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  • At Orford Ness close by the sea There stands a great stone tower

  • To guard against invasion And display the royal power

  • From atop its mighty ramparts You could once observe the shore

  • Where once they found a monster That had not been seen before

  • The fisher folk of Orford Dragged their nets onto the beach

  • To see what fish had been ensnared And drawn into their reach

  • One of the nets bulged with its catch To their delighted eyes

  • But when they looked within They got a terrible surprise

  • For tangled up within the net No wriggling fish were there

  • Instead their catch appeared to be A wild man covered in hair

  • They took the wild eyed stranger off To Orford Castle keep

  • To see what could learn about This mystery from the deep

  • The wild man was subjected to An interrogation

  • But only spoke in strange sounds To the Constable's frustration

  • And so, to learn his secrets And to make the wild man speak

  • He was thrown into a dungeon And tortured for

  • a week

  • The fisher folk in pity Gave the wild man liberty

  • To take a little exercise By walking by the sea

  • They rigged their nets around him To make a sort of pen

  • But the wild man slipped into the sea And was never seen again

  • Now Orford Ness is peaceful And the fisher folk are gone

  • But the legend of the wild man of Orford lingers on

  • The wild man of Orford story is taken from a 13th century monk's account about a weird

  • human-like creature plucked out of the sea off East Anglia. The wild man of Orford was

  • allegedly a weird human-like creature fished up out of the sea off the then busy port of

  • Orford with its crowning castle in the late 12th century. The story as we have it is that

  • Orford fishermen were out doing what fishermen do best and their nets caught a wild man.

  • He looked exactly like an ordinary man except that was naked, covered in hair and lived

  • in the sea. They took him back to Orford and tortured him to try to get him to explain

  • who he was and what he was doing and after wasting a lot of time with this cruelty realised

  • that he really didn't understand English and there was no way of communicating so they

  • hosed him down and apologised and kept him as a pet for a while. Then they took him out

  • to sea and put him in a pen of nets to see if he'd like that. They forgot to put a bottom

  • in the pen so he simply swam underneath but in explicably came back to Orford and lived

  • with them for a couple more months before he got bored and suddenly swam off down the

  • estuary and disappeared.

  • Wild men are big items in the medieval imagination. They go on through it from the earliest times

  • to the end. The middle ages were fascinated by the boundary of what's human. Scholars,

  • especially based in monasteries, loved collecting stories about human-like creatures that weren't

  • human. The kind of people we'd now call fairies or elves or gnomes or pixies in particular

  • but also mermaids, and the wild man was great to think with because he is the ultimate savage.

  • He's the human being gone back to nature with no ties left with civilisation at all, so

  • the middle ages striving to preserve and create civilisation, the wild man was a real mirror

  • image.

  • I personally don't think the wild man ever existed and I'm ashamed to say this because

  • the story itself is so wildly improbable. You get this poor guy from the sea, you torture

  • him and abuse him and he escapes and then he comes back for more. It just doesn't ring

  • true. But certainly it's a great story. It gives this little east-anglian sea port something

  • that no other sea port has. It's a story of its own literally written into its fabric.

At Orford Ness close by the sea There stands a great stone tower


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イングリッシュ・フォークロア物語 第6話「オルフォードの野人 (Tales from English Folklore #6: The Wild Man of Orford)

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    Summer に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日