Category Archives: Mythology

FOOL KILLER PART THIRTY-ONE: JULY OF 1921

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, CLICK HERE 

Fool Killer picPART THIRTY-ONE: Moving on to the July 1921 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s monthly Fool-Killer publication. The Fool Killer’s (I prefer no hyphen) targets this time around were: 

*** Politicians and pundits who were still pushing the notion that the World War which ended in November of 1918 really was “The War to End All War” and that the world was poised for an era of peace and tranquility with no more bloodshed.

*** Nations which were still trying to develop ever-deadlier chemical weapons, despite the uproar over the long-term consequences of such weapons in the war from 1914-1918.

*** In particular the Fool Killer targeted jingoistic U.S. War Department scientists and /or officials who spoke of a deadly gas that our country had just developed – a gas which could supposedly “depopulate a whole city in a few minutes.” 

              Mascot new lookPearson and his Fool Killer wondered if, despite official claims that the government was trying to prevent other nations from getting hold of the formula, the U.S. might wind up using the gas ourselves at some future time and therefore become “the Huns” of a new war. 

              Here in 2020 we are accustomed to the notion that our own elected officials – from both parties – may be as totalitarian and destructive as any others. That realization came after decades of real-life scandals plus fictional espionage and science fiction stories using (eventually overusing) the “Are we are own worst enemy? theme. 

              I find it incredibly intriguing to see a contemporary 1921 example of that justifiable suspicion. The image of the Fool Killer – homicidal vigilante though he’s always been – taking down scientists, military men or politicians gambling with such poisonous gasses is wildly ahead of its time.  

*** In a REALLY prescient bit, he targeted people who felt that Germany should be forced harder and harder to try to pay war reparations no matter what damage it did to that nation’s economy. We all know where that wound up taking the world. Continue reading

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GODS OF BELLONA AND RENNELL ISLANDS

bellona-and-rennellIn the style of Balladeer’s Blog’s separate examinations of Hawaiian and Samoan myths as a subset of Polynesian Mythology comes this look at the deities worshipped on the Polynesian outliers Bellona Island and Rennell Island. Despite its much smaller size Bellona had a larger population for much of their history.

NGE’OBIONGO – The goddess of the stone ovens used by the people of Rennell and Bellona. The ovens were shown such reverence that it was forbidden to eat near them or to scatter firewood or even to speak in raised voices in their vicinity. Nge’obiongo would punish anyone who violated those taboos, just as she punished women who were bad or lazy cooks or who prepared meals without first properly cleaning their hands.

Undercooking the food would also invite this deity’s wrath. On rare occassions some of the prepared food would be left in the ovens as an offering to Nge’obiongo.

bellona-and-rennell-world-heritageMAHUIKE – The earthquake god of Bellona and Rennell Islands (henceforth Bel-Ren). Like his counterparts in Hawaii and Samoa, Mahuike lived far underground and caused earthquakes by pushing at the earth with both of his arms.

Once, after a particularly destructive earthquake, the god Tehu’aingabenga fought Mahuike for injuring his worshippers and broke off one of the earthquake god’s arms. Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: REINOLD, MAUGRIS THE MAGICIAN AND BAYARD

Here’s a bonus Charlemagne post in honor of Twelfth Night. FOR THE FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE

Reinold and BayardREINOLD, MAUGRIS THE MAGICIAN AND THE ENCHANTED HORSE BAYARD – Reinold was another of Charlemagne’s nephews, like the Paladin Roland. Reinold, also called Rinaldo, was the son of the Emperor’s sister Aya and her husband, Duke Aymon of Ardennes. Reinold’s sister Bradamante, covered previously at Balladeer’s Blog, was the white-armored Paladin in Charlemagne’s court, making her literally a “white knight.”

Reinold, like his three older brothers and his sister distinguished himself in battle and was knighted by the Emperor. Reinold, already showing the maverick streak that he would become famous for, declined a sword at the knighting ceremony, vowing that as one of Charlemagne’s Paladins he would carry a sword taken from the next adversary he bested in combat.

MaugrisOnce, while riding outside Paris, Reinold was presented with a magnificent suit of armor by Maugris the magician, the younger, more active counterpart to Merlin from Arthurian lore. (In some versions Maugris – aka Malagigi – also gives Reinold a horse, but since this tale centers around Reinold’s taming of the mount Bayard I’m omitting that to keep the story stream-lined.)

Not long after, Maugris the enchanter again appeared before Reinold, this time in the forest of Arden. Maugris told the young Paladin that a mightier steed than the one he currently rode was on the loose in the forest, killing everyone who tried to tame him.

Maugris went on to explain to Reinold that the horse, named Bayard, once belonged to Amadis of Gaul. After Amadis’ death, Maugris had cast a spell on the horse that granted it supernatural powers, making it impossible for the beast to be subdued by anyone except another Paladin as brave and capable as Amadis himself.

All the other Paladins that Maugris had sent to try taming Bayard had been killed by the horse. Reinold was undeterred by that knowledge and rode off toward the cavern lair of Bayard.  Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: OGIER AND THE CROWN OF DENMARK

FOR THE FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE Ogier

OGIER AND THE CROWN OF DENMARK – King Geoffrey of Denmark saw his lands invaded by pagan Vikings from the north. The ferocity and numbers of the invaders proved too much for Geoffrey and his men so the king sent messengers to Emperor Charlemagne asking for help.

Charlemagne nobly set aside the lingering hostility he felt for Geoffrey from the time when that King of the Danes refused him tribute and the Emperor had led his armies to defeat Geoffrey. Charlemagne decided to send troops to assist Denmark but also to test the character of his Paladin, Ogier the Dane … Geoffrey’s son.

The Emperor wanted to see how Ogier would conduct himself in such a situation, facing superior odds in the field AND having to contain his resentment toward his father Geoffrey for having sent him as a hostage to Charlemagne’s court after his military defeat long years earlier.

Charlemagne placed Ogier at the head of an army consisting of a thousand Paladins and thousands more common Frank soldiers. Wielding his enchanted sword Cortana, the Dane led his men north. Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: TWO ADVENTURES OF ROLAND

FOR THE FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE 

RolandI. A 14 ft tall giant named Ferragus was preying upon Charlemagne’s subjects, carrying them away at will and devouring them in his cave. When the Emperor was made aware of this situation by the inhabitants of the affected region he called for a volunteer from among his Paladins to kill the giant.

Roland was the first and loudest volunteer and so Charlemagne, despite being worried over his nephew’s safety, permitted him to ride off to battle Ferragus.

A few days later Roland had ridden to the site of the giant’s mountain cave. The monster emerged to battle the armored adventurer and the two clashed. Hours went by with Ferragus unable to slay Roland and with Roland’s enchanted sword Durindana failing to penetrate the giant’s thick skin. Continue reading

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BEST OF SEPTEMBER 2019

Balladeer’s Blog’s end of year retrospective continues with this look at September’s best:

classical greecePOLEIS (CITIES) 422-419 B.C. – A look at the ancient Greek political comedy written by Eupolis. CLICK HERE

TRANSGRESS WITH ME: SEPTEMBER 23rd – Are you brave enough to share some more transgressive thoughts? CLICK HERE

Babylon ElectrifiedANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION – Messages From Mars (1892)  HERE , The Queen of Appalachia (1901) HERE , Babylon Electrified (1888) HERE , Looking Forward (1899) HERE , The Automatic Maid (1893) HERE

HEROIC WOMEN FIGHTING OPPRESSION IN THE MUSLIM WORLD – The title says it all. CLICK HERE

WOI EPIC – A Liberian epic myth about gods and demons. CLICK HERE

Isaiah WashingtonISAIAH WASHINGTON – And yet another Martin Luther King Person of Courage to profile – CLICK HERE Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: CHARLOT’S VILLAINY

Balladeer’s Blog continues examining the legends of Emperor Charlemagne and his Paladins (knights).

Carolingian empireOur previous installment ended with the army of Charlemagne besieging the Muslim Saracen army which had taken Rome after forcing them to withdraw inside the city following their defeat in battle. Roland, Ogier and others had been knighted by Charlemagne himself after distinguishing themselves in combat.

The glory that Roland and Ogier had earned filled the Emperor’s treacherous son Charlot with envy and resentment and he bided his time waiting for a chance to strike at the two Paladins.

As the siege continued, boredom threatened to claim both sides, and Carahue, King of Mauritanius, one of the leaders of the Muslim forces, was filled with the desire to face Ogier in single combat. Disguising himself as a mere messenger, Carahue approached Charlemagne’s army and was taken before the Emperor himself.

Still pretending to be a messenger, Carahue told Charlemagne and his court that the King of Mauritanius extended a challenge to the Paladin who had borne the Oriflamme during the previous open-field battle. (The Oriflamme was Charlemagne’s banner as ruler of the Franks and combined the fleur-de-lis of the French with the eagle of the Germans.) Continue reading

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