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Geoffrey of Monmouth introduces Guinevere, "the loveliest woman in all the island" with her marriage to Arthur. He proudly states that she "descended from a noble family of Romans and reared in the household of Duke Cador" implying a fair match. Monmouth's interests lie primarily in the legitimizing effect of Guinevere's Roman blood.

Yet her ancestry earns no forgiveness when Guinevere breaks "the oath of her prior nuptials" by becoming queen to the usurping Modred. Earlier accounts, in accordance with the attitudes of the early Latin texts discussed above, assumed that

Guinevere accompanied the throne as Queen, as spoils to the victor. Monmouth, however, attributes her newfound allegiance not to her situation but to "unconscionable lust" (91). Rather than see Guinevere as a "mere pawn of political events," Monmouth paints her as Modred's accomplice.

Even before Chreitien introduced Lancelot, Guinevere's reputation caught up with her. Just as she
finally became a noteworthy character, Guinevere shouldered some of the blame for the fall of Camelot through her betrayal of Arthur, continuing the Welsh tradition of her traitorous nature.


Women's History Magazine

Buto was a cobra-goddess whose original home and cult center was in the Delta of the Nile at Per-Uatchit. In time she became a prominent protectress of all of Lower Egypt. As such she was routinely connected to the goddess of Upper Egypt, Nekhebet. Together, they appeared in many pieces of art as symbols of the Two Lands, a united Egypt.

Buto did not just protect Egypt, she also was an aggressive defender of the king. She was portrayed as the uraeusRe, and later the pharaohs'. Her hood is spread in a threatening position and she is ready to spit poison on all of the pharaoh's enemies or burn them with her fiery glare. 

It is thought perhaps that her powers could be used against the pharaoh as well. Her bite may have been the deadly device used by Anubis at the appointed time of the pharaoh's death. cobra first worn on the brow of Buto was a personification of the sun's burning heat and she was called the "Lady of Heaven" and the queen of all of the gods. 

She was closely associated with Horus the Elder, who was the protector god of Lower Egypt. Also she was associated with Harpokrates (Horus the Younger); she protected him from Seth in the marshes of the Delta while Isis was searching for the body of Osiris.  

Buto was depicted in art as a woman wearing the uraeus or the Red Crown of Lower Egypt. She was shown carrying a papyrus stem around which was coiled a cobra. Sometimes she was shown as just a cobra coiled in a basket and wearing the crown of Lower Egypt.

Women's History Magazine

A story is told of an inhabitant of Unst, who, in walking on the sandy margin of a voe, saw a number of mermen and mermaids dancing by moonlight, and several sealskins strewed beside them on the ground. 

At his approach they immediately fled to secure their garbs, and, taking upon themselves the form of seals, plunged immediately into the sea. But as the Shetlander perceived that one skin lay close to his feet, he snatched it up, bore it swiftly away, and placed it in concealment.

On returning to the shore he met the fairest damsel that was ever gazed upon by mortal eyes, lamenting the robbery, by which she had become an exile from her submarine friends, and a tenant of the upper world. Vainly she implored the restitution of her property. The man had drunk deeply of love, and was inexorable; but he offered her protection beneath his roof as his betrothed spouse. The merlady, perceiving that she must become an inhabitant of the earth, found that she could not do better than accept of the offer.

This strange attachment subsisted for many years, and the couple had several children. The Shetlander's love for his merwife was unbounded, but his affection was coldly returned. The lady would often steal alone to the desert strand, and, on a signal being given, a large seal would make his appearance, with whom she would hold, in an unknown tongue, an anxious conference.

Years had thus glided away, when it happened that one of the children, in the course of his play, found concealed beneath a stack of corn a seal's skin; and, delighted with the prize, he ran with it to his mother. Her eyes glistened with rapture -- she gazed upon it as her own -- as the means by which she could pass through the ocean that led to her native home. She burst forth into an ecstasy of joy, which was only moderated when she beheld her children, whom she was now about to leave; and, after hastily embracing them, she fled with all speed towards the seaside.

The husband immediately returned, learned the discovery that had taken place, ran to overtake his wife, but only arrived in time to see her transformation of shape completed -- to see her, in the form of a seal, bound from the ledge of a rock into the sea. The large animal of the same kind with whom she had held a secret converse soon appeared, and evidently congratulated her, in the most tender manner, on her escape. 

But before she dived to unknown depths, she cast a parting glance at the wretched Shetlander, whose despairing looks excited in her breast a few transient feelings of commiseration."Farewell!" said she to him "and may all good attend you. I loved you very well when I resided upon earth, but I always loved my first husband much better."

More Legends

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you

~ Kahlil Gibran ~

The Angel

I dreamt a dream! What can it mean?
And that I was a maiden Queen
Guarded by an Angel mild:
Witless woe was ne'er beguiled!

And I wept both night and day,
And he wiped my tears away;
And I wept both day and night,
And hid from him my heart's delight.

So he took his wings, and fled;
Then the morn blushed rosy red.
I dried my tears, and armed my fears
With ten-thousand shields and spears.

Soon my Angel came again;
I was armed, he came in vain;
For the time of youth was fled,
And grey hairs were on my head.

William Blake

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