The Long Way Home
This miniseries was inspired by Kate Shrewsday’s post here: http://kateshrewsday.com/2014/01/06/dragon-slayers-and-knuckerholes/ Read the first post in the miniseries here: http://andrawatkins.com/2014/01/14/dungeons-and-dragons/
Welsh legend has it that a prince set sail for North America in the 1100’s. Madoc couldn’t have known where he was going. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have chosen to land at Mobile Bay in present-day Alabama.
Imagine, crawling out of a tiny boat after a trip across an ocean, only to have one’s carcass picked clean by mosquitoes and no-see-ums and alligators, not to mention the natives who were already there.
The Mississippian peoples were none too happy with the princely intruder and his tribe. They sent him packing. Across Alabama. Mississippi. Harsh, hell-hot, bug-infested territory for folks accustomed to living in Wales.
Some believe he used the Natchez Trace to wander near the current city of Nashville, Tennessee, on his way to modern-day Louisville, Kentucky and the great Ohio River. He must’ve stirred up a stink wherever he went, because nobody wanted to share their lands with him.
Water bound again, he steered his vessels into the Mississippi River and found its junction with the Missouri. He stopped roaming (or maybe he just died) when he found paradise somewhere in North or South Dakota, the father of the Mandan tribe.
While the bulk of historical evidence disregards the theory of Madoc as the father of the Mandan people, I can’t help but wonder whether it was something along those lines that introduced dragons into Native American lore. It could’ve also been the Vikings, but I like to imagine it was the Welsh. Tramping through swamps. Boiling in thick humidity. Killing a first buffalo.
Hollowing out part of the gouge in the earth that is the road I will follow in March.