Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lost History of Eire: A.T. Baelor Christmas Letter 1908

23 December 1908
Happy Christmas,      

The snow falls heavy on the grassy field outside my front door, but it is nice and warm by the fire-side. Bah! The years have grown tiring in their passing. Not long ago I remember the joys of a chill winter breeze through the hills, but now the bitterness outweighs the merriment. My bones ache with memories of those bygone decades. I am eighty-four years old now, and I feel it in every ache and crack.

But enough glum thoughts from me. These do not warm minds as a hardy fire warms toes. During my recent excavations, I found a fragment of a story and I thought that during this Yuletide, it would be good to recount. Perhaps you can find some inspiration from its medieval message, though I daresay the peoples differ much from us...

Many ages past, there was a great warrior. Well, perhaps he was merely exceptional for he had but one gift: he was a trickster. He went by the name of Níchör and he was the child of a cobbler, as so many of us were in those times. But Níchör was no cobbler; no indeed, he rarely even wore shoes because he preferred to sneak about unnoticed.

One cold Yule-eve in the far southern borough of Carrick, Níchör thought to himself, “Wouldn’t it be fun to have the whole town outside on this cold night in naught but their knickers?”

Níchör silently left his warm home in nary more than an overcoat and top hat, all of the darkest green naturally. His wild orange hair escaped the confines of his cap to scatter about his collar. By the time he reached the back stair of the town hall, small icicles had begun to form about his short stubble. Climbing a hidden ladder, the naughty little man reached the top of the bell tower that sat astride the hall, and with one great heave, he rang the large cast iron siren, prompting chaos throughout the hamlet.

Droves of people streamed out of their warm homes, abandoning hearth and feast to prepare for the worst. Yet no army fae or foe appeared. Behind a nearby barn, though, the hysterical laughter of a self-indulgent man led authorities to the culprit.

On the following morrow, the town court convened and sentenced young Níchör to a punishment equal to the offense: henceforth, until such a time as he proved himself worthy of reprieve, the man would wear a bell about his collar so as all would know the manner of his crime. And for the rest of his days, all knew whence Níchör of the Silver Bell came and to where he would go.

Regrettably, this story appears to end here, though Níchör himself appears in many later tales. Still, it seems his greatness came long after, though his reprieve came later still.

Keep warm and safe this Christmas. As always, I am
A. T. Baelor

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