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The Long Way Home

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This miniseries was inspired by Kate Shrewsday’s post here:Β http://kateshrewsday.com/2014/01/06/dragon-slayers-and-knuckerholes/Β Read the first post in the miniseries here:Β 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.

34 Comments Post a comment
  1. The Mandans go out in the midday sun? If so, that is definite proof. Only Madocs and Englishmen do that.

    January 15, 2014
  2. Don’t know how I’ve managed to miss that one, but I hadn’t heard of him! Thanks πŸ™‚ I wonder how many more there are, this looks like an interesting series. I know about the Vikings and Leif Eirikson, and the Irish St Brendan with his coracle, and Thor Heyerdahl’s Ra expedition based on a wild theory, but this one had passed me by. I look forward to the rest πŸ™‚

    January 15, 2014
  3. Great. Just great. Now I’m going to have Supertramp in my head.

    January 15, 2014
  4. Interesting. I had never heard of this fellow either. Thanks for the introduction. Great series, Andra.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    January 15, 2014
  5. I just wish I could get a look at their faces the first time they actually saw an alligator. That would have been a surprise!

    January 15, 2014
  6. aboccucci #

    I have heard of this!!! Thank you Madeline l’Engle and the Time Quintet. The third book in the series is A Swiftly Tilting Planet and it references Madoc and his brother.

    January 15, 2014
    • *That’s* where I remembered edges of this tale from – thank you for the reminder. That was one of my favorite Madeline l’Engle books.

      January 15, 2014
  7. Man, this is great information!! I’m so glad you’re doing this series.

    January 15, 2014
  8. This is good stuff!

    January 15, 2014
  9. I had no idea. Love this!

    January 15, 2014
  10. tarakianwarrior #

    Enjoying the journey already.

    January 15, 2014
  11. I love tidbits of history like this.

    January 15, 2014
  12. I can only imagine that first introduction to mosquitoes. Yipes!

    January 15, 2014
  13. If the men of that area are over affectionate with sheep, there may well be truth in the story that the Welsh were there:)

    January 15, 2014
  14. This is rapidly becoming the history lesson I never received. πŸ™‚ I don’t remember that Indiana history, waaaay back when I was in school, delved much farther back than the time of Statehood, and the teacher I had was primarily hell-bent that we should learn the names, locations and county seats of all 92 counties (and be able to put them in their proper locales on a blank map)! I probably couldn’t name a third of them today!!

    We all know how the US history books have been tweaked over the years, but I think even 55-60 years ago, we were only being fed the highlights of this country’s growth from east to west. Little attention was given to the 128 years between Columbus’ landing and the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, let alone who/what may have come along BEFORE Columbus!

    I hadn’t heard of this Welshman either.

    January 15, 2014
  15. It’s so much fun to think outside of the traditional history books, thanks for opening up some new (to me) ideas. πŸ™‚

    January 15, 2014
  16. And hopefully getting fewer snake and alligator bites than they did as you go!

    January 15, 2014
  17. Of course, this story (like many others) has been filtered over time into something a lot more easily digestible for some who prefer a more sanitized view of things:

    Is Gilligan even a Welsh name? Well, it is now…

    January 15, 2014
  18. Thank you for educating us, once again.

    January 15, 2014
  19. i just keep learning from you…..

    January 15, 2014
  20. I had not ever heard this story either.

    January 15, 2014
  21. It’s possible he froze after landing in South or North Dakota – based on how cold the temps were earlier in the year this year. Imagine the lack of heating, a/c, R-factor insulation, cars … the list goes on and on. πŸ™‚

    January 15, 2014
  22. It’s getting curiouser and curiouser. I’m with you, Andra – the Vikings get so much of North America. I think they can stand to share some of it with the Welsh.

    January 15, 2014
  23. There is so much we can’t possibly know about early peoples and discovery timelines, but you capture the spirit of what fuels my imagination and makes me want to keep asking more questions. This is beautifully written and I can already feel how at one you are with the Trace. I expect March to produce magic. ox

    January 16, 2014
  24. Wow, father of the Mandan – I’d never heard this tale before! That’s pretty darn cool. πŸ™‚

    January 16, 2014
  25. Carlos Ovalle #

    While I think this thing about the Welsh tribe is fantasy, I am reminded of my own family history. Who would believe the story about a tribe of tall, blonde, blue-eyed Q’eqchi’ Mayans in the central highlands if Guatemala?

    January 17, 2014
    • See? Anything is possible. Maybe not probable, but possible.

      January 17, 2014
  26. ‘twould appear I’ve already read part two, but I’ve read it again anyway! πŸ™‚
    I’d go for Welsh Vikings as the culprits, Andra. (The Welsh for viking is viking, pronounced vAking, according to Google Translate – just a random fact I’ve just learned and thought I’d share!) Off to read part three now!

    January 17, 2014
  27. I LOVE the thought it could have been the Welsh. Charming. Did you ever see Ivor The Engine on your side of the land? We were brought up on it.

    January 19, 2014
    • I’ve heard of it, Kate. We didn’t have it, though.

      January 19, 2014

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