Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/521

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

learning of the monks, nor does she show the pre-existence of local legends and traditions which such monks might have brought with them into the cloister and utilised afterwards in their poetical compositions. It is utterly immaterial from my point of view whether the names of supposed authors are genuine or pseudonyms; nor does it affect the case at all whether Merlin was a local bard or only a madman. Such a fact, if accepted, would only strengthen my theory, for I hold that whenever a legend gets localised there must be some peg to hang the story on. I never doubted the possibility of the existence of a Merlin half-savage, half-man; but that Merlin has entirely disappeared in the literary form in which he is presented, and has been transformed beyond recognition.

Burial in Effigy.

The following seems a curious adaptation of Mock Burial to the purpose of Riding the Stang.

In the petition for divorce of Louis Higman, a miner, on May 15th, 1905, Richard Jacob, a builder, living at Bugle, Cornwall, gave evidence that the conduct of the respondent and co-respondent (a jeweller), caused great scandal in the village, and "they were buried in effigy in September, 1898." The co-respondent supplied the beer on the occasion. Witness was among the crowd. There was a "clergyman " at the funeral, (explained by counsel to mean a person dressed Uke a clergyman); a "choir," "mourners," and an "undertaker." The "burial" took place in a field at the back of the house where the parties were living; it was private property.

Counsel read a local newspaper account of the proceedings, which stated that "The whole proceedings were carried out with the greatest decorum, and although there was an enormous attendance there was no sign of rowdyism, but solemn silence was maintained, the only voices heard, beside the lamentations of the 'mourners,' being those of the 'clergymen' and the 'choir' and those who chose to join in the 'service.' The police were present, but their