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I’ve been writing a story, which will hopefully one day turn itself into a book, about the founding of Bath according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, based on a few lines in the Historia Regum Britanniae. Geoffrey was an 11th century historian, his history of the kings of Britain includes magic and folktales mixed in with actual history and is actually quite entertaining, if very strange. It’s largely fictionalised, but the legend of Bladud’s pigs and the founding of Bath (or Caervaddon) as he searched for a cure for his leprosy is in there, albeit a few lines long. In my story, the boars are intelligent enough to have their own culture and also to communicate with humans, and have a greater connection to nature and to the gods than the humans. Bladud and his people move to Caervaddon and integrate themselves with the Boars, living side by side with them. The Lord of the Boars, the Earl (I know earl is an Anglo-Saxon title but i thought it fit him better), agrees a deal with the King in which he agrees to take the king to the most secret and holy of the springs, in which the gods can be reached. It’s a journey story, with betrayal, witches, faeries and magic, and one day i hope i’ll finish it. I was considering it the other day, and decided to write a poem (that may not actually reflect the plot) that was supposed to look like a lay, or medival poem, with a story along the same lines.


Bath was founded by the boars,

That led a leprous king,

To the holy waters

That cured him

Enough to live

To leave

To rule his kingdom.

The King betrayed them

After long journeys

He forgot the cause of his


Once he’d left,

He’d been dying

from the outside in,

Though now he was cured

His conscience

Had been wracked and rotted.

The soul cannot be

so easily repaired

Even with the old magicks.

The boar that took him to

the holiest of springs

That cured his leper scars

Led him alone

To where the gods slept

Was the best of them.

He trusted, or he thought,

What was best for his people

Was to strike an accord,

That these men could be trusted

To keep a promise,

Though in the end

Greed ruins men.

Everything has a price,

The King left healed,

But in the end

His rotted soul took him

To the edge of his palace

It drove him mad,

Made him desire that

un-achievable flight,

Step from his battlements

Into the evening sky.

Men are not meant to speak with gods.

The boar was an earl,

That’s what they say,

He died at the spring

When he was betrayed,

Now he wanders along,

The banks and the springs

Searching forever

For his tusks

And his kin.


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