Tag Archives: Myths and Folktales

CHARLEMAGNE: REINOLD ON ANGELICA’S MYSTIC ISLAND

FOR MY FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE  

castleMAUGRIS (AKA MALAGIGI) THE ENCHANTER, freed from his undersea prison by Princess Angelica of Cathay, arrived back in Paris to rejoin Charlemagne’s court. Angelica had liberated him only on the condition that he trick Reinold, the Paladin she loved under magic compulsion, into visiting her enchanted island so she could continue wooing him.

Within a few days, Maugris engaged Reinold in conversation about some of the Paladin’s past adventures and upon Reinold confessing that he longed for even more daring escapades the enchanter asked if he was sure that was what he wanted. Reinold replied in the affirmative and Maugris asked him a second time. Again the answer was yes, so Maugris asked a third time and no sooner had the Paladin again said yes than the enchanter cast a spell on the warrior.

Reinold was teleported on board a magical ship which sailed along with no crew. After a search of the vessel had convinced Reinold that he was the only person on board, the Paladin noted that the ship was putting in at an island before it. Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: REINOLD AND ANGELICA

FOR MY FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE

Forest of ArdenAFTER FERRAU THE MUSLIM HAD BEHEADED THE SLEEPING PRINCE ARGALIA, he once again mounted his horse and rode off eastward through the Forest of Arden, continuing his search for the fleeing Princess Angelica. Roland the Paladin was likewise scouring the forest for this woman who had bewitched so many men back at the court of Charlemagne.

Another Paladin, Reinold, was far ahead of the other pursuers of Angelica due to the supernatural speed of his enchanted horse, Bayard. In the Forest of Arden were two magical sources of water – a fountain that was hundreds of years old and from which flowed the Waters of Hatred, and a stream which carried the Waters of Love. (The Waters of Bemused Resignation were in a different forest altogether.) The parched Reinold came upon the fountain and unsuspectingly drank from it.

Suddenly he was filled with naked loathing for the princess he had til now felt passionately in love with. Disgusted with himself for having pursued this object of hatred he rode westward to return to the Emperor’s court. After a time he grew tired, so he dismounted and napped on the grass beneath the trees. Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: THE TOURNAMENT TO WIN THE CATHAY PRINCESS

FOR MY FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE

paladins of charlemagneTHE NEXT MORNING, the 31 warriors who wanted to joust for the possession of Princess Angelica of Cathay donned their armor and rode together to the Fountain of the Pine. Angelica’s brother Argalia was awaiting them there.

With Maugris the Enchanter held captive by King Galafron of Cathay, as we saw last time around, none of the Paladins and Muslim soldiers knew that Argalia had the unfair advantage of a mystical lance which would unseat every combatant at its slightest touch.

Astolpho drew the first lot in our previous installment and so he was the first Paladin to face Angelica’s brother the prince. Argalia’s enchanted lance did its usual work of unseating Astolpho immediately upon contact. Astolpho was never noted for success with a lance, though he was deadly with a sword, so nothing much was made of him having been unseated. Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: THE PRINCESS OF CATHAY

CharlemagneChristmas time through Twelfth Night is the time of year that Balladeer’s Blog covers tales of Charlemagne and his Paladins. These tales are the legends, not the historical accounts of the real Emperor Charlemagne and his court. FOR MY FIRST CHAPTER ON CHARLEMAGNE’S PALADINS CLICK HERE 

Charlemagne's empireTHE PRINCESS OF CATHAY – The previous installment’s reference to a tournament prompted a lot of readers to ask for a full-blown tournament story from the tales of Charlemagne. As always, I listen to you readers, so here we go.

During the brief period of Charlemagne’s Peace, when he was not at war with any of the other powers in the known world, the Emperor held a magnificent tournament. With no war currently raging between the Franks and others, participants from all over came to Paris for the event.

Even Saracens from Muslim-Colonized Spain competed in the jousting and enjoyed the feasts. During one such feast, the court was surprised by a visit from four 10-foot tall giants who bore a divan. Beside the giants and their burden walked a Paladin in exotic, unfamiliar armor. Upon the divan sat the most beautiful woman ever seen by any of those present.

masc graveyard smallerThe woman’s black hair was adorned with jewels and her clothing was of the finest kind. She and her Paladin were permitted to approach Charlemagne’s throne and present themselves. The woman identified herself as Princess Angelica of Cathay. The man in armor was her brother, Prince Umberto.

NOTE: In many medieval legends such as this, “Cathay” does not refer to the actual location in northwest China but to a mythical city-state which supposedly existed in some non-specific location to the East of Europe. This fictional Cathay combined qualities of Europe and the Far East.

Princess Angelica presented the challenge she and her brother brought with them – Prince Umberto would joust with any of the armored warriors gathered for the tournament. He would meet them one by one by the Fountain of the Pine. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER FORTY-NINE: SEPTEMBER 1911

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 illustrationPART FORTY-NINE: Some of the Fool Killer’s targets in the September of 1911 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer publication:

*** Standard Oil. The Fool Killer in various incarnations fought the Standard Oil monopoly more than anyone outside of Ida Tarbell. The Fool Killer was already predicting the way Standard Oil would continue trying to subvert anti-trust laws through shell corporations.

*** Henry Clay Beattie, Jr, a wealthy Virginian who shot his wife Louise to death during a car ride then tried to blame it on a highway bandit. The truth came out and Beattie eventually confessed after a media circus of a trial. The Fool Killer also targeted the media circus surrounding the trial.

*** A gang of wild partyers in Hagerstown, MD who caused a nationwide scandal with their dancing and drinking blowout in a cemetery.

*** Samuel Gompers, whom the Fool Killer accused of starting to sell out to big-money and management over his former allies in labor. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER FORTY-EIGHT: JULY 1911

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 grayPART FORTY-EIGHT: Some of the Fool Killer’s targets in the July 1911 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s publication –

*** J.P. Morgan and other “plutes” (plutocrats) who were buying up every news outlet that did negative stories about their abuses. In a way this started us on the path of our present-day situation in which bloated rich pigs like the Silicon Valley Robber Barons own all the news media and social media outlets to control what information gets out.

*** Smokers. Pearson and his version of the Fool Killer considered them stench-ridden, wheezing and coughing losers with yellow fingernails.

*** William A Clark, former Democrat Senator from Montana, who was disputing the tax assessment on his multi-million dollar property on New York’s Fifth Avenue. He claimed it was too high and wouldn’t pay it. 

*** Astrologers, astrology in general, and horoscopes.

*** People who drank, since Pearson’s bizarre puritanical crusade calling for Prohibition continued.

*** “It’s a bug-hunt, man.” William Benton Miller of the American Museum of Natural History, who was setting off on a 4-month expedition into North Carolina’s Black Mountains to look for new bugs for the museum’s collection. Pearson couldn’t resist joking about the undertaking and about its financier, Samuel V Huffman. Continue reading

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CHINESE MYTHOLOGY: YI THE DIVINE ARCHER

BALLADEER’S BLOG’S TENTH YEAR OF BLOGGING CONTINUES … 

 I.WHAT’S UP WITH YI?  – Yi the Divine Archer from Chinese mythology deserves to be remembered in one breath with some of the other great heroes and monster slayers from belief systems around the world. Most people are only familiar with his feat of shooting down multiple suns that appeared in the sky one day, but this article will provide a light- hearted look at all of his fantastic adventures. 

Yi is pronounced “Yee” according to some sources, but according to others it’s pronounced “EEE”, so you can insert your own Ned Beatty joke here. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER FORTY-SEVEN: JUNE 1911

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 timelessPART FORTY-SEVEN – Among the Fool Killer’s targets in the June of 1911 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s publication:

*** “The Four Hundred,” the contemporary term used for the moneyed and privileged of New York City. (Coined by Ward McAllister) Pearson and his version of the Fool Killer detested them and viewed them the same way we of today view the corrupt Democrat and Republican career politicians plus the corporate and Silicon Valley robber barons.  

*** Dancing schools. As I often point out, Pearson’s Fool Killer had qualities that would annoy BOTH the political left AND the political right of today. Many right-wingers would disapprove of their hostility toward the robber barons, while many left-wingers would disapprove of the strange religious zeal which lay behind Pearson’s hostility toward dancing and dancing schools, which he found “sinful.”

*** Husbands who did nothing but drink booze, play cards, smoke, swear and chew tobacco. Drowning was his preferred method of killing such men.

*** High Society women of New York, for their latest folly. It had become (very briefly) fashionable to walk the streets with a small calf (yes, a small calf) on a leash instead of the fru-fru poodles they had been walking with til the present. Today on Social Media we see that there are still imbeciles who will do ANYTHING just because they’re told other people are doing it.

*** Frederick Forest Berry, for authoring The Torch of Reason, because of the way Berry used reason to criticize religion and belief in God.

*** Danville, VA Police Chief R.E. Morris, who, after serving for 6 years, turned out to really be an escaped fugitive named Edgar Stribling (Pearson accidentally spelled it “Stripling”), a convicted murderer who had been on the run for 13 years. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER FORTY-SIX: MAY 1911

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 FORTY-SIX – Items of note in the May of 1911 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s version of The Fool-Killer:

*** Pearson’s Fool Killer figure targeted money-obsessed clergymen and pretended they wanted a new version of the Ten Commandments emphasizing profits.

*** The Fool Killer targeted the way so many corrupt millionaires were suddenly overcome with “medical ailments” when they were being investigated or after getting sentenced to prison time. 

*** In another of the surreal satirical bits which Pearson was writing more frequently, this month he had the Fool Killer encounter a medical abomination called the Composite Man. The Fool Killer visited the Rockefeller Institute in New York (called the Rocky D Oilyfeller Institute in Pearson’s odd stylistic blend of Frank Baum and Walt Kelly with Bullwinkle & Rocky).

              The reason for the visit? Our title character wanted to check in on the latest work on medical transplants. The doctors at the institute surgically removed the lone healthy body part on a variety of their most far-gone patients and sewed them all into a lone figure called the Composite Man and the Pieced-Up Man interchangeably.

              The Composite Man had the head of a preacher, the chest of a drummer, the heart of a lawyer, the stomach and bowels of a farmer, the left arm of a blacksmith, the right arm of an editor, one leg of a dude and the other leg came from a tramp. The competing portions of the Composite Man’s anatomy not only prevented him from accomplishing any one undertaking but resulted in him breaking into his component parts and dying within one day of his release. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER FORTY-FIVE: MARCH 1911

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 HorsleyPART FORTY-FIVE – Of interest to me in the March of 1911 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s version of the Fool Killer:

*** A derogatory reference to a fool as “whiffledick.” Obviously that would not carry the exact same meaning back in 1911 as it does today, but it caught my eye. The target of the insult and the exact context cannot be determined from the copy of the issue I had access to because of too much fading.

*** The Fool Killer targeted an Illinois farmer named Reedy (no first name given) for authoring a study he performed which – Reedy claimed – proved that cows need music to improve milk production. Reedy had Oscar H. Bollman (We needed HIS last name?) install a Mason & Hamlin piano in the barn where Reedy had a professional piano player perform for the cows during milking time. Reedy claimed his 19 cows were producing more milk than any 30 cows. Celebrity singers were already lining up to sing to Reedy’s cows. I’m not kidding.

*** Bloated rich pigs who bought miles of land that they wouldn’t need. Continue reading

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