The Apple and the Thorn - Emma Restall-Orr and Walter William Melnyk
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This story is not true in the sense that most people use the word. It emerges out of the mists of time, rooted deep in the heritage of Britain. It is a weave of mythologies, theologies, and histories. It is the story of two people, and a story of our peoples. It has no beginning and it has no ending.
The Apple and the Thorn stands upon the tradition of two mythical characters: the Lady of the Lake, and Joseph of Arimathea (Eosaidh, in this tale.). Yet the land itself is a living character in the tale, as is the surrounding marsh, the invading Roman legion, and a very special cup of blue glass that unites them all.
The legend of the Lady is found in medieval Arthurian literature, but predates and underlies the story of Arthur by some four hundred years, no doubt emerging out of very ancient oral traditions. In this tale, she is known as Vivian. The story is set amidst the coming of the Jesus tradition from the east to the ancient world of mythic Britain, and what happens when these two worlds first collide. The conflict is deepened when Eosaidh is confronted with the new cult of Jesus that even he cannot accept. In the end, Eosaidh must choose between Avalon and Jerusalem, between two loves. Vivian, too, must face choices she had never imagined.
As the tale unfolds, Vivian and Eosaidh debate the story of the young Lad, exploring questions of God and the gods, humanity, gender, honour, hope, history, ethics, spirituality and, always, the underlying presence and meaning of the land. They alternately succeed and fail in understanding each other. The growing depth of their intellectual connection is matched by the growing depth of their friendship.
For the authors, there is much in this tale that emerges from their own separate life stories, brought together here in a literary collaboration to craft a mythic tale of human struggle and hope in the midst of a violent world. Yet readers will find only themselves in Eosaidh of Cornualle and Vivian of the Marshes.
Emma Restall Orr (Bobcat) Walter William Melnyk (Oak)