Jun 272013

Hennin - Pointed Hat…are called “Hennin”. Thanks, Wikipedia*.

I first came across this particular headgear when I was a child listening to a Story Teller tape of The Faery Flag by Beryl Maude-Jones. The accompanying book was full of pictures of pointy cone-hats with long veils. The funny thing was I was scared by the story. So, in true child-like spirit, I decided it would be better if I recorded over this story by singing Happy Birthday onto the tape instead. I earnestly informed my mother that I would re-record the story when I was older and it no longer scared me (as if I could possibly recapture the talent of reader Annette Crosby (she of One Foot in the Grave fame)). Luckily my rendition of Happy Birthday was only long enough to record over the title of the story. And the last time I was able to listen to the cassette tape, as an adult, I laughed at my little five-year-old self singing to unscarify the audio. My husband now informs me that we no longer have any equipment capable of playing those old tapes.

As an adult, about fifteen years ago, I actually did a flying visit of the Isle of Skye – the setting of this story. I saw Dunvegan castle from a distance (yeah, I know), but I must have forgotten that it was related because I don’t remember us stopping there or having a chance to see the famous Faery Flag.

So if you ever find yourself close enough to Scotland to make a visit to Skye, do yourself a favour – listen to this atmospheric story, and see if you can catch a glimpse of the Faery Flag.

* I needed to look it up because I found myself typing “headgear” far too often in a chapter in my teen science fantasy novel, Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin, in which the main character Maddie and her friend find themselves in a medieval setting where they are dressed in corsets, flowing dresses, and hennin.

Image: Painting by Hans Holbein, 1500 C.E. (Public Domain)

Elle Carter Neal is the author of the picture book I Own All the Blue and the teen science-fantasy novel Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin. She has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, holding childhood slumber-party audiences entranced until the early hours of the morning. Elle decided to be an author the day she discovered that real people wrote books and that writing books was a real job. Join Elle on her new publishing adventure.

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