minstrel: Fyrewalking and hospitality

Rex Deaver rdeaver at cgro.com
Fri Apr 25 10:00:55 PDT 1997

At 10:40 PM 4/24/97, Edwin Hewitt wrote:

>Fyrewalking can be the voluntary service a performer gives to many camps
>at an event.  The event does not need to have a campfire.

Good milord,

*All* that we do is voluntary.   There is nothing to force any action upon
any other.  Only social convention, and how many of us could be deemed
"conventional"? :)

>Fyrewalking can also be the activities of a "Bard" whose main goal 
>is not to perform, but to get free food and ego gratification.

Free food/drink?  Don't count on it unless you are as good as you think you
are. :)  Ego gratification?  You say that like it is a dirty word.  What
other reward *is* there in the SCA?  It certainly isn't riches!  To live my
own "myth" I must needs fulfill the "myths" of others.  This certainly
gratifies my ego...and 10 minutes later I will be gratifying the ego of
someone else.  Or I will find soon find myself without audience!

>One sure way to tell one from another is thus:  If they offer their service
>freely and ask nothing but your ear, then give unto them bountifully.  If 
>they hold their talents hostage pending food and drink - let them go hungry.

There are few sure ways to assess the true motivations of any
individual...and all of them the deities reserve to themselves.:):)

>If you walk into a private camp and then tell them that bards expect to
>be gifted, then you are a boor and a churl.  You insult your host and

In most of the cultures we re-create, it was an insult *not* to expect
reward/payment...and a greater insult not to accept what was offered.  It
was presumption of the inability of the host to provide adequately, and was
demeaning, and implyed the host was of lesser stature than the guest.
Hospitality was a thing to be expected, even demanded.  The host would
provide generously, all the while belittling how little he had to offer. The
guest would then contradict, repay as expansively as possible in
news/entertainment/service, also minimizing his own contribution.

This doesn't even count claiming the bard's share as part of your schtick.  
Have a care how loosely you throw out words like "boor" and  "churl" lest,
ill-aimed, they rebound.


Rex Deaver
rdeaver at cgro.com	
"Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme."

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