Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

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By an Iron Age Hillfort I sat Down and Wept
I've been something of a stranger here the last few days - and feeling a bit fragile, in truth. As one witness thereof, as I drove past Cley Hill hillfort on my way to Romsey yesterday I was compelled to pull into a lay-by in order to weep for some children who had died on its slopes some two millennia and a few odd hundred years before. Is that normal? I don't know, though I'm sure that mortality is a joke in very bad taste. After twenty years, this is the passage from Herodotus that sticks with me most clearly:

And seeing all the Hellespont covered over with the ships, and all the shores and the plains of Abydus full of men, then Xerxes pronounced himself a happy man, and after that he fell to weeping. Artabanus his uncle therefore perceiving him [...] having observed that Xerxes wept, asked as follows: "O king, how far different from one another are the things which thou hast done now and a short while before now! for having pronounced thyself a happy man, thou art now shedding tears."

He said: "Yea, for after I had reckoned up, it came into my mind to feel pity at the thought how brief was the whole life of man, seeing that of these multitudes not one will be alive when a hundred years have gone by."

Artabanus then made answer and said: "To another evil more pitiful than this we are made subject in the course of our life; for in the period of life, short as it is, no man, either of these here or of others, is made by nature so happy, that there will not come to him many times, and not once only, the desire to be dead rather than to live."


Xerxes was a contemporary of my Cley Hill children, though they never met.

Evidence of fragility, Exhibit B. Talking to my mother, I said, "It's very hard to bounce back from being rejected by your nearest and dearest." [Realises that mother has not rejected me.] "Not that I include you in that!" [Realises that this excludes mother from "nearest and dearest".] [Gives up.]

On the other hand, I went for woodland walk above the floods on the Test, where I was surprised to find myself on what is apparently known as a "Permissive Path", an appellation that pleased me. I took these two pictures of the same object within thirty seconds of each other, and was enchanted by the difference in light from lavender to Lincoln Green.


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And in Iceland, it appears that a woman has joined a search party looking for herself. If that's not a good news story, what is?
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If we cannot weep over things like that, what good are we?

You are right.

What a dramatic change of light, and how beautiful! Oh, I envy you having such beauty close by.

I am sorry for the fragility. I think it hits us all at different times.

It was particularly beautiful: low, spring, emerald sun.

Which translation of Herodotus is that? It is rather more flowery than those with which I am familiar, but not in a bad way, so I am curious.

Now, my favorite bit of Herodotus is the part about how Darius had a servant whose sole job was to stand behind him and murmur into his ears at state banquets 'Sire, remember the Athenians', because the Athenians were so annoying that he had to be continuously reminded how annoyed he was. That's the kind of anecdote that ought to be true, whether or not it is.

I couldn't be arsed to type it out, so I took it from here - I liked it too, though, especially the spinning out of the last line. (My own copy is translated by David Grene.)

I'd forgotten that anecdote about Darius! Herodotus's kings are such goofballs.

You have captured the light so wonderfully. It is enchanting.

Thank you.

as I drove past Cley Hill hillfort on my way to Romsey yesterday I was compelled to pull into a lay-by in order to weep for some children who had died on its slopes some two millennia and a few odd hundred years before. Is that normal?

I don't know why not. Who were the Cley Hill children?

I took these two pictures of the same object within thirty seconds of each other, and was enchanted by the difference in light from lavender to Lincoln Green.

That's lovely.

"About 3am, some genius in the group finally figured out that the missing woman was actually in the search party, albeit in different clothes, and the search was called off."

I am skeptical. Has the area been checked for changelings and/or huldrefolk?

Who were the Cley Hill children?

That was what upset me, as much as anything - that there were so many lives spent in that place about which no one knows anything. We can't even remember them, only imagine, though we know they're real. I suppose that's what they call limbo.

Has the area been checked for changelings and/or huldrefolk?

Best brew in an eggshell to be on the safe side.

That was what upset me, as much as anything - that there were so many lives spent in that place about which no one knows anything. We can't even remember them, only imagine, though we know they're real.

I thought perhaps they were a story I didn't know, like the Green Children of Woolpit. You should write them, if they're haunting you. Even if you don't know their faces or their names or the disposition of their bones. Even if all that can be remembered of them is that they were.

I think you're right; I should.

There's a marvellous patch of chalk grassland on Cley Hill. I hope the children are there in the turf and the butterflies.

Your light keeps changing. Shadows pass.

Nine

Your light keeps changing. Shadows pass.

Wisely said - thank you.

I have Googled Cley Hill but not found any story about children...

There must have been children (and adults too for that matter), but there's no story. That's what made me weep.

Les hommes meurent et ils ne sont pas heureux. It's a good reason to weep.

So, your coach party is going to explore a canyon, and you go and change your clothes... Beyond recognition... I'm having trouble parsing this: what did she do, put a coat on? They were a small enough group that someone noticed they were one short, but not that they'd gained an extra helper -

There's a story here, too, surely.

Perhaps it was a prosopagnosiacs' support group outing?

I had to look that up!

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