Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/208

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1 86 Correspondence.

after breakfast they used to start to Kedleston Park, squirrel- hunting ; they used to take horns, old tea-trays, old cans, or any mortal thing which would make a horrid noise. Perhaps a hundred young fellows thus provided would go under the trees in the park, where with their uproar some poor wretch of a squirrel would be so terrified that he would drop to the ground, when he would be secured and brought for a second edition of the sport next day in a copse near home .... What became of the poor wretch at last I do not know, I suppose he was killed."

Were not these November fires but a survival of the Hallow-e'en fires mentioned by Brand and others ? They are said by Professor Rhys to be probably not yet extinct in North Wales, and in Moore's Folk-Lore of the Isle of Man to be still prevalent there, but to be lighted on the nth, old Hallow-e'en, the people adhering to the old style. Moore also says it was formerly customary to sacrifice a calf on that occasion, and in Athlone in 1819, according to Mason's Stat. Ace. of Ireland (quoted in Dyer's Popular Customs), it was customary for every family on St. Martin's Eve — the said nth November — to kill a cow or a sheep, a goose or a turkey, a hen or a cock, according to their means, " and to sprinkle the threshold with the blood, and to do the same to the four corners of the house." Curtin {Fairies and Ghost World of S. W. Munster) mentions a man who thought his " house would be disgraced for ever " by his having neglected to offer a beast as his father and grandfather had done, and Professor Rhys {Hibbert Lectures, p. 516), quoting a Carnarvon- shire rhyme recited on the occasion of the November Eve fires, says " it means that originally one of the company became a victim in real earnest."

It would seem to me that " Guy Fawkes " is the name given since the 17th century to an effigy which it had previously been customary to burn at this season in commemoration of a pre- Christian human sacrifice (commuted in some places to the sacrifice of an animal); in fact, that in the combination with the hill-top fires, of the Catholic observance of All Souls Eve as " the night of the dead," and the Protestant burning of the Popish recusant, we have but an addition to, and a survival of, ancient usage ; both being but a continuance of the celebration of November Eve as the festivals of the incoming of winter.

W. Henry Jew-itt.