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Build a Knight, Build a Castle: Free Printable Knights & Castles Papercraft Projects for All Ages

Updated on July 16, 2014

Knights and castles - the days of chivalry! And you can create your very own tale of chivalry with these free printable models. There are free printable knights, printable castles, printable dragons and damsels too.

All you need are a printer, paper, scissors, glue and (of course) your time, patience and imagination. Then... a whole land of knights and castles awaits you...

Image Credit: Papermau.blogspot

Welcome Ye to the Lande of Knights & Castles

Behold - A Castle!

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Ah, Here are Some More 'Modern' Castles... - (Modern as in the later Middle Ages that is!)

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Here's the Castle of Sir Gallant...

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A Squire (or Knight-in-Training) Appears... - "I'm Sir Gallant Jnr, son of the knight of this castle. Welcome!"

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Of Course, Not All Dragons Need Slaying...

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"Welcome!" says Sir Gallant, "I See You've Met My Son..."

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"Come and See Some Swordplay between Me and Some Knightly Friends!"

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More Knightly Pursuits...

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"We Also Practice Using This Trebuchet... - "We use it to help storm the castles of evil knights, so we can free their prisoners from the dungeons."

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Sir Gallant Invites You to Stay to Supper

Whilst You Eat, Sir Gallant Tells You A Noble Legend...

Image Credit: S.Ritchie; All Text © S. Ritchie

The true knight [is] always concerned with [the abolition of] 'false chivalry', that is with someone who did not honor the vows of knighthood but who pretended to be a knight regardless to get advantages for himself. Those false knights gave the true ones a bad name, but the true knights [are]... concerned about that chiefly because: What if someone in distress went to a knight for help, but that knight turned out to be a false knight who would enslave or kill them, not help them as a real knight would?

I have an ancestor who was a knight (and a king to[o])... He was always concerned to fight false knights, and through fighting three false knights at once he [my ancestor] met his lady.

These three false knights claimed they 'worshiped the holy virgin', and people thought they meant the Virgin Mary. But these knights pillaged and rampaged and looted, and generally showed that (to say the least) they were not following the Virgin Mary's example. [What gave?] "So shall I tell it to your faces, false knights," said my ancestor, "Ye worship not the Virgin Mary but ye worship a false virgin - who be entirely a harlot and yet you call her virgin. But she is no more virgin than you are knights, and she is no more holy than is your disgraceful conduct here. On my charge, I charge you with worshiping the vile Asherah, who pretends to titles she has not and is sometimes called 'holy virgin' by those who would obscure what they worship."

And my ancestor [Sir Bernarnd] beat those three knights in a fair fight, all at once; himself against three. And in a nearby castle, he met his lady - a true knights true lady. And my ancestor and his lady had three beautiful daughters and lived happily ever after.

B. Canterville

Sir & Lady Bernarnd Would Love to Meet You - (Just download & print them, here)

Image Credit: S.Ritchie

For Entertainment, Knights Play Chess - (Sir Gallant makes it more fun for his guests by having an edible set. Check-mate becomes choc-mate...)

When the Chess Game is Over, Another Guest at the Castle Has Some Stories to Share... - "Sir Minstrel Knight, Tell Us Your Tales"

"My first tale comes from Narnia, and tells of how the Earthmen escaped the Giants and came to live in Bism..."

All Text © S. Ritchie

In the early days of Narnia, when King Frank was still alive, he received an order from the Great Lion (Aslan) to build the Castle of Cair Parvel by the sea. "Righto!" said King Frank, "Though I can see this being a mission I pass on to my children, since it's a rather large castle and it will take an age to chip out that many stone blocks and cart them into place. Not that I'm complaining, I'm just observing."

"Of course you aren't complaining," said the wise old centaur who brought the message, "But Aslan knows it is a big job, so He is sending some special help."

In King Frank's mind, "special help" must surely be a party of extra-strong extra-large labourers to help cut (and dress) the building stones, and sling them into place. But Aslan (the Great Lion) works in mysterious ways. Not long after King Frank and his architects had laid out the groundplane for Cair Parvel, a talking hummingbird flew to court and asked for an audience. Frank never refused an audience to any of his subjects (even when he was busy), though he sometimes was a little gruff when he thought his petitioner might be about to waste his time. Couldn't this bird see he was busy..? etc etc.

"Your majesty," said the humming bird (who was not so small as humming birds in our world, but still delicate though even more brilliantly colored), "I want to share this moss with you." She put a small clump of moss at his feet.

"Thankyou," said King Frank, "May I give it to Helen for her flower arrangements?"

The humming bird looked disappointed. "I love flower arrangements too," she said, "But this isn't the sort of moss that goes in vazes. It makes stone malleable."

The whole court fell into silence.

"You see," said the hummingbird, "I picked this moss for my nest, and was carrying it back when I was chased by one of the predators-from-over-the-border. I dodged, but my moss ended up in the mud. So I decided to wipe it clean on a stone, and that's when I noticed that the stone had gone 'soft'. So soft I could carve my name into it with my beak, before the stone 'set' again! And though I don't think this is a discovery that's much use to a hummingbird, surely someone else can benefit from it, and that's why I brought it to you - since (sire) you might need to carve your name on a stone monument (or something) and this moss lets you do it easily."

"A stone monument?" said King Frank, "I need to build a whole castle. And your moss might be just what we need to help us cut out the stone blocks, and fit them snugly together!" Which it did. As Queen Helen watched stone being fitted snugly to stone (with the malleability moss eliminating the need for backbreaking chiselling and grinding) she realised: This is the special help Aslan said He would send us! Not a "team of strong men" (as my husband thought), but a gift brought by a hummingbird to make the work not so much work as play! So that was how Cair Parvel was built so easily and so perfectly in the reign of King Frank.

Image Credit: S.Ritchie

"U n d e r M e we carved," the Earthmen remembered, "Giant letters, so big ye' could get lost in 'em. And we heartily wished the Witch and her giants would get lost in 'em, but here we still were - wasting our lives carving giant letters out of the rock, and wishin' there was some way out.

"There was one thing that gave us hope. There'd been a lightning storm one day, and o' course the giants fled back to Harfang an' wouldn't even think of letting us in too. A lightning bolt struck near us, but didn't harm us. Rather, it set a small fire, just in some dry hay. It felt warm! We all drew near and warmed our hands and - for the first time in ages - we didn't miss our stone homes so much. Fire (as we learned it was called) made us warm even without walls. An' we wanted to keep it alight. We found a particular sort of bush (only one of it, never seen it before or since) that could keep the flames alive without burning up. So we made that part of our fire, and hid it somewhere the Witch couldn't see. An' on those cold dark long nights, we'd huddle round our fire an' feel better about everything, even though it seemed nothin' else changed.

"Then it did! We were in E (on 'Me') and night came down. So we decided to camp there (it was out of the wind anyway), and brought down our fire and camped out. An' in the light of the fire, we saw a tiny chasm that opened downwards and into something. We looked at it, and looked at each other. There was nowhere to run on that plain, the Witch could spot us and the giants could catch us since there was nothing to hide in. But... What if there was a way out that went (well) under me? Ha ha! We picked up all our handfuls of malleability moss and started rubbing. We didn't even have to cut the rock with a butter knife, it fell away underneath us. There was a tunnel underneath us and well - anywhere was better than where we were. We put our fire into cudgels of the wood-that-burns-without-burning, shouldered our few possessions on our backs and down we went.

"I don't know how long we were walking down that tunnel, but we walked and walked and then we came to a huge cavern full o' strange sleeping creatures, sleeping under trees that looked like mushrooms or sponges. An' it might surprise ye to hear, but those sponges weren't such bad eating. So we stayed there for a bit (being careful not to bother the sleeping creatures), just resting and livin' on the sponges. We could o' stayed there always, but we felt there was more to come if we just went on forward. So we did. And so we went on, from cavern to cavern, down tunnels - and the miracle o' it was that our torches never burnt out, and our few pancackes of sponge-tree never ran out.

"So that's how we came to Bism. Another cavern, but this one the floor was carved open into a great highway and down at the bottom was a river of fire, and land of such beautiful colors we couldn't look at it for long (at first). It was blooming with trees of jewels that were fruit, and wonderful stones just waitin' to be made into something, an' everything else one could want.

"An' a voice came out of the river. 'Hello you chaps! Fancy coming down here and living with us for a bit?' It was the first time we heard a salamander. So we took the invitation, and well here we are in Bism still. An' if Aslan hadn't introduced us to that little bit o' fire when we were slaves to the Witch, I don't think we would have cared to be in Bism. After all, we'd never seen fire before. But having lived with that little bit for so long, we saw a land that was fired with fire, and we wanted to be there - and when we got there it was just perfect for us! The salamanders let us live where and how we liked, and were always holding {fests}... for us, and we could laugh and joke and build as we liked - without the Witch taking it away from us.

"The one thing we missed as knowledge o' Aslan the Great Lion. The salamanders knew a bit, but imperfectly and mixed with a lot o' nonsense, that (to their credit) they knew was nonsense. And that was the one thing we struggled with in Bism, or rather did until Aslan sent us Erwang (Son of Adam) in his boat-made-by-centaurs, which had travelled all the lands of the Narnian world until it came to our land. And we begged Erwang to stay and teach us all, which he did - and we gave him the best o' the land and he lived for hundreds of years.

"So that's how we Earthmen came to live in Bism, and how we came to love Aslan the Great Lion. And it was only when Erwang came to teach us that we realised Aslan had always loved us - it was He who made us, and then gave us the malleability moss, and the fire and the escape from the White Witch to this wonderful country He always wanted us to have. And we'd build Aslan the biggest castle in the whole world (in Bism) for His own, only He's not a tame lion and doesn't want that from us. He only wants our love, and we give that to Him with all our hearts. Hurray for Narnia!"

Nor did Aslan the Great Lion give this moss only to Narnia. Aslan made many creatures and beings when He made the Narnian world, and to the north of the land-that-became-Narnia, He created a race known as the "Earthmen." The Earthmen were half the size of Sons of Adam (and Daughters of Eve) but (like them) each one was different. Aslan had given them their own land, and their own resources - both material and spiritual. They were hardy and happy, fond of jokes and laughter, and immensely diligent. One of their number discovered the malleability moss, and soon the Earthmen were putting it to work building a cozy village for themselves. The race did not know fire, but they did appreciate home comforts and they built snug stone homes (without draughts) on the endless moor where they lived.

And they lived happily there until Jadis - the White Witch who had stolen an 'Apple of Immortality' from Aslan's Garden and so had unwearying strength and endless days as a goddess - appeared. Right there. Dragging in her train an entirely willing race of bad giants, all with one aim: To build a city 'bigger than the land of Narnia, that would overshadow the land of Narnia and become the center of the universe'. Evil plans grand schemes (I grant you), but evil also sows the poison of its own undoing. Being bad giants, these giants were incomparably stupid and they were unimaginably lazy. Sooooo lazy that Jadis found her time fully occupied kicking her slaves (for they were her slaves even though they wouldn't admit it) into the most basic 'jobs'. She wanted to build Pandemonium with the giants, but the giants were simply pandemonium. Hence, she wanted a new race of minions - and the poor Earthmen found themselves at her mercy.

They were rounded out of their little village, and forced to do the building that the giants wouldn't. "An' we didn't realise what an outrage it was then," said one of the Earthmen years later, "That we - little folk that we were - were forced to do the labours of giants, where the giants just stood about cracking whips over us an' movin' not a muscle more, whilst the White Witch just stood by looking haughty and cool and driving us on out o' fear of her spells. An'," he added, "The malleability moss was the one thing that stopped us being worked to death right there. At least it wasn't so hard to cut the rocks (ye could do it with a butter knife!) and shape them. An' we put together the great horrible pile that we're told is now called Harfang - and she an' her giants lived in that, out o' the wind whilst we were forced to huddle in straw piles at night."

"Surely now we've built Harfang," - or rather the first construction of the pile that would be rebuilt and rebuilt over the centuries until it became the Harfang we know [from "Silver Chair"] - "She'll let us go," thought the Earthmen. "Surely that's as much as anyone could ask o' anyone." But it wasn't, not when the White Witch was the overseer and the lazy giants were her slavedrivers. "Mooore!" she screamed, "I want a statue of a giant so large he will overshadow the Pole Star!" The Pole Star is the 'great star' that Aslan created for Narnia - her feet rest in the roots of this world, her head is in the Heavens and the other stars are like jewels in her hair. Jadis always envied and hated the Pole Star, for Pole Star was a living reminder that there were far greater things in the world than Jadis herself. Now Jadis determined to 'disprove' the Pole Star (as if that were possible!) by forcing the Earthmen to build a statue of a lazy giant "bigger than the Pole Star." Yet even that project grew no larger than the giant's boots before Jadis changed her mind. "No!" she said, "I will dig to the roots of the world and upend the Pole Star! And I shall do it with an inscription that will be greater than those on the fire stones of the sacred hill!"

So the Earthmen were set to carve out that inscription, from the solid rock that underlay the plain that stretched out below Harfang. "Under me," (it was supposed to read in full), "Is all earth and sea/ Above my head, all is dead."

The Minsteral Knight's Second Tale

("I heard this from his brother & share it with his blessing.")

Image Credit: S.Ritchie; All Text © S. Ritchie

Suppose it had happened as he dreamed, or rather nightmared for years on end. Suppose he had become a [quadriplegic]... He was the most compassionate person alive to anyone else in that predicament, but the thought of being in it himself made him want to lock himself in his room and throw away the key. I [sensibly] pointed out that if he did end up [a quadriplegic]... locking himself anywhere, never mind throwing away the key, was beyond his power. Then he went into a sulk and said I was "mixing metaphors" which was something of a joke since there was no metaphor here to mix. The nightmares he kept having, over and over again, may well have been as much about he would have locked his heart to anyone trying to help him as much as a physical loss.

Years later, we found he had a daughter (did Jack) who had all her father's virtues and some of his faults too. And they were both argumentative enough not to intimidate each other, though she had more patience even though she claimed she lost her temper at nothing-much. Jack's endless whinges were enough to try anyone's temper. It was as though he was tempting her to say "Fine Dad, you really are a pest" and walk out. Since she didn't, he decided that since he 'really wasn't that loveable' he ought to say "You are a pest" and walk out. Living with Jack revolved around either having arguments like this or appeasing him from starting arguments like this. His daughter - Precious - usually didn't shy from the argument but refused to be intimidated by the storming out (and in). She had Jack's faults in that she apologized for herself too much, only not about things which needed apologizing for, and had blind spots over things that ought to have been 'just stopped right there'.

When Jack went out with a monster we both knew was more zombie than human, and came back on a shutter, it was all our worst nightmares rolled into one. That he didn't will himself dead of his injuries right there in the ward was a miracle. That both of us refrained from telling him precisely what we thought of him, right that instant, was another. Smashed up as he was, he was still Jack and we both wanted him home [pronto]... Jack, meanwhile, wanted to do two things simultaneously. He wanted us to leave him to his own devices, and he wanted to spend his whole day helping people who couldn't have given twopence for his help and thought it sniggeringly ridiculous when he offered it. And don't say "Jack can't help anyone, since he's only got one hand that works and the best we can say about it is that he can still breathe on his own." You don't know Jack.

Ah um - there's a general idea that Jack is a saint, again in the sniggering sense of someone who thinks it terrifically funny to do the worst they can all day and call anyone who tries to be more than their worst urges a "prude." Jack is a saint, but not in that sense. He puts everyone first except himself, who he puts on roughly the same level as us and tells to [get lost]... Normally, someone like this is best left to their own devices. Let them get their help from those people they're sucking up to! But again, Jack is probably the one person in history who truly isn't like that. He thinks he ought to suffer for other people. Then he tells the people who suffer with him that they ought to "just stop it" which is [somewhat rich]... considering he won't stop suffering for others. Do as you would be done by, for you will be done by as you did.

We got him home from the hospital, and we immediately went into arguments about the fact that Precious had had the front steps concreted into a ramp. Jack never understood about concrete, or concreting, and he honestly couldn't tell you how a light bulb worked. Precious went about apologizing for not being able to remember the exact formula for the ignition point of filament (in the bulb) and could explain roughly everything from that bulb to the how the one grew that you planted in the ground. Listening to her explain made Jack a better person, because it is much easier to see how much care God put into creating the universe when you understand (for instance) how bulbs grow and why volcanoes erupt and the fact that chimps show they love you by deliberately not biting your finger. Precious, meanwhile, was incredulous that Jack had managed to write so many great books (though she didn't like all of them) without understanding how plate tectonics worked and that there were pathways through space to speed space travel (when we humans eventually could get that far).

I began to wonder how Jack knew anything. I mean, he did (obviously) but there were gaping gaps in his knowledge and that was why (I think) that concreted front ramp turned into an argument when it should have been a "thankyou." I didn't realise quite how bad it was until that first night at home when obviously it was dinner time and Jack had to be fed. He wasn't on a tube, but he couldn't fed himself. He had (of course) got the idea that someone would have to fed him, and at the hospital we'd all kept going by having terrific fun smuggling real food into the ward - and feeding it to him. But what had never crossed his mind was (as Precious put it) the "ergonomics" of the feed-er. Whoever put food into his mouth had to sit or stand somewhere, and had to have the plate somewhere, and he failed to understand that Precious and I hunting through the house for a chair and an occasional table and a lazy-susan was part of the process. But, when you look at it, humans were rather made to fed themselves, except when they're babies and that's when they're small enough for you to stand (or sit) in front of them and ['send the airplane into the hanger']... An adult in the same predicament, well, you can't sit on their lap and that means sitting to one side, which means twisting over from where you are to where their mouth is. That any of this might be (as Precious put it) "a fraction difficult - and that's not mentioning the emotional strings to it" never crossed Jack's mind. He wanted his food and that was that. To him, that his feed-er needed somewhere to sit (ie the chair) and somewhere to rest the food (ie the lazy-susan on the occasional table) whilst they endured something of a twist-and-bend to get the food to his mouth was a "boring grown-up thing" that ought not to have interfered for a fraction of a second with a mouth-ful of whatever.

I was glad then and there that we'd adopted a ["service chimp."]... Jamba (as he was called) could sit on Jack's lap and fed him. Without twisting-and-bending and other "ergonomic nightmares." And Jack did not mind being fed by a chimp, even though he sometimes couldn't face being helped by a human, and what he never considered was that we were both adjusting to our-best-friend-on-earth being left a complete cripple and that sometimes it sunk in particularly hard having to fed him as though he was a baby and at a moment like that what we needed was [someone to give us some love here]... not have Jack jumping to the conclusion that we were saying "Jack, you are # ugly."

Jack was vain. He never (or at least hadn't tried before) to understand why King George IV went to great lengths to hide his leg-braces from his populace, yet Jack insisted that the less people who knew about his own predicament the better. The public weren't to know. The neighbours weren't to know. If he could have got us not to know he would have been happy. How that fitted with him wanting what should have been called his "din-dins" without waiting for us to get a chair (and the rest) first - is something you only understand if you've actually lived with Jack. Which is likewise why when Precious talked about skin needing moisturizer to remain in strong condition, Jack tried to dismiss the whole thing as "the sort of stuff women put on when they've painted their nails." Then he worried about 'pressure sores' and expected Precious to know what the # to do about that - which turned out to be (amongst other things) put moisturizer on areas exposed to constant pressure (like heels, buttocks and elbows). Well, at least that solved the moisturizer thing, particularly when Precious promised to buy him some that was designed (as she put it) "as 'man cream' rather than in a pink-pearl bottle for handbags." I promised to apply it to him when it was bath time. And then whilst Jack was giving both of us something of a gehenna about whether we ought to get an automatic-drink-carrying-robot (Jamba could do it better, I admit), he wanted both ankles strapped into (hidden) braces so he'd look like some ancient Greek hero.

Jack had a way of charming birds out of the trees. He had a [strong moral compass]... which (for the most part) stopped him misusing that charm, but with Jack one had to be on the lookout for hidden agendas. He had a way of presenting an agenda that had a hidden agenda at the back, such that one was halfway to agreeing with the hidden agenda before one realised quite what he was inducing you to agree to. I kept being caught by it. Precious kept being caught by it. I'd like to say that Jamba was spared it, but sometimes he got caught up in it to. I think Jack half-knew what he was doing wasn't right, and therefore half-hoped to be caught out, but that didn't stop him plunging ahead like a starving dragon at whatever hidden agenda had caught his whim at that moment.

I'd always known that Jack worked too hard. Before he came back on a shutter, he taught class six days a week not to mention taking up the slack for various colleagues who joked about "packmule Jack" and were more than happy to load him up with whatever parts of academic life they didn't particularly fancy. In fact, Jack brought home so much extra work that often I had to do his work, or at least help him with it. Then Jack went about telling other people that he "didn't really have that much to do," to which I took particular [and justified] exception when I found out.

When Jack got home from the hospital, he started (I really should say) sweet-talking Precious into how his mind needed stimulation. How he really really did rather need to get back to classes. Alright (said Precious), I understand how there are times you ought to be resting but working takes your mind off things. Precious spent a great deal of time understanding others, though she often misunderstood them because she had such noble motives of her own and assumed everyone else was at least that good. I think Jack was the same. Hence why he came back from college six days a week carrying everyone else's work as well as his own - on the basis that they must have a really good reason for making him earn their pay.

Do you know, Jack - who admitted he'd need one of his proteges to push his wheelchair into college in the first place - found it quite slipped his mind that he'd have to have a lecture theatre on the ground floor. As I said, Jack could be somewhat blinkered in some areas, particularly when he was intent on helping others to the exclusion of himself. And whilst he let Precious try to determine how the # he was going to deliver these aforesaid lectures from a chair other than that wheelchair, what he was really doing was waiting for the right (read wrong) moment to say that he really needed to be there six days a week. But he balked when Precious suggested that he ought to schedule as many of his classes as possible on the same day, to make one full day at college rather than a lot of smaller straggled out bits of days.

Then it turned out, Jack hadn't thought through his schedule at all. Precious was trying to do the math and found it didn't add up. "If (as you told me) you spend 1 hour per lecture and 2 hours Q&A, that's three hours a lecture, which means if you start at nine in the morning, it will be 12 when you finish the first class and then when's lunch? One to 2:30, which means since the next lecture is 3 hours, it will be 5:30 when you finish that, which means you could just fit in another lecture from 5:30 to 8:30, but that's rather a long day..." I don't think Jack ever considered his own lectures in that light before. We were grateful he never stinted on his freshmen, but that wasn't quite all he had in mind. Precious was finding that the math truly didn't add up - a quadriplegic doing a veritable 12 hour day, in a college that wasn't equipped with [disability support]. Meanwhile Jack was rather happy he'd almost almost convinced her that he couldn't not do six lectures a week, and he rather wanted to be there six days a week (never mind the difficulties) and it was rather something he fancied that there was time to go to the master's room...

That's when the deception fell apart. Precious realised that half the point of these six-days-a-week-lectures was so Jack could spend time in the master's room, with the other lecturers - the ones who really weren't interested in their freshmen and really weren't interested in anything Jack had to say. Jack had the idea that he had a duty to try to make their lives better, which was a # waste of time because these lecturers only cared about Jack as their pack pony. Then it turned out that the master's room couldn't be reached except by stairs (which somehow had slipped Jack's mind though he'd climbed those aforesaid stairs every day for years) and when Precious said "What about we put a video chat facility in the master's room so they can talk to you when you're at home?" that the whole thing came out. Those lecturers wouldn't have bothered to talk to Jack at home, since him being home meant he wasn't there being their pack pony. So why did Jack want to be with these profs who couldn't be bothered with him as a friend? "Being with me makes them better people," said Jack - as though his being a better person than them somehow excused them from carrying their own burdens in life!

I was disappointed that Precious - who was usually so sensible - had fallen for Jack's hidden agenda. His six-lectures-a-week-plus-everyone-else's-work had nearly killed us when he was able-bodied. Now he was proposing to keep the same punishing (pun not intended) schedule, in a college with no [disability services].., with only one hand (that he couldn't even use to smoke a cigarette), and deluding the one young human being in the world who truly cared if he lived or died. I had to tell Jack straight "Your students couldn't give a # about you, and most never have."

Jack then threatened to "eat myself stupid" which (and I'm still grateful) didn't so much as make Precious turn a hair. "So?" she said. Jack knew she had 'food issues' of her own, perhaps he thought that this 'threat' would make her capitulate to his six-days-a-week-and-have-to-be-on-Sundays-'cause-there-ain't-enough-hours-in-the-week-otherwise whim. "I mean, I shall end up really fat and not care a bit," continued Jack.


I could quote the rest of that conversation but it continued roughly on those lines. Jack couldn't 'frighten' her back into his six-days-a-week-and-the-rest.

"You're a sensualist," she finally said, as though it was as obvious to all as it was to her. "You're the sort of [guy]... who always has drawn immense pleasure from the senses. Taste, sight, sound, touch, smell - you love flowers and good food, and cigarettes and claret and the woods and the stars and sex. You not being married is probably the worst thing you could have done to yourself."

That stopped Jack right in his tracks. "What?"

"Sensualist. S E N S U A L I S T," she spelled out just as she was spelling out her message to him. "Sensualist. You draw all this pleasure from the senses. It's in your books Jack..." She kissed him on the forehead as every father hopes his daughter will kiss him one day. "It's in your books. You - before I knew you were my Dad - you taught me that life wasn't about I-don't-know sitting on a hard board with a prissy hymn book accusing everything in the world of being 'sinful'. Fallen yes but not 'sinful', not in that sense. It's about - um - look you wrote it in your own books. Over and over again. That the senses aren't sinful, only the uses (or misuses rather) they're put to. And you'd conquered the misuse, and there you were in the use - with the flowers and the food and the rest. And I suppose I had some idea of you being, you know, Jack of the Jungle - the man who's so in touch with himself that he's slipped off all the affectations and just is himself, just as the chimps are themselves, and kind and sensitive (because the chimps, in their way, taught you that too) but you're the one who looks up at the stars and understands that God has done all this and made the world and saw that it was good. And (um) look Jack - it kinda goes with this thing you have about no clothes and sex."

It had obviously slipped Jack's mind (not the first time) that not everyone on earth shared his innocence about the odd spot of 'naturism'. Jack wasn't a 'naturist', but there were times - which I warned him someone might come along with a camera in the midst of - when he went out into the woods and well, if Jack of the Jungle didn't imitate Tarzan's example of having a loincloth, that was the result. I cringed over those passages in his books myself, Precious said many times she'd had to come to terms with them. Not that she liked them, but she had to understand them. Now she found herself laughing over Jack of the Jungle, with a bush just in the right place to be a fig-leaf. Jack couldn't understand what was funny. Somehow the prospect of self in the jungle (with the flowers and the trees and the stars and all the food in the world growing off the vines) being laughed at by his own daughter wasn't his notion of funny.

In his own mind, Jack thought he was a very staid college don whose biggest extravagance was his book bill. Precious (who hadn't laughed for a long time like this, which had been a shame) said "I used to watch this Tarzan cartoon when I was a little girl, every Saturday. And he was strong and sensible and the king of the jungle, not just the apes. Always rescuing everyone, always on-call. And he's in touch with his feelings without even realising it, and he just is, just as the rest of the jungle is, but he understands it in a way the jungle doesn't understand himself. And there you are, Jack of the Jungle, swinging through the trees..." And she had to stop because she was laughing again at 'naturist' part (always given a fig leaf by one of the plants of course), and Jack was very put out. "Well, I mean, I thought it was obvious," she said, "You're always writing scenes about Jack-under-various-other-guises having sex in the woods with some woman (or other), or else sex with some woman with the doors open."

Image Credit: S.Ritchie; All Text © S. Ritchie

Jack was going to argue, until Precious gave him a list - including one "apologist" fable and a narrative poem about a man who inadvertently starts a revolution and breeds a god. Precious was always surprised that Jack wasn't happy (or as happy as he ought to have been) that here was his number one fan, who knew practically all his works and had counted finding one of his books as the highlight of the day. "That's why you ought to have got married," said Precious, "Because I could see - right there - how much effort you were putting into keeping yourself under control, which is your duty and what makes you a hero. But go ye and marry rather than burn and since Paul is your favorite [bro']... I'd have thought you'd have understood that yourself. Specially since you had this (stuffed up) notion that a man and a woman don't have to be in love to get married, which means well - you can hardly say that you were waiting to fall in love before getting hitched, which was always something I couldn't stand about your books, though at least you said the couple have to love each other."

"That's why," Precious continued, "I could not understand why you went out with 'Joy', because that woman sucked the colors out of your world like a [zombie sucks brains out of its victim]... You, with the food and the flowers and the laughter, and the Greek mythology, going out with a 'political woman' (when you can't stand politics normally!) who demanded you wipe the smile off your face and go about so gloomy I don't wonder you wished you were dead. 'Cause the victim she was turning you into wasn't you. Not at all. And I've struggled with that myself, and I wrote a story - or still working on it actually but it's virtually all there - about a man who has to learn to live with who he is (flamboyance and all) because sitting on his character trying to be dour-when-he-isn't has just about left [him in the psych ward]... You taught me that, through your books 'cause I hadn't met you. But I had meet you, in a real sense. Wow. Dour dull academic don you are not."

Jack was silent for some time. Then he said, in an entirely different tone, the one he used when he was being entirely honest and offering himself to help someone else "Do you want to be a sensualist yourself?"

Precious was gobsmacked. "Um, I don't know. Um."

"If I'm a sensualist, I could teach you," said Jack, "And I always wondered if I could teach you anything, because you already know everything."

"Um." Precious was modest but understood (roughly) her own worth, which I suspect got on Jack's nerves because it reminded him he ought to have cultivated the same understanding in himself. "I suppose I admire you for being one."

Actually, I would have said that Precious 'collected' sensualist heroes, since her two other favorite people in the world were a fascist-who-reformed who loved children, played with diamonds and helped save the world and a democratic-leader who (for all his faults) might have been his brother-on-the-other-side-of-the-barbed-wire. And they both had housefuls of pets, married the wrong woman the first time around, and generally had a good word to say about everything, except rancid wine and slum conditions. I'd always known there was part of that, at least, in my brother too. Underneath that staid-don-vision of himself, there was a flamboyance that he expressed (healthy!) without realising it was there. As Precious once said an author can't help revealing himself (or herself) in what they write, and when they try to hide themselves they make it even more obvious than if they'd been [comfortable in their own skin]...

"Would you like to be a sensualist?"

Precious paused, then said "Alright." There was a young girl's conviction in that word, particularly strong since Jack had sometimes accused her of being "all facts and no poetry." That wasn't true, but perhaps what Jack really meant was "Like father like daughter. There's something about you that's there but you don't know is there, and aren't celebrating, though I can't tell what it is." Well, now he knew. It was whatever part of her was like that part of him that celebrated the use (whilst condemning the misuse) of the senses. And I knew we'd never have to worry about Precious in the woods with the whoever (or perhaps with the doors open) because she simply wasn't that sort of person. "I suppose we could start with food," she said doubtfully, "But" - and this was in admiration - "I'm not the sort of person who has ten helpings at one sitting." (Jack was the sort of person who had ten helpings at one sitting). "And I don't want to be. But I'd love to learn to appreciate every bit of it, the way you do."

Part of Jack had always wanted a successor - someone he could mentor, and send out into the world to continue the good fight. Precious was it, in a way he hadn't wanted to understand before. But now it was beginning to dawn on him that his own daughter was so often his worst irritant because she was so very like him - in a good way. If he couldn't live with himself, ditto for sharing his house as her father with her.

"What am I going to do at home all day if I'm not taking classes?" he said.

"Write more books!" said Precious without hesitation. "We've already got talk-to-text software on your computer, and before you say that there's everything else to do besides - I'll tell you something about me. You know I'm an author myself but I'm also trained as a lawyer. And there were times when I wanted to be writing and lawyering, but I knew - and I have to be honest with myself 'cause dishonest people don't amount to nothin' - that I was giving the world something truly precious through writing that wouldn't be possible through 'just lawyering'. And the lawyering would take all my time, to produce not-very-much, whereas in a fraction of the time there is can be a glorious story that opens rainbows for people who thought there were only dark clouds. What price on that? So I had to fight off the urge to go lawyering, and I'm glad I have. But I can still lawyer - but it's my choice now how and where. I'm no wage slave, and I'm no slave to my urge to lawyer either. My time, my place, my way, or rather His time, His place, His way. And," she seized her father by the arms and looked him right in the eyes - "That's always been your message to. And when there is not enough time in the year, or a life, to do everything that needs to be done, we've got to do the most good we can - even if that's not where our whims want us to go. And, look with me it's lawyering, with you it's lecturing, and we've [got to let go]... We can do more in ten minutes of honest authoring than in thousands of hours of the other. And perhaps this..."

Jack had a preferred way of speaking of his disability. "... State of being smashed up..."

"State of being smashed up was something He let happen, 'cause there was no way otherwise you'd realise you had to cut back on the lecturing and let fly on the writing."

There's a hymn, a true one, I always love which has the line "God works in mysterious ways" and our lives were the perfect example. Expect the next Jack (with Precious!) book soon, with house-hold support supplied by Jamba and me!

The Minstrel Knight's Third Tale

Image Credit: S.Ritchie; All Text © S. Ritchie

Once there was a knight on a white horse, who wandered the countryside looking for wrongs to right. But one wrong he didn't right, because he didn't think it was a wrong, was the fact that he (sort of) looked forward to dying himself. It's not so much that "the thought of death made me bold" so much that "the thought of death keeps me going." He never felt that way about anything or anyone else, just about himself. He would wade into a dangerous rapid to rescue someone from drowning, because he wanted them to live - but it was a moot question... whether he would have done the same for himself...

I told you about that once... about chimney sweeps [and why they sometimes died in chimneys. Mostly, it was not because they got stuck and couldn't get down, or got lost and couldn't find their way out. Mostly, they found a little niche that was warm and safe, and they curled up there and stayed there. In the chimney, there was no cruel chimney-master, no cold street, no fighting with the other sweeps. It was like being in mother's arms, which was particularly sad because most of them either had cruel mothers or never knew their mothers. But the warm spot in the chimney was like being with her, or rather it was like what it would have been like being with her if she'd been the right sort of mother. And once they were warm and felt safe like that, there was no reason to come down. They just fell asleep in the chimney and died there. That's why there are very few haunted chimneys - not because 'their corpses keep the ghosts away' but because the chimney sweeps died happy in the chimneys. Ghosts only happen when someone dies in a way that's wrong, you know there was a murder or some other great injustice caused their death. But the chimney sweeps had no reason to haunt the chimneys because they died happy and safe. And I firmly believe that God sent one of His angels to take their souls to Heaven, to be with Him - so they really are safe. As I said, that's why there aren't many haunted chimneys]...

One afternoon, the knight was riding his horse through some particularly desolate countryside. It had started out as "wild" but turned gradually into "desolate" and now was positively [creepy]... His horse's hooves kept knocking against white things in the parched grass. At first the knight thought This must be a very rocky landscape. Then his horse gave a whinny and bucked at one of the white things - it was a skull.

The knight drew his horse to a stop, reassured it and looked around. There was not just one skull, there were dozens and dozens of skulls. There were piles of skulls, in fact, all over this part of the landscape. There were bones scattered around too... [Carrion birds]... were perching on them, and picking at [them]...

The knight felt the hopelessness of this scene. Truly hopeless. He'd seen death before, and he wasn't scared of it - this was another feeling. It was a feeling of futility. But it wasn't a feeling of futility at the 'transience of life' or ['et in arcadia ego']... or such. Rather, it was a feeling of the futility [about]... Death itself. He'd [the knight] never felt that way before. But seeing all these bones, scattered about that worthless plane, he did feel it.

Image Credit:

Then one of the skulls appeared to talk. "Ahh!" said the skull, "I'm having a fine time here."

"What?" said the knight, "You had a fine time when you were alive - that is being inside someone's head as their skull. But now, what are you? Just a piece of bone. And this is not to deny the importance of bones for a second, only to say that they're at their best when they're part of a skeleton that's inside someone who's alive. That's what you were made to be."

"Oh I don't think about that," said the skull airly, "Being alive was a great deal of effort. But being 'just a bone lying around', I get to lie here and bake all day in the sun."

"Bake is the word," said the knight, "Bake like a piece of china left too long in a kiln." (He could see the cracks in the [skull]... - caused by getting too hot in the daytime, then far too cold at night, then far too hot again).

"That's 'living people talk'," said the [bone-idle] skull, "I think the cracks show how important I be."

"You were important when you were alive," said the knight again, "But this is just..." And he couldn't [grasp]... quite the right word but "futile" and "pointless" and "stuck-in-an-endless-loop" were some phrases that came close.

"I'm so important," continued the skull [who was immensely vain], "That one day I shall turn into dust." That was the end effect of lying baking all day, freezing all night over and over again for years on end. Eventually the cracks became more than cracks, the weather got in and the bone crumbled into powder. And the knight realised that this was why this part of the landscape had a sort of dusty look - it was bone dust.

The skull disagreed. Several nearby skulls joined him (or it) disagreeing. "Dust is very important," continued the [vain useless] skull, "Without dust, everything would be clean and fresh and no one would cough and choke and generally come and join us - though of course they won't be as important as us since we were dead first."

The knight could think of a great many ways the world would be a better place without dust. If nothing else, knight's ladies would have more time to hunt, and ride, and play chess, and generally get about life if they weren't fighting a perpetual war against dust... [Dust] that threatened to swallow up tapestries and linen chests and tables and stables... Leaving 'dust to be dust' caused coughing and choking and (in a real sense) did hasten death. It was worth spending 'those few hours of one's life' fighting dust, because one lived a great deal longer - one more than got back the dusting time!

"So this is Death," said the knight aloud, "Lying useless on a useless plane, making death and havoc for the living - and calling that 'important'!"

"Hey there!" said the skull gnashing what was left of its teeth, "You can't say that! I forbid it! I'm so important; I'm lying here making dust and boasting about myself and killing people with my boasts and my dust. Who are you to say I shouldn't take myself at this inflated estimation of myself?"

"I am alive," said the knight - feeling alive and feeling grateful for it for the first time in years - "I can go about the world and help others and experience things, and help ladies (and lords) fight dust... Now I realise that fighting dust, I was helping fight you... And you. And you over there.

"And I'll tell you something - Skull - you think you know 'all about Death' but you don't[," the knight continued, "]Because I don't know how you are still [animate]... on earth, but you are. And I imagine that the reason you are [animate, or apparently so]... is because the Devil has you on [day-release from Hell]... on condition that you drag as many other people into the grave as you possibly can. Because that's the side of Death you're pretending you don't know anything about. Each of us - and each of you - has a soul, and what happens to that soul after we die depends on how we lived. And I trust that God lives in me, and so guides me and will take me to be with Him when I die. And I can't judge you, but I can certainly (and by God's grace I have a right to) give you my honest observation of your spiritual condition. Which - if your airs and graces are anyway representative [which I know they are] - you were as useless and downright harmful when you were alive as you are now. Obviously when you had hands and feet and the rest, you could do a different sort of damage than you do now, but damage it was. And that's why I know that you really are in Hell, but the Devil [has you out on day release in expectation you'll kill more people for him]... And that's on your soul now too."

Image Credit:Papermau.blogspot

The skulls - being vain and conceited - did not like hearing [home truths]... They gnashed their teeth again, and started shouting "Kill him! Kill him!" and rattled and generally made as though they could attack him [the knight]. But the knight seized his sword, spurred his horse and charged at the biggest pile of skulls saying "May God aid my endeavor!" He and his horse sent the skulls flying everywhere...

Image Credit: Papermau.blogspot

Suddenly the knight reigned in his horse and looked around him. There were no more skulls. The landscape had changed entirely. It was pleasant and fertile and beautiful. The sun was setting over a pleasant land, and welcoming lights were beginning to shine in the trees. "Indeed, this is a true adventure," said the knight, "Let us journey into this pleasant land and see what may befall us here. For, truly, I feel this is a place of great good and worth."

And off he and his horse went... And that's the tale the Russians sometimes used to tell about the knight, the skulls and the sunset.

Image Credit: Papermau.blogspot; S.Ritchie

I... like to share that story because it makes you [ponder where you are going in life]... That's why the Russians told it too... Do you want to be vain and foolish and useless, like those conceited skulls, or do you want to reach the pleasant land like the knight did?

That is your choice. I can't make it for you, but the tale certainly [shows]...which one is the right choice. And it is a noble tale, and the Russians like to tell it...

B. Canterville

... And Here's a (Free Printable) Shield, to Help You on Your Quest.

Image Credit:

Are You Building a Castle of Your Own Anytime Soon?

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    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      It must be really laborious to create such crafts. Very nice!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Very cool paper crafts!

    • Mountainlife profile image


      5 years ago

      Awesome lens. I love knights and medieval stuff. My son does too. Thank you.

    • clevergirlname profile image


      5 years ago

      Oh my gosh I am building a castle NOW

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      5 years ago

      All of this is so much fun!

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 

      5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi your lens are so cool. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Just have to share this incredibleness....G+ and FB liked because I love it! :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      How absolutely awesome in every possible way, you provide an extraordinary experience here, I sure feel like building a cancel now....and maybe, someday my prince will come! :)


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