A web site for the developing language teacher

The Storyteller: Shaman and Healer
by Michael Berman
- 2

However, there is no need to travel so far afield in search of the storyteller as shaman. Ballads such as Thomas Rhymer, as closer analysis shows, are in fact shamanic journeys in themselves: There is clearly a great deal more to this ballad than first meets the eye because there is also a parallel with shamanic journeys into nonordinary reality. It is the kiss that moves what Carlos Castaneda called the 'assemblage point' and initiates the process of the journey. As Castaneda explains through the teachings of Don Juan, what we call 'reason' is merely a by-product of the habitual position of the assemblage point. Dreaming (and / or visualization) gives us the fluidity to enter into other worlds and to perceive the inconceivable by making the assemblage point shift outside the human domain. The ballad is presented below, followed by more detailed analysis:

From Child, Part II p.317

True Thomas lay on Huntlie bank
A fairy he spied with his e'e
And there he saw a lady bright
Come riding down by the Eidon Tree.

Her skirt was of the grass green silk
Her mantle of the velvet fine
At each tett of her horse's mane
Hung fifty silver bells and nine.

True Thomas, he pulled off his cap
And bowed low down to his knee
All hail, thou mighty Queen of Heaven!
For thy peer on earth I never did see.

Oh no, oh no, Thomas, she said
That name does not belong to me
I am but the Queen of fair Elfland
That am hither come to visit thee.

Harp and carp, Thomas, she said
Harp and carp along with me
And if you dare to kiss my lips
Sure of your body I will be.

Betide me well, betide me woe
That weird shall never daunton me
Syne he has kissed her rosy lips
All underneath the Eidon Tree.

Now, ye maun go with me, she said
True Thomas, ye maun go with me
And ye maun serve me seven years
Though weal and woe, as may chance to be.

She mounted on her milk white steed
She's taken True Thomas up behind
And aye whenever her bridle rang
The steed flew swifter than the wind.

Oh they rode on, and further on
The steed gaed swifter than the wind
Until they reached a desert wide
And living land was left behind.

Light down, light down now, true Thomas
And lean your head upon my knee
Abide and rest a little space
And I will show you ferlies three.

Oh, see you not yon narrow road
So thick beset with thorn and briars
That is the path of righteousness
Though after it but few enquire.

And see you not that broad, broad road
That lie across that lily leven
That is the path of wickedness
Though some call it the road to Heaven.

And see you not that bonnie road
That winds about the fernie brae
That is the road to fair Elfland
Where thou and I this night maun gae.

But Thomas, you must hold your tongue
Whatever you may hear or see
For if you speak word in Elfin land
You'll ne'er get back to your ain country.

Then they came on to a garden green
And she pulled an apple frae a tree
Take this for thy wages, True Thomas
It will give the tongue that can never lie.

My tongue is my own, True Thomas said
A goodly gift you would give to me
I neither dought to buy or sell
At fair or tryst where I may be.

I dought neither speak to prince nor peer
Nor ask of grace from fair lady
Now hold thy peace, the lady said
For as I say, so it must be.

He has gotten a coat of the even cloth
And a pair of shoes of velvet green
And till seven years were gone and past
True Thomas on earth was never seen.

To page 3 of 3

To a print friendly version

To the articles index

Back to the top

Tips & Newsletter Sign up —  Current Tip —  Past Tips 
Train with us Online Development Courses    Lesson Plan Index
 Phonology — Articles Books  LinksContact
Advertising — Web Hosting — Front page

Copyright 2000-2016© Developing