Tower Legends ebook
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A GREAT READ FOR ALL AGES
Since ancient times towers have made a poetic appeal. Towers of many kinds, in all ages and in all countries, have met varying needs. There have been watchtowers, cathedral towers, clock towers, bell towers, towers to commemorate victories, towers to honour the living and towers to celebrate the dead. Around many of the towers, legends have clung - some of these legends are very well known. Towers will always stand midway between fact and poetry, the legends relating to them, more often than not, look in these two directions.
This illustrated volume has brought together 11 such legends with a desire to record some of the characteristic tales that blend with a few of the noble towers of the earth.
The Bible tells of a remote time when men journeyed from the East and found a plain in the land of Shinar. . . . "And they said to one another, 'Come, let us build us a city, and a tower whose top may reach heaven.'" Centuries after the building of the Tower of Babel, an Arab poet, El Deraoui, wrote of another tower, the Pharos, the great lighthouse off the northern coast of Egypt, "On its height a dome enshadowed me and thence I saw my friends the stars. I thought the sea below me was a cloud and that I had set up my tent in the midst of the heavens."
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Excerpt from TOWER LEGENDS
AEOLUS AND THE TOWER OF THE WINDS
THE winds of Greece are blowing, today, in sunny Athens, around the Tower of the Winds on Aeolus Street. The tower stands in an enclosed, grassy space, with a few trees and scattered stones--as if left a little aside by the centuries. This tower had its origin in a daydream of Andronicus, lover of winds and stars; for, in spite of the belief of the early Greeks that all dreams live under the earth, Andronicus made his dream live actually on the earth, in plain sight of the Athenians. It was in the first part of the century before Christ that Andronicus was chosen by the people of Athens to plan a tower which should contain a water clock--this new tower to stand not far from the old market-place, on the low land lying north of the Acropolis. Now as Andronicus was something of an astronomer he decided to have sundials, also, on the water clock. So the tower was built, with a turret on the south side to contain the cistern which supplied the water for the water clock. The movement of water wheels caused the gradual rise of a small figure which pointed a rod to the hours on a dial. The Athenians were much pleased with their new water clock, or clepsydra. Greeks of earlier centuries had had to look to the stars for their time at night. "What star is passing?" they would ask. The clepsydra was evidently better than that method; in fact, it was the most important part of the tower! But, to Andronicus, it was of small significance compared with the thought of his beloved winds; for his cherished daydream was that he would represent on the tower all the winds that blow across the land of Greece. Not only that! He would show to passersby in Athens the very wind that was blowing. The people should have their clepsydra, but the tower should have the winds!
Ever since his youthful days in Cyrrhus, Andronicus had cared for the winds and all the tales about them. He had an especially friendly feeling for Aeolus, king of the winds, whose cave, far away in a mountain on the island of Aeolia, north of Sicily, he knew as well as if he had seen it.
Wasn't that cave the home of the winds who were really the sons of Aeolus? Weren't they kept imprisoned there to play merrily or roughly with one another until their royal master at times released one or more of them? Andronicus knew that winds varied as much as men: there were weak winds, strong winds, capricious winds, steadfast winds, winds that did nothing, winds that did everything. When Aeolus sent them forth, in the great bags that mortals call clouds, and bade them carry out his commands, what couldn't they accomplish of joy or sorrow?
Many a tale of Aeolus and the winds, Andronicus had known from boyhood. One of these tales was about Aeolus and Odysseus. In the course of his long voyaging, Odysseus and his comrades came to the island of Aeolia, one portion of which floated continually, yet never floated away. Sur-rounding the steep shore, was a high wall of bronze through which no man could easily break. Behind this protecting wall, Aeolus and his large family dwelt happily, singing and feasting. When the ship of Odysseus neared Aeolia, the godsfavoured him, for he and his men, by heroic effort, were able to climb the wall of bronze and to enter the island. The heart of King Aeolus instantly warmed at sight of Odysseus, for he gave him welcome to his royal dwelling and bade him and his comrades tarry as long as they would. Joyous feasts now went on, day after day, and, during the feasts, Odysseus, in return for the lavish hospitality of Aeolus, told many a story--stories of Ilium, of the Argive ships, and of the Achaeans. Aeolus and his family listened spellbound. After a month of idleness and feasting, Odysseus became restless for new adventures and told King Aeolus that he was eager to see Ithaca, his home, once more. Aeolus did not try to keep him longer as his guest, and even made him a parting gift. This gift was a huge sack of ox-skin in which all the winds, except the west wind, were tightly bound. When Odysseus boarded his ship, Aeolus himself tied the sack to the mast with a shining silver cord and told the west wind to waft the ship along. Then he bade Odysseus farewell........................
Read the full tale in the book.
Table of Contents for TOWER LEGENDS
|LIST of ILLUSTRATIONS|
|THE STORY TOLD BY THE KEEPER OF THE PHAROS|
|AEOLUS AND THE TOWER OF THE WINDS|
|THE MOON THAT SHONE ON THE PORCELAIN PAGODA|
|THE BRAHMAN'S STAR|
|THE DRAGON OF GHENT|
|THE OX THAT HELPED|
|THE RAVEN OF THE GIRALDA|
|THE GOBLIN OF GIOTTO'S TOWER|
|THE LEPRECHAUN OF ARDMORE TOWER|
|THE TOWER THAT SINGS|
|BIBLIOGRAPHY and NOTES|
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