Circles of Gold
The good and the bad of being different (a fable)
You can purchase direct from this site, with Paypal ...
He was born with a defect he could not change. He was different and could never be like other boys, other men, other people. His disfigurement eventually drove him from his family, from the village and out into the world as a troubadour, a teller-of-tales … well, more precisely, a listener-of-tales.
In solitude, with his trusty horse, he found a softer world without sniggers and demands and a world of peace and the silent whisperings of his soul.
However, the solitude never lasted for long. The more he searched for that softer world, the more the sharp and abrasive one encroached upon him … till, one day, he met someone he didn’t want to turn away, someone who yearned for the disfigurement he had.
Also available at ...
Publisher: The Write Site
Number of pages 44
Book size: 129mm x 198mm
Interior Black & white
Cover Colour, matt
Reviews of Circles of Gold ... excerpts below
The story is well-written and draws the reader in. The narrative is well-written but seems to take the place of any action. You write well and your dialogue (although lengthy) is good. ~ Colin Davy
A good read which held my attention to the end. I liked the way the story moved along and enjoyed getting to know your character. I really enjoyed this story. I thought the character was well developed and believable. The pace was just right for this type of narrative, and kept my interest. ~ Colleen S
Philip, I found this story quite endearing. I was expecting a horrible deformity and when I read it was a golden belly button, I couldn’t help but laugh. Of all the things to be upset about? You managed to portray his father’s sentiment about it. The ending was lovely and overall, I found it to be a nice read. ~ Gabriella
This reads like a classic fairytale and as such it works perfectly. To make the parents a vicar and his wife is an interesting touch because it adds an extra element of conflict. Looked at as a whole, I enjoyed this and I wish you luck with it. ~ MLT
Philip, I’ve awarded you five points for ‘Themes and Ideas’. You have so many in your sample chapters. They have originality and are unique. I found reading them thought-provoking which is probably what you intended. I think you have succeeded in mastering the format, and therefore, perhaps, no real alterations should be made.
Incidentally, I found the book jacket illustration extremely interesting. It projects the heart of the story without making it too obvious. Maybe I should have said ‘belly button’ of the story. ~ Hermit
I really enjoyed this story. I liked the way that the father had to deal with his own emotions concerning the birth deformities of his son, and his role as a priest in life. The story moved along at a good pace and I was entertained throughout. ~ John
Your writing has rhythm and you build good climaxes through your language. You’ve definitely got the fire and brimstone side of it down and it can be pretty powerful stuff. ~ Nomadagio
This was a lovely story. I was thoroughly entertained and my interest was held right through. It is a beautiful fairy story to me or rather I should write, mythical. The settings were vivid and so visual I could almost imagine I was walking alongside the horse and then the cart. The dialogue was clear and sharp and did not jar. There was also the subtext of deformity which was Alfred Adler’s (one of Freud’s disciples) theory of neurosis. You executed this very well. The ending ... was touching and so original. Great story.
There are almost always positive things to say about a piece of writing to quote the fine print. It is rare to find a piece that one can say only positive things as is the case here.
Also it is rare to find a story which has been so beautifully written. I use ‘beautifully’ rather than well written because your use of the language is outstanding it starts at the first sentence the first ‘Once upon a time, when dreaming was useful, a child was born.’
And runs all the way through the story to ‘They smiled at each other as he urged Clyde to start for the village. He shyly put his hand on hers and she didn’t move hers away.’ ~ Harry Helfer.
Excerpt - first chapter
Once upon a time, when dreaming was useful, a child was born. His father, with youthful exuberance, watched his son enter his world and exclaimed, “Oh, me God, he’s beautiful! He’s ...” He stopped exclaiming for he had seen something he had not expected. His silence was palpable as he frowned and quickly forced a smile back to his face. Too late. His straining wife, focused on her own exertions, pains and joys, sensed a peripheral shiver touch her heart. She looked at her husband’s wooden smile and knew all was not well. The midwife and her two assistants – village girls learning this important craft – caught the cool wind of concern and they stopped momentarily, uneasily, for a second that travelled into eternity.
An impartial observer would have sensed nothing but, for those involved, a ripple of time, a shadow of unease, passed through all of them. They then returned to what needed to be done, pretending they had not seen what was fully evident.
The naked wee babe was wiped of the wax over his pink body with damp cloths infused with herbs, and then placed on his mother’s naked belly, flesh to flesh. Her fervent panting had by now given way to gentle sighs and grateful smiles and all looked a picture of peace as the three other women gathered their ewers, bowls, utensils and unused liquids, to be cleansed or buried in the ancient way. They left the candles burning and the bundles of sage and lavender smouldering to help cleanse and purify the room.
The young druid, his wife and son were soon alone. As he sat smiling at his wife and child, he wondered why the Goddess, The Mother, would give him perfection in everything and then mar it with deformity. He considered whether he should rewrite tomorrow’s sermon which was written, in anticipation of this sweet moment, on the Goddess’s preference for providing us with perfection if we would but get out of Her way, stop judging and love what is provided. Perhaps the point is to accept perfection and imperfection, beauty and deformity, for life was never perfect, easy and fully joyous. Lovely sentiments, nice theory for a priest to talk about but, blast it! This was his son, in his life, in his house and they’d all have to live with that abnormality, that un-human monstrosity, forever. It just wasn’t fair, especially for a man of the Goddess to have to deal with the cruel humour of a vicious creator. The Goddess had always been so loving till now so why did She have to turn on him, a good and pious man who had given his life over to Her and Her mighty works and now, now that he had all he wanted, She savagely distorts that which he must live with. Why, oh why, Dear Goddess? Why me? Why now? His thoughts raged on.
The dread that had been instilled in his heart from the gathering of men of his calling, two valleys away, two moons ago, rose as bile in his throat. In their flowing white cloaks the men had stepped down into their sacred pit, inside the heart of The Mother, to hear The Mother speak to them through the voice of their gutuatri. Instead of uplifting, the words were, this time, quietly foreboding of a time to come. This End Time, The Mother said, would see neighbour fight with neighbour, famine would be on the land and peoples’ minds and bodies would be deformed. This Time, She said, may not be in their lifetimes and they must not talk of it to the uninitiated, to the villagers. In fact, She said, the priests must bring as much light and love to their people for that could, perhaps, keep the blackness from this land. It would, at least, reduce its tragic effects.
This message of doom, though a long time off, had shaken Bryn to his bones and he could not share it with anyone and so it grew. And now his son – his son, the son of a druid priest – was deformed. Was it a reflection of his own impurity, the ungodliness he kept inside? He felt The Mother pointing at him, not with her usually loving smile but with an accusing grimace.
He knew that the deformity was there – he had seen it – but it was now hidden, pressed against his wife’s soft belly. He felt himself slipping off the map of his life, his fingers clinging to the edge as pebbles loosened themselves and spun into the abyss below. This was not as he had planned it to be and now he could feel himself about to plummet into the rude forests of his ancestors where gnarly, savage creatures waited to taunt him, if not to devour him. As that ancient fear of all men – the fear of not being in control – threatened to swamp him, he remembered his training. So he invited the Goddess inside. He sat with Her inside. He stilled his mind, opened his palms, softened his jaw and smiled his eyes and mouth. He crawled back from that cracking edge of a life so-dreamed and lay there panting on the warm earth as She stilled his rushing thoughts. Through the panic he arrived back home to a comfortable peace, a knowing that he knew nothing, and that was as it should be, somehow.
He smiled an easy smile now and his young wife opened her eyes at its invitation. At the instant that she had first seen the uncertainty and fear in her husband’s eyes, as their child entered his new world, she had shut the doors of doubt and cocooned herself in that sweet and primitive first moment of embrace with what had been inside her, returning to her as the perfect embodiment of their love. This moment would never come again and her bliss kept the dark wolves of doubt far from her door.
 The word, Druid, is purely Celtic, and its meaning probably implies that, like the sorcerer and medicine-man everywhere, the Druid was regarded as “the knowing one.” It is composed of two parts - dru- (an intensive) and vids, from vid, “to know,” or “see.” Hence the Druid was “the very knowing or wise one.” It is possible, however, that dru- is connected with the root which gives the word “oak” in Celtic speech - Gaulish deruo, Irish dair, Welsh derw - and that the oak, occupying a place in the cult, was thus brought into relation with the name of the priesthood. The Gaulish form of the name was probably druis, the Old Irish was drai. The modern forms in Irish and Scots Gaelic, drui and draoi, mean “sorcerer.”
 Gutuatri is the equivalent of a Druidic High Priest.
 Gutuatri is the equivalent of a Druidic High Priest.