The Giants of Bodmin Moor
(c) George Pritchard
Once upon a time Bodmin Moor was part of a great forest which stretched all the way from what we now know as Hayle in Cornwall to the river Tamar. The forest was the home of a family of dragons who loved to fly amongst the trees and who would race each other from one end of the land to the other. The youngest of these was called Flame and he and his family shared the land with lots of other animals and birds as well as a number of tribes of people. Amongst these was a tribe who were descended from the crew of a ship which had been wrecked some years before. This tribe had sailed from a land which had very few trees and where the sun shone all day long and warmed their backs as they worked in the fields. Because of this they hated the dark forest and got very depressed because they could not see the sun. They were also too frightened of the sea to build a boat to return to their own land so had remained trapped in this land of forests.
One day Dynus the head of the tribe called them all together for a meeting. He informed them that he and the council had decided that they should cut down the trees in order to let the suns rays into their homes. The people of the tribe thought that this was a wonderful idea and could not wait to begin the work. In order to carry out their plan they needed to travel to a part of the forest called Clicker Tor near the hamlet of Menheniot which was famous for a hard greenstone which could be used for making axes.
Arriving at Clicker Tor they made camp and set about gathering the large stones from which they would start to make the axes. They knew it would take a long time as each axe would have to be very sharp. So while the men were getting on with axe making the women and children began to erect a shelter where they could sleep. When the shelter was built, they decided to have an early night and then the next day some of them would start work on cutting down the forest whilst others made more axes.
The following morning they woke early and having breakfasted they started to chop down the trees. Even though the axes were very sharp it took a long time to cut down each tree and it was many days before they had opened up an area large enough for them to build a proper village. The trees lay dying all around and these had been home to lots of creatures who had begun to run away as their homes were destroyed by the men with the axes.
The dragons were having one of their races and suddenly saw smoke rising from the area of the forest known as Clicker. They swooped down and saw the devastation which had been caused. They also saw the animals who were hiding on the forests edge. The animals and birds told them what was happening, and asked the dragons to hunt through the forest till they found the wise old magician known as Merlin and to ask for his help.
Flash and the other dragons set off to scour different areas of the forest searching for days with no site of Merlin. Little Flash was beginning to feel tired and decided to take a rest in a large old apple tree that had lots of bright red apples on it's branches. When he came to rest he suddenly realized that the tree was eating its fruit and he knew that he had found Merlin who had obviously changed himself into a tree and was contentedly eating the fruit which grew in his crown.
Flame was in awe of the great magician because of the wonderous things he could do. He was the only human who could hold a conversation with the dragons and understand what they said. Now he told the magician what was happening on the other side of the great forest and how the trees were being killed by the men in order to let the sun onto the land. Merlin was angry and said that it was his fault as he had been so busy eating the fruit to notice what was happening. He asked Flame to return to Clicker Tor and keep watch and report what was happening. In the meantime he said, he would meet with the animals and birds and decide what to do.
Once word got around the forest as to where Merlin was birds and animals made their way there. The birds were the first to arrive but soon all kinds of creatures where pleading with him to help them stop the destruction of their homes. "But who has done this terrible thing?" asked Merlin.
“It was the humans oh mighty king,” said a squirrel “and they intend to destroy the whole forest in order to let the sunlight in."
“Then I shall have to become human to stop them. But I will need the help of the reader who must click me with the magic mouse.”
Once the Merlin had taken his new form he set off to find out just who was cutting down all the trees. It would take three days traveling through the land before he would reach the new village which had been built close to the circle of sacred stones.
On the third day he reached the area. This was a sacred place and the devastation caused by the woodcutters upset Merlin. There was not a tree left standing for miles around and he was determined to take his revenge on those who had destroyed his subjects. As his temper got blacker so did the sky and storm clouds began to gather.
The village was deserted and Merlin was furious that he had not found the people who were the cause of all the problems. But Flame had been hiding amongst the stones and he told Merlin that the people had gone to have a party in the main town.
Merlin knew that a big storm was coming so decided that he would become a Once again the magician changed his disguise in order that he would not be noticed amongst a crowd of people. He decided became a wandering druid
Disguised as a druid, the Tree King set off for the capital city of Lyonesse, arriving at the ancient capital in a raging thunderstorm. Many people had fallen ill and had taken to their beds. But one group was singing and dancing and generally having a good time.
"Good evening" said the druid. " Why are you partying when so many of your neighbours are ill?"
"Because we are happy having worked in the sun all day. Our neighbours can't stand the light and have taken to their beds in order to escape the lighting flash."
"Don't you care about them?" asked the druid?
"Why should we” replied Dynas for that was who it was. "We have what we want at last and they must learn to like it."
"What about the animals?" said the druid, "you are destroying their homes."
"Animals!" shouted Dynas "they are only here so we can catch them to eat or use them to plough the fields and such-like. And those that are of no use to us, what does it matter if they have to move as long as we have the sunlight and room to grow our crops and timber to build our barns and houses."
"And what about the trees themselves” spoke the druid “….what about their rights to go on living?
Bah", Dynas said, "Trees don't have rights."
At this the Tree King became very sad and he wandered off to the local inn to sit and think what he could do next