Tales from End to End
by John A. Siddle
In April as the leaves unfold
And Proserpina* in the fields doth sport,
Her lap with daffodils o’er filled –
So storytellers let their tales be told.
And as they do, so John and Nancy
Start on their northward trek and
Leave the Cornish coast where England ends
To list to tales of derring-do and fancy.
Full many a man and woman has a tale to tell
Of mystery, romance, of tragedy and jest,
About their avocation, hobbies, lives,
And each of them we trust will tell it well.
And just as Chaucer’s pilgrims livened up their way
Along the route to Thomas Becket’s tomb,
So these our fellows will their fancies spin
Until the cliffs of John o’Groats do loom.
And as we back our walkers on their way
So we do hope our stories will enrich your day.
John Siddle is a one-time Headteacher and Secondary Schools Adviser For the County of Humberside. When not camper-vanning around Europe with his wife Kathy, John displays his talents of bell-ringing, painting and calligraphy.
*Proserpina (Greek name ‘Persephone’) was the daughter of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture and the earth. She became goddess of the underworld when Pluto seized her and carried her away to his kingdom. Jupiter ordered Pluto to free Persphone but Pluto did so only on the condition that she lived six months with him and six with her mother. When Proserpina returns to earth, the land blossoms in spring; when she returns to the underworld, the land withers in autumn.
‘April Fool’ may be a relic of the Roman Cerealia, held at the beginning of April. When Pluto carried off Proserpina to the underworld, her mother Ceres, heard the echo of her screams and went in search of the voice. Her search was a fool’s errand, it was ‘hunting the gowk (cuckoo)’ or looking for the ‘echo of a scream’.