Asexual Myths & Tales

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Launching Margaret's Voyage - A Giveaway With a Twist

In Silver Hands, Margaret goes on a voyage that takes her from the English coast to the East Indies, feudal Japan and beyond the Edge of the Map.  To celebrate that, I'm launching a special giveaway that will send Silver Hands on a voyage of its own.  Who knows where it might end up?

This is how it will work.  I have two copies of Silver Hands to give away.  I will send them to two randomly chosen followers, regardless of where they live in the world.  (If you live beyond the Edge of the Map, that could be tricky, so we'll limit it to non-magical countries! 😉)  It will then be your turn to give the book away to a person of your choice.  They will then give it away to a person of their choice.  And so on and so on.  The idea is to get these two copies of Silver Hands on the longest voyages possible.  

The book will arrive with a special message inside the front cover, welcoming you to Margaret's Voyage.  Read the book.  (I hope you enjoy it!)  Then comes the important part:

1. Sign your name in the cover, along with where you live. That way, future readers can see how far the book has travelled.

2. Take a picture of yourself with the book.  For example, here's a picture of me with Silver Hands in Lincoln.  If you don't want to include yourself, just take a picture of the book in an interesting setting!

3. Post the picture to Twitter, using my Twitter handle @hidden_grove and the hashtag #MargaretsVoyage.  Tell us where you are!  

4. Pass the book along to the next intrepid reader!

Rules for entering the giveaway
To enter, put something in the comments box on this blog.  Not on Twitter or Facebook etc.  This might seem mean, but unless I do it this way, it becomes very difficult to keep track of who has entered.
The giveaway will run until 19:00 GMT on Saturday 3rd October,  I will announce the two lucky winners in the comments to this blog, and invite them to email me their postal addresses.  If a winner fails to supply a valid postal address, they will be discounted and I will pick another winner in their place.  The books will be sent via recorded mail, using the normal postal service.  This means they may take a while to get to some countries, but should arrive.  If the book doesn't arrive after a reasonable amount of time, please contact me at, and I will chase it up.

That's all.  Good luck!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Henry III and the Fairies

I recently picked up a second-hand copy of Nigel Cawthorne's The Strange Laws of Old England.  As a source for story ideas, this is a brilliant resource, full of all sorts of strange legal goings-on, not just in Old England, but also in Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Man etc.

One thing that caught my attention as a fantasist was a short paragraph saying about Henry III - the king responsible for the re-issued version of Magna Carta I was fortunate to see myself this year in Lincoln.  (There is more than one copy, in case you are about to protest that it is somewhere else!)  The book says that Henry signed a law making it a capital offence to kill, wound or maim a fairy.

This sounds almost as if Henry III was making the fairy a protected species, as we would do nowadays with endangered animals.  However, although Henry III had a menagerie, I doubt the fairy was considered an endangered species in the 13th century.  In fact, as a super-pious king, and one who passed the Statute of Jewry in 1253, which attempted to segregate Jews and enforce the wearing of Jewish badges (Yes, very Christlike, Henry, I don't think) I would have thought it more likely he would want fairies dead.  Or did he want them all corralled and badged up too, where he could see them?  Not very likely to happen, from what we know of fairy folklore.  Perhaps he was scared of them, and feared retaliation from their kindred in the Other Realms?  And then there is the question: what incident could have occurred, to bring such a law into existence??  

Is the story even true?  Elsewhere on the Internet ( another blogger claims that this was just a joke made up by American satirist Ambrose Bierce for his 1906 book The Devil's Dictionary. However, just because it appears under fairy in Bierce's comic definitions, this doesn't necessarily mean he made the whole story up.  Prove it to me!  (I mean there must be someone out there who would like nothing better than to read through a load of 13th century legal documents!) ☺️

Another website ( brought up an extract from The Fairies in Tradition and Literature  by Katharine Mary Briggs, which recounts the tale of a magical white hind - a fairy hind - that appeared in Henry III's time and was given chase by the Lord of Kilmersdon before she vanished.  Does the "Fairy Law" - whether it exists or not - have some connection with deer hunting and forestry laws?  We know that Henry signed a Forestry Charter.  (I've seen it!)  It is possible that barons fearful of the fairies wanted to stop anyone from killing a white deer (or any other animal that seemed particularly mystical). Or it could just have been that the king wanted to preserve his hunting rights, and this seemed a good way to do it.

Whatever the truth of the matter, you can't deny that there's a fine fantasy story waiting to emerge from this.  I'd better get writing!