The Scape-Goat in European Folklore, 271
These practices are by no means confined to France ; for at Kirkmaiden in Scotland there is a custom of catching a wren on New Year's Day and setting it free after decking it with ribbons.^ This recalls a French custom ; to keep a swallow in a cage is said to bring misfortune ; ^ anyone who catches a swallow ties a ribbon to its foot and sets it free ; this is said to bring good luck.^
In the West of Germany we find at Liepe near Eberswald an Ascension Day custom which closely resembles the setting free of the wren. The young men of Liepe and the neighbouring village of Lower Finow used to go into the forest, where two " eagles " always built their nest ; two of the young ones, one for each village, were taken and kept till Whitsuntide on a fish diet. Then they were made fast to a handbarrow or other means of carrying them and a hoop set over them ; on the second day they were carried in procession from house to house, just as the wren frequently is ; as in the case of the wren a song was sung :
Wi brengen ju en jungschen Janse-oar Wi hebben en utjenoam !
Wi sin mit uwer Berch un Toal jekoam. Band ! Band ! Band !
Thereupon the girls brought out ribbons and made them fast to the hoop ; subsequently they were divided among the young men. The day after this procession they wore the ribbons in their hats and after a few days the "Janseoar" was set free.*
We have already seen that the butterfly is called the " Sommervogel " and driven out. The same name is given in Grosselfingen to the pigeon which is made fast
^ Brit. Ass. Ethnog. Survey, No. 199.
"^ La Tradition, v. 199.
'^ Rev. des Trad. pop. iv. 229, cf. Rolland, ii. 321.
- Kor.blatt fiir niederd. Spr.forschung. vi. 43.