All Teon wanted was an easy life. He wanted to play his lyre and tell stories and riddles, get some free food and ale and maybe a roll in the hay. The best place would be at the royal court. Unfortunately, the Mercian king wasn’t keen on these kinds of people.
What the king wanted was a seer, a prophet, to tell him how to become the best king in the seven kingdoms. Teon could learn to do that, couldn’t he?
So he sought advice from a thug warrior about reading the runes. Ah, but it would cost him.
First he had to tell of the adventures and conquests. Then he had to kill. Then he had to kill children. People died along the way.
But could he do it? How far would he go for an easy life?
The novel Teon, based on real events. Available in print and digital formats. On sale for one day only at 99p (ebook).
The story of Teon is woven around two myths involving the seventh century King Wulfhere of Mercia. The main one concerns the murder of two little boys, Ruffin and Wulfhad. The legend says that these were the sons of Wulfhere who brought them up as pagans. They liked to hunt and one day they were pursuing a white hart when one of the boys had his hand steadied by Saint Chad. Chad taught them the ways of Christianity during secret daily visits, unbeknown to their father, Wulfhere.
Meanwhile, Wulfhere’s military leader, Werbode, had asked to marry Werburgh, Wulfhere’s daughter, but she had turned him down. As an act of revenge, Werbode followed Ruffin and Wulfhad and reported back to their father. He also claimed that the boys were planning to overthrow him.
Wulfhere, famous for his temper, immediately killed both boys. Ermenilda buried the children and covered their bodies with stones, giving the name ‘Stone’ to the town in Staffordshire where they were buried. The king regretted his actions and became Christian. He also killed Werbode for his trouble-making.
There is no evidence that Wulfhere had two sons of this name, let alone him murdering them. The idea of him being pagan is also not supported by evidence, especially considering how many Christian monasteries he patronised. If he had been a pagan, Bede would have relished the story of him killing his boys and documented it in his book The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. There are several explanations of this legend and I made up this one for Teon.
The second myth has only appeared once, on the back of a cigarette card in the Churchman Legends of Britain series, produced in the early twentieth century in the USA. The card reads that Wulfhere took Redwald the Bold captive during the invasion of the Isle of Wight. Edith of Stenbury begged Wulfhere to save his life, which he did. This act gave him the title of Wulfhere the Kind Hearted. The sheer lack of any other record of this makes it probably untrue, but it is a pleasant tale nonetheless.
Teon is available in digital and print formats from Amazon. *From 16-18 March the ebook is reduced to £0.99 (Amazon UK)
© 2017 A.J. Sefton. All rights reserved.
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Truly a wonderful company if ethics are your thing. So pleased for my daughter.
Eden Perfumes – Stella, No 91
Eden perfumes are a family run business in Brighton, specialising in beautifully scented perfumes.
I came across Eden after looking for Vegan perfumes that do not smell like a damp tree, or a bottle of Jif…sorry Cif (am I showing my age?)
Cruelty free and Vegan perfumes have come a long way however I really struggle to find scents I like. I struggled with Lush’s earthy perfumes, I wholeheartedly disagree with chemicals being tested on animals but I don’t want to smell like a shrubbery, ya know?!
This is where Eden Perfumes comes in and completely changes everything you think you know about ethical perfumes.
Family run business? Yes. Vegan? yes. Smells like your favourite scent? Yes.
Smells like your favourite scent? Sorry what? Eden Perfume are the leaders in creating dupes of your favourite scent! Moments like this, I really believe miracles do…
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English Specialist archers originating in Wales in medieval times An old Scottish saying dictates that, “Every English archer carries on his belt 24 Scots.” From the thirteenth until th…
Many things have changed since my daughter was a baby. Technology, fashions and trends but the basic care and needs are still the same. Including the need for anxious parents to believe that their child is ‘advanced’, whether that be walking, talking, sitting up or rolling over. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
However, if we all knew about Rumwold we would be content knowing our baby was healthy. None of us could compete with his advanced status so, in the interest of looking daft, we would all stay silent.
Rumwold was born in 650 or 662 and the poor mite only lived for three days. But from the moment of his birth he could speak fluently. Not only that, but what he spoke should have taken decades of learning. He was a self-confessed Christian and asked to be quickly baptised into the faith, he knew all about worship and the principles of Christianity. Just before his death he gave a sermon. There is no record of him holding himself up or whether he still had that weak wobbly neck three-day-old babies have, but I suppose that faded into insignificance.
According to eleventh century records, Rumwold was the grandson of my favourite king, Penda of Mercia and the son of a king of Northumbria. There is speculation about who his parents actually were as none of the facts really add up, even Penda was recorded as converting to Christianity although historians generally agree that he did not. Some suggest Cyneburga and Alcfrith. Anyway, the story goes that Rumwold’s mother was a pious Christian married to a pagan and she would not consummate the marriage until her husband converted. As soon as he becomes Christian, she becomes pregnant. Penda calls for the baby to be born at his palace but the child is born on the journey when they camped overnight in a field. As soon as the baby was born he cried out: “I am a Christian, I am a Christian, I am a Christian!” He added that he should be named ‘Rumwold’.
It is said that he was born in Walton Grounds in Northamptonshire, which was part of Mercia at the time. Obviously such piety resulted in the baby becoming a saint and a chapel was built on the very spot of his birth with rumours that the font was the one he was baptised in. Rumwold predicted his own death and said that he wanted to be buried in Buckingham. There are churches named after him and two wells where his relics once lay. There was a shrine for the many pilgrims who visited, largely thanks to Bishop Wulfstan who wrote down the tale.
Boxley Abbey in Kent had a famous statue of the saint. According to tradition the attempt to lift the statue was a test of a woman’s chastity. In reality, those who paid the priest well could lift the statue easily, while others could not. Upon the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England, it was discovered that the statue was held by a wooden nail.The monks there had a few of these scams going including the supposed cross of Saint Andrew that could talk. This skullduggery only added to Henry VIII’s case that the Church was corrupt and all monasteries should be dissolved.
So us mere mortals with our un-precocious babies should be content that we have them with us at all. Maybe we should buy them something fashionable and advanced on the feast of Saint Rumwold on 3 November. Just a thought.
© 2016 A.J. Sefton
How many lunch boxes have apples in them, I wonder. Not as squashy as bananas or plums, not as juicy as satsumas or peaches, apples are the perfect travelling fruit. As children we were told that they kept our teeth clean. Even better than that, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Statistically, that claim has been proven to be true. Though nobody is really sure why, as apples are not the most vitamin-enriched fruits when compared to bananas or oranges. Perhaps they have some divine nutrient.
We are all aware of the apple being the fruit that led mankind into sin when Eve offered it to Adam. The Anglo-Saxons and Norse folk believed in a goddess called Idunn who kept some very special apples. They had the power of eternal youth and the gods needed them to keep alive, as the Norse and Anglo-Saxon gods were not immortal as many other gods appear to be. The god of mischief, Loki, had fun with Idunn and the magic apples, according to the Old Norse manuscripts. Idunn is a major feature in my book The Dark Garden.
26 September is the birthday of another special apple person, a man known as Johnny Appleseed. His real name was John Chapman and for forty years he travelled through America planting apple trees and handing out apple tree seeds. More than this, he continued to take care of the saplings as they grew, pruning and caring for them and helping the new settlers to create orchards. Born in 1774, Johnny Appleseed has become an American folk hero.
In a month’s time we will be celebrating harvest by playing ‘duck-apple’ where we will try to catch floating apples with our teeth – more about that in October. The best thing about apples? Apple pie with custard. Mmm…