Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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The Four Men of the Mound

 WINTER SUN AND SUMMER FLOWERS – Orkney International Science Festival


A Tale of the Latter-Day Hwicce


Why the young warrior was out that night, the stories don't say, but there he was, on his own, when a fierce great blizzard blew up. After a time, he couldn't see a spear's throw before him, so hard was the snow driving, but he pushed on into the fury, looking for shelter. You do that, or you die.

Well, out of the driving white comes looming a great mound, all white with snow, and in it a door, and before the door, four young men standing.

“Come in to our fire,” they tell him.

So he goes into the mound with them, having little choice in the matter, and isn't there a fine hall there, with a great fire blazing on the hearth. The four young warriors take his clothes to dry them, and feed him well, and for four nights he sleeps warm and dry with those men in their hall, while that great storm blows itself out.

On the fifth morning, the Sun is shining, and when the young warrior wakes he sees with him in the mound not four young warriors, but four young wolves, but he knows that they're the same.

“Remember what we have given you,” they tell him, and they teach him a dance.

So it is that the young, unmarried men of the People—and in the old days, as now, sometimes a few young women with them—will run together as the Wolf Society, the fiercest and most feared of all the Nine Spear Kindreds of the Hwicce.

Now, it may be that some still remember that young warrior's name, but if they do, I don't know it.




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Tagged in: Hwicce wolf Wolf Clan
Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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