Wednesday, 6 June 2007

THE INCONTINENTIAD (of the Emerald Poets)

Incontinentiad, although chronologically the second, forms the first part of the Cuppalot Chronicles Trilogy. Like Island-Hopper, it has Cuppalot as the narrative voice in the main part, but Hatpins is the protagonist in this plot, in which the prophesies of ages are fullfilled...

The Incontinentiad
(of the Emerald Poets)

Professor Hatpins had it all. A big comfy jumper. A bike that worked. Even his own apple press.

He also had a cottage with a real fire, a marriage to the lovely Heather of Bromwich, and an annual grant to finance his research. Yes, there was no doubt that things had been going swimmingly for Hatpins. So, notwithstanding the fact that it was always a wrench to drag himself from the comforts of the marital bed, it was generally with a spring in his step that he wandered along the riverside path in the mornings through Marlow town from his home to his office at the university.

Today was no exception. To lesson the trauma of parting for the day, Hatpins and Heather were exchanging text messages expressing their longing for the moment that afternoon they would again be in each other's arms. The professor was partly occupied by this as he ambled beside the Thames, and was partly involved in appreciating the beauy all around him. A line ran through his head that seemed to him to be the beginning of a poem, since it happened to rhyme:

I'm rather keen
Upon this scene.

He was setting his mind to how he might continue this poem when another text came through from Heather. It was of an intimate nature, making certain promises, and bringing a smile to Hatpins' face. He replied in kind, and then turned his thoughts back to his little poem.

I’m rather keen
Upon this scene
This riverside
This valley wide
Is rich with gold
Of stories told
I’m rather keen
Upon this scene

Yes, that would do nicely. Now, another verse. He had by now come to the slipway by the river that lies on the opposite bank from the Compleat Angler hotel, and has the roaring weir off to the left and the famous Marlow Suspension Bridge off to the right. Here he sat himself down and began to ponder a follow-up verse. Then another text arrived:-

"Hatpins, I need to see you now. As a matter of urgency."

He read the text absent-mindedly, his thoughts now wrapped up in his poem, and then pressed reply and sent a text saying: "Hatpins can hardly wait either, love bunny!" and pressed send.

Now back to the poem. A second verse appeared:-

I have been seen
To lift a skein
I am that keen
Upon this scene
A toast I say
To the glorious day
To the cream gold ray
On this waterway

Yes, that would do just fine. The professor now felt that he was on something of a roll - had not Shelley himself composed under these same yew trees? - and it wasn't long before he had a third verse.

I’m rather keen
Upon this scene
This River Queen
This creamy sheen
Rose-mist shrouds
In wispy clouds
The old wild wood
Where Badger stood

What Hatpins' didn't realize was that the last text he had received - "Hatpins, I need to see you now. As a matter of urgency" - and to which he had hastily replied, had not in fact come from his lovely wife, Heather of Bromwich, but from his head of department Cardinal Forthright, professor of Philanthopology at Marlow University, the message's tone being one of gravity rather than flirtatiousness. So rather than speeding along to Cardinal Forthright's office to see what the problem was, Hatpin's remained seated by the river composing a fourth verse:-

This riverside
This valley wide
Is rich with gold
Of stories told
The rising smoke
The sturdy oak
I love this scene
Where late I’ve been.

Only then, in relaxed fashion did he up and wend his way to the university, deciding as he wandered along that he would call his poem Wide Valley Scene : Contemplations Arising Upon Wandering Beside the Thames in Marleaux in the Morning.

The reason for the head of department's text to Hatpins was as follows. Though Hatpins’ funding had been flowing in quietly but surely via the Department of Philanthropology at the University of Marlow for some years now, in fact every one in the department had long assumed that someone else was keeping an eye on the professor’s work. But this morning an academic journal had fallen open on Cardinal Forthright's desk, revealing one of Hatpins' recent articles. The essay was entitled: Dionysos and the Dinosaurs = ‘DNA Source’ I & II. In this piece Hatpins had related how the Orphic philosophers had believed that Dionysos flows in the human blood due to the fact that when Zeus blasted the Titans for making a meal of Dionysos, and then made the first humans from the ashes of this fire, the ashes of the dismembered Dionysos who had formed their meal were also present in the mixture. For Professor Hatpins, who had been working on such theories in isolation for some time, the Titans were really the dinosaurs, who he now thought of, by virtue on nonlinear etymology, as 'DNAsource' One, while Dionysos, or 'DNAsource' Two, was an infusion of a non-reptilian blueprint into the DNA matrix. So it was, according to Hatpins, that the human blood contained the blood of the gods, not just the draconic genes but also the stellar influence, the blood of Dionysos, for which reason he held out hope thatg humanity might one day be able to overcome the dragon Competition and make stellar consciousness the norm. For Hatpins Zeus blasting the Titans actually stood for an asteroid impact which brought about the demise of the Titans, the Dinosaurs, according to Hatpins, and he also suggested that perhaps hardy bacteria had arrived upon this or a similar asteroid, explaining the mythic notion of Zeus creating from the resulting mixture.

Forthright’s brow furrowed in confusion as he read through the piece. DNA had not been discovered, let alone named, when the dinosaurs became known to science, still less when the Dionysos cult had emerged, in fact the English language itself had not existed at the time of the latter. How then could the etymological connections Hatpins was suggesting be possible? Forthright searched hurriedly through some other journals until he found another piece by Professor Hatpins and in this one it was stated as a fact that the Odyssey of Homer had been so named because it was an Ode-to-the-Sea, the old brine-encrusted sea poem of the Greeks.

It had been at this point that Forthright had sent the text message to Hatpins telling him he needed to see him urgently. And it was Hatpins' most unexpected reply - "Hatpins can hardly wait either, love bunny!" - that now had Forthright deeply concerned for his colleaugue's mental health.

“Now look here Hatpins”, said Forthright, with a note of gravity, when his colleague finally showed up at work, "I am not, and greatly doubt that I shall ever be your love bunny."
"Um..." said Hatpins, as he gradually realized what had happened, but before he could explain, Forthright continued:-
“But what concerns me even more is all this about Homer naming things in English, and Orphic philosophers theorizing about dinosaurs and DNA…”
“Ah well now,” Hatpins interjected at this point, “I must say that I haven’t made any such claims. My reasoning is not so peculiar once you realize how information can travel on beams of higher-dimensional light back into the consciousnesses of the ancients, and that gifted intuitives such as bards, oracles and mystic philosophers are able to sense the information via their feelings. They referred to these beams of higher-dimensional light as the rays of Apollo, god of prophesy, and they are the cause of non-linear etymologies.”
“Maybe so, Hatpins, but where are your references?”
“I believe I referenced Barbara Ricicle.”
“Yes, but as far as I’m concerned such bold claims require strong proofs. Would you be able to provide a proof that such prophetic processes occur?”
“I am confident that I would be able to do so, yes.”
“Very well then, I shall give you four weeks. Should you find at least two, and preferably three such a proofs then I will willingly triple your pay and you may set up your own sub-department of Non-Linear Etymology. But should a proof be lacking then I will have no choice but to reduce your funding merely to an hourly rate for lecturing and tutoring on more conventional subjects.”

This, then, was the challenge that now faced Professor Hatpins: to prove that old stories may be pregnant with information sourced in times long after the stories were themselves conceived. Was his salary to be reduced in the way Forthright had suggested, Heather and he might have to sell the cottage and find alternative accomodation, maybe even somewhere without a real fire, and the very idea tore at his heart. Yes, he could probably keep the jumper, and the bike, maybe even the applepress, but thought of a winter without those cosy evenings curled up with Heather in front of the fire - well, it didn't bare thinking about. And so he simply didn't think about it.

But what he didn't do, and here he showed great wisdom, was repress the associated feelings. He knew that in all likelihood the events which seemed to be working against him here were in some way manifestations of existing repressions, and that true success depended on an effective surfacing and release. Now I could pretend, for the purposes of dramatisation, that he acted out these feelings like some florrid character in an an old tragedy, but in fact he did not choose that path. If anyone had been watching him as he walked home that evening they would have seen him sit down at his favourite spot by the wier, and close his eyes. And if this observer had listened very, very closely they may have heard a whisper on his lips "Ok, let's feel this," and then they would have seen nothing perceptible in his expression until about two mintutes and thirty seconds later, when for a duration of about three seconds his body spasmed and he shook his head like a wild stallion. Then eyes opening, taking stock of his location in the here and now, an inbreath, then getting up and walking home with the expression of someone who intends to be succesful.

And so it was that, after contemplating the matter for some time, the amiable professor approached his dear friend Captain Cuppalot and explained the situation, and the Captain offered his services should they be required. In fact over the next couple of days Cuppalot occupied his mind in thinking of ways to help his dear friend, and hit upon the notion that the two of them, along with their friends Hawaki Leafstrain and Thomas de Puggalot, would publish a book of their poetry. That way, even if Hatpins lost his funding, perhaps he would be able to keep his cottage. His idea was that the collection be called Most Thankly Mr Posh, but it has not been recorded why he hit upon this particular name.

Inpsired and motivated by this idea, he wrote a poem about it, and set it to music:-

How would it be were we,
The Evergreen Poets Three (Plus One)
To take our verbal daisy chain
And season it with rain
And Sun?
(We'd have some fun.)

Then tie it up with ribbons and bows
And dandy it up with drapes and throws
And stitch the pages into a book
And give it a most dainty look

Emroidered with tendril decoration
And lavender sprayed perfumeration
And bearing an overarching name
That's simple but quite insane:

Most Thankly Mr posh.

Cuppalot then called on his friend and fellow Emerald Poet Thomas de Puggalot to see if he had any poems that could go into the collection.

Mmm? - said de Puggalot.

I was saying, have you been writing? Do you have any poems for this book I've just described to you, you know, to help Hatpins out and so forth?

Oh…in a manner of speaking. I haven’t actually been writing, in the literal sense. But I have been having some…ideas…

Yes? And could I hear some of these?

Ah…well…now…I was thinking about…about the softness, the gentleness, the feminine, the sway of things, the way things sway, as a gentle wind of life blows through all things…isn’t it nice sometimes, to take time, no rush you see, really, no rush. Just a gentle sway…

That’s it?

That’s it.

I see.

But you might try Quentin of Medmenham - said de Puggalot - I believe he has an idea for a novel.

Cuppalot went to Medmenham, as suggested, and found that Quentin's idea was for a book very much along the lines of Watership Down, but with badgers.

Quentin described how for him the pathos of Watership Down had always been undermined by the fact that the characters were rabbits, and consequently had very large ears and enormous, clown-like feet. How much more noble would such a story be, were the noble badger to replace the rabbit? Cuppalot thanked Quentin for his suggestions, and for the use of his hubbly bubbly, but decided badger the idea was not right for the Emerald Poets, and bade his friend farewell.

Next Cuppalot went to Hatpins himself and shared his idea of a book of poetry. Hatpins showed some enthusiasm, and then read him his recently composed poem Wide Valley Scene : Contemplations Arising Upon Wandering Beside the Thames in Marleaux in the Morning.

"What do you think?" asked Hatpins.
"I like it, Hatpins, I like it a lot. It's just, well, I'm not sure it's going to set the world on fire."
"Well I had no intention of setting the world on fire, Cuppalot, it's just a glad little poem about enjoying living by the Thames."

It wasn't long before they had come to accept that their kind poetry was not likely to result in a book that would shoot up the best-seller list. Luckily, Hatpins had come up with an idea of his own that would make such contingencies unnecessary, by addressing Forthright's challenge directly.

“I am correct in supposing, am I not,” he asked, that you are aware of a past life as Daidalia, who sailed from Knossos with a contingent of Minoans to settle in Delphi, the greatest of the oracle centers of the Greek world?”
“You are indeed correct,” Cuppalot confirmed.
“And it is also true, is it not,” Hatpins continued, “that as Daidalia you went on to assume for some time the role of a prophetess at this oracle site.”
“That is correct, yes.”
“Excellent. My request then is a simple one. Might I ask you to invoke your connection to Daidalia while she is performing this role, and that you beam to her certain ideas which she may then be able to encode in some lasting form that we may be able to recover and decode and then cite as proof of this process, showing Cardinal Forthright that information can indeed code ancient stories from the present?”
“I should consider that a very worthwhile project,” said Cuppalot.

The next stage was to decide what ideas to beam back into the past. Hatpins explained that really it would have to be information that was available to us in our own time but which could not be available to Daidalia in any other form, and for this reason Hatpins thought it best if we chose some modern scientific theory which could not possibly have been arrived at through the science of Daidalia’s own society. After casting around for such a theory for a time, Hatpins hit upon a brilliantly elegant scheme: we would send to Daidalia the theoretical notion that if some form of light could escape from a black hole it could actually come out into the past, in other words an idea which was closely connected conceptually to the very process we were interested in proving! No-one of Daidalia’s time could have had the slightest inkling even of what a black hole is, let alone of the theory of relativity upon which the notion is based, so if this idea could be sufficiently well encoded in the ancient tale we would have our proof.

“Run it by me again,” said Captain Cuppalot, as the two sat, later that afternoon, fine-tuning the plan.
“Listen carefully. A black hole, such as is believed to be located at the centre of our spiraling galaxy, is somewhat like a prison from which even light, of the ordinary kind, cannot escape, so strong is the gravitational pull. According to the equations of relativity time slows down, relatively speaking, in an increased gravitational pull, and the gravity of a black hole is so strong that could light find a way to escape it could actually come out into the past. The black hole can also be thought of as being like a great hungry monster that engulfs everything it comes in contact with. For a long time it was assumed that nothing could possibly escape, that the black hole remained continent, but then it was stated that some forms of radiation were emitted, but it was not thought that they could contain any information about the inside of the black hole. But then, in the June of 2004, the month that saw Venus transit the Sun in the constellation of Taurus the Bull, scientists started saying that inside the black hole were things called Superstrings that were tangled but not destroyed, and that perhaps some of the emissions might contain some information about these Superstrings.”
“I don’t really get this business of the Superstrings,” said Cuppalot.
“That’s not a problem,” said Hatpins. “You don’t need to understand the concepts, you just need to transmit them to Daidalia, at the same time impulsing her to formulate the information in a way that may survive until our times. If she is a priestess of Delphi this shouldn’t be too difficult. Her words will be considered precious by all Greece.”

And so Cuppalot invoked Daidalia and beamed to her as best he could the strange ideas that Hatpins had described to him, something about an engulfing monster - did he say a bull? - in a spiraling prison from which it was for a long time said that no-one could escape, but how this could be achieved by some sort of amazing string, once it had been detangled and unraveled. Cuppalot also transmitted to Daidalia that it was important that the story be passed down without being changed until such time as science had developed its muscles, so to speak, sufficiently to be able to recognize the symbols of information, tokens of a future science. He transmitted to her the idea that if this information could be effectively recovered and decoded in this future age from which it had come, it would indeed be a most happy occasion!

Now it so happened that their friend Hawaki Leafstrain also had a past life connection which would hopefully provide them with the second proof that Cardinal Forthright had said would be necessary for completeion of the challenge, namely as a Celtic bard. So, to increase the chances of success, Hatpins carried out the same procedure with Hawaki.

And so, four weeks later Hatpins and Cuppalot sat before Cardinal Forthright in his office, relating to him their adventures. It was Cuppalot who was elected to tell the bulk of the story:-

“Well, once we had posted the core ideas into the past there seemed only one thing to do - to go on the quest to find the deposited tokens. It was decided that Hawaki would stay in Britain and search for the tokens within the Matter of Britain, while Hatpins and Heather together with I and my wife Myrtale, would make the journey to the mainland, the great Eurasian Continent. There was little doubt where would be the best place to start the search - an initial consultation with the priests and perhaps even the current prophetess of Delphi seemed most sensible, since this was where the seeds had been sewn.

And so we traveled to Gaul in our yacht, the HMHM Henry-Moorehen-Ry-Mooring, and upon landfall I was inspired to write a little verse:-

Cuppalot on Continent Part I

Here Am I on Continent
Awake with the Dream
Cuppalot incontinent
Gushing forth my stream.

In order to travel in style we decided to journey to Delphi via Apollo’s Wondrous Way, steering the Henry-Moorehen-Ry-Mooring overland on a constant bearing of 30 degrees south of East down along the rhumb line that runs from St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, past Mont Saint-Michelle off the north coast of Gaul, through the city of Bourges in Gaul’s heart, along the Riviera of the east coast of Italy, through Corfu and straight to Apollo’s sanctuary at Delphi. Apollo’s Way continues to Athens and then to the Kykladian island of Delos, birthplace of the god, but we stopped at Delphi to speak to its priests and priestesses, who sadly have for some centuries not enjoyed the same position at the forefront of the Greek world as once they did.

We spoke to a lady called Maria, explaining what it was we were looking for. Her eaction was extraordinary. For what must've been a full three minutes she stared at us in open-mouthed wonder, while we smiled politely back at her wondering if she was still in possession of her senses. Then suddenly she yelled ‘Theseus!’ and leapt up like a lusty dolphin shooting out of the sea, and started dancing the Greek circle dance, calling us to join her, which we did as best we could while she laughed almost hysterically.

Then she lead us to the Thesea, the area of Delphi which has since ancient times been sacred to a legendary Athenian king who she said went by the name of Theseus. Here at last she began to explain her elation: she knew exactly the story we were looking for - it was a myth about this Athenian King, Theseus, and every one of the ideas Cuppalot had transmitted back to Daidalia had been received and successfully set down in permanent form. We asked her to relate to us the details, but she said that the discovery was so great that it deserved a suitably magnificent telling, and told us that we were to meet her in two days’ time in the Dolphin Temple in Athens.

And so we continued along Apollo’s Wondrous Way to violet-crowned Athens. While admiring the Parthenon Cuppalot experienced an epiphany of Athena as white marble shone like the Moon, revealing intimately the cherishing touch of centuries. Maria took us to the Temple of Athena the Craftswoman and Hephaestus the Craftsman, which had formerly been called the Theseum, sacred to Theseus, then it was time to go the Dolphin Temple.

Maria had really pulled out all the stops. The temple had been hung with fine drapes, and was lit by lamps burning olive oil, while pine-resin incense burned on the altar, wine was poured from large vessels in the antique style, and a harpist plucked gently while waiting to accompany Maria’s telling of the myth. The priestess herself, Maria, looked positively regal when she entered the temple, wearing a blue velvet robe fastened with a beautiful gold broach in the shape of a sprig of olive bent round in a circle, and fine gold earrings in the shape of dolphins, with a laurel wreath upon her head. Her eyes glittered like those of a goddess as she began her tale.

She related in full the story of the Athenian hero who had entered the spiraling prison called the Labyrinth, the cyclopean-walled house of the flesh-eating bull-headed monster, the Minotaur. Prior to this it had been said that it was impossible to escape from this meandering prison, but Theseus was able to show that in fact it was possible, and the feat was achieved by use of a thread which he had been given by a Minoan princess, which he unraveled as he went and then used to find his way back out of the dark stronghold. Maria also told how one of her Delphic predecessors, Plutarch, himself a high priest of Apollo at the oracle centre, had recorded a version of the tale of Theseus in which the young prince had escaped from Crete along with a daughter of King Minos called Aigle, which means ‘Light’. She told too how those seeing the approach of the returning ship back on mainland Greece saw a black sail, which they read as a signal that the escape had not been successful, when in fact it had. Further to this the beginning of her tale contained the fact that Theseus’ father Aigeus the king of Athens had, when wondering how he might have a child, visited the Delphic oracle and been given, by way of answer, a sewn up wine sack and told not to open it until he got back to Athens. After the birth of his child Aigeus had placed certain tokens under a rock - a sword and a pair of sandals, and had told the mother of his child, Aethra, not to tell his son who he was until he was strong enough to lift the rock and recover the tokens. Then he should be sent to meet Aigeus in Athens.
The child was named Theseus after these deposited tokens, and Plutarch’s version noted that the name could be read as a pun coming not only from the Greek for the placing of these tokens but also for the word for ‘acknowledge’, referring to the recognition of the hero by his father once he had arrived in Athens, for this was the happiest moment there had ever been in the city, according to the story. His father had not known who the young man was until he had drawn his sword to cut some meat, the sword that he had found under the rock. Aegius immediately recognized the token by the emblem carved onto it, and in this moment Theseus was recognized and acknowledged as the true heir to the throne of Athens.

And so we too had found our tokens, those that Daidalia had placed in the ancient story. Maria hardly needed to explain to us that the hungry flesh-eating monster was the black hole, how the thread by which the escape was achieved was the tangled superstring inside the black hole, how the black sail was the blackness of the black hole which sucks in light by the strength of its gravitational field but how Aigle, meaning light, with whom Theseus escaped is the higher-dimensional light that can and does escape this gravitational field, the reason that the black sail is not a true signal. It was also clear that the recovering of the tokens under the rock was an encoded symbol of the recovery of the information from the future, and that not opening the bag from the oracle until the right time symbolized Daidalia’s story being passed on unchanged until the time of decoding, and that Theseus developing his strength until he was strong enough to lift the rock and recover the tokens symbolized science developing to a stage of sophistication whereby this decoding became possible, in other words that the story could not possibly be decoded until science had developed to this stage, which was why Hatpins had chosen these notions in the first place.

Now it was easy to understand why Maria had been so amazed when we had explained to her the details of our quest. Now it was we who felt that sense of amazement, with a thrill of wonder screaming through us more intensely than anything any of us had ever experienced before.

But I have skipped ahead and not really told you anything of the wonderful rendition of the story that was given by Maria. I have not mentioned for example her quotation of Bakchilides, adapted into English, which outlined the events surrounding Theseus’ arrival in Crete:-

The blue-prowed ship cut through the salty waves
Off the shores of great Minoan Crete
It carried Theseus, that brave hero
And fourteen young Ionian maids and youths.
It sped on winds sent by grey-eyed Athene
Filling its bright sails from the North
But when the arrows of desire struck Minos
Reaching out he touched one of the maids
Who screamed out in alarm for Theseus
Who seeing this with anger boldly spoke:
“O son of peerless Zeus the course you steer
Is carrying you towards a harmful deed
You may have been conceived by mighty Zeus
But I sprang forth from great Poseidon’s seed
Who lay with Aethra when the violet-wreathed
Nereads gave her a veil of gold.
Therefore, warlord of the Knossians
Cease from acts that would bring many tears
O I shall fight you, and the gods will judge.”
So he spoke, and sailors stood spellbound
To hear such bold defiance from this man
But Minos started raging deep inside
Forming in his mind a cunning plan.
“Father Zeus,” he cried, “Now hear my words
Listen to your son by Phoenix’ daughter
Send a peal of thunder as a sign
So all will know that I am of your line.”
Zeus answered his prayer and sent a flash
Of searing lightning down across the sky
And all aboard the ship were filled with awe
To see such confirmation of his birth.
Then “Theseus”, called Minos, “if you’re born
To Aethra as a son of he who stirs
The seas, leap now into those depths
Posiedon’s chambers lying far below
And bring back up this shining golden ring.”
Thus spoke the king and Theseus showed no fear
But from the solid wooden deck he sprang
Into the swirling forests of the sea.
The dolphins, those lithe roamers of the sea
Bore the hero swiftly through the fronds
To the palace of his horseman sire
And into the great regal hall of gods
There he gazed in wonder at those nymphs
Who, shining gold, performed a happy dance
And there he saw the ox-eyed goddess queen
Who was his father’s true majestic wife
She wrapped him in the finest purple robe
And placed a flowery wreath upon his head.
Then, unwet, he rose up from the sea
With gifts of gods bright-gleaming on his limbs
A miracle by which Minos was stunned
As the sweet-voiced nymphs began to sing
To celebrate the finding of the ring.

Though my crew and I had no need of an explanation, Maria described for the others present - who included members of the Athenian city council and the Greek ministry of culture - the symbolism of the tale, the way that it was encoded with information from the current time. As a result of this, following this evening, the stupefied ministers officially and publicly sanctioned and endorsed the Delphic oracle as of old, even themselves visiting Delphi for advice. This resulted in the oracle orchestrating the complete rebuilding of the sacred culture of Greece, albeit with a new emphasis. In times past the great myths had been valued for reasons many of which were particular to those times, and now here was a new reason to value them more than ever before, which revealed their numinous beauty again, for, as the aesthetic philosopher Gerald of Hove understood, this is what true beauty is, an activated and resonant field of value, a healing balm for towns, cities and nations. Funnily enough even these governmental going-on have precedent in the old tale, for it was said that after he became king of Athens Theseus instituted many enlightened reforms.

We ourselves decided to spend a little more time in the Greek world, by way of a celebratory holiday, planning to continue south-east into the Aegean. But first we wanted to spend some more time in Athens for our own pleasure. We had temporarily forgotten that it was not one but at least two proofs that you yourself, Cardinal Forthright, had asked for, so delighted were we to have found the tokens hidden in the Theseus story.

That evening the ladies, Heather and Myrtale, had found somewhere to discuss a novel they were planning to co-write,and myself and Hatpins, that erudite son of Apollo, took a stroll around those ancient streets. Cosmopolitan hubub snaked through ancient Plaka, Bouzouki and the clink of dishes. We found a delightful little taverna and there enjoyed a traditional meal.

“Top up your retsina, professor?” I said.
“Most kind, Captain Cuppalot, thou far-galloping spawn of Bacchus.”
“So Hatpins, Greece...any thoughts?”
“Well, my dear Cuppalot, if I may take up a theme of non-linear etymology, I have learned that the Greek for 'oil' is a word which is pronounced 'larthi'. This is of course where we get the English word 'lather'. Now, what we call 'Greece' is not what the natives call their homeland. They call her Ellada, pronounced 'E-lather'. In other words the Greek for Greece is almost the Greek word for oil, which is effectively another word for 'grease'.”
“Most efharisto, kirie Hatpinos, you have proved yourself once again a true son of Apollo, rising up with gifts "bright-gleaming on your limbs", but the next question surely is why? What could be the reason for this oily etymology?”
“Well, where does the word 'oil' come from?”
“From the word 'olive'?”
“Kala! It is 'elias' in Greek. Olive oil has been produced in Greece since very ancient times. Huge and beautiful earthenware containers were built to store it even in the hey day of Knossos and in the time of Jason, before the Greeks set sail for Troy. They ate it on food, they burnt it in torches, they rubbed it on their bodies for that 'Greek god' look, they put a layer on top of wine to prevent it oxidizing during storage, (in fact they still do that), it is also used to make soap, and so, for want of a less clich├ęd expression, the list goes on.
Since we are in Athena’s city, I might mention that Athena is the goddess of olive trees, and She is thoroughly Greek, hers is not one of the immigrant cults. One of Her epithets is Promachus, which means that She is a protectress. The Ancients believed that She helped to protect their land from invasion. And, interestingly, olive leaf extract is a very powerful microbe-remover, and so Athena's olive tree really does protect the body against invasion.”
"Ah yes, I have heard as much said of the olive leaf. What of the other gods and goddesses, do their sacred plants have similar relvance to their particular qualities?"
"Yes, there are observations that we can make along those lines. The god Pan is a lusty old fellow, one who despite his advancing years has not lost his potency. For a man to stand proud in later years it is necessary for cholesteral levels to be kept down, to maintain healthy blood flow. The goat is obviously the animal of Pan, and goat's yoghurt, more than cow's, is useful for lowering cholesterol. Then there are the pines themselves, the trees sacred to Pan. Apparently pycnogenol, extracted from the bark of the European coastal pine, works together with the amino acid arginine to maintain a man's sexual function, so he may continue to stand proud like the pine trunks themselves. Arginine is found in high levels in whey, obtained from milk, whether cow's, sheep's or goat's, and also in oats, explaining their associations with potency. Garlic too has an affinity with Pan, for he is that lusty god who in myth always seems to desire rather than to be desired, and this is the paradox of garlic. It is wonderful for the heart and for the circulation, and its high level of antioxidants will also help keep an man active, but its odor is not reckoned to be the most attractive. Some solution to this is required if Pan is not to remain the unpartnered god."
"You interest me my freind with such talk. But tell me, know ye of any other non-linear etymological interests such as with grease and lather, oil and olive?"
"Well, I have been recently struck with another thought regarding the Ode-to-the-Sea. Within our model we have the light escaping the prison of the black hole as the symbol of information seeding the past, yes? And we have a hungry, devouring monster in that prison, engulfing all around it yes? So the English name 'Ode to the Sea' went into the dark prison of the engulfing monster and then managed to escape, coming out in the past and there proclaiming itself as "Odyssey", yes? Do you not see in this the tale of Odysseus and his men escaping from the cave of the man-eating Cyclops, Polyphemos? And was it not in fact through a play on words that they tricked the monster into rolling away the stone from the entrance?"
"Ah yes," said Cuppalot,"Odysseus told him his name was No One, so that when they blinded the one-eyed monster with the olive-wood spear and the neighboring Cyclopses, hearing his roars of pain, came to ask what the matter was, and who was harming him, Polyphemons said that No One was harming him, and so they went away again. So skill had triumphed over brutishness, am I correct?"
"You are, yes, but there is a third level to the pun in the original Greek, because the word for No One sounds the same as the word for skill or cunning, Metis, so truly yes, Metis triumphed over brutishness as you say."
"Gosh that's frightfully clever isn't it?"
"Quite so my dear Cuppalot, and what did Odysseus do once he had escaped with his men under the bellies of the rams?"
"Why, he turned around and proclaimed his real name, Odysseus, so the brute might know who it was that had escaped his canabalistic plan. This, I am suggesting, represents the name 'Odyssey', Ode-to-the-Sea, going into the past, so that in some small way there is a part of Greek mythology that is for ever England."
“Well I should hope so. But tell me, are such links peculiar to the Anglo-Hellenic connection?"
"Why no, I have found Egyptian examples too. You will find in the health stories a plant-sourced amino acid sold under the name of 5-HTP, short for 5-Hydroxytryptophan. It is similar to tryptophan, the amino acid found in proterin, in in high levels in, for example, milk, but this 5-hydroxy form of the chemical apparently enters the brain more readily. It is a precusor to the chemical associated with satisfaction, serotonin, and also to the chemical associated with relaxed sleepiness, melatonin. This may be considered in light of the ancient Egyptian word for satisfaction, which the spelled with the equivalents of our letters, H, T and P. Egyptologists insert vowels for ease of pronunciation in the spoken form, and so you will find the word given as hetep and as hotep. The Egyptian goddess of joy and satisfaction is Hathor, who in her bovine form was depicted in the paradisal papyrus marshes known as the Field of Satisfation. She was of course a goddess of milk, shown suckling the pharaoh."
"Indeed truly most thankly prof Hatpins, for another most etymological interest," said Hatpins. "Most certainly so yes. Octopus?”
“Where?” said Hatpins in alarm, his gaze darting around him in search of errant cephalopods.
“Most silly kirie Hatpins! I was merely making a culinary suggestion!”
The professor blushed.

After embarking from Piraeus, the port of Athens, we headed out in the Aegean for some island-hopping, and here we lazed on various Kykladian islands and swam in their warm seas, sailing from one to t’other on the Henry-Moorehen-Ry-Mooring.

I myself, Cuppalot, was on a number of occasions inspired to poetry, and I shall include a couple of short examples here:-


Here I am on balcony
Listening to birds,
Reading books on falconry
And playing games with words.

'Here I am on continent
Awake within my dream
Here I am incontinent,
Spilling forth my stream'

Here I am on campsite
Watching sprinkler squirts
Here I am in wardrobe, fest-
tooned with silken shirts
Yonder is the cuttlefishFiring inky squirts
Here I am in jellyfish
Amid translucent skirts.

My infant splendor’s mine
My heart's not broken
The beauty-seeing child within
Has now been woken

My infant splendor’s mine
I feel protected
The child inside Pandora's box
Is resurrected

Fructose Renewal II

I stumble into orange groves and pilfer for the express purpose of obtaining fluid How much am I sweating? One orange full? Two? What? I listen to the wind in the trees, what is it saying? One? Two? The song bird, what does he tell me? One orange? Two? Three even? How much? I hear the cicada, Cicada, how much am I sweating? One? Two? More? Mud frogs and Unglish mango out in the mad day fun One mango? Two? What? How men men go? Mud frogs and Unglish mango out in the mad day fun

It was while we were hopping around the Kyklades that my crew and I had various discussions about the Mayan calendar, initiated by Hatpins outlining a thesis he had been working on for some time. We first noted an elegance of idea in the way in which in Southern Greece Apollo’s Wondrous Way actually aligns upon Winter Solstice Sunrise, and the Sun at the winter solstices in our own period was aligned with the region of the Black Hole of Galactic Centre, how this would also be true at Winter Solstice of 2012, the date which is the end of the Long Count calendar of the Maya people of Central America, the beginning of a new age of the Sun. We talked too of how the Maya name periods of time after the last day of the period, as if the beginning of the period had been seeded from the end of the period, just as the Theseus information had come from our own time - the end of the Mayan Long Count - and gone back to the ancient days to form the core of the story.

And as we idled in the shade of the vines in the warm Aegean afternoons, serenaded by the hissing cacophony of the insects in the foliage, we talked too of how the Maya divide such periods of time into thirteens, and from here we began to talk of their other calendar, which does not finish in 2012 but continues its sacred cycles, namely the Mayan Calendar Round, as it is called. At the simplest level this calendar is made up of two interlocking wheels of 13 and 20 days, leading to a sacred year of 260 days, and between lunches of fresh-caught fish and love-making at siesta time with our respective spouses, the four of us wondered that this numerology of 13s and 20s was derived from a Central American rattlesnake, Crotallus Durissus Durissus, the 13 coming from the pattern of scales on its skin, and with two new fangs being grown every 20 days, thus accounting also for the twenty-day period.

Between snorkel dives and walks across hills fragrant with wild thyme, we noted the connection of this Calendar Round, and of thirteens, to Venus, and to sacred time that is seeded from the future. And while enjoying dark wine on the deck of our slowly lolling yacht, we let our minds play upon the fascinating patterns, for in more or less exactly the same time it takes the Earth to travel around the Sun eight times - eight solar years in other words - Venus orbits the Sun thirteen times. Thus we have the sacred eight year period divded into thirteen.

The connection to future seeding comes from the geometry of circles, as we noted between yoga poses and cups of myrtle tea. A single circle is balanced around its own centre. Place another circle of the same radius upon the circumference of the first, and the centre of balance has shifted from the original centre of the first circle to the point midway between them. Add a third circle again of the same radius with its centre upon one of the two intersection points of the first two circles, and again the centre of balance will shift - the second movement. After seven circles have been drawn in this elementary way the centre has shifted six times, and now a hexagonal pattern has been created that is once again balanced around the original centre point of the first circle, since there are now six circles equally spaced around that first circle. The seventh movement is a return to the start position, and it may be imagined that this is when the first circle is drawn, from the future, as it were. As we enjoyed black oily olives and meditated upon ants walking in the sunbathed dust of ancient paths, or upon lizards scrambling over warm dry rocks, we recalled that this is why Chapter 24 of the I Ching says “All movement is accomplished in six stages, and the seventh brings return.” The first circle is created from the intersections of the circles which were themselves its creations, like a snake biting its tail, with the original seed having come from the future, as with the Theseus story. This too is the reason why certain creation myths, myths of Genesis, have seven days, the day of rest being equivalent to the return home to the original balance point. Myrtale massaged palm oil into my shoulders as I listened to Hatpins, cocktail glass in hand, explain how our own western week is based on this cycle of seven days, but the week of the Maya people is of thirteen days because it is after drawing a further six circles between and outside these, in other words with their centers on the newly created intersection points, that a pattern is created that once again has its centre of balance at the original centre of the first circle. The same pattern can also be linked to the thirteen Venus years, each of these years equating to one of the circles. Through this geometry the 8 solar year period becomes sacred time, in the sense of the end being the beginning.

Relaxing indeed were the hours we spent drawing these patterns with pencil and compasses as the evaporating seawater of our last dip left its salt on our now tanned shoulders.

And it was with the aftertaste of barbequed kalimari still pleasing out palettes that we meditated too upon the way that the larger cycles of the Calendar Round and the pattern on the hide of the great rattle snake of the Maya link again to Venus. I assure you that our concentration was repaid, with interest, as we listened to Hatpins explaining these things. The solar year and the sacred year of 260 days come into phase once every 52 solar years, a sacred period for the Maya, and half of 104 solar years, the period of 13 Venus cycles each of 8 solar years and 13 Venus years. So from the elementary cycle of 13 days combined with the factor of 20 days, we move easily up to a period of 13 x 13 Venus years, while the pattern of scales on the skin of the rattlesnake is also a square of side 13. These numerological patterns were like rich wine for the mind; there seemed some mystical significance, some trigger for kundalini in the contemplation of them. We contemplated the possibility that Winter Solstice 2012 is of purely symbolic rather than astrological importance, and that this date ceases to be significant for anyone who has learnt that the future seeds the past; for those people it is time to embrace the Venus Calendar as sacred time in practise, a harmonious, hermetic, holomorphic, six-dimensional time field.

It did not seem strange to us to be so involved with Mayan cycles while in the Greek setting, but we felt that perhaps there was some mystery in the fact that it didn’t seem strange, and sure enough we soon found our thoughts turning to connections between the Venus cycle and the Theseus story. According to the old story after escaping from the Labyrinth Theseus sailed with his crew to the island of Delos, and there they donated a statue of Aphrodite, that is to say Venus, to the temple complex, and danced a dance which was the first performance of the Labyrinth dance, a Greek circle dance no less. We thought of how the Greek circle dance, like the basic maypole dance, involves regular periodic retrograde steps as it goes round, just as Venus goes retrograde periodically, seeming to reverse her course in the sky, five times in every cycle of eight solar years. We also recalled how Maria had related that in the Athenian version of the Theseus story it was Aphrodite, in other words the planet Venus, who guided Theseus through the Labyrinth. Really we could not deny the sense in which the Labyrinth Dance and the Venus Cycle are one and the same. After all it was Homer who wrote in his Odyssey that it was a dancing ground that Daidalus, elsewhere the designer of the Labyrinth, had built for Ariadne of the lovely locks.

That was when we realised that Theseus instituting the Labyrinth Dance on Delos once he had escaped the Labyrinth in the old story is yet another Token Deposited and could actually symbolise the global institution of a Venus Calendar on the 6th June 2012, the day of the Venus transit.

While on Naxos I myself, Cuppalot, half in sleep under a colonnaded vine canopy in the warm afternoon, had a dream in which I was visited by a youthful god, Dionysos, stood sweetly recognizable amid the haze of my dream vision. He told me it was time for us to return home, and of the most elegant route that we might take. A course running parallel to Apollo’s Wondrous Way, the route by which we had come to Greece, but further north, running through the old site of the ancient city of Troy rather than through Athens, at that same constant bearing, namely in this direction 30 degrees north of west, would take us to the great city of Brighton-by-the-River, otherwise known as Llan Danu, often rendered as ‘London’. Yes, for when Geoffrey of Monmouth spoke of the tribe of the Trinovantes, saying their name derived from the fact that London was built as New Troy by the Trojan Brutus, he may not have been recording linear history, but rather bardic intuitions about the location of London upon the line of The Wondrous Way of Trojan Apollo. So it was that we steered our craft in the wake of Brutus’ ship up to the British capital. And it was now that we recalled that one proof alone would not meet the specifications of the challenge that had been set by yourself, Cardinal Forthright. Our hopes lay in our friend Hawaki, and a phone conversation revealed to us that he believed himself to have discovered tokens himself, and he said that he would explain the details to us once we met him back in Britannia.

During the journey we recalled how it was in June 2004, that month of a Venus transit, that scientists had started to speak of how superstrings inside the black hole might not be destroyed, the discoveries that made the encoding possible, noting the elegance of the fact that this too links to the cycles of Venus, since the sacred Venus cycle of 8 solar years is the period that would occur between that and the next Venus transit of the Sun, in June 2012. Just as one may derive pleasure from the excertions of physical athelticism, so too did we benefit from the mental excertions required in concentrating upon these matters. We recalled that 2004 had also been the summer in which the Olympics had returned to Greece, and that the Olympic period of four years also harmonized with the Venus cycle, being half the 8-year period. And in fact the Pythian Games were originally held every eight years in honour of Apollo at the site of Delphi. It also occurred to us that the Olympics of the summer of 2012 were to be held in New Troy, Llan Danu, London, upon the course of the Wondrous Way of Trojan Apollo. These facts cheered us to the possibility that leaving the idyllic Aegean did not have to be an exile from paradise, but rather that even London could be Arcadia, the Olympian precinct standing by the wide-flowing Thames as its original stands beside the Alpheus, the great river of Arcadia.”

Following this path of the Wondrous Way of Trojan Apollo brought us back to Britannia, the Great Undulating Green, at the site of Hythe in Kent, and we then continued along the bearing to Ashoford, Maidstone, and then to Greenwich in London. Here Heather and Myrtale disembarked and hired another craft in which to sail up the Thames to Marlow. Myrtale was to stay with Heather for a few days so they could work on their novel, while we gentlemen in the HMHM Henry-Morehen-Ry-Mooring travelled on at this 30 degree bearing from the Greenwich observatory which took the crew exactly to the great domed temple built by Sir Christopher Wren by the Thames, and then on through Regent's Park, then out of London and through Pinner Wood, Rickmansworth, through Chesham Bois and the delightful sacred valley of Pednor, then on through Bucks and Oxfordshire, on to Worcester, into Wales, meeting again the Great Wobbly Blue at the edge of the Great Undulating Green at Harlech, which was where we were scheduled to meet Hawaki who was staying there in his holiday cottage."

At this point Cuppalot's tale was interupted by Cardinal Forthright, who could remain continent no longer, and so rushed off to the toilet. Cuppalot was pleased of the break because it gave his voice a rest. When the Cardinal returned Cuppalot went on to describe how once they had made their way to Hawaki's cottage, they found their friend waiting with a freshly brewed pot of tea. When they first arrived at Hawaki's cottage he had just finished composing some Haikus. He exaplined that he had been out that morning strolling through the countryside and had come to a pool where, to his delight, he had seen a heron. Hatpins and Cuppalot begged him share the Haikus, and this he did, to the music of the lyre, improvising a little melody on the spot.

Heron Haiku 1, from the series, 7 Haikus for the Heron.

Slow stalks the stork-bird
On stalks that step in pond silt
He has forever.

Heron Haiku 2

Beauty emanates
Wind tussles feathers softly
The peaceful Heron.

Heron Haiku 3

Who writes the haiku
Is it me or is it you,
Mysterious heron?

Heron Haiku 4

Perched on bamboo stalks
Carefully lifting one leg slow
My friend the Heron.

Heron Haiku 5

Mindful fisherman
You hold the fish with chopsticks
Gliding boat on legs

Heron Haiku 6

The pond is your soup
Filled with fish and vegetables
Wait patient grab fast.

Heron Haiku 7

Old man of the pool
Spirit haunting this reed place
Magic surrounds you.

This introductory entertainment now completed, Hawaki, over cups of green tea with mint, told his friends of his visit to Southwest Cymru where he had met with some of the natives who had shared with him one of the treasures of ancient Cymrian mythology, the story of Pwyll and Rhianon. He summarized the story as follows:-

"Prince Pwyll first saw Princess Rhianon when she was riding on a white horse, and though she appeared to be riding slowly it was impossible to catch up with her, even on the fastest of horses. This symbolizes the way that mass increases as velocity increases, relatively speaking, according to the the equations of Relativity, and the result is that approaching the speed of light the mass becomes so enormous that further acceleration is impossible." Hawaki paused for a moment to drag in more of the clear tea, and to examine his friend's faces for signs of comprehension or otherwise, and then continued his monologue.
"Photons, light particles, themselves have no mass, and so can travel at the speed of light, so- named for this reason, of course. So it was thought that nothing could travel faster than the speed of light, until a theory called Bell's Theorem was experimentally proven, showing instantaneous, in other words faster than light connections between previously linked photons. In some sense they are communicating 5th dimensionally, which is to say over and above the limmits of space-time. And sure enough, in the same way, though he couldn't catch up with Rhiannon on his horse, when Pwyll called out to her to stop and wait for him, she did so."

"Well," said Cuppalot, "that sounds pretty good. Now who's for a stroll?"
"Cuppalot," said Hawaki, calmly and deliberately, "you misunderstand me if you take that for the whole story. That was was simply the overture. Rememer we are not looking for a token symbolizing instantaneous 5th dimensional oneness, but one representing information actually going into the past, and thus changing it."
"Oh," said Cuppalot. "Forgive me, Hawaki, old chap, pray, continue, continue - we're all ears aren't we Hatpins?"
Hatpins nodded.
"In the story, Rhianon was already promised to another man, but one she did not love."
"Drama," said Cuppalot.
"Precisely," said Hawaki. "Now when Rhianon chose Pwyll over this other, who was called Gwawl, which means 'Light' in the Cymric tongue, Gwawl plotted a way to get Rhianon back, but it was not through love. He arrived at the court disguised as a beggar and asked for a favor, at which point Pwyll promised, rather rashly, that he wold grant anything in his power for the beggar. Gwawl simply asked for Rhianon's hand in marriage. Pwyll, in horror, was forced by his code of honesty to fulfil the promise, and grant this boon."
"Oh gracious me!" said Hatpins. "How terrible! I'd rather I had never heard that story Hawaki, no offence and all that. Now, what about that stroll before the weather changes?"
"Patience, professor," said Hawaki. "All was not lost for the two lovers. It so happend that Rhianon had a magic bag with the property that no matter how much was placed inside it, it would never fill. So, Pwyll now disguised himself as a beggar and went to the court asking simply that his bag be filled with meat. Gwawl saw no reason to refuse, but as more and more meat was put in the bag it did not fill up. Gwawl expressed surprise, and then Pwyll told him that the bag would only be filled if someone would climb inside and stamp down on the meat. He then described a condition, the person who did this would have to be a man who possessed lands and riches or it wouldn't work, such being the nature of the magic, and since no one else in the room fitted the description, Gwawl himself got into the bag. At that point Pwyll tied up the top of the bag over his head and told Gwawl who he was, telling him also that there was a condition for his release. He would have to let go of Rhianon and allow her to marry Pwyll. This Gwawl then agreed to do."
"Why, thank heaven's for that!" cried Hatpins.
"Professor Hatpins," said Hawaki, "please do not forget that this is just a story.""Oh yes of course. Silly me."
"The point here is that Gwawl means light, and he was tied up in a bag that could not be filled, and release from the bag allowed for a past mistake to be erased. Light escaping from the black hole changes the past, and thus also the present and the future. This, my friends, is, I believe, the information that I sent back to my past life as a Druidic bard."

"Now", continued Hawaki, "Wouldn't it be grand if the finding of the tokens aspect of all this were to be self-referentially encoded into the story as in the Theseus myth? Theseus was brought up away from Athens, not knowing about his true ancestry as the heir to the Athenian throne; recognition of the tokens placed under the rock allowing him to be recognized. The lost-and-found child motif then works as a symbol of the period of time that lapses before the future-sourced information arrives back at that place in time in which it can be recognized. In the Cymric tale, Pwyll and Rhianon, reunited after the releasing of Light from the bag, went on to have a child and this child disappeared for many years, only later being returned and recognized as the lost son of Pwyll and Rhianon, this being the moment that Rhianon was released from all her worries.

And so, like the prince finding his way through the tangled briar towards Sleeping Beauty, Hawaki began to untangle the threads of this British tale. He had one more thing to add.
"The tale of this lost-and-found child ends happily, with his ascension to the throne result in good and prosperous rule, and so the tale ends happily, again like the Theseus story, although unlike many of the other Greek stories that seem to rest upon the mistaken belief that pathos is beautiful. It is Success that is beautiful. Several of the Celtic tales have this optimistic quality where mistakes can be rectified, faults can be fixed, lessons can be learnt. One might even suggest that in this respect this strand of Celtic tales surpasses the Greek."

Both Captain Cuppalot and Professor Hatpins seemed lost in thought as the three gentlemen strolled through a nearby wood a few minutes later. Eventually Cuppalot could remain continent no more, and said:-
"Surpasses the Greek, you say?"
"You will forgive our surprise," said Hatpins,"only we've just got back from Greece ourselves, as you know, and were rather taken with the place...and now here you are saying...well...what you're saying...and so forth...and, well..."
"It's a personal opinion, I suppose," said Hawaki, with a hint of doubt in his voice.
"Quite," said Cuppalot, and for the moment that was the end of it.

That evening, while the men were off in Harlech, the ladies, Heather and Myrtale, went to a pub in Medmenham near Marlow, and there discussed the plot of the romantic novel they were planning to write. A gentleman who had overheard them came over said politely that he thought he might be able to make some suggestions that would enrich their book. They asked him how, and he proceeded to suggest that their novel could be made a little more "badger", using the word as an adjective. They then pressed him for specifics, at which point he said plainly that they might make the characters, leading man, leading woman and all, badgers. Somewhat taken aback, and thinking he may have misunderstood the nature of their book, they clarified for him that it was a romantic story intended for adults and meant to be taken seriously.
"In that case," said the man, "the badger is definitely your best bet. Forget all about the comical rabbit; place your trust in the noble, pied bear of the night, the regal subterranean panda of the British Greenwood." He then revealed to them that he had modelled his own underground house on the badger's set. This triggered a memory for Heather, who then asked him:-
"You're not by any chance Quentin of Medmenham, are you, a friend of Professor Hatpins?"
"The very same," said the man.
At this time over in Harlech in Cymru the three Emeralds also found themselves a pub and similalry deep in conversation. It was Hatpins who was particularly on fire with ideas as he began to describe some thoughts that had occured to him about the Wondrous Way of Trojan Appolo. He mentioned first that the people of Cymru of centuries past are known to have built turf mazes and to have called them Troy Towns, the citadel of Troy having been for some reason conflated with the Cretan Labyrinth of Knossos. He cross-referenced this with the Greek story which said that prior to the Paris incident, Theseus had in fact carried off Helen, some versions saying she was entrusted into his protection. He knew also that Hellen, spelt with a double rather than a singal 'l', means 'bright', and so he began to see an equivalence between the escape of Theseus from the Labyrinth with Aigle and the rescuing of Helen from within the citadel of Troy, with the recue of Helen from Troy, also called Illium, also being, of course, the underlying motivation for the events described by Homer in his famous epic the Illiad. Further to this Hatpins recalled another Greek story which seemed to lend weight to this idea of a Trojan labyrinth since it spoke of a vast migration of Minoans from Crete to Troy, to a region below a high mountain which they named Ida to recall Zeus's Cretan home. Apollo had given them an oracle telling them where to build their settlement: it was to be where "they were attacked by Earth-born invaders under cover of darkness." These invaders in fact came in the form of a hoard of field mice who came at night and nibbled at the edible parts of the Cretan's gear. The Cretan leader Scamander recognised this as the sign, and so here they settled and built a temple to Sminthian Apollo, sminthos being the Cretan word for mouse.

At this point Hawaki interrupted Hatpins, reminding his two friends that in fact a similar plague of mice formed the chief motif of the next part of the saga of the royal Welsh after the passing on of Pwyll, where Manawydan catches one of these mice and thus obtains the release of Pryderi and Rhianon.

Back in th epub near the Thames, Myrtale was busy explaining to Quentin of Medmenham that the characterisation for the novel she was planning to write with Heather of Bromwich was pretty much sorted out, that it was really just an underlying plot that was lacking, and that for this reason, though they were grateful for his suggestion, it might be best if they didn't go with the badger idea.
"That is a shame," said Quentin, "for the idea excitries me. In fact I would even have been willing to pay a considerable advance for the writing of such a book."
There was short pause.
"Would that be badgers living in a human world, as with, say, the animal characters of Wind in the Willows," asked Heather, or would they be more badgery badgers in a badgery environment?"
"They'd be more badger," said Quentin, thus reinforcing his own version of the adverb of badgeriness, and continued: "Something like Watrership Down...but with badgers, of course, rather than rabbits."
"Oh I see," said Heather, as if this made all the difference. "Now that sounds more interesting."
"Um...," said Myrtale, in whose eyes the pound signs were not flashing quite so boldly, "that would make almost all of our existing material impossible to use. We'd have to start from scratch and base the story on the kind of issues badgers have to contend with."
Heather looked momentarily flumoxed but then had to admit that this was true. Then she had an idea.
"What about somewhere half-way between human and badger, something like, shall we say, the Hundred Acre Wood home to the animal chums of Whinnie the Pooh?"
The two women looked eagerly and expectantly towards Quentin, who pouted and furrowed his brow as if deep in thought. The pout gradually broadened into a smile, the brow lifted, and a far away look came into his eyes.
"Yes," he said. "That would be....superb...."
Then he stood up, grabbed his cane, nodded briefly at the two ladies, placed his boater on his head, and walked out of the pub without another word.

Over in Harlech Cuppalot had now joined the conversation, his suggestion being that a temple of Sminthean Apollo be built in Cymru upon the line of the Wondrous Way of Trojan Apollo, the line of constant bearing from Troy to New Troy, and he further suggested that from this point on the line be named the Wondrous Way of Sminthean Apollo. Hatpins and Hawaki liked this idea, and Hawaki suggested that the pediments of the British Temple of Sminthean Apollo be decorated with scenes from the saga of Pwyll and his family.

"And who will build the verbal temple that this story so worthily deserves?" asked Hatpins. "Who but we oursleves?"
"It is all very well to formulate such a bold ambition," said Cuppalot, "but what experience do with have with story-writing? We may be poets, we may have dabbled in song a little, and Hawaki in painting, but what experience do with have with writing fiction?"
Hatpins had to accept that Cuppalot had a point.

So while Heather and Myrtale felt more than confident with their story-telling abilities but lacked an underlying plot, their husbands along with Hawaki had a plot but were more than a little unsure of their abilities in the fiction-writing field.

But of course the Emerald's primary aim had been to find the tokens, and they now had that second part of the proof that they felt would surely satisfy Forthright, in the story of Pwyll and the magic bag which trapped and then released light, but the journey was not over. An extended conversation via an electronic medium was undertaken the following day with Thomas de Puggalot, who was staying in his own holiday cottage near the magnificent Neolithic temple of New the Boyne Valley, across the sea in Ireland. They explained to him about the nature of their adventure and the discoveries they had made, and it became apparent to all concerned that continuing along the line of Sminthean Apollo across the Sea of Manu would take them to this same region, the Boyne Valley. And so this was the voyage that was now undertaken in the Henry Moorehen-Ry-Mooring, and they arranged also to meet up with the ladies Heather and Myrtale in a couple of days in this Irish location. During the journey Hawaki began to speak more of the essence of a certain strand of the Celtic myths, again mentioning ways that they might surpass the Greek, and this had again caused some raised eyebrows.

Knocking on de Puggalot's door produced no obvious effect, so the three poked round the back and there found the distinguished gentlemen doing something with bits of cane and lengths of twine. He was in fact making a frame in the shape of the Great Pyramid of Khufu which he intended to use as a kind of trellis for his grapevine to climb up around. Seeing the trio he offered them seats around the garden table and, as is the custom, plied them with tea. Since the three arrivals were all still thinking about this business of surpassing the Greek, it was not surprising that the conversation soon turned in this direction. de Puggalot himself turned out to have some powerful thoughts on the matter and it soon became clear that his ideas had strong affinities with those of Hawaki. The story of Paris of Troy and Helen of Sparta formed the core of his thesis.

First he had made it clear that by Trojan he partly meant Celt, saying they could make of this what they liked, but that it could be taken metaphorically, given colour by the old story of the arrival in Britain of Trojan Brutus, after which the nation is supposed to be named. Or, he said, they could take it somewhat more literally based on the fact that the Trojans were surely a Hittite people, since that was the civilization of Anatolia, location of Troy, in the period of the Trojan War, while the Hittites are believed by some to be that Indo-European culture whose elite went West to Britain and Ireland and East into India, accounting for the many extraordinary similarities of ancient language, custom, myth and law of those two far distant places.

And having now established his broader sense of Trojan, de Puggalot also shifted time periods, saying that we were to contemplate the notion that the Trojan War was in fact the French Revolution, or rather the end of the Rennaissance that was part and parcel of the change in ideology that was occuring as the French deposed their aristocrats. Paris Prince of Troy, he said, represented the Phillhellenic French aristocracy, as indeed he does in Offenbach's satyrical opera, La Belle Helene. More broadly he represents the way that once the Renaissance had diffused to Northwest Europe the artists had an affair with Hellenic culture that lead many of them to disregard the local Celtic mythology that could have served them even better. This, he said, was the Judgement of Paris, the cause of the Trojan War. Hatpins felt a shiver as he realized that Paris must be another example of a name that seeded the past, being both the name of the French capital and the Trojan prince in the old Greek story. However, the professor managed to remain continent about this fact because he wanted to allow de Puggalot the floor until he had outlined his thesis. In fact it was Cuppalot who spilled forth what was on his mind, pointing out a certain irony in the way that de Puggalot was using a Greek story, the Fall of Troy, to make this very point about the need for a return to the non-Greek stories. de Puggalot responded to this by first thanking the Captain and then stating emphatically that he did not envisage and would not countenance an exclusion of Greek mythic matter, and that this was not about reacting too far in the other direction, and went on to say that the important thing was simply that the Celtic stories be given a space to shine, and that they be polished by the skill of philosopher-artists until they did so.

For De Puggalot's central point was that Helen, who represents Hellenic mythology, had seemed more beautiful to Paris than the local mythology not because of her core nature, but because the Greeks had so consumately bedecked her with the gifts of Charis, the Grace who bestows beauty. He talked of how such excellence in the arts rarely arrives from nowhere, but usually has some model, and the Greeks had Egypt not far away. With such a culture to inspire them, the Greeks perfected the technology of beautification.

de Puggalot stopped for a moment to watch a sparrow that had landed on the terrace not far off and was hopping from spot to spot, and then he turned back to his guests and asked them if Hellenic culture would seem so beautiful had not the stories been told with skill and care, had not the poets taken up the themes, and sung them in traditional well balanced prosodic forms, with imagination and humanity, expanded them for the stage with dance and drama. Hatpins said at this point that he had once heard the Odyssey squashed into two hours, with the poetry taken out, and just the bare bones of the plot dumbed down for a young audience, and how he had gone down with influenza for the rest of the week out of shock at how weak the story appeared when told without the beautifying effects of poetic description, a jumble of man-eating giants and other strange monsters set along a course of bloody revenge.

By now even Cuppalot was nodding in agreement with de Puggalot as he began to see the point that was being made. If Homer had chosen one of the Celtic myths it would be that which would now shine with the glory of three millenia of rose-fingered dawns. This had nothing to do with patriotism. It is simply that culture needs aspects of diversity and becomes rich when there is ancestral continuity and a beautiful sense of place.

de Puggalot also reminded the others that, though no examples had survived, it was known that the Greeks had been excellent painters. He spoke of the awarding of honours in the Greek world to the most skilled painters, sculptors and musicians. He spoke also of the use of harmonious geometry, of wondrous realism, of canons of proportion, symmetry, poise, balance. He spoke with passion of the temple architecture as an amplification of mythic beauty, of the sacred geometry, the vernacular styles and regional orders, of temple location with attention to views, to the directions, to the movements of the Sun and the constellations so imporant in the myths, and indeed to the myths of place that are redolent of the ancestral Dreamtime, of the incense and song that filled these exquisite marble edifaces, as his audience of three listened in wide eyed rapture. He spoke too of the Greek devotion to the healthy body, of the naked body of the athlete as a model for the sculptors and of the harmonious porportion of healthy muscle, of the simple elegance of draped fabric which adorned these godlike bodies. He talked a little too, quoting Gerald of Hove, of the philosphies of the Pythagoreans, of Plato and Socrates, of the intuitive understanding of the way that geometry in its definable, universal intelligibilty generates strong trancendant, collective morphic fields which are seen by the minds' eye as the essence of Beauty. So it is, he said, that the ancient buildings have appreciated in value because they have been appreciated, accumulating interest because they are interesting, becoming repositories for the passions of those people who have cherished them over the centuries. He spoke too of the schools for artisans where they learned the skills and the mysteries of their craft.

de Puggalot then called their attention to the myth of the birth of Helen of Sparta. Zeus had taken the form of a swan and then mated with her mother, Leda, who had then laid two swan's eggs. Each egg produced twins, and one of the children to spring forth from this swan coupling was Helen. So Helen was a swan child, a cygnet, and she grew into a swan maiden, with, metaphorically speaking, beautiful, irridescant pearly white plumage. But it had not always been so of course, as the story of the Ugly Duckling records. Paris the Trojan disregarded the local Trojan Swan Maiden because she was still grey of plumage, still awaiting the gifts of the Graces, gifts which could only come from the artists. Rather than carrying off Greek Helen, the higher purpose of the Trojan realization of the beauty of Greek culture was the copying of the technology of beautification as the Greeks had done when they encountered Egypt. Blinded by the beauty of the gifts of Charis, the Trojans thought it was the stories themselves in their essence that were the cause of the beauty.

"The Trojan Cygnet," said de Puggalot drammatically, "still awaits those who will transform her plumage from the grey of dishwater to the white of pearl."

de Puggalot even went so far as to tell the three the identity of a Trojan Helen.
"She is called Caer," he said, "which means Droplet."

"Of course!" said Hawaki, who had read the Celtic myths broadly in his search for the deposited tokens. "Another tale which avoids the pathetic ending, and instead, in true Celtic style, ends happily. Had Shakespeare treated that one...well, then we'd see how beautiful British culture could be!"
"Exactly!" said de Puggalot, and for a moment it looked as though the two men might embrace.

Cuppalot and Hatpins were deeply curious, and asked if the other two might share with them some of the details of the story. Hatpins then did so, telling them how a prince called Angus had dreamt of a beautiful swan maiden, fallen deeply in love with the dream vision, and then sought her in the waking world. This Angus it is who is called the Ever Young and above whom four birds hover whose song has the power to make people fall in love, like the arrows of Greek Eros; he it is who had nurtured the beautiful Ethne with the milk of a sacred cow from a golden cup, the only food she would take; the same Angus is he who had recognised the psyche of Etain when in the form of a butterfly and built for her a bower of nectar-rich flowers to sustain her until her Soul found another human incarnation. Now it was Angus himself who was deeply in love, and with the swan maiden he had met in his dreams.
And Angus said to himself, if we may borrow from Yeats, that though he might wander through many hilly lands,
He would find out where she had gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands
And walk among long dappled grass
And pluck 'till time and times are done
The silver apples of the Moon
The Golden Apples of the Sun.

Eventually he found her, but she had changed fully into a swan as part of an annual festival along with a host of other swan nymphs. To borrow, with some adjustment, from Yeats again:-

The trees were in their autumn beauty
The woodland paths were dry
Under the October twlight
The water mirrored a still sky
Upon the brimming water
Upon the stones
Were three times fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn had come upon him
Since he'd first made his count
He'd seen before he had well finished
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great rings
Upon their clamourous wings.

Angus would be able to marry her if he first was able to recognise her amongst all the other swans, which he managed when he saw the gold chain around her neck, the chain being a token of her identity, a sign. Then he would have to agree to be changed himself into a swan, which he did, and the two then flew off together to Angus' home, the magnifent ancient temple called New Grange near the Boyne River in Ireland.

Of course the Emmmerald Poets and Co. were all entirely aware now that the Wondrous Way of Sminthean Apollo leads up to this region of the Boyne Valley, making the site most elegant as a home of a Trojan Helen, Helen herself being a swan maiden being born from the swan's egg after Zeus had coupled with Leda in the from of this bird. None were now in any doubt that Caer was indeed the Cygnet of the Gaelic Celts, who only needed her poems, operas and ballets, paintings, sculptures, decorated vases, shrines, temples, and incense offerings, geometry, balance and proportion, all carried out with care, skill, passion and devotion to beauty and then appreciated by a wide audience.

Hatpins wondered if this story might be cited as a third part of the proof, for he was aware that the Swan Constellation contains what is considered by scientists to be the location of the most likely black hole candidate. Because a Celtic swan maiden would be sought in the future, the ancient bards were prophetically inspired to put one into the storehouse of myth, a seed from the future that could be sprouted at a later time.
Cuppalot then asked if there was any proof of the existance of this story in Ireland at a time before they would have heard of Greek Helen, and Hawaki had to admit that there was not. But then Hatpins realised that there was more to it.
"Did not Barbara Ricicle, chanelling Argolid" said Hatpins, "predict that the war in Olympus, the argument between the three goddesses involved in the Judjment of Paris that manifested as the Trojan War, did she not predict that this war would be bypassed by the recovery of the Cygnet of the clan of the daughter Atlas, surely Electra who mothered the Trojan breed ?"
He refered of course to a real book, the Signet of Atlantis, which had been in existance for many years, since long before they began their search for these Tokens from the Future, and so they satisfied themselves that there was at least this certain sense in which the Swan Maiden had come from the future, having escaped, of course, from the labyrinth of the Trojan Citadel.

Then Cuppalot had a moment of reservation.
"Um, I hate to spoil the fun, but Caer is, if I understand you, a Gaelic maid from Ireland. Is it any better for us Brits to have an affair with Gaelic Caer than it was with Hellenic Helen?"

There was a pause, and then de Puggalot said:-
"If we are looking for a British Swan Maiden we may consider Branwen, the sister of Bran who the old story in the Mabinogion explicitly calls the the most beautiful woman in the world, the same definition that is given for Helen.. Recall that Branwen was a princess who was made to work in a kitchen washing dishes, and imagine the dull dishwater-coloured rags she must have been dressed in, like the Ugly Duckling, and then consider that her name, Branwen, actually means White Breast, suggesting the pearl-white plumage of the swan.

Branwen was, in the story, rescued from Ireland. In British mythology Llyr's children are Bran, Branwen and Manawyddan. The Irish have this same sea god, Lir, and agree about his son being Manawyddan, who they call Manannan. The Irish also have a story about the Children of Lir, the central feature of which is their transformation into swans. So in the Irish the Children of Lir are Swans, and in the British they are Bran, Branwen and Manawydan, so in "rescuing", in inverted commas, Branwen from Ireland, what we are doing is recalling her nature as a swan maiden, fitting with her British name, White Breast, recalling that in Cymric prose the swan's breast was used as a simile for the fairness of a maiden, as in the wonderful desciption of Olwen, also in the Mabinogion.

She certainly had strong associations with birds for it was a starling who informed Bran of her mistreatment and in addition the birds were said to have been silent in the marshes on the day she died, and like Helen she was rescued from abroad by a fleet of ships that were launched on her behalf. There are some complications, however, for the story has hints of the pathos that is generally particular to the Greek tales, and we must consider how far we might allow ourselves to remove those aspects, which is not an easy question, for one enters dangerous territory when one considers tinkering with the gifts of the Muses."
de Puggalot paused here, leaving his listners hungry for solutions to these complications.
"Do you have an thoughts on how to overcome these hurdles?" asked Hawaki.
"I do. Grail scholars seem to be in agreement that the Bran of the old tale in the Mabinogion is one and the same as Brons, the Fisher King who's healing is the core motif of the later Grail legend, the story of Peredur. Now, Peredur is said to be a nephew of this Fisher King, which suggests that Peredur is one and the same as Pryderi, which has been suggested anyway on account of the similarity of name. Pryderi, remember, was the son of Pwyll and Rhianon, who we spoke of earlier. But Rhianon seems to have been blessed with goddess-like longeivity, and after Pwyll had passed on she remarried, her new husband being Manawyddan, the brother of Bran and Branwen. This makes Pyrderi the step-nephew of Bran, just as Peredur is the nephew of the Fisher King, Brons, so we may consider them one and the same. If this is so, then when the version of the tale of Bran and Branwen in the Mabinogian says that Bran died, it must lie, for the sake of pathos, perhaps under the influence of the classical poets such as Virgil and Theokritus. If Bran is the king who is healed by Pryderi, then he must only have been wounded at that earlier time. And since the Mabinogian says that Branwen died of grief because of the death of her brother, Bran, then this also cannot be true, for he did not die. Branwen, as the most beautiful woman in the world, represents, as we have already said, the potential beauty of British mythology told, sung, painted, skulpted and acted well. The potential for beauty did not die, so Branwen did not die, she only sleeps, and in our western tradition the story of Beauty who sleeps but who may yet be woken is well known, we call it Sleeping Beauty. When Britannia finds her Homer, the poet in question may take the great epic of which the stories of the Mabinogion are a part, from Pwyll at the start right through to Pryderi, and he may combine them in this way, where Bran does not die but is wounded; Pryderi and Peredeur are one and the same; Bran is the Wounded King who is healed, thus regenerating the wasteland, and Branwen too did not die but only sleeps, and is finally awoken by a gentle prince after the manner of the story of Sleeping Beauty. It may be appropriate here to quote a couple of verses by Morris," said de Puggalot.

"The fateful slumber floats and flows
About the tangle of the rose;
But lo! the fated hand and heart
To rend the slumberous curse apart!

Here lies the hoarded love, the key
To all the treasure that shall be;
Come fated hand the gift to take,
And smite this sleeping world awake.

We might also abridge Tennyson, who penned some delightful verses on the same theme.

All round a hedge upshoots, and shows
At distance like a little wood;
Thorns, ivies, woodbine, mistletoes,
And grapes with bunches red as blood;
All creeping plants, a wall of green
Close matted, bur and brake and briar,
And glimpsing over these just seen,
High up, the topmost palace spire.

She sleeps : her breathings are not heard
In palace chambers far apart,
The fragrant tresses are not stirr'd
That lie upon her charmed heart.
She sleeps: on either hand upswells
The gold-fringed pillow lightly prest :
She sleeps, nor dreams, but ever dwells
A perfect form in perfect rest.

He comes, scarce knowing what he seeks :
He breaks the hedge : he enters there :
The colour flies into his cheeks :
He trusts to light on something fair ;
More close and close his footsteps wind :
The Magic Music in his heart
Beats quick and quicker 'till he find
The quiet chamber far apart.

A touch, a kiss ! The charm was snapt,
There rose a noise of striking clocks,
And feet that ran and doors that clapt,
And barking dogs, and crowing cocks ;
A fuller light illumined all
A breeze through all the garden swept,
A sudden hubbub shook the hall,
And sixty feet the fountain leapt.

And then at last the king awoke,
And in his chair himself uprear'd,
And yawn'd, and rubbed his face, and spoke,
'By holy rood, a royal beard !
How say you? We have slept, my lords.
My beard has grown into my lap.'
The barons swore, with many words,
'Twas but an after dinner nap."

"Thankyou de Puaggalot," said Hawaki, and the words came from his heart.
"Swan!" said Cuppalot, suddenly.
"Not for me," said Hatpins, "I ate well at lunch."
"No, no," said Cuppalot, pointing. "There, a swan!"
Turning to look behind him Hatpins beheld a fullgrown swan standing beside de Puggalot's pond.

They still had some time left before they were to attend the scheduled meeting with Cardinal Forthright, and so they were able to spend a few days relaxing beside the Boyne, accompanied now by Heather and Myrtale. They strolled around the ancient sites, enjoyed the beauty of the countryside and drank in the local culture. They went horseriding, canoed on the river, and became aware for the fist time of the symmetry of lack as regarded their respective writing projects, Heather and Myrtale wanting a plot for their work, the Emmarld Poets in need of the novelistic story-tellers art for theirs.

While they were staying in this area Cuppalot had an experience he described as Attaining Avalon, the paradisal isle of apple orchards, while drinking cider enriched with St John's Wort and 5-HTP under leafy fruitful boughs in a country garden. He saw the green of the plants intensify to an otherworldly emerald, while great bliss came over him, and he saw the archetypal characters of faery tale streaming before his eyes. He maintained enough focus to be able to write some lines of poetry while within the experience:

How could I explain my joy
That shudders down through levels five?
It's rich and resonant and fine
And makes me feel alive.

He said the experience was akin to the epiphany of Dionysos he had experienced on Naxos, but with the land of faery orchards replacing the southern vineyards with their satyrs and wood nymphs, and with a greater intensity of emerald infusing everything.

Then it was time to head for home, which took them back across the sea of Manu where they reached the Llyn peninsula between the ears of the great tusked boar that is made by the outline of Southern Britain, it snout being Pembrokeshire, its tusk being the Gower Penisula, its jowel the Vale of Glamorgan, its forleg Devon and Cornwall, its rump East Anglia and its two ears Anglesea and the Llyn Peninsula. It was of course in between the ears of the great wild boar that the brave heroes found the magic comb in the story of the quest for Olwen. Realising this caused them consdirable delight, as they realised Olwen must be another name for the potential of British culture to be beautiful, another name for Branwen, which would also give them the name of the prince who wakes her, Culhwch. Olwen is described as of incomparable beauty in the Mabinogion, which specifically describes her as having a bosom 'more snowy than the breast of the white swan'. Her name, Olwen, means White Path, for it was said that little white flowers grew up wherever she trod, forming a white path behind her. Since the Woundrous Way of Sminthean Apollo passes between the ears of the Great Wild Boar of Britain, it therefore seemed appropriate to see this as linked with the White Path of Olwen, to imagine her passing along it rather as a swan glides over a still lake in the misty morning.

The crew allowed themselves another night in Harlech, and here Hawaki entertained them all with the story of Bran son of Febal, the Irish version of the voyage of Bran, then the next day it was time to continue along the line in the direction of London, for the day after that they were due to meet with Forthright.

These then were the events that Cuppalot, who had been elected to talk on Hatpins’ behalf, related to Cardinal Forthright in the cardinal's office at the end of the allotted four-week period, and as he reached the conclusion of his great monologue now it was the Cardinal's turn to “do a Maria”, that is to say to stare in wide-mouthed amazement. So pleased was he with the story, and so complete was his acknowledgement of Hatpins’ original theory, that he not only raised the professors’ funding and gave him his own department of Non-Linear Etymology, but he also spoke with London’s Olympic committee so that they were made aware of the elegant connection of the Games with the sacred cycles of Venus.

Forthright in turn invited Hatpins to spak to the Olympic Comittee. The four poets agreed that Hatpins should speak of the importance of the Cultural Olympiad which runs parallel to the Athletic one, and primarily of how it was time for artists to wake the Sleeping Beauties of the British Isles, to love these beauties even while they still await artisitc beautification, just as Geraint, in that story in the Mabinogion, loved Enid, whose father, an earl, had been ousted from his earldom so that his family were forced to endure patiently in a ruined castle wearing ragged, fading garments. Geraint saw her beauty despite the drab attire, and restored her fortunes. The Emerald Poets thought it would be appropriate were Hatpins to quote Tennyson, who wrote five-footedly of Geraint's first sight of this castle:-

Then rode Geraint into the castle court,
His charger trampling many a prickly star
Of sprouted thistle on the broken stones.
He looked and saw that all was ruinous.
Here stood a shattered archway plumed with fern;
And here had fall'n a great part of a tower,
Whole like a crag that tumbles from the cliff,
And like a crag was gay with wilding flowers.

Geraint succeeded in winning back the earldom for the family, and he did so in a tournament where the winners were given the chance to call their true loves the fairest of all, and it was for Enid that Geraint competed. Geraint and Enid were then to be wed, and Enid would be introduced to Arthur's court, but still she lacked suitable apparrel. Thinking of the coming wedding, in Tennyson's words:-

At this she cast her eyes upon her dress,
And thought it never yet had looked so mean,
For as a leaf in mid-November is
To what it was in mid-October, seem'd
The dress that now she looked on to the dress
She look'd on ere the coming of Geraint.

However, help was at hand, and as Tennyson tells us, her mother now came to her with a fine dress and said:-

So cloth yourself in this that better fits
Our mended fortune and a Prince's bride:
For tho' ye won the prize of fairest fair,
And tho' I heard him call you fairest fair,
Let never maiden think, however fair,
She is not fairer in new clothes than old.

The task of British artists wishing to help in the healing of the land, Hatpins was to tell the committee, was to cloth British myth in just such a manner as Enid was clothed after her potential had been recognised by Geraint. Beautiful ancient tales of the Clan of Danu and its branch the family of Lir, Mananaan and the rest, optimistic, obscure, mysterious, tales of success, for Success is that most beautiful maiden of all who now at last shall be most finely attired.

This all seemed suitable for mentioning to the committee, and yet after the conversation Hatpins had a lingering sense that something was missing, that they had overlooked something of great importance.

Cuppalot himself was filled with enthusiasm fof the notion of a rebirth of a cultural calendar timed with the sacred 8-year period, as with the original Pythian Games of Delphi, and it occured to him that there might be a space for a figure equivalent to Pindar, someone to sing odes to the great artists who achieved excellence in these Games. His plan was to work his way into the business through the back door, and his first break came with a job reading the traffic reports on a regional radio station. He was perhaps a little premature however in his adoption of a Pindaric style.

Where shall I now aim my golden arrows of up-to-the-minute traffic fact? At Aldershot, rich in connifers. Just as one need not scan the sky for a brighter star once the Sun has risen, so too does Aldershot outshine other places in the friendliness of her hairdressers. Expect delays on the A34 due to roadworks.

These uterances were none the less taken in good spirit by the listeners, and on some days he was even read alowed to report on other stories:

Here ye! Here ye! The great god Pan is married at last! Pan, who savors yoghurt of the goat, Pan, who adores the pines, Pan who loves garlic, has married the nymph Menthia, She-of-the-Mint, who loves gardens lush with pennyroyal and lemon verbena. A venue has been set on Mount Pilion and a whole host of immortals are expected to attend what is quite simply the event of the season.

On the first Tuesday of July 2007 - a date which, counting backwards from the Venus transit of 2012 lies around 8 Venus years back, or 5 of the 13 Venus years between the 2004 and the 2012 transits, with 5, 8 and 13 being Fibonacci numbers, this also puts the period around the minro Golden Section of the distance between the two dates - anyway, on this afternoon there was a convergence upon Cuppalot and Myrtale's cottage at the head of the Pednor Valley, near Chesham. Myrtale and Heather were already present, relaxing in the garden, Hatpins was making his way by bike form Marlow, and Cuppalot was making his way back up the Chess valley after a constitutional stroll.

Neither, it must be said, wasd in any great hurry. It was wonderful to back in Britain at the height of summer, and everything seemed so very green by comparison with the sparser, drier flora of the Greek islands.

Before long Cuppalot came to a gushing waterfall. His heart jumped when suddenly a trout was seen, attempting to leap up over the cascading wall of water. At this point the Captain was inpspired to poetry:-

The fishfull, fishfull river,
It is well-stocked
Any more trout fishes
And it would be blocked

As he walked on along the path beside the little river he saw rabbits scurrying off into hiding, and squirrels too darted off upon his approach, as did even minnows, for at one point the water-some river was over its lips and channeled over the path. Cuppalot was again inspired to poetry:

The fishfull, fishfull path
It is well stocked
Any more wee minnow-fish
And they'd get into your socks

By now any apprehension Cuppalot may have had about returning to Britain after the delights of the Aegean were completely forgotten about. He was in his element.
Soon he came to a road, and here saw traffic at a halt waiting for two swans taking a promenade down the middle of the road. This gave him his third verse:-

The swanful swanful road
they are most regal
whiter then a chaffinch
much bigger than a seagull

Then after walking a little further he was at a field of horses, which included a lusty stallion and several mares. Cuppalot stayed for a while to appreciate their healthy horsey beauty, and in fact he was there to see the stallion take a mare from his harem as a mate. The two horse lovers did in fact wait 'till the cricket game in the next field had finished before they got down to it. But as soon as the last bat had been batted, they got to it.
Very cheval-rous of them to wait, thought Cuppalot, and then composed some more lines:

The sperm-full sperm-full horse
He is well hung
Chocka with male hormones
And rather highly-strung.

But happy to bide time
Until the cricket's winner
Has wandered from the pitch
Before he'll stick it in her.

He is a British stud
He knows what is respected
Like waiting till the game is done
Before he gets erected

Such simple etiquette
Makes Britain what she be
Like looking for a decent bush
When you need a pee

Yes, love of his own country had now seeped into his veins once again.

Hatpins was not far behind, and about a quater of an hour later he too passed through this same field. He saw there a jet black stallion, and mares who had foaled only that spring, their younglings staying close by their mothers, who would sometimes take them for little runs.
There were two older foals - Lampus and Phaeophon by his naming (the colts that pull the chariot of Dawn) - who would race side by side in an ovaloid cursus, up convex flank of hill and down into the valley, where only their nodding heads were visible above the waving grasses as they galloped along, so that from Hatpins' perspective there was the semblance of them swimming, as horses swim, with only heads above water nodding. Sea horses. Thoughts of Poseidon came to mind, the sea god whose gift according to the Greeks was the horse. Hatpins on this morning named one of the mares, a light beige gal with a look of extreme sentience, Rhianon, after the Cymric horse goddess. At water-drinking time one of the mares broke away from the group and went to the trough before the stallion had given the word, so he was a little fractious, and he came across the grassfields at high gallop, the Sun behind, in his mane, and the others all followed, and then he whinnied and Rhianon ran away doing back kicks - like in a Rhodeo or some such, and soon there was much commotion with horses galloping amidshipsallover but always satelliting around some moving middle point, the eye of the storm, so that they circled over the field very much as a whirlwind does. Hatpins' heart fluttered with all the whinnying and jumping as he was at fairly close quarters and the fence seemed so easily jumpable.

While Hatpins was in the horses' field, Cuppalot had continued his walk into a wood and down into a vale, and his experiences here promted him to gush forth some lines of free verse:-

Falcon Poem

The Falcons’ screech haunts my memory
Three in number they were
Hanging over the wood

I stood in the valley
Seven horses to the left of the way
Eight brown bullocks to the right

The wood clad the ridge
Like the mane of the horse
Seven in number were the horses

Three in number
The falcons over the wood
Watching all

Falcon screech
Piercing the walls
Of my thankful heart

Plunging in pitch
Diving like a falcon
Opening a doorway

Spirit of the falcon
Permeating the valley through sound
Like a god.

The reason for the convergence of these two poetic ramblers upon Pednor was a dinner party, of which we may hear from an article written by Cuppalot who had, through his new found popularity, easily been able to cruise into journalism:-


The evening of July 5th 2007 saw, as if the days have eyes, the commencement of the first Amersham Tandooriad, the Coriandimpic Games. Preparations had been underway since the morning,

as meat was placed in marinades,
and maidens put their hair in braids.
(Cup. Incont. XVII)

The two principle opponents in the Games were the dilletantes Quentin of Marlow and Thomas de Puggalot.

Before the commencement, the participants shared chai tea out on the lawn in the early evening Sun, while de Puggalot read aloud about the cheeky childhood pranks of Krishna and the cowgirls. The Games were opened with a co-operative effort, a Sag Panir made by de Puggalot, with a massala paste provided by Quentin. The result was orgasmatronic, and the very gods were pleased, as the wood flutes of Asian Gold FM trilled their ecstatic melodies out upon the evening air.

The barbeque by this time was going, and de Puggalot offered up lilac branches at the shrine of Aphrodite, infusing their gentle aroma into his first main course piece: tandoori style organic chicken thighs. It had all the delicious burnt bits one hopes for in fine tandoori chicken, and the very gods were pleased.

While Quentin's tandoori lamb was cooking, the de Puggalot camp suffered a set back as their champion took the unusual move of serving up vegetable curry on the kitchen floor. He swept it up into a pile and announced: ‘Right, tuck in!’ Interviewed about this later on he confessed that the dish had been very hot and slipped from his fingers as he extracted it from the oven.

Quentin's tandoori lamb was delicious, causing taste raptures, and the very gods were pleased. For a moment it looked as if he might win the wreath (and an actual wreath of laurel leaves had been made to place on the head of the winner). But de Puggalot still had his own tandoori style lamb escallops to come, and at this point, sensing that the prize might slip from his fingers, Quentin proffered the olive brand, although this time it was metaphorical, and it was agreed that they would share the prize, and both be winners. This proved to be a shrewd plan when Quentin himself tasted the escallops and admitted that they might well have clinched the wreath for de Puggalot, especially in the light of the deliciousness of the quick substitute Garam Massalla stir-fried vegetable curry de Puggalot had knocked up to replace the one that he had served up on the kitchen floor, for which there had been no takers.

And so it was that we took turns wearing the rather fetching laurel wreath, and as the last sips of spicy chai tea were slurped down, the embers still glowing in the outdoor oven, all felt well fed, and the very gods were pleased.

The next competition will be open to all comers, and like the Greek Olympics, competitors will be required to take part quite, quite naked, save only when cooking dishes that have a tendency to spit hot fat.

That follwing night, back in Marlow, Hatpins read the story of Geraint and Enid from the Mabinogion to his wife, Heather of Bromwich, and as he reached the end and told of the mysterous episode of the Hedge of Mist, it seemed to resonate with that thing which he felt was missing from his earlier discussions with the Emerald Poets about the Cultural Olympiad.

The Hedge of Mists is a somewhat obscure appendix to the tale of Enid and Geraint, in which a stranger tells them of a tall hedge made of mist behind which enchanted Games are held. Geraint goes through the hedge of mist and the game commences, which in essence is just a dual with another knight, and when Geraint has got the upper hand his opponent says he will grant him any wish. Geraint says "I wish only that these Games cease, and that the hedge of mist and the magic and enchantment disappear."

"If I am honest," said Hatpins, "that describes my own feelings perfectly."
"What do you mean?" asked Heather.
"I feel, deep within me, that art comes from the heart, that it has nothing to do with competition. This business of Cultural Olympics seems to me like folly. The Greeks supposedly competed in honour of the gods, a strange idea, but even the gods, being immortal, must surely have become sick with boredom by such so-called entertainments now that millenia have past. It is surely true creativity that is the most fragrant offering we can place on the shrines of the Olympians."
"I agree completely," said Heather, looking upon her husband with admiring eyes. "Artisitc creativity bubbles up as a passion of enthusiasm, a love of art for its own sake. To reduce the matter to some illusion of winners and losers would be to take a backward step, in my opinion. Exceedingly childish."
"But isn't the idea supposed to be to do with catharsis, let it out on the sportsfield instead of the battlefield, and so forth?" said Hatpins.
"Times move on, lessons move on, if you keep teaching students the beginner lessons you will cripple their growth," said Heather. "The Greek city states emmerging from the Bronze Age were plagued by competitivenss no different really to tribal warfare, and by comparison the panhellenism ushured in by the Games was a step forward. But in my opinion," she continued, "those same games with their us and thems, their dualities, perpetuate a small-mindedness, a backward consciousness as a result of which the creative spirit inside just gets bored."
"By Dionysos, you're right!" said Hatpins, and then added, his brow furrowing: "But what on Earth can I tell the committee?"
"Why does this have to be a calendar of competitions?" asked Heather. "Why not just make it a calendar of cultural festivals, an opportunity for the artistic accademies to show their works to the public? Exhibitions, displays, performances. Let the people chose what they like by what they go to see, but that doesn't make it about winners and losers."
Hatpins had little choice but to give Heather a big hug and a kiss, for she had helped him solve his great dilema. Cultural festivals! Of course!

And so when the time came Hatpins presented his ideas at the meeting of the committee held in the Queen's House in Greenwich, and they were quick to spot the potential popularity of such a Venus-cycle calendar of culutral festivals.

Of course, the international Athletics competition would still take place, the momentum of the thing being too great to put a stop to it, but the plan was to hold a parralel Cultural Olympiad of festivals of a more localised nature, the reason being that culture must maintain regional distinctions if homogeny is to be avoided.

The Cultural Festivals would be open to artists and artesans resident in Britain and lands immediatley adjecent, from Ireland and Northern Spain round to Scandinavia, regardless of race, the one rule being that the subjects of their works would have to come mainly from local British and Breton, Gallician, Gaulish and Gaelic and also English, and the related Norse folklore and mythology. Entrants who passed the first stages would be given training in the accademies in the skills and Platonic mysteries of their art, learning all about moprhic resonance, proportion and the philosophies of harmony as well as the nitty gritty of their chosen handicraft. And in this way the likes of Caer and Branwen, Olwen and Enid, would grow into their wonderful graceful plumage and the culture of Northwest Europe would became attuned to healing trancendental beauty and the sacred cycles of Venus.

Yes there would still be a place for the athletes as always, but with a renewed emphasis - the primary goal would be the healthy body, the body beautiful, with a view to their attaining the honour of being models for the painters and sculptors.

These then were to be the two main rules: subjects must be taken from local mythology, and entrants must be students of the Classical aesthetic academies. Of course it doesn't pay to be too heavy-handed about these things, and there were some other categories, such as the Satire of an Elizabethan play, which was generally taken to mean Shakespeare, and a mini category for work on a non-mythological theme, and even one for works non-members of the Academies. And nor would this new impetus mean for a moment saying good bye to Hellenic culture, for the students of the academies were to be given a thorough grounding in that field and were expected to go on the grand tour on Continent, to appreciate the beauty of Helen in order to know what might be achieved for Caer and for Branwen.

In the festivals there could be sculptors, architects, painters, poets, musicians, dancers, athletes of body beautiful, story tellers, potters, dramatists, and all manner of other artists. The Great Greenwich Cultural Olympics were to be held in June 2012 and then at eight year intervals from this date, to be recalibrated at the end of this eight year period to maintain attunement to Venus and her five retrograde movements. There would also be other smaller fesitvals drawing from regional catchment areas around the country held at dates arrived at using a newely drawn up Venus calendar.

And the minutes of the meeting record that it was this calendrical system that was the main topic of dicussion. The scheme decided upon was as follows. The calendar would place great significance on the traditional week of 7 days, and upon a month of exactly 4 of these weeks, namely 28 days, which is a good approximation of the time taken for the Moon to return to the same place in the Zodiac. 13 of these months is 364 days, a good approximation of the solar year of 365 days. But there is more. 8 of these 28-day months is a very good approximation of the Venus Year, the time it takes for Venus to orbit the Sun once. 8 and 13 are numbers in the Fibonacci sequence, the next number being 21, and 21 of these 28-day months is a good approximation for the period between retrograde movements of Venus. After every 13 Venus years this calendar was to be recalibrated to keep exactly accuracte as regards the movements of Venus. It was this calendar which, it was decided, would give the timings of the various Olympian sub-festivals. Large festivals would be held every 21 months, thus timed with Venus synods, smaller ones every 8 months thus attuned to Venus years, Athletic training cycles and also training in artistic accademies being arranged also in terms of these 28-day, four week months.

And so the seasons turned round, and along came an interesting date in the Venus Calendar, for it so happens that Valentines Day 2008, counting back from the Venus transit of 2012, lies a regular number of Venus years distant, seven to be exact. The Emeralds and their fellows began to plan another Cullinariad for this evening, one on a suitably Venusian theme. The planning period is recorded in Captain Cuppalot diaries as follows:-

The fair was to be Fruits de Mer,Oceanic cornocopia, Seafood, Shelfish. Ingredientgs would include such things as fresh oysters, scallops, muscles, clams, cockles, kalamari, pollyps, kelps, lobster, crab, prawns. The style was not stipulated; it could be Thai, French, Spanish, Greek, British or some other.

The winner would be presented with a ceremonial conch, a trident and a robe died with the finest Phoenician purple from the Murex and Purpura shells, and crowned with a wreath of seaweed.

When arrangments were being made Hatpins did say unto Cuppalot, "let us truly mash it up as gentlemen do. "

"Wholeheartedly, and are others of our party also of like mind?" quoth Cuppalot.

"Aye," said Hatpins, "I have already bequested my wifeling on the subject, and she agrees it is most auspicious."

"Well tell her also when you see her next that I have infused blue lotus in organic muscadine ready for our meeting."

"Great news, my friend, may smiles of lotus moonshine grace every face."

"Yea, and that was well phrased. You appear to be entertaining the Muses, who do seem to me to be endowing you with the gift of polysignifaesthetica, and I enfloreate your laureate for it, most undubitousfully of it, logically cardboard."

"Polysignifaesthetica? Why, that is a shed load of polysyllabelles, my friend, a shed load of bellysyllapheez."

"Again I detect the hand of the Muses in your words."

"Aye, for my guts are garters for the muses of my bowels, and I speak with the fine flowing music of yesteryear."

"Verily, your guts are garters for the music of your bowels,
And I enfloreate you laureate for the rubric of your vowels."

"Anon, anon, fine sir - the Sun has caught my glance and drawn tears for the slow passing of unsentinelled gatehousing for dear Syllabelles. She lies sleeping in the house of damned Logicus!"

"Nay 'tis not Logicus who hath her chained, but that hag Mundanity. Be sometime unexpectedly logical in the sallying forth as order peeks from amid the hierovineous thorncrepper scragglebellishment, for strange logic is the foot butler of disconformal syllabetic unusualities."

To which quoth Hatpins: "Are you bullshitting me man?"

"No, no, but let us not dwell on the matter, but rather look ahead to the coming Cullinariad."

"Very well, but be aware, I plan to cook fish and shellfish lasagne, and to destroy you with flavour."

"So say thou now, but I fully expect my hot spicy steamed Thai style scallops will knock out all comers in a triumphant charge of taste bud victory."

"Time will tell."

"Indeed, but may I suggest that you pray to the gods that watch over the wide Earth and hope that one will have mercy upon you, for it would seem from the omens that they have already chosen the head upon which the wreath shall settle. But do not despair, for I give you this prophecy: whomsoever shall not take the wreath, shall yet produce fine cookery, and the very gods themselves do not look without some favor upon fish and shellfish lasagna. yea, tho' another may take the wreath, there shall be fashioned for you a sash, and none shall say which token - the crown of leaves or the sash - carries the greater honor."

"For the gods, and for our tastebuds, let the recipe planning commence!"

In such manner did the two heroes cajole each other, each causing the other to rise to new peaks of cookery enthusiasm. First a taunt would come from Hatpins of the golden locks, and then mighty Cuppalot would raise his verbal shield of shining bronze, and counter with some cunning reply that would fly with wings of fire and glance off the battle armor of his noble opponent. And all the while each knew that in so much as they caused the other to produce a finer dish, it was their own taste buds that would rejoice! In such a manner did the goddess Irony overcome the dragon Competition, establishing peace between the two sides, and the very gods rejoiced!

When the day itself came around, Hatpins took a stroll around sunset, and found himself in a field that had not, last time he had been there, been home to horses, but now was. And he was moved to poetry by the beauty of the sight.


There across the meadow’s one
Autumn-hued like evening Sun
Burning there in musky shade
There’s many more across the glade

Another with a chestnut hide
There in winter the wood is spied
A fiery ‘ney’ from snarling colt
And through the gate the horses bolt

What was once a patch of grass
Now becomes a stallion’s pass
There’s something new about this scene
Now that horses here have been

Careful where you tread - look ‘round
For something steaming on the ground
There’s something new about this scene
Now that horses here have been.

He then proceeded back to the cottage to help Heather perpare for the arrival of their guests, Cuppalot and Myrtale. And then dinner was served, course after course of it, flavorsome, delicious, exquisite, and every morcel infused with the Apphrodisiac powers of Venus.

And pleasant indeed was the snuggling before the fire later that evening for Hatpins and Heather as they polished off the last of the lotus wine and then proceeded to the bed chamber to conduct the rite of Aphrodite, their lying-down dance lasting long into the night until Hatpins could remain continent no longer, and the very gods rejoiced.

It remains only to tell you in broad terms of how our friends were kept busy in the years running up to the Olympic Transit.

Cuppalot continued for a short time with his journalism, but when he started using his column in a weekly paper to espouse the philosphy that mental morphic fields create tendencies which manifest as happenings and situations he was taken aside and quietly reminded that it is in the best interest of the newspapers to keep such knowledge secret, since 95% of journalism relies precisely upon generating feelings of public concern about things being in a mess. The editor pointed out that if the public realised that the endless ranting on about such messes in the media in fact creates more of it, they would very rapidly stop buying the papers. Cuppalot responded that perhaps it was time for the papers to find a different kind of inspiration, and at that point he was asked to leave. But no matter, for by now there were far more important matters to attend to.

Someone was required to oversee the setting up of the various aesthetic academies, and it was Adrian of Shoreham who played this role with alpomb. Heather and Hatpins, Myrtale and Cuppalot, Hawaki and de Puggalot all joined academies relevant to crafts they wanted to express the newly untangled Peredur myth through, for as a group they had chosen the Peredur story as the matter to be beautified by the kiss of the Muses and the perfumes of the Graces. The core of such matter is story, and so the group first untangled the briar of tales until a basic plot that they were happy with was clear, and then Myrtale and Heather produced a prose narrative. They also produced, in consulation with Quentin of Medmenham, a shorter, simpler version in which the characters were badgers, for an audience that could include children but would be enjoyed by people of all ages. The reason for this is that children have a superb ability to infuse magic into stories, and this was considered most desirable.

After the core utterances of story comes the patterning of the poets, and Cuppalot, Hatpins, De Puggalot and Hawaki all produced metered verses of rhyme as well as some blank verse based on parts of the core story. The natural development of poetry is song, and with song comes dance, and through dance song is lead on towards drama. Cuppalot and Myrtale worked on a spoken theatrical version, a play, and Hatpins and Heather developped this into a version with music and dance, an operatic ballet. Theatre requires scenery, and Hawaki worked on a series of large oils depicting key motifs from the story in a style that combined the classical and the impressionistic. Hawaki worked with a group of sculptors to produce statues of the main figures and Cuppalot worked with some goldsmiths to make an awesome gold cauldron decorated with scenes from the story in a style that combined the Celtic and the classical. Its elegant shape was derived from sacred geometry and again combined the form of the Bronze Age cauldron with that of the classical wine-mixing jar. The jar was to be displayed in the British Temple of Sminthean Apollo, the design of which architectural ediface was to be overseen by Hatpins, and which was to function as a lecture hall for a school of aesthetic philosophy, as well as a sacred art gallery, theatre, recital hall, and gymnasium.

With such pleasant and worthy endeavours were the Emeralds occupied in preparation for the institution of the festival calendar.

Here Ends the Book that is Called Incontinentiad.

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