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About the Story
The numerous Megalithic monuments which are scattered across these islands are the subjects of countless legends and folktales. One story common to many of the great standing stones is that of petrification in which persons have been turned into stone in retribution for some sinful misdemeanour. The petrification legend associated with the Nine Dancers differs from most others in that the unfortunate persons were not punished for sabbath - breaking.
According to local folklore a princess was engaged to be married to a prince from a neighbouring kingdom. An evil enchantress was so outraged at not being invited to the wedding celebrations that she decided to wreak a most terrible revenge.
On the morning of the wedding she assumed the guise of a travelling musician. She wandered down to the grassy plain where the princess was preparing her floral garland. The sorceress played such sweet music that the princess was overcome by a strong desire to dance. The lilting melodies brought others to join the dance. It was strange that music so fair could come from hands so evil. As the circling dancers whirled around the evil hag intoned:
"Wedding day, thou shalt have none,
From this day forth thou shalt be stone."
Within the instant the dancers had been turned into stone.
When word reached the prince he became heartbroken. Now, there was a wizard who acted as advisor to the King and Queen and so the prince went to consult him.
The wizard announced that one day the spell would be broken and the princess would be restored to life again. "Whilst she is in stone then so shall you be," said the wizard as he circled the prince three times. "Whosoever revives the princess shall revive you also and the wedding will proceed as arranged."
When the wizard had finished speaking the prince had become stone. In order that no harm should befall the stones the wizard left his abode and, turning himself into an elder tree, he took up position near the petrified dancers.
Other legends connected with prehistoric sites tell of fairies, ghosts, infernal black dogs, hidden treasure and (more recently) U.F.O.s. To those unfamiliar with fairy lore it should be emphasised that the conventional image of a fairy as a pretty little creature with gossamer wings is a recently introduced one. The older tales concerning fairies described that as Little People who were normally formed although small in stature. The association of the fairies with ancient sites is a strong one and prehistoric barrows are often referred to as Fairy Hills.
In The Nine Dancers, you play the part of a reporter for a local newspaper who has been asked to write an article on the stories connected with some of the local tourist sites. As the bus on which you are travelling winds through narrow country lanes, you gaze out at the passing scenery. The bus swerves to avoid a fox which suddenly runs out in front of it and you are jolted out of your seat. The bus stops in the village of Steignton and you get out.........
This is version 4 of this page, edited by Lance Campbell
on 29 December 2021 at 6:06pm.
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