Nature, wildlife and public affairs television, earth sciences, gothic vaults and liturgy: Robert Fripp’s fiction and non-fiction share many slices of life. § Here, Fripp introduces his 38 “Wessex Tales” stories. Thomas Hardy used that title over a century ago. Fripp moves it forward with a new collection of “Wessex Tales” covering “Eight thousand years in the life of an English village.” § First come Stone Age hunters. Then villagers discover a new “stone,” bronze. Locals build Stonehenge. A Roman mosaic depicts Jesus. We advance: from Viking raiders to potions for maidens, a medieval wedding, civil war, smugglers, and the second battle of the Somme. § Smashwords releases several stories, here. Read them—free, for a time—choosing a format for your Kindle, Nook, iPad, Mac, PC, iPhone (via Stanza), Sony, Kobo and Androids. All 38 “Wessex Tales” stories will come alive in paperback within two years.
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Wessex Tales: "The Dorset Ooser Dines" (Story 26)
In the village of Child Okeford a ‘Bull’ or 'Ooser' used to show up uninvited at Christmas festivities, causing mayhem. One guest at his manor's annual ball sees an opportunity to make a good match for his daughter. He pays the Ooser to carry her off. Rescued by her otherwise timid suitor, the girl's future is assured. *The Plain Text version cannot display the photo of the Ooser in this tale.
Wessex Tales: "Crossing" (Story 31)
Long ago, the ancient lady in the darkened bed had been the first white woman to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Or had she been the first to walk around it? Whatever the truth, that legend from her lifetime would soon die with her. Unconscious on her deathbed, scenes from her life run through her head while caregivers chatter around her. 
Wessex Tales: "For Viviana's Wedding" (Story 16)
Viviana de Eskelling was the last in the family line of the Norman Schelins. Her family had held Okeford for 200 years. A single woman (a woman sole) was disadvantaged in law. So around 1287 Viviana married Bartholomew Turberville, taking Okeford into the Turberville estates. (Thomas Hardy tweaked 'Turberville' into 'D'Urberville'.) In Okeford, villagers prepare for their lady’s wedding.
Wessex Tales: "Schelin's Daughter" (Story 14)
The Norman knight Schelin (from whom the village of Shilling Okeford or Shillingstone takes its name) was awarded the manor of Okeford for his service to King William at the Battle of Hastings. Schelin holds the richest agricultural land in Dorset, but he still has a problem. His daughter would rather get herself to a nunnery than marry well. A Saxon wise woman’s potions are called for. (c.1085)
Wessex Tales: "Julia" (Story 11)
This story in the "Wessex Tales" collection—"Julia" (Story 11)—is sequel to "The Face in the Floor" (Story 10). It was Julia’s parents who commissioned their villa's magnificent mosaic floor in the previous tale; as a child, she watched the master-mosaicist lay it. As "Julia" begins, Julia is a young woman angry at life, angrier at expectations, and resisting marriage. (circa 335 CE)
Wessex Tales: "The Face in the Floor" (Story 10)
The earliest known mosaic floor to depict Christ was laid in a remote Roman villa in Dorset around 325 CE. (Discovered under meadow grass in 1963 it was moved to the British Museum.) The larger end of this mosaic measures 17 feet by 15, the smaller end, 16½ feet by 8. Why lay this magnificent floor in rustic Dorset? “The Face in the Floor" gives the origins of this floor an imaginative history.
Wessex Tales: "In the land of the great stone rings" (Story 5)
Turig, a Bronze Age farmer, tells his grandson how he had been drafted for labor service decades before. The work was long and dangerous but his supervisor’s flirtatious daughter presented the larger threat. Two years later, Turig helped lift the last sarsen stone onto a structure we know as Stonehenge. [PS: New research revises this date by a full millennium, from 3,600 to 4,600 years ago.]
Wessex Tales: "The Infant and the Hare" (Story 1)
“The Infant and the Hare” is the first, earliest story in Fripp’s new collection, “Wessex Tales: eight thousand years in the life of an English village.” Stone Age hunters make camp on Okeford Hill. As dawn breaks the men go hunting while a woman gives birth. And the end? In an age when human beliefs were much different than ours, the end is mystical.
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