It was a cold bleak afternoon walking my youngest son back from playgroup with my wife. As we walked through the local woods that used to lead us home to our old house we were all startled by a strange barking/noise from deep in the woods. Immediately T (youngest son) asked me “what was that daddy?”
Well like any normal parent I stopped in my tracks and listened for a moment, I was pretty sure I knew what it was (more than likely a fox or dog). As I listened closer I peeked down to see how hung on my words my son was. With his little toddler face he was staring at me like I was the most important person, that what I had to say would explain everything and make him feel safe.
So I did the one true parent thing……I lied!
In the heat of that moment, and because I have always been one for trying to make the normal world a little more fun and exciting I told him what it was. “That sounded just like a Magdon” I said with confidence and so the fable was born.
A throwaway comment, a silly word made up from the idea that if was a MAN with his DOG (swap the last letters of the two words and you get MAGDON).
I thought it would end there! How wrong was I.
Questions came pouring in, especially when A (my eldest) found out about this strange monster making noises in the woods.
What does it look like?
Where does it come from?
Why was it there?
What does it do?
How do you know about them?
My silly little lie was spiralling out of control and soon I was answering the questions with such gusto and confidence that I probably started to believe it. I’m not going to give away the answers to all of those questions as it would spoil the story I am trying to tell and the history I am trying to create.
Needless to say a little white lie became more and more elaborate until Magdon was all they would talk about, much to annoyance of my poor poor wife! I cemented the look, even created a noise I would make outside their bedroom door if they were messing around into the night. I told them that the Magdon was linked to our family and that only very select and very brave people could ever slay the beast.
And so Archibal or “Archy” as he likes to be called was born. My great-grandfather born in Nottingham but an explorer who charted the globe in search of the Magdon and who finally gets to face one of these creatures.
It became so real to them that I created a diary that one of Archy’s friends sent me from Indian when they found out I was related to him. This contained maps, notes and little bits of history that I printed onto the pages and together we would read them. One day we deciphered one of the maps and who would know it but it was local to our home town. One rainy morning the three of us braved the weather and followed the little clues, riddles and the map until we found ourselves in a graveyard. The boys were a little scared as I had told them about the protectors of Magdons so we gingerly explored until we found something.
Two swords etched with their initials, swords with names that meant they were true Magdon Hunters (or Feng-Hi as they are truly known). A found Athena Goddess of War and T found Theokolese Shadow of Death (sorry for the Spartacus rip but at the time I wasn’t worrying that the names would actually come to anything as they were just stories for my boys).
Well the treasure hunt caught the attention of some other parents and they applauded the creativity of it. The boys would not stop talking about the Magdon and the things I had been telling them, so much so that teachers would ask me what it was. Hastily I would explain my boys aren’t mad, only I am but I’m sharing it with them!
My wife insisted that I disguise some real facts amongst the intricate story to make it less a total “waste of their time” but secretly teach them things along the way. So it was I embeded Archy into history and brought the Magdon home to the local area, tweaking history to fit my little creation. I admit she was right seeing as the Magdon was stealing so much of the boy’s attention and time!
It became one of those things that eventually one of the pre-school teachers said I should write it down. They knew I had just started publishing Footprints On The Other Side and said my flair for making the Magdon story up had engrossed the boys so much that I ought to write it down.
And so we arrive here. With some very patient support from my wife and encouragement from friends, oh and of course the undying belief that Archy and the Magdon are real from the boys, I have finally started to write down a series that they can read as they get older. The story has developed so much that writing it is easy – I have really lived this imagined world for the last three years now so really in some way it is real to me.
So that is the justification for Origins Of The Magdon. I’m pricing it cheap as it’s a short book, 10,000-12,000 words so I can pitch it to a new audience aswell as children and adults. With hopeful support from a local publisher/author I may be able to spread this story to readers who suffer dyslexia, after all I want this story to be enjoyed by everyone as much as it has entertained and amused me and my family. I want this to be something I hear children talking about with speculation and a modicum of belief.
After all, every myth started somewhere!