28 OCTOBER 2019

THE WIFE OF USHER'S WELL

HALLOWEEN SPECIAL · PART II

usherswell.jpg

Once there lived a well-to-do woman in a place called Usher's Well. She had three stout and stalwart sons she called her own, and well she loved them.  

       And it came to be that these three sons were called up to fight for King and Country in the Great War...

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Another tale based upon a spooky folk song from us here at Lore & Legend. The Wife of Usher's Well is a powerful tale of a mother's grief, which originally tells of a wealthy woman whose son's leave home and fall victim to the plague. Rick's version relocates the tale in the 20th century, by having the three sons called up to fight in the First World War.

The inspiration for this came from the fact that Rick first read the story the year of the Centenary, when many were commemorating the sacrifice of soldiers in the Great War, including storytellers.  It was also suggested by elements of the tale itself: the image of the three sons trooping up the rode, wearing 'shallow hats' of bark called to mind the round bowl hats of the 'tommy' or brodie helmets worn by the soldiers in the trenches.  The shadow of death cast by the nature and conditions of the World Wars seemed equal or greater to that of the plague and the Black Death, and much more resonant in contemporary memory. To accentuate this, Rick here gives the three son's branches of birch wood which they carry on their shoulders, clearly intended to remind us of the rifles that soldiers would carry. 

 

Black-out conditions were imposed in locations around England in the First World War as well as the Second, and local communities sometimes enforced this even where there was no official provision.

Rick: Some versions of this tale locate the events at Martin-mass (The Feast of St. Martin) while others place it 'near Christmas', as it is in the script which I pulled out for this recording. In doing so, I missed a trick however. Martinmas is on November II; Not only is this 'Old Halloween' or 'Old Hallowmas' and closer to our current Halloween celebration on All Hallow's Eve, but somewhat poignantly for my version, it is also, of course, Armistice Day.

IN FOLK SONG

The Wife of Usher's Well originated as an English ballad, but in contemporary times it has apparently thrived more strongly in American folk tradition. You can hear versions of The Wife of Usher's Well by Karine Polwart and False Lights on Spotify.

EPISODE CREDITS

Stories interpreted and performed by Rick Scott.
Sound editing, audio design and original illustrations by Rick Scott.
Lore & Legend Series Theme composed and performed by Robert Bentall.
Original incidental music and chords also by Robert Bentall.

Podcast hosting by Anchor. Video and audiogram creation using Headliner.

AUDIO CREDITS

Additional incidental music, background ambience and sound effects by multiple authors sourced from Freesound.org.

 

See below for the full list of audio files and attribution credits:

  • S: Knocking_on_Door_Rattle_knob.wav by Mediaman57 | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Environment War 4 by mensageirocs | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: Distant Blasts.wav by Suburbanwizard | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Soft rain on a tile roof by richwise | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Best Hypnotic Wind Chimes ~ Long Nice Loop by DudeAwesome | License: Attribution

  • S: Puffy Chips Falling On Table.wav by bbrocer | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Splashing Water.m4a by eeriedescence | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Spring rattle #1 (long decay_ reverbed) mp3.mp3 by Timbre | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: Spring rattle (1st take).wav by Timbre | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: egg shell crunch crack by spanrucker | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: porcelain clinks slides.wav by Reitanna | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Water Splash.wav by CountryRoadFilms | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Splashing Water in Bathtube_1-2.aif by SteveMannella | License: Sampling+

  • S: 16 splashes.wav by soundslikewillem | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: Water Splashing.wav by Motion_S | License: Attribution

  • S: Poseidon 21 Jan 2019b -p1.wav by toiletrolltube | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: press 2 to disconnect your internet (voice mail spam) 2 nr.wav by toiletrolltube | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: rising AAAHh2 REV DEEP.wav by Leady | License: Attribution

  • S: VINYL LOOP 80 BPM by _CAZAPROD_ | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Vinyl snap, crackle and pop by jamesabdulrahman | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: 071416 Victor Victrola playing a record end loop.wav by thaighaudio | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: 071416 Victor Victrola spring noise.wav by thaighaudio | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: VICTROLA VV XI--Victor Talking Machine Phonograph by hendmik | License: Attribution

  • S: Scream 1 by TheSubber13 | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: I see dead people horror sound by turtleheadwalker | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: hell_demon (voice).ogg by La_Parca | License: Attribution

  • S: Creepy Evil Demon Monster Growl Halloween by Voices_Of_Marz | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: DamnedSouls_Chorus.mp3 by cormi | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: devil's waltz hum.wav by AlucardsBride | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: evil man laughing.wav by ptrmax | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: remix of 203231__raspberrytickle__ -laugh.flac by Timbre | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: double laughter 2.wav by laiskvorst | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: double laughter 1.wav by laiskvorst | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Mies nauraa, seonnut / Crazy, mad, loony man laughing, creepy laughter, some echo by YleArkisto | License: Attribution

  • S: Evil Laugh 6.wav by Nanakisan | License: Attribution

  • S: Remix of 73746_tc630__psychotic_laugh_stereotypical_madness effect.wav by Timbre | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: remix of 74261__Timbre__tc630_psychotic_laugh_stereotypical_madness_effect.flac by Timbre | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: Remix of 26729__Leady__insane_laughter_man_reverb_Beefier.wav by Timbre | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: Evil_laughter.mp3 by DocOne42 | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: Shrieking Laughter by plasterbrain | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: 04840 mad man laughter - dry.wav by Robinhood76 | License: Attribution Noncommercial

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  • S: bottle of coins by gmarchisio | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Scene Change Music.mp3 by dominictreis | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Scene Change Music (Sad).mp3 by dominictreis | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: The Doofus Sneaks Around.mp3 by dominictreis | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Trumpet/Cornet Flourish.mp3 by dominictreis | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Scene Ending Music.mp3 by dominictreis | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Playful Music.mp3 by dominictreis | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: worried breathing reverb.wav by Leady | License: Attribution

  • S: MMMMM loop1.wav by Leady | License: Attribution

  • S: rising AAAHh2 REV DEEP.wav by Leady | License: Attribution

  • S: MatchStrike.wav by zimbot | License: Attribution

  • S: LightingMatch.wav by HerbertBoland | License: Attribution

  • S: Match Ignite.aif by Dean-Raule_DiArchangeli | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Match Ignition 2 by HunteR4708 | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Bag Shake.aiff by pkclsoft | License: Attribution

  • S: Pull Plant by josepharaoh99 | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Kill the demons.wav by DjCHAOS | License: Attribution

  • S: Demonic Woman Scream.wav by nick121087 | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: demon scream.aif by MAJ061785 | License: Attribution

  • S: fry scream i did. no edits (Black metal vocal) by Mundogoth | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: soulsofthedamned.wav by squeakdamouse1561 | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: Ghost Manifestation 1 - Scream from the Tomb ! WAV by OGsoundFX | License: Attribution

  • S: Tortured distorted scream by jhumbucker | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: Zombie Demon Scream by Wakerone | License: Creative Commons 0

  • S: pain_scream_hard_2.wav by tschapajew | License: Sampling+

  • S: 02207 ironing longer.wav by Robinhood76 | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: scream5_bosque_julia.mp3 by juliabosque | License: Attribution

  • S: screaming_male_weird.mp3 by GabrielaUPF | License: Attribution

  • S: Long_scream.wav by plagasul | License: Attribution

  • S: 03792 children screaming.wav by Robinhood76 | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: wilhelm_scream_outtake.wav by Syna-Max | License: Attribution Noncommercial

  • S: cell_screams_11.aif by thanvannispen | License: Attribution

  • S: Scream 02 by adriancalzon | License: Attribution

  • S: AB_screams_1(like jums, pains) by ArtemBasov | License: Creative Commons 0

RICK SCOTT
STORYTELLER

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