Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Moon over Silbury Hill: Image credit Pam Brophy

1 comment:

Littlestone said...

This lovely photo of Silbury by Pam reminds me of the legend of

The Beckhampton Moonraker

Long, long ago in the village of Beckhampton in Wiltshire, there lived three handsome brothers. The three were not only brothers but good friends as well; alas they had all fallen in love with same beautiful girl from the village. Each brother had vied with the other two for the girl's attention and each had asked her to marry him. However, as each brother was both kind and handsome the girl was unable to decide which she wanted for her husband. She was about to tell them that she would choose someone else from another village when an old woman took her aside and said, "My dear, choose the one who can bring you the moon."

The beautiful Beckhampton girl looked at the old woman in surprise and said, "How can anyone bring me the moon?"

"Just ask them." replied the old woman. So the beautiful girl turned back to the three brothers and told them she would marry the one who could bring her the moon. Each brother looked at the girl and then at each other and with heads held low they went their separate ways wondering as they went how they could bring the girl they loved the moon.

And so it happened that on the following night there was a full moon at Beckhampton, and as it rose big and bright over Waden Hill the beautiful girl and all the villagers gathered at the foot of Silbury to see which of the three brothers could bring the girl the moon and make her his wife.

The first brother arrived in a wagon pulled by two white horses (it is said that this is where the Wagon and Horses pub at Beckhampton got its name) and in a loud and clear voice declared that he had brought with him all his gold and silver and that he planned to give it to the barrow wights of the West Kennet Long Barrow if they would only bring him the moon for the night. The villagers shuddered at the mention of the barrow wights but waited patiently as he climbed up to the tomb. Soon he returned empty handed and with a deathly expression upon his face, and it is said that the first brother was never seen to smile again.

Then the second brother arrived and announced that he would climb Silbury Hill and from its summit would pull down the moon with the rope and iron he had slung over his shoulders. The villagers shook their heads but waited patiently as the second brother climbed Silbury and watched as he stood there alone casting his rope and iron again and again towards the moon but never drawing even an inch closer to it. Soon the second brother returned empty handed while the moon still hung bright and round in the sky, and it is said that he was never able to lift his arm again.

Finally the third brother arrived; all he carried was a bucket in one hand and a rake in the other, and with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips he waded into the Winterbourne to a place where the full moon was reflected in the water. The villagers and the beautiful Beckhampton girl watched curiously as the third brother dipped his bucket into the stream and raked in the moon's reflection. Then he climbed out of the stream, and with the bucket full of water, strode over to where they all waited. He placed the bucket at the feet of the beautiful girl and as the water settled the moon's reflection slowly appeared bright and full within it.

"The moon, my love," said the young man, "it is yours to take with you wherever you will."