with him of course, he didn’t do it all on his own. Paris was a bit trickier. A big strong city. So he put the place under siege. That’s where you don’t let anybody out and you don’t let anybody in. It tends to make you hungry does that, but more on that later. For now, let’s just say that they had a lot of food in there; they managed to survive for two years. Eventually they gave in because they were very very hungry, very.

crepe.jpg

They gave in, and they gave him all their treasure; gold, jewels, crepe recipes, everything.

camp 02 coloured.jpg
away

Trouble was, most of his Vikings said, ‘We quite like it here, we have got used to it, we think we’ll stay.’ That left him with a smaller army when he came to Britain and it left France with a load of Vikings who would later turn into Normans, or their off-spring would many many years later. Many.

So along here came Ragnar and died terribly at the hands of a Saxon king, but that is another story for another time.

king

Those ones he left behind though, many many years later their children’s children’s children’s ch, you get the idea. The king’s army, the king of France (as we call it now).

Along came a Viking, well a few. The leader of this army was a big guy, you might call him Rolo, or Rolf, he said he was called Hrolfr. Ganger Hrolfr in fact. Ganger means walker.

ganger..jpg
100 ships.jpg

He ran mainly, very fast, and right at you. He was so big that no horse would carry him; his feet trailed along the floor when he sat in the saddle. So he ran, with his army riding behind him. Well, not when they were on a ship, then they sailed. There were ships full of them. A hundred ships they say, with a hundred men in each one they say. How many is that? “A thousand?” “Ten thousand?” “A hundred thousand?” I will tell you how many and you will repeat it after me. How many? A lot! How many? “A lot.”

saine.jpg
two armies.jpg

They went in by river and then they travelled the lands. Till presently they came again to the great river around a great bend far from their ships. There across the waters was a huge army. The king at their head. His army was far larger. He was about to call for a charge to ride across the river and kill these invaders with their tall leader when he heard his own army talking behind him. ‘Those fellers over there are from the North.’ ‘They are Northmen.’ ‘That is where our forefathers were from.’ ‘We are kin.’ ‘Family.’ ‘We can’t fight them.’

The king heard this and thought that he had better change his plan. ‘What is it that you want?’

Ganger Hrolfr replied, ‘All this. All the land at this side of the river.’

The king was not happy with this but felt he had no choice, ‘This you can have as long as you swear allegiance to me.’

‘How would I do this?’ called Ganger as he strode across the river with his strongest few.

‘You must bow down and kiss my foot.’

‘I will bow down to no man,’ cried Ganger. He turned to his mightiest warrior, ‘Would you do this duty for me my good friend?’

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Tor Eric stepped forward with a wry grin, (that is a bit of a smirk if you didn’t know). He walked forward towards the king who was sat before him on his horse. Tor Eric took the king’s foot, he didn’t bend, he lifted the foot quickly to his mouth and kissed. The king flew off his horse. As he crashed to the floor Hrolfr laughed loud, as did his warriors, their whole army behind them across the river could be heard to be laughing wildly. The king’s men were not laughing; his close knights were reaching for their weapons and stepping slowly forward. The king laughed. The king stood, and laughed and laughed. His knights looked, looked back at Tor Eric and Hrolfr, and then they laughed, a whole army behind them laughing and laughing. Both banks of the river were filled with wild loud hearty laughter.

Hobb laughs, the teachers laugh, the children laugh – a timeless hearty laugh.

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So that is even more descendants of the Norsemen settled in France. No wonder the Norman invasion fought so well!

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Anyway I went for a walk. To be more correct, I took my pigs for a walk (Oink, wheet wheet wheee), they were fed up of being in the house, well, the hovel actually. Anyway, we went for a walk.

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So there I was in the ale house on the street of stone, the pigs were in the front yard and I was sat with a glass in the inne: Yee Newe Starre Inne. You might know it better as Yee Olde Starre Inne, but this was a long time ago when the Starre Inne was newe.

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Sipping away at my porter and listening to my friend who was a porter, lending a tanner to my friend the tanner, and… – that’s quite enough of that, let’s just say there were a few of us. Then I was asked what I thought of the news, I wasn’t able to think about the news, because I hadn’t heard the news. Then I heard the news; the king was dead. My friend the Crier was quite upset about it, yes he had been crying about it all over town. I didn’t know. The pigs are so noisy you see. Edward? The King? That Edward feller? I asked. Yes I was told. Well, I asked, did he confess anything in the end, but nobody knew.

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Anyway I wasn’t worried, he was from down there and it wouldn’t bother us up here I reckoned. Some of my friends agreed. The one who was a Wait said we would have to find out in the end. Mostly though they were worried, because, it turned out, there were many coming who thought they ought to be king and there would be trouble. There would be trouble mainly round here, fighting and that, they reckoned. (One of them-there would-be kings is buried under that great big church you have, a Viking feller.) They were all going to be coming over here they said.

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What did it matter I wondered, as a king is a king is a king is a king, but I was informed I was wrong. The one that worried everyone was coming over from France to conquer. What was he called? “William!” No. Guillaume. That is French for William or any rate maybe William is English for Guillaume. We maybe should end up calling him William but for now he was Guillaume I was told. One of my pals said he was called Guillaume le Rude-word. I wanted to know what the rude word was and it was whispered in my ear. Goodness me that’s a shock. We can’t call him that. We had better call him a conqueror. Yes that would do it; William the Conqueror. Any way there was going to be trouble.

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It was true. In no time there was talk of a big battle raging over a bridge just a little way from here. I was told I had to go, not to fight, but because I had pigs and they might need pigs. I couldn’t guess what they might need my pigs for, but I went anyway.

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It took a while; these pigs of mine are slow to shift. I had a switch and I switched it, the new one wasn’t any better but I switched with it anyway. There was a lot of noise and a lot of wandering off but eventually we got there. It was too late. It was all over.

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I made the mistake of looking around, I shouldn’t have done it, I looked around. It was terrible terrible. You can be sure that when we meet in person for me to tell you all this there will be a lot of stabbing and crying and groaning and dying going on. For now though, just imagine. I wish I hadn’t looked.

Then suddenly there was an army running at me.

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They ran right past me, ‘Come on, come on.’ What? ‘Come on, come with us.’ ‘We are running all the way to a place called Hastings, it can’t be far.’ That was going to be their downfall I thought, but I didn’t say anything. What do you want me for? ‘We don’t need you, we need the pigs.’

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I had no idea why they might want my pigs but I set off anyway. It was a long slow journey. Oink, oink, oink – switch, switch, switch – wheeet wheeet wheeee. We got there. It was too late. It was terrible, terrible, terrible. Slashing, and stabbing and crying and groaning and dying. All that was over. Well except for the odd bit of groaning maybe. It was all over. Imagine my face as I look around for a very long time. Imagine. That is how horrible it was.

We all know what that battle was called. “The battle of Hastings!” No. The battle of Hastings which isn’t the battle of Hastings because it didn’t happen at Hastings did actually happen at Battle. So it is the battle of Battle. Except if the village of Battle is only called battle because it was where there was a battle then it was just a battle. Then again if battles before the battle of Battle weren’t called a battle and they only started being called battles after there was this one in Battle it isn’t even the battle of Battle. It is called          .

That’s where I was anyway           .

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There ahead of me was a huge army running right at me, this was a horrible terrible army and they were running right at me as I said. I hid. I hid behind my pigs. But because by now I was starting to get an idea of why they might want my pigs I hid the pigs. Once I had hid the pigs in the ditch I hid among the pigs. The horrible army hurried past. They were led by William somebody… “William the Conqueror!” No. The Malet. Him and all the knights and their retinues were a great army and they were being sent north.

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It is said they went and crushed York. Crushed it. Then they went back down a bit (which was rather a long way round to do things, but they were new to Britain) and they went to Nottingham.

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They went there to crush that place too but I don’t think they managed very well because Nottingham has another name. What is it? “We don’t know.” The City of Caves.

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By I got there with my pigs people were starting to come up out of the caves blinking. I was glad they were alright. I was also glad they were blinking because they didn’t see my pigs.

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I did meet someone else, someone interesting; the Pig Woman, but that is another story for another time when you are older. She did tell me something though. She said that Malet had been ordered back to York to take charge (See I told you they did things in a long way round sort of way).

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So I went back to York. It wasn’t so bad. There was plenty of work. Well there was mainly plenty of work because there weren’t that many people left. The people who were left were very very cross. That Malet feller got us all working though. Well except for the one or two who ran off to send messages about the terrible horrible things that had happened.

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There were walls and gates around the town, but not across the river. The river was surrounded by marshland as well. So we had to dig in it and get all the muck and mud and rocks and clay and pile it up. We didn’t know why. Well not until they started building on top of it. A castle, a great big castle. Now there was water all around it. That water would become known as Kings Fishpond in later years.

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There was a huge draw bridge to get in and they all lived up there looking out at us.

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Some of those quietly cross people who hadn’t stayed to dig mud had gone to meet other people and make them cross; livid might be a better way of putting it. They all came here for a fight. Out across the Vale of York they were steadily gathering. The farmers, the Northumbrians, the Scottish, the boy king, so that’s Saxons and maybe Angles too, maybe even three or four Jutes, and one or two Picts perhaps, some Celts or Irish anyway and at last – the Danes. And we, snigger, were all set to let them in. They all were in this together and they were far more than cross or even livid.

William was worried but it took them all so long to get together that he had time to send for William; the other William.

He turned up with a huge army and he saw them all off. We were all alone again (oink).

He was horribly cruel, torturous even, you can be sure that if ever you invite me to your group to tell this I will be torturous to be sure.

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For now just imagine the screams.

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He built that tower over there at the other side of the river in eight days flat! “What tower?” It’s flat! Well it was over there back then in the back-then-i-days.

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The Danes came back!

We all joined in!

3000 Normans died.

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King William is said to have said something about God’s Splendour, but what he meant was he was going to kill us all. And he did. Well, no or I wouldn’t be here to tell you. That’s what he said though.

Next thing we know, we can’t get out and they are all around the place.

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We got very hungry.

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This is the bit where I got to find out just how horrid children’s imaginations can be, because I asked them what they would have to eat. Yes there was sausages and chicken nuggets and Macdoodles (we only ate the box actually), and pigs – No, I hid the pigs on Barmby Moor just in time – we raided all the butchers on Shambles, we drank everything in all the innes and wayside places, we caught birds out of the air and ate them whole (we won’t mention the puppies and kittens because we don’t like to talk about it). Mud, leaves, grass, slime, there was nothing left.

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I asked for volunteers and a few came forward. To be eaten. I crept up on them from behind all ready to kill them and eat them, well we had been hungry for like a year or something. I was baring my teeth and raising my claws to swoop and there was a shout. It was coming from outside the walls. ‘If you surrender we will be nice.’ Well something like that. ‘We have lots of scrummy things to eat.’ ‘Come on out it is all alright really.’

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We went out and it wasn’t alright. They were horrid, more horrid than you can imagine. Screams and mess and chopping and stabbing and burning and searching. I don’t think there was anybody left.

That wasn’t enough for him.

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He sent troops all over the place. Took all the food, broke all the farming things, burned all the farm houses; the land around here and as far up as Durham was a desert. Nothing grew, everyone starved. It all turned wild. Imagine if you will all the weeds and hedges and trees taking over and nobody anywhere. The Harrying of the north. A wilderness was all that was left and a wilderness is nothing.

William built two new castles here, filled them with troops, and then left and never bothered to come back here again. There was nothing to come back to.

Everyone listening to this – lower your head – turn – and slowly quietly walk away.

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Hobb’s Tale of the Time of the Normans – by Adrian Spendlow

Footnotes:

This story follows research of history and folklore and is told as Hobb would understand it.

I hope to recreate the live atmosphere of dramatic storytelling, but of course a whole lot of the acting out, the facial expressions, the sound effects are a little lost – for instance, the moment of the child who volunteered to be eaten will be forever lost on you unless you see this live. Thank you to the child I hardly met.

There were, at one point, two inns on Shambles opposite each other and both called The Globe.

Porter was a strong dark beer.

Tor Eric is a popular Norwegian name rather than the actual name of the warrior. Pronounced approximately as Tour Eeirik, Tor is of course the root of what a British person would describe as Thor.

A Wait was a musician, they marked the hour and sometimes called the news in the way a Town Crier would.

To this day there is a whole network of caves under Nottingham and you can go on a tour. Perhaps they were a good place to hide even in the days of William.

My art work is intended to illustrate the story in an impressionistic way.

A more complete story in an historical format will shortly be available as a download, for now we do have a history download relating to York…

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Also try the Viking Comic Book  and History links at the top.

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