Yuletide at Castle Haunn

Castle HaunnOur castle is built into the crags above Port Haunn. I’m Princeling Dylan and I live there with my brother Dougall and our uncles and aunties and cousins and friends.  Mostly we’re related.  We live on the far west of an island.  There are three castles on the island, us, Craig and Sarlen. Four if you count Tober Hold.  We are the smallest but it doesn’t stop us having fun at Yule.

Usually there’s a big log that we drag in during the year from the forests behind Sandy Bay.  It takes us all year because the tracks are rough and steep and rocky.  We send a party one day a week to bring it closer. We hide it under a big rock until Solstice.  The Laird makes a speech at Solstice and then we pull the log into the arena.  That’s what we call the flat sandy area inside the castle.  It’s surrounded by rock but open to the sky.  Then some people make the log burn.  I’ve never been allowed near it when they do that.  Apparently I went near it when I was little and it singed my hair.  I don’t remember it.  I have very thick long hair.  It keeps me warm.

I don’t know what the Laird says in his speech.  It’s long and boring so I don’t listen.  I usually wonder what the eagles are doing and whether we’ll have a nice feast afterwards.  We usually do have a feast afterwards.  Sometimes it’s nice and sometimes it’s boring.  It depends on the food.  We go back to work after Solstice day off, although we also have to practice the music and dancing for Green Willow Day. The next thing is another party with games on Green Willow eve.  We play chase the ribbon and hunt the tiger, and run the walls and games like that.  Uncle Hamish is very good at run the walls.  I want to run the walls like him one day. Dougall reminded me to tell about the year the Narrator came to stay at Yule.  It was brilliant.  He told stories every night. They were exciting.  I was never bored.  They were tales of Outside. He ran the wall too, and he beat Uncle Hamish by a whisker.  I hope he comes again one day.

On Green Willow Day we all help prepare for the party, which is called a ceilidh, in the evening, but first we have a walk round the cliffs to mark the edge of our territory.  We have to time it right so we do the caves when the tide is out.  Then we come home and have hot drinks.  Sometimes Uncle Robert has a lot of hot drinks and he falls over and goes to sleep for the rest of the day. Then there’s the ceilidh, which goes on all night.  At midnight we go out and put a gift in our neighbour’s doorways and when we come back there are things on our doorway.  That’s after we’ve done some dancing all the way round the castle including the traditional one called Strip the Green Willow, which is very fast and twirly and I’m very good at it.

And then we all go to bed and when we wake up it’s a new year.

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