(September 12th to 18th)

Format: Triple

Just beyond the west fringe of our land, in a little valley running from Nowhere to Nothing-at-all, stood the long, overgrown slag-heap of a most ancient forge, supposed to have been worked by the Phoenicians and Romans and, since then, uninterruptedly till the middle of the eighteenth century. The bracken and rush-patches still hid stray pigs of iron, and if one scratched a few inches through the rabbit-shaven turf, one came on the narrow mule-tracks of peacock-hued furnace-slag laid down in Elizabeth’s day.


This is from “The Very Own House” in Something of Myself, Kipling’s autobiography.

Beyond that precise hamlet which stands godmother to the capital of the United States, I found hidden villages where bees, the only things awake, boomed in eighty-foot lindens that overhung grey Norman churches; miraculous brooks diving under stone bridges built for heavier traffic than would ever vex them again; tithe-barns larger than their churches, and an old smithy that cried out aloud how it had once been a hall of the Knights of the Temple. Gipsies I found on a common where the gorse, bracken, and heath fought it out together up a mile of Roman road;


This is from “‘They'” in Traffics and Discoveries.

The narrator is driving across Sussex into unknown country, The journey will take him to a strange beautiful old house, haunted by the ghosts of dead children.

‘Now are you two lawfully seized and possessed of all Old England,’ began Puck, in a sing-song voice. ‘By Right of Oak, Ash, and Thorn are you free to come and go and look and know where I shall show or best you please. You shall see What you shall see and you shall hear What you shall hear, though It shall have happened three thousand year; and you shall know neither Doubt nor Fear. Fast! Hold fast all I give you.’


This is from “Weland’s Sword” in Puck of Pook’s Hill

In a fairy ring under Pook’s Hill on Midsummer Eve, Dan and Una have encountered Puck, Robin Goodfellow, the last of the People of the Hills. He is giving them ‘seizin of Old England’ which will allow them—with him—to meet men and women who have lived in or near their valley over the past three thousand years. This they do in the later stories, and in Rewards and Fairies.