Friday, 5 October 2012

Thomas and the Fairy Queen

A Fairy Tale from 13th century Scotland

One beautiful summer morning Thomas,the young laird of Echildoune,went out walking
 by the burn in the woods beside his castle.

He sat down beneath a tree to watch the birds and small animals.
As he lay there he became aware of the trampling of horses hooves and crackling of branches,
he looked up,and there before him was a beautiful golden haired woman on a dapple-grey palfrey.

She wore a dress and cape of bright green silk and on her head was a crown of precious stones sparkling
in the sunlight.Her saddle cloth was of red satin and her horse's reins were of corded silk
 hung with tiny bells which made the sound of fairy music as she rode along.
She introduced herself as the Queen of Fairyland.

Thomas was so beguiled by her beauty that he begged for a kiss.This was just what she wanted because
now she had him in her power. To his horror as soon as they kissed this lovely woman turned into
 a frightening old witch.

The terrified Thomas was told to jump on the back of her horse,and off they sped,fast as lightening,
deeper and deeper into the forest until they reached her castle in Fairyland.

Thomas spent seven years there in the service of the rejuvinated Fairy Queen.He was given the gifts of
truth,poetry and prophecy and returned to the spot beneath the tree where they first met.

Luckily for Thomas,seven years of fairy time equaled only three days of mortal time!

A braided silk rein for the Fairy Queen's horse.

Assorted fabrics,bells,gold threads,wood pigeon and blackbird feathers.

The process is shown HERE

Thomas returns to Fairyland - illustration circa 1900

Many years went by and people had almost forgotten about Thomas's visit to Fairyland.
One night while a banquet was being held at the castle,two snow-white deer were spotted by the
river. Thomas went out to meet them,then all three disappeared into the night,never to be seen again.
It was believed that the Hart and Hind were messengers of the Fairy Queen,sent
to escort Thomas back to Fairyland.

Today a hawthorn tree marks the spot,beneath the Eildon Hills near Melrose in the Scottish Borders, 

where it is thought that Thomas met the Fairy Queen.

Thomas of Learmont was an actual  person who lived in the tower of Ercildoune in the 13th century.
The building would have looked similar to Neidpath Castle,shown in a previous post HERE.

The tale of Thomas's trip to Fairyland has been the source of many works of art,writing and music.
As Thomas the Rhymer he is most remembered for his prophetic poems,many of which
 are said to have become true.His prophecies were documented in English Prophetic writings
of the 14 and 15 hundreds and in a chapbook of his poems handed down through the centuries.
There is also documentation of his signature on a legal charter,
signed  Thome Rymor de Erchildoune.


biebkriebels said...

That is an interesting story, I like the surroundings you showed us and the rein for the horse is beautiful! I watched your other blog (didn't know yoy had another one). It is nice to see how much fabrics you collect to make your art.

Charlotte said...

Wonderful pictures, they match the story. We have such a strong tradition of the Fey folk and their interactions with mortals. I love how they often have real people and events at the root.

The bridle is very special.

Ruthie Redden said...

Yay Ruby, this is one of my fave scottish faeriestories ~ one day I hope to illustrate it! I adore the faerie queens bridle too and your images just give the perfect setting for the tale. thank you x

sharon said...

wonderful tale and accompanying photos....I want to visit

Lynn said...

Such a beautiful post, Ruby. Your photos accompany the story perfectly! The fairy Queen's horse's rein is stunning.

DogsMom said...

Thank you so much for sharing.

stardust said...

You made the Tale of Thomas’s Trip to Fairyland revitalized with your fabulous photos and the bewitchingly beautiful braided silk rein, Ruby. I think I know how you were inspired by this tale. Another great post!


louciao said...

What a charming and fascinating story, especially as it is based on an actual person. The pictures are beautiful--such an enchanted looking forest. But above all, the braided rein for the Fairy Queen is gorgeous!

dritanje said...

The photographs give a tremendous atmosphere and it's great to see the completed reins of the fairy queen's horse. With such a strong focus, I'm sure you will have summoned her!

Thomas the Rhymer is also represented in the 'cast of characters' in the National Portrait Gallery, did you know that?
M xx

Forest Dream Weaver said...

M,no I didn't,have not visited the refurbished gallery but will do so soon.

Hettienne said...

beautiful just beautiful!

This is Belgium said...

glad to discover your blog !
fantastic photos
greetings from brussels

R.Ramakrishnan said...

An enchanting fairy tale along with beautiful magical mystical pictures ! Really enjoyed this one !

snowwhite said...

Your photos fired my imagination. The fairy queen in bright green rides on the scarlet saddle. Her horse has rainbow-colored harness and its every step makes tiny bells jingle. How fantastic!!
"seven years of fairy time equaled only three days of mortal time"
In Japan things are very different. Urashima Taro, a young fisherman, was invited to Sea Palace by Sea Princess. He spent seven days there being warmly welcomed. When he came back, he could not see any familiar faces. When he opened the small box given by Sea Princess, white smoke came out of the box. He became an old man. Seven days in Sea Palace is equivalent to decades in the human world. Also in Buddhism, one day in the mountain where Kannon Bodhisattva lives is equivalent to four hundred years in the human world.
I think he was lucky. But why he was very invited by the Queen again? She fell in love and could not forget him?

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Keiko,it seems that anything can happen when we enter "other worlds".We too have tales of sailors and fishermen being lured into the ocean depths by enchanted beings.
Maybe Thomas longed to return to Fairyland,the prospect was probably more exciting than the reality of life in 13th century Scotland!Maybe it was also the land of eternal youth!

snowwhite said...

I agree. In 13th century, it was not easy to move, change career, or travel. So for them, to imagine to go to Fairyland and live there with the queen and get eternal youth must have been heart-leaping.
People wanted to have this conclusion of the story.
In a Japanese garden, there is a symbolical, eternal youth island in a pond based on Chinese faith, not always but many times.
Thanks for such an interesting story.

cosmos said...

Very interesting, Ruby. Thomas must have been mysterious enough to give the people an idea of fairyland. He must've had a keen sixth sense, or been very close to nature. It's interesting that old witch(in my understanding negative one) gave him gifts of truth, poetry and prophecy.

Your braided silk rein looks so powerful and magical and charming!
Thank you for sharing an interesting story and pictures.

Palomasea said...

Fascinating story...did he miss Fairyland, I wonder? Those photos...many a fairy playing there, I would imagine!
Dear Ruby, I commented on your Starry Universe blog as well...this is a truly magical creation!
Those feathers are exquisite...
Lovely Sunday to you, sweet friend!
- Irina

Palomasea said...

Thank you, dear Ruby, for taking a look at the wonderful Tasha Tudor...she really was incredible!
Blessings to you,
- Irina

Sciarada said...

Ciao Ruby, this is very charming legend associated with the fact!
Have a excellent week my friend!

Julie-ann Bowden said...

These photos are gorgeous!

Virginia said...

You have woven a fine tale for us today and your photos are just beautiful!

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Thank you for your comments.

Happy weekend everyone!

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