Thursday, 2 April 2009

The Grey Hunter

The Grey Hunter by Stubbs from Tate Britain's collection.

According to The Snapper, who is wiser upon such things
than me, it has been a year since this blog was begun, it's
traces on the Divine Clotilde's website of cooking delights
and fine writing - Chocolate & Zucchini.
So, it is our birthday and you are all invited.
It may be grey and dull outside, but let our merriment begin

There was once a man who, after his father died was reduced to a horse and its equipage, a dog and the clothes he stood up in. So instead of bewailing his lot, he harrumphed, fed his horse on grass and his dog on hunted rabbit and set out to seek his fortune.

Over hill he went, over the green lea and through the dark woods and leafy forests, until he came to an inn. But he had no money so the innkeeper turned him away. He rode on along exposed roads, stopping to pick up his dog and carry the animal under his coat. Before long he came to a spinney, a small group of trees and within it he roused a pheasant, which he killed, cooked and ate, sharing it with his dog. On he rode and as night was falling he came to a small hostelry, but he had no money and was turned away. No entreaties moved the hostel owner, not even the large soft eyes of the dog.

The man got off his horse and led the beast onwards, carrying his dog still. Within a large forest, being tired they at last came to rest; horse, dog and man. It was not long before he saw a light through the trees. Rousing himself up painfully for he was very tired, he carried the dog and led his horse towards the light. Before long he came to what must have been a large old abbey and from within he saw a blazing fire and a table creaking under the weight of food. He sighed but knocked at the door. An man who looked exceedingly old, yet of great nobility answered the door.

"Well rider, we have been waiting for you. Come in and rest and eat," the old man said.

Our rider was only too happy to obey but asked after his horse. The old man smiled then and said he would see to the horse. Satisfied with this, the rider entered the house and beheld a woman of such beauty as would put the moon and stars to shame. Being a guest however, he bowed and put the dog down on the floor. The lady led him into the chamber with the fire and the table-full of food and bid him eat. He thanked her and taking a chunk of meat offered it to the dog. Strangely the dog would not eat, but shuddered and whined, it's tail between it's legs. The rider was puzzled by this, but did not wish to appear rude. He poured a little water but the dog would not drink and seemed greatly distressed.

The rider turned to the woman and apologised for his behaviour but the woman merely laughed and asked if he would not eat. He was very hungry, but seeing that his dog would not eat the food he took notice of this and answered that he could not eat before his dog and horse had eaten. The woman bowed her head at this and smiled but said nothing to that. She did lead him closer to the fire to warm himself, but though he sat close enough that he should have been warm, he was not. Indeed he was cold.

Still, he thanked the lady for her kindness and pretended to warm himself, even though he shivered. The old man returned and the woman very quietly told him what had happened. The old man went away and returned a little later with an old worn wooden bowl with chestnuts in it. The rider offered them to the dog who this time ate them though he would have preferred meat. The rider was astonished, but took a few of the nuts himself and after a little while fell asleep.

The following morning he awoke to find himself on a mossy stone slab in the ruins of an old abbey. Of the man and the woman there was no sign. The horse however stood not far off and the rider led his horse and dog through the wood sighing and wishing he were better off so that he might provide for the horse and dog. Imagine his surprise then when he discovered that within his pockets were good gold coins of the realm. He did not spend these, but took them to a bank who informed him that he had a fortune and he was never, along with his horse and dog, ever hungry again.


madameshawshank said...

Goodness me G, not often I come across the word 'spinney' :-) I'm beginning to think you dabble in times gone in REALLY dabble..

Am wondering how the rider used the gold coins..nice to know the three pals were never hungry again..

may the merriment continue ..

Griffin said...

I wrote it and then thought... I better explain this! There are copses and spinney all over dear old England.

A copse or coppice is a wood of small growth for periodical cutting or coppicing.

A spinney is a small clump of trees. The word can often be used to mean a copse as well, tho' the two are not the same.

Yes, more merriment...!

Jodie said...

and a very happy bloggy birthday to both you Madame,and yourself Mr Griffin and many thanks for what you share here - may your next year be as full of great words and pictures.

purple goddess said...

Happy birthday darlings!

Griffin said...

Ta Jodie, I shall endeavour to do me best, such as it is.

PG, thank you and hope your very own house elf is behaving himself... as much as is possible and/or desirable!

Erin said...

A year and we are all richer for it! I believe everyone needs to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life even if only for a few moments. This site, with it's eloquent, engrossing and beautiful stories provides welcome respite. you two are a wonderful duo and I hope to be fortunate enough to enjoy many, many more of your stories.