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The Tale of King Dribbler

In the early days of Christianity after the Romans had left England, the country was in the hands of warlords. Those who were rich and powerful grabbed as much land and property as they could acquire and ruled with an iron hand.

A Self Styled King

In Archenfield in Herefordshire (the kingdom of Ergyng), an area within the golden valley, a self styled King called Piebio ruled. His father before him had been King of Brecon. So he felt more than entitled to call himself King, although he was little more than a Chieftain. From his stronghold in Madley he would spar and war with his neighbouring enemies.

Piebio however suffered from a disease which made him constantly dribble, his mouth was always full of saliva. His subjects dreaded being in his company for within minutes they would be drenched in his saliva. The worst fate was to have to eat with him, it was truly unpleasant to watch. To overcompensate for this he was always very tetchy and ready for a fight. Piebio was aware of the nicknames that the other warlords had for him. Their most favourite being ‘King Dribbler’.

Dribbling was a useful asset to have though, in a sword fight some would throw dirt in an opponents eye, he only needed to spit at them.

A Family Crisis

One day while returning from hunting, he was greeted by his daughter Eurddil. He hugged her warmly however as he did so he immediately noticed something different about her. As the warm rays of the sun shone upon her he could see that her belly was swollen. Eurddil was not married. He realised instantly that all his hopes for marrying Eurddil to another King were now dashed, Eurddil had brought great shame upon his family and had to be punished.

He pressed Eurddil for the name of the man responsible for her condition. Although he ranted and raved she would not divulge his name as she loved him and she knew her father would kill him.

No-one in the crowd which now surrounded them would divulge the name of the man either. So in a fit of rage Piebio ordered, “take her down to the Wye and let the river claim her”. Eurddil was unceremoniously dragged to the water’s edge, she spoke no words as she spotted her lover in the crowd. His heart breaking looking on from afar. The crowd were shouting for mercy as she was tied in a sack and thrown into the River Wye. But instead of sinking she floated to the surface and became entangled on the river bank. Eurddil’s old nurse rushed to her aid, trying to comfort and warm her. The shock and trauma of the moment set Eurddil into labour and she gave birth to a baby boy.

A Miracle of Love

Piebio was undeterred at her survival and arranged for his daughter and grandson to be killed by fire. He ordered that they were placed on a large funeral pyre. The next morning Piebio sent his guards down to the pyre to collect the bones. To their amazement, sat in the ashes of the pyre was Eurddill nursing her baby. In disbelief Piebio went down to the pyre to see this for himself. As he leant over to look at the baby, it reached up and touched his face. Piebio noticed immediately that he was no longer dribbling and that his mouth was dry. He was overcome with love and embraced his daughter and her baby.

History in the Making

The boy was later christened Dubricius and he went on to form a great monastery in Hentland. Churches in Herefordshire were also dedicated to him. There was a rumour too that Dubricius was the man who crowned Arthur when he became King of the Britons.

So it must be true then, love conquers all.

Happy Valentines Day, we hope you’ve enjoyed the tale of King Dribbler.

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