Delving into the legend of the thistle I've found a romanticized tale woven into a historical backdrop. A backdrop of blood, war and survival.
Regardless of its lack of historical evidence the story does not fail to capture hearts and imaginations. Just the fact that someone at some point thought up such a tale about a small flower that could play such a great role in the forming of a country is captivating to say the least.
The Legend of Scotland’s National Flower - By Jed Graham
The legend of the thistle makes its entry at this point. According to this legend, the Norse army landed on the beach near Largs under the cover of darkness. They intended to launch a surprise attack on the sleeping Scottish Clansmen camped nearby. To make a stealthy approach, the Norsemen removed their footwear. As they crept near the encampment, they crossed an area filled with sharp spiny thistles.
An unfortunate Norseman stepped on one of these thistles driving the thorns deep into his barefoot. Uncontrollably, he screamed out in pain, alerting the Scottish encampment. The Scotts rallied to arms and drove the Norwegians back into the sea ending Haakon’s invasion of Scotland.
With such a story its easy to see how the little thistle has become a symbol of Scotland. This is such an enchanting legend you wish it were true. Its a legend that has been told for centuries and will surely be told for centuries to come. The thistle truly is such a bewitching flower. The prickly shell holds a delicate soft beauty within.
(Below: Fireplace in Stirling Castle)
About the marble:
"SCOTTISH HIGHLAND MARBLE
Highland Marble is mined by hand (and dived for!) by Two Skies in the the Scottish Highlands and the West coast islands. Over 800 million years ago, limestone was formed under the oceans of Scotland. As plant life of the time died and settled on the sea bed the life-sustaining chlorophyll from these plants, coupled with the metamorphosis of the limestone, resulted in what we now know as Scottish Marble. Scottish Marble has been prized by for centuries. Fishermen would not leave port without their lucky green gems as to carry one was said to prevent drowning."
"IONA GREEN MARBLE
This marble is found on the beaches and in underwater seams at the South-West corner of the Isle of Iona, Scotland. St Columba landed on Iona in AD 563, and went on to set up his monastery on the island - the first Celtic Christian outpost in the British Isles! This 2700 million year old rock is composed of a unique combination of serpentine and limestone which is visually different from Scottish Green Marble. Known by some as the sacred stone of Columba, Iona marble has been treasured and crafted by jewellers for centuries."