Fiction Feature – Perceval and the Tennessee Mountain Home

When Perceval had again mounted his fiery steed he rode through the forest until he reached a clearing and a high hill. He urged his horse up the slope, and near its summit found a square log hut all green with moss. An old woman, having heard him approach, emerged and stood before her door. Showing no astonishment at his armour and his fearsome mien, she announced her name was Sibyl and asked him would he like to come inside. As the knight sat himself down before her fire she fed him on fried dough and dandelion greens and bade him drink his satiety of corn squeezings. When at last he was refreshed she begged him entertain her, and lustily sang he out his tales of battlings, feastings, wenchings, and other follies.

The knight inquired about the lands which lay beyond the mountains.

—Strange and savage, she replied. — And there be no respectin’ of gentlemanly ways.
—But where am I to go? the knight did wail. — I am old, and my vassals have driven me from my estate.
—There is another way, the hag replied. — To the north runs a canyon your horse might jump. Beyond it stands the ash Verity, who wields a branch of mistletoe on her nether limbs. Pass beneath this bough, and you will be freely admitted into Paradise.

Perceval thanked her warmly and bid her adieu.

The canyon, though deep, was narrow, and Perceval the Brave did not quake at the sight of it. He galloped his red steed to the edge of the precipice and flew into the air. Knight and horse fell with a resounding crash to the rocks below. There, atop the bones of myriad knights and noble mounts, they were eventually buried beneath eroded soil, and in The Year of Our Lord 1911, were overlaid by the shining tracks which bore the fastest train you ever saw: Engine One Hundred and Forty-Three.

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