Mythical Monday: The Woodsman Hall by Mae Clair

There is an old legend the Europeans favor that describes a rambling building tucked among towering trees in a forest clearing. An ancient structure of weathered timber, this strangely haphazard dwelling gives the appearance of being constructed one room at a time over the centuries.

Crooked chimneys of time-pitted brick send plumes of smoke curling into the sky, while green-paned windows can be glimpsed beneath the rugged eaves. The entrance door is massive, hinged with hand-forged iron, imposing and solid. Yet despite its hodge-podge architecture, Woodsman Hall is snug and inviting within.

The surrounding forest is unspoiled by man, densely populated with majestic oaks, chestnuts and beech trees. A crystal clear lake teeming with fish is only a short jaunt from the hall and the sun-dappled woods are home to every imaginable form of European wildlife, including animals known to be extinct.

bigstock-Forest-Pathway-8576629Within the walls of this welcoming hall, hunters who have passed into eternal rest gather to share tales over tankards of mead. Only those deemed gallant during their life, killing for necessity and not pleasure, find a home here. When the sun rises, they venture into the forest where wild boars forage for acorns and grubs, and plump pheasant and partridges are as plentiful as wrens.

The men match their skills against the noble beasts of the woodland, knowing there are no gamekeepers or sheriff’s men who might otherwise claim their trophy in the name of a dishonest lord.

At night they feast and share their exploits in the comfortable sheltered rooms, enjoying camaraderie and merriment. Later, they take great pains to prepare their hunting gear for the next day, when once again they venture forth to test their abilities. These men hold deep respect for their prey, and their quarry’s innate skill. Here, in this magical place, predator and prey are equal.

Perhaps this is why the animals, birds, and even the fish that populate the pond, never decrease or increase in number. Should one meet its demise, claimed by a huntsman, the same animal will reappear in the forest the next day.

Thus is the reward of noble huntsmen who led a gallant life.  Don’t you just love tales like this?

I’m not a hunter, but wouldn’t it be cool if there were a Writer’s Hall, tucked into some storybook setting? What do you think it would be like? It would definitely need a huge library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, and tables to examine old parchments and maps. What else would you add to a magical Writer’s Hall?

I love hearing from you, so please share your thoughts!

17 thoughts on “Mythical Monday: The Woodsman Hall by Mae Clair

  1. I love the notion of a Writer’s Hall! Unless, don’t tell me we have to put back our word count and start over each day. LOL We might need to fix that part. I’m sure there would be endless coffee available too. 🙂

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    • I’ll definitely nix the idea of putting back our word count and starting over each day, LOL. Coffee sounds good, a firm writer’s staple (I’m drinking some now). And cats. Writers need cats….well, some of us. You can shoo yours my way, LOL.

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  2. Oooh! I want to visit this place! We’d also need a huge floor globe that would magically change to the time and century we’re writing about and every imaginable antique from the dawn of time just waiting there to touch, study and stimulate! Oh and what about a closet full of every costume ever worn? (Ever play dress-up when you were a kid?)

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    • That’s it! We need to find this place! I love your idea of the globe, the antiques and the costumes. I adored dress-up as a kid and would love taking strolls in gowns and costumes from other centuries. You’ve come up with a writer’s paradise, Debbie!

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    • We can add some white wine into the mix too, LOL. I know Donna will shoo the cats from her room so I’ll take hers and yours in mine. See? So easy to work out with all those rambling rooms and chambers. 😀

      The overstuffed chairs, reading lamps, worn rugs and fire in the hearth have to stay. This place is really shaping up beautifully, with all these wonderful ideas!

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  3. I was thinking of my sons as I read this post, Mae. They are hunters and I hope I’ve taught them to be gallant hunters, taking only what they need for their families and showing respect for nature around them. I will have to share this legend with them.
    As for a Writer’s Hall, I’m all over that. It would be a place full of light and inspiration. Like the Woodsman Hall, it should be filled with dedicated scribes committed to the best of prose…and merriment. Can’t forget merriment.
    Thanks for the post and spark to my imagination, today.

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    • Merriment is definitely on the menu, Stanalei. After all those hours of creativity (and moving the cats around) we’ll most definitely need some fun and relaxation.

      My husband was a hunter many many moons ago and most definitely a gallant one. His father taught him respect for the creatures that share our earth and never to kill for the sake of killing. He chose to stop hunting years ago but he still has a strong appreciation for nature and wildlife. It sounds like you’ve taught your sons the same. I think they’ll appreciate the legend of Woodsman Hall.

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  4. I love the idea of a Writer’s Hall! Not only should it have a library of books, but also some of the greatest writers/authors of all time that have passed. To be able to talk with all of them would be great!

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  5. I hadn’t heard of the Woodsman Hall. It sounds great, especially all the plentiful mead.
    A Writers Hall would have to have plenty of tea and biscuits available, comfy chairs, candles and some blankets. And maybe we could even physically enter the world of the book we happen to be reading.

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    • Great additions to the Writers Hall, Emma. I especially like the idea of being able to enter the world we’re reading about. There are so many places in fiction, I’d love to visit and characters I’d want to meet!

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