|Subject: [Test] Johnstone, Jefrey: Was Hardcleaver the Sword in the Stone|
|From: Jeffrey Johnstone <email@example.com>|
|Date: 6/17/2021, 9:05 PM|
Was Hardcleaver the Sword in the Stone?
A Novel of Scotland’s Bitterest Clan Feud
Now available as hardcover, e- book and paperback on Amazon
Dryfe Sands now has readers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, and Australia!
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In the novel Dryfe Sands, eleven-year-old Robert Johnstone of Raecleuch takes a sword called Hardcleaver to the Battle of Dryfe Sands. "Hardcleaver" is a loose translation of Caledfwlch ("hard-cleft"), the name in the original Welsh of the legendary sword of King Arthur, later known as Excalibur.
According to Arthurian legend, Arthur proved that he was the rightful King of Britain (and the son of King Uther Pendragon) by withdrawing a sword from an anvil mounted on a stone, a feat no one else could accomplish, as foretold by Merlin. Excalibur is the same as the sword in the stone in some versions of Arthurian romance. In Dryfe Sands, Robert withdraws his father's sword, Hardcleaver, from a stone lined chamber under a large stone.
The role of Thomas Johnstone of Craigieburn as an elderly guide and mentor to Robert alludes (minus the magic) to the Arthurian Merlin, a figure who is also associated with the Scottish Borders in the persona of Myrddin Wyllt. In Dryfe Sands, the night before the Battle of Dryfe Sands, Robert has a dream about Merlin's role at the Battle of Arfderydd and his later life on Hartfell and in the Scottish Borders. As Merlin was driven mad by the Battle of Arfderydd, Robert experiences symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after the Battle of Dryfe Sands. Later in the novel, on the way to Edinburgh Robert passes by Merlin's grave at Drumelzier.
In addition to his father's sword, Robert Johnstone of Raecleuch also wears his father’s Morion, jack, and riding boots at the Battle of Dryfe Sands. He rides a hardy, unshod Galloway pony, sometimes called a hobbler. At the battle, his weapon of choice is the lance, the favorite of Border Reivers.
I have included some Welsh references in the novel Dryfe Sands mostly because many traditional Welsh stories and poems actually originated in what is now southern Scotland, where the Brittonic (Brythonic) Celtic language once spoken was the ancestor of modern Welsh. It seems likely that many Celtic practices among the Scots-and-English- speaking Border Reivers were relics of the region's proto-Welsh past. Disclosure: My paternal grandmother was born in the place she always referred to as North Wales.
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Jeffrey Johnstone | 62 Babcock Drive, Rochester, NY 14610 jeffreyjohnstone.com