Every year for the past four or five years myself, my partner and some friends have made our way out, once a year to The Wagon and Horses pub at Langsett, on the borders of Sheffield and Barnsley for The Night of the Hunter's Moon. An evening of entertainment and storytelling in the form of music and traditional dance on the grassy area outside the pub.
Let me set the scene..........
It is a cold and slightly damp evening in Langsett but the crowds are gathered never the less. As the evening goes on there is the murmur of chattering voices and an air of anticipation. We are stood at the back (always the best place to see the beginning.
As 8:30 approaches people are getting a bit more excited, it won't be long now........
There in the gap through the trees a torch is lit (a fiery brand, not a battery powered one), a drum beat sounds in the distance and pipes start their wailing........
It begins, Night of the Hunter's Moon 2015 is under way.
It begins with what is, in a way, a parade to the pub grounds. People in capes and fox masks capering around in a torch lit procession. There is also a figure in cape and crow mask.
On arrival at the pub grounds the foxes and the crow perform a series of dances accompanied by drums, flutes, pipes and fire.......there is always lots of fire. The dances (and the dancers) tell a story that finishes with fireworks and all retire to the warm and welcoming embrace of the Waggon and Horses bar. Through the night people will play tunes on the instruments they have brought with them, friends and strangers alike. A good time is had by all.
As I say, I have been going for the last four or five years, it is something I start looking forward to from late summer onwards. The one thing I have always thought though, is I wish there was some way of finding out what the story enacted by the foxes and the crow is. So, imagine my joy when, on passing through the bar area I bumped into Sue Vincent and Stuart France who were selling copies of their Graphic Novel 'Mister Fox The Legend' a lovely book that goes a long way towards doing just that. It covers who (or what!) is Mister Fox, the legend of the Red Book of Langsett and the stories of some of the dances. The illustrations are lovely, especially the ones of the dances which well convey the fire and smokiness of the night.
I will be the first to admit I am a sucker for local legends and storytelling and this book had me from page 1. It is also one that will be got out every year before we set off for Night of the Hunter's Moon. More than that though, it makes me want to find out more about Langsett and the surrounding villages. I feel there are a lot more stories to be told here.
I left the pub this year, book in hand, feeling I was a little more appreciative of what was happening this night and richer in the knowledge gained from stories read.
As an added bonus I was able to get the book signed by the authors.
I would like to thank the authors and the publisher, Silent Eye Press, for putting this book together and making things just that little bit clearer
For anyone interested there are some photographs and short videos from this year's Night of the Hunter's Moon on my Facebook page