‘Memories of the Curlew’
‘Memories of the Curlew’ is based on the life of Gwenllian, daughter of the King of Gwynnedd, who became known as ‘The Welsh Warrior Princess’. At her birth in 1096, the Druidic bard Meilyr predicted she would become a great leader of the Welsh. Married to the young Prince of Deheubarth, she supported his mission to build a new Welsh army, while raising a young family in the extreme conditions of life in the mountains. The military struggle was mirrored by personal conflicts, with Gwenllian emerging as a true Welsh heroine.
EDITORIAL NOTE: A story of passion, courage and honour, which gives a fascinating insight into Welsh life at this turbulent time.
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A QUICK DIP......
‘By the time he leaves here, he must be absolutely sure of two things.’ The king came over to Crinan and looked him closely in the eye. When he spoke his tone was so menacing and bitter that Crinan felt himself flinch. ‘One, that I am the worst, most deadly and most powerful enemy he could ever have, and that I can and will wipe out him and his people without a second thought.’
‘Yes sire,’ said Crinan, swallowing.
‘And two,’ continued King Henry, changing his voice to a light and friendly tone, ‘That I am the wisest and most generous of kings to my friends, and that if he becomes my friend he and his people will benefit to an extent he never even dreamed of.’
Crinan swallowed again. ‘I understand sire.’
‘I hope you do, for you will assist me in this. You will arrange over the next few weeks to show him the awesome power I command. We shall have jousting, wrestling and sword fighting displays and parades of our troops which will make his eyes pop out of his head, so he becomes convinced it is useless to oppose me. What are his weaknesses?’
‘Women sire,’ Crinan replied immediately. ‘At every inn we rested on the journey he would have a young girl, or sometimes more than one, and he was made very angry on one occasion when no girl was available. I had to pay the innkeeper to put up his own daughter, even though he was saving her...’
‘Yes, yes,’ King Henry interrupted. ‘So we have a lecherous old dog have we? That is good. Anything else?’
‘He is very fond of his drink sire,’ Crinan could hardly believe his own words. He was actually criticising one king in the service of another.
‘Well, we have plenty of good wine to smooth our way,’ Henry seemed pleased. ‘Does he hanker for young boys also?’
‘I think not sire. I never saw a sign of it.’
‘Right,’ said the king. ‘Then that is settled. You understand what is needed?’
‘Yes, I think so sire.’
‘Don’t think so, tell me!’ said Henry impatiently.
‘Frighten him to death sire, and give him all he wants and more.’
The king roared with laughter. ‘Well done Crinan, I could not have put it better myself.’