Category Archives: Mythology

CHARLEMAGNE CHAPTERS

Thank you to reader David Bovey for pointing out that I had not yet provided a list of links to every installment thus far in my look at the tales of Charlemagne and his Paladins.

charlemagne mapPALADINS OF CHARLEMAGNE – The fictional setting of the legends surrounding the real-life Charlemagne, plus the introduction of several of his Paladins (knights). Click HERE.

MORE PALADINS OF CHARLEMAGNE – Introducing a few more prominent characters from the Tales of Charlemagne. Click HERE

HOW ROLAND AND OGIER BECAME PALADINS – Answering a cry for help from the Pope, the Emperor Charlemagne leads his Frankish armies against the Muslim forces threatening Rome. During that military campaign Charlemagne’s nephew Roland and Ogier the Dane distinguish themselves and are invested as Paladins. Click HERE

CHARLOT’S VILLAINY – Charlemagne’s evil son Charlot plots to kill the Paladin named Ogier the Dane during the Emperor’s ongoing campaign against the Muslim armies that threaten the Pope and Rome. Click HERE

TWO ADVENTURES OF ROLAND – In the first adventure, the Paladin Roland faces a 14 feet tall giant. In the second adventure, during a war led by his uncle Charlemagne, Roland is reunited with his childhood friend Oliver. Click HERE.   Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: BRADAMANTE MEETS RUGGIERO

These are the legends about Charlemagne and his Paladins, not the actual history, so there will be dragons, monsters and magic. 

FOR MY FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE.

bradamante another picBRADAMANTE MEETS RUGGIERO – 

NOTE: This installment brings back Bradamante, the female Paladin in white armor, as well as the cunning dwarf Brunello. Those two characters are from tales that go back over a thousand years, they are NOT ripoffs of the female knight and the Dinklage guy from GOT. If anything they helped inspire Martin’s characters.

We back up in time a bit as this chapter begins during the time when Roland was on his quest to free Morgana’s prisoners in her castle on the lake. Marsilius, king of the Muslim colonialists who occupied most of Spain, led his forces in a new campaign against the Emperor Charlemagne. Rodomont, the Muslim king of what is now Algeria, launched an amphibious assault on the south of Charlemagne’s empire, and Agramant, the Muslim king of what is now Libya and Tunisia, likewise sailed with his legions to join his coreligionists.

While those invasions were still in the planning stages, the Garamantean Prophet made his final prophecy before dying. He advised his fellow Muslims that in order to prevail against Charlemagne and his Paladins this time they must recruit the legendary warrior Ruggiero. Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: ROLAND VS MORGANA

CharlemagneAs regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know, December through Twelfth Night (January 6th) is the time of year in which I look at versions of the tales of Charlemagne and his Paladins. These are the legends about Charlemagne, not the actual history, so there will be dragons, monsters and magic. 

FOR MY FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE.

Charlemagne's empireROLAND VS MORGANA – We pick up where we left off, with the Paladin Roland, nephew of Emperor Charlemagne, having captured the sorceress Falerin. She informed Roland that she was merely a subordinate to Morgana, the Lady of the Lake, and it was Morgana who really imprisoned the many warriors that Princess Angelica wanted Roland to set free.

To save her own life, Falerina had told the Paladin everything he needed to do to reach Morgana in her castle in the middle of the lake. To prevent the treacherous Falerina from having a change of heart and warning Morgana, Roland tied her to a beech tree, to be set free upon the completion of his quest.

As Charlemagne’s nephew approached the shore of the lake in question, he followed Falerina’s instructions to block up his ears with flowers to blot out the singing of the Siren that lived in the lake. He sat down on the shoreline and waited until at last the Siren rose from the water and began singing her song. Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: THE ENCHANTED GARDENS OF FALERINA

PaladinAs always, from December 1st through Twelfth Night (January 6th) Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at some of the old legends surrounding Charlemagne and his Paladins. These are the fictional tales about Charlemagne, so there will be magic and monsters included.

RolandTHE ENCHANTED GARDENS OF FALERINA – We pick up from last time as the Paladins Roland and Reinold are separately heading for the Gardens of Falerina to free all the warriors imprisoned there. Reinold (at last reunited with his faithful steed Bayard) was on this quest on behalf of the beautiful Flordelis, whose true love Florismart is among the prisoners.   

The gardens were inside the Castle of Falerina, which stood in the middle of a lake. The lone bridge leading to the castle was protected by Arridano, a mystically powered brute of a man who had to be overcome if one were to gain access to the bridge.

So far no one had been able to defeat him, and the captured arms and armor of all the men he had vanquished lay piled high on the lake shore as trophies. Reinold reached the bridge first and wasted no time in dismounting and attacking the ruffian, who wielded an iron mace against the Paladin.

Eventually the pair fell to grappling with one another and the bridge guardian held tight to Reinold and leaped with him into the lake. Once submerged the guard held an insurmountable advantage since he was able to breathe underwater and soon Reinold joined the other prisoners in the Gardens of Falerina. Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: REINOLD BATTLES ROLAND

CharlemagneAs regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know, December through Twelfth Night (January 6th) is the time of year in which I look at versions of the tales of Charlemagne and his Paladins. These are the legends about Charlemagne, not the actual history, so there will be dragons, monsters and magic. 

FOR MY FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE.

paladins fightingREINOLD BATTLES ROLAND – Regular readers will remember that when we left the Paladin named Reinold he was making his way on foot back to the Court of Charlemagne after escaping from Princess Angelica’s enchanted island.

Reinold crossed paths with a beautiful weeping woman named Flordelis, who begged the Paladin to help free her beloved Florismart from the clutches of Morgana, the Lady of the Lake. Reinold agreed, and Flordelis offered him her horse to ride. With the young woman seated behind him on the horse, Reinold rode off.

After a few hours’ ride, the pair came upon a cavern guarded by a 12 foot tall, club-wielding giant. Chained nearby was a griffin, who aided the giant in guarding the precious horse Rabican. Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: THE SIEGE OF ALBRACCA

CharlemagneAs regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know, December is not just the month in which I cover umpteen versions of A Christmas Carol but also the month in which I look at versions of the tales of Charlemagne and his Paladins. These are the legends about Charlemagne, not the actual history, so there will be dragons, monsters and magic. Roland shows up in this story. 

FOR MY FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE  

paladins of charlemagneTHE SIEGE OF ALBRACCA – Princess Angelica of Cathay, in our previous tale, had failed to win the heart of the Paladin Reinold despite holding him at her enchanted isle for a time. Just as the escaped Reinold was even now trying to make his way back to the court of Charlemagne, Angelica returned to her father’s court in Cathay.

While she had been gone, the Tartar King Agrican (also called Agri Khan) had surrounded Albracca, capitol of the Kingdom of Cathay with his army and demanded the hand of Angelica from her father, King Galafron. The siege lasted for weeks, but in its early stages Galafron had managed to dispatch messengers to Circassia.

One lone man among those messengers survived to reach Circassia and ask its King Sacripant to come to the aid of Cathay. Sacripant, like every other male character in these stories (except Reinold) was captivated by Princess Angelica’s beauty. The king thus led his army forth, intent on defeating the Tartars and winning the hand of Angelica. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER SIXTY ONE: JANUARY 1913

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT IN THE 1850s, CLICK HERE 

Fool Killer with staff and Bowie knifeSome of the Fool Killer’s targets from the January of 1913 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer

*** Democrat Senator Joe Bailey, who left the Senate after missing 499 of 976 roll call votes during his term. That 51.1% was much higher than the average missed roll call votes by other Senators of the time – 29.5%. 

*** Republican Senator Henry Dupont, whom Pearson and his Fool Killer suspected of using his Senate position to advance the gunpowder trust and therefore his family’s wealth. In 1916, the first year of popularly elected Senators, Dupont was among the appointed Senators who were voted out of office. He lost to Josiah Wolcott.  

*** Express Monopolists who had been opposed to America establishing the United States Parcel Post, which took on responsibility for transporting heavy parcels which previously had to be sent for much higher costs by private concerns. The parcel post was launched on January 1st, 1913. Continue reading

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FIVE MONSTER LEGENDS OF AMERICA

masc graveyard smallerBalladeer’s Blog covers a lot of mythology and folklore, so here’s a look at five monster legends of the U.S. (Non-Bigfoot categories).

I don’t believe that there was anything truly supernatural in any of these tales, but life is less fun without legends like these. All of them are ripe for embellishment and screen adaptations. 

van meter visitorTHE VAN METER VISITOR

First Appearance: 1903

Lore: From September 29th to October 3rd of 1903 the Iowa town of Van Meter was supposedly plagued by at least two 8-9 feet tall batlike creatures who could fly, stand upright, climb up and down telephone poles and shoot a noxious odor as a defense mechanism. The three-toed creatures also had a blunt horn on their heads and said horns could supposedly cast light beams via bioluminescence.

Over the course of the visitation multiple shots were fired at the beings as they flew around town, perched on rooftops and telephone wires and roamed around a nearby brick and tile factory as well as an abandoned mine. By October 3rd an armed crowd of Van Meter citizens investigated the factory and the mine. They spotted two of the batlike creatures emerging from the mine and opened fire on them again to no effect.

Eventually the two winged beings retreated into the mine and the crowd quickly blocked off the mine entrance for good, thus ending the rash of sightings.

butterfly peopleTHE BUTTERFLY PEOPLE

First Appearance: 2011

Lore: On May 22nd, 2011 Joplin, Missouri was hit by an F5 tornado which killed 160 people, destroyed 900 homes and injured hundreds. Among those injured were multiple children and early teens who attributed their survival to the intervention and/or protection of winged butterfly people. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER SIXTY: OCTOBER 1912

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT IN THE 1850s, CLICK HERE 

Fool Killer grayPART 60 – As always, this installment of The Fool-Killer included sentiments that would tick off people from both the left and the right. Some of the Fool Killer’s targets in the October of 1912 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s publication:

*** MILLIONAIRES, because after all the expense and trouble it takes to clothe, feed and educate a millionaire “as a rule he isn’t worth a damn to the country after it gets him.”

*** POLITICIANS who spend more time talking about property instead of human beings.

*** WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT, incumbent U.S. President. Pearson and his Fool Killer had preferred Theodore Roosevelt and thought Taft was a weak successor. (For my take on the election of 1912 click HERE.) Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER FIFTY-NINE: SEPTEMBER 1912

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT IN THE 1850s, CLICK HERE 

PART 59 – Some of the Fool Killer’s targets in the September of 1912 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s publication:

Fool Killer gray*** Child labor, which the U.S. Supreme Court kept upholding in yet another of its series of disgraceful sagas. These attacks were noble, but it has to be said that Pearson’s Fool Killer came nowhere close to Klarenc Wade Mak’s version of the folk figure when it came to attacking the atrocity of child labor. (In America in 1912 over two million children were working in mines, mills and factories.) 

*** People who opposed nationwide voting rights for women.  

*** An unnamed High Society family which held an invitation-only meal for themselves and ninety-nine other bloated rich pigs. The ASS-ociated Press (As Pearson and his Fool Killer always called the AP) breathlessly reported on it the same way the media of today gives groveling coverage to such monumentally vain celebrity affairs.

              The meal cost ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS in 1912, the equivalent of $2,775,000.00 here in 2021. The Fool Killer pointed out how many meals the $100,000.00 could have bought for the starving poor. I’m a bit torn, though, because at least back then bloated rich pigs weren’t constantly talking down to the rest of us about their “causes” while wasting that much money. Hundreds of butterflies and birds were released into the air as part of the festivities.

Continue reading

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