I met Tom Muir yesterday. No, he's not the monster! But he tells monstrous tales of witches and storms and pirates and the gigantic MESTER STOORWORM, killed by Assiepattle with a smouldering peat inserted into his liver. Assiepattle is the Orkney equivalent of Cinderella. Except he's a boy - no glass slippers or handsome princes - just a feckless youngest son's derring do as he defeats the monster. In the end he wins the hand of the princess too of course. The stone at the side here is not the monster either, but could be!
Tom talked to me about his involvement in international storytelling, about the recent Orkney Storytelling Festival and about the uneasy relationship between the oral tradition and the printed word. You can listen to it here. You may need earphones. Here is Tom in full flight in Ljubljana, Slovenia. (Photo by Katarina Juvancic)
Dawn and the Hare
A beautiful dawn again this morning, all pearl and rose followed by dazzling sun. And a hare lolloped down the golden field towards me as I stood at the back window. An auspicious sign. Like seals, they have such big intelligent eyes, it's easy to see why they were associated with magic, why they were often believed to be humans in disguise. To me they conjure creativity and fecundity.
On a recent visit to Tam's book shop in Stromness, I picked up a copy of Simon Carnell's Hare. A fascinating history of the hare through art, legend and literature. Here is a picture of another Orkney hare taken by my sister, Maggie Miller.
Book Week Scotland
Remember Book Week Scotland 26 Nov - 2 Dec. Check out the website for events in your area. We're excited in Orkney to be hosting events with Val McDermid, Victoria Campbell and Rosie Wallace. Get your tickets from Orkney Library: 01856 873166.