Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/334

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320 The European Sky -God.

in bird-form.^ The Falcon's stone near the old oak recalls the Pillar of the Living Tree near the oak of Mugna.^ Both Greeks and Italians, as we have already seen, connected oak-mistletoe with the sun : ^ it is a priori probable that the Insular Celts did the same. In Ireland, however, the mistletoe is not a native plant and was only introduced in the eighteenth century.* Hence in the ritual of Allhallowmas Eve the Irish sun-charm was performed with apples, not mistletoe.^ Now it was precisely on Allhallowmas Eve that mistletoe was cut from the oak at Errol by a Hay, who surrounded the tree three times sun-ways. We can hardly deny that the cutting of such a plant on such an occasion in such a way had a definitely solar significance. I conjecture that the Hay with the sprig of mistletoe in his hand was the Scotch equivalent of Bran or Cormac or Conchobar with his silver apple-branch. In other words, that he represented the sun-god and as such bore the sun-god's fruit. The mistletoe sprig was ' an infallible guard in the day of battle.' Why t Simply because it filled its bearer with the sun-god's strength. Placed in a cradle, it proved a powerful prophylactic. What agencies of darkness dared touch the protege of the sun .^

^ Id. ib. p. 231 in 'The Gathering of the Hays':

' The standard of Errol unfolds its white breast, And the falcon of Loncartie stirs in her nest.'

"^Folk-lore xvii. 61, with n. 4. Beside an ancient oak near Kingston Lisle in White Horse Vale stands a remarkable stone known as the Blowing Stone. It is a brown Sarsen block, three feet high, honeycombed by sinuous cavities. By blowing bugle-wise down one of these a deep-toned note is produced, which is audible at Faringdon Clump six miles away. The original site of the stone was on the crest of the downs, above White Horse Hill ; and it is said that King Alfred used it for the purpose of summoning his troops. {The Daily Graphic April 2 1906 p. 13 and The Wide Woi-ld Magazine May 1906 xvii. 206 f., both with illustration.)

^Folk-lore xv. 424 ff., xvi. 284 f.

•*P. W. Joyce A Social History of Ancient Ireland London 1903 i. 236.

^ Folk-lore xvii. 58.