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!