Welcome to the blog of Melanie McDonald ! I'm a professional artist, my life is divided between my home in Newquay, Cornwall and my renovation project - an 18th Century farm - in North Brittany, France. My inspiration comes from the beautiful beaches, skies and seas of Cornwall, Brittany and Scotland. This is where I share my paintings and photographs, I hope it inspires you.

March 26, 2013

St. Michael's Mount, built by giants ....

My daughter was reading aloud from a big book called Giants, which I bought in 1979 when I was about her age.  A lavish book with strange and wondrous illustrations, she told the story of the giants Cormoran and Cormelian ....

St Michael's Mount, a rocky islet near Marazion in Cornwall was reputedly built by the giant Cormoran and his wife Cormelian, both natives of Cornwall.  It seems that centuries ago Mount's Bay was a stretch of densely forested dry land.  In the cool darkness of the woods lived these two giants.  One day it occured to Cormoran and Cormelian that it would be a sage notion to build a stronghold to protect themselves from attack.  (It is not known exactly whom or what they feared.)  So they set to work building a mighty edifice of white granite.

Now Cormoran was a rather lazy giant by nature and at one point, when his wife was not looking, he settled down for a short nap.  Soon Cormelian noticed her husband sunk in peaceful slumber.  Cunningly she decided to collect the odd greenstone rock rather than white granite as this entailed a shorter journey.  But, as she lugged her first greenstone along in her apron, Cormoran awoke to catch his wife red-handed.  Angrily he aimed a hefty kick at Cormelian.  Her apron strings snapped with a mighty twang and the rock she was carrying tumbled to the ground where it has remained to this day, forming the causeway leading to St. Michael's Mount.

Excerpt from the the book Giants, fabulous tales of folklore and fables Giants 1979 Rufus Pulications Inc - (out of print, I believe, but collector's editions available).

p.s. a few other interesting snippets I've researched about St. Michael's Mount ....

The skeleton of an 8ft tall man was found in the 14th Century, his 9ft tomb is cut into the rock near the Chapel's altar.
Cormoran means Blackberry Giant in Cornish language and Cormelian means Clover Giant.
Carreg Luz en Kuz, the Cornish for St. Micheal's Mount means 'grey rock in the woods'.
Cornish giants had 6 toes and 6 fingers.
A fossilized hazel wood dating back to 1700 BC is below the sea of Mount's Bay.
Marazion is believed to be the oldest town in Cornwall, perhaps in Western Europe.
The Archangel Saint Michael appeard in 495 AD and was seen by local fisherman.
There is another St. Michael's Mount off the coast of north France.
St. Michael's Mount was used as the castle in Dracula, in the 1979 film, and also appears in the 2013 film Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box scheduled for release soon. (One to watch out for!)

p.p.s this painting is called First day of Spring, St. Michael's Mount, Cornwall .... enjoy xx

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