Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/255

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justly. It is called the Stag Hunt, and notice is given of its coming off a few days before. I copied one of these:--

This is to give Notice,

That on Saturday evening next, at 8 o'clock p.m., The Red Hunter will assemble

his hounds at the Cross, and there will be a famous Stag Hunt.

On such an occasion a man personates the stag, having horns attached to his head and a bladder full of blood under his chin. The huntsman wears a scarlet coat and blows a horn, and the pack is made up of yelping, barking boys. The hunt goes on up and down the road with incredible noise, till at last the stag is brought to bay on the doorstep of the newly-married pair, when the huntsman stands astride over the fallen stag, blows a furious blast, and proceeds to slit the bladder with his knife and pour the blood over the stone and threshold.

This has happened in my own immediate neighbourhood at least seven times in the last twenty years.

It is supposed to be the expression of outraged moral opinion; but it has degenerated into a performance on the occasion of any marriage; and young people, if they can possibly afford it, manage to flee the village for a couple of days or more--not always