Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/335

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The European Sky-God. 321

This is not the place to dwell on the obvious paral- lelism between the cutting of the mistletoe by the druids and its cutting by the Hays. Of that I shall have occasion to speak later. For the moment it must suffice to have found the solar chief, whose fortunes were bound up with the ancestral oak-tree, defying his foes through the virtue of the mistletoe that he holds in his hand. Even in death he would not be buried without it, if we may judge from a find made at Gristhorpe near Scarborough in 1834 A.D. A tumulus was opened, and in it was discovered the trunk of an oak-tree containing a very perfect skeleton of a supposed Brigantian chief with his spear-heads, etc. Mr. Williamson, one of the excavators, writes of it : * A quantity of a vegetable substance, which was first believed to be dried rushes, was also found in the coffin ; some of it has since been macerated, and though the greater portion of it is so much decomposed that nothing but the fibre remains, in one or two instances we have been so far successful as to clearly distinguish a long lanceolate leaf, resembling that of the mistletoe, which plant it has probably been : a few dried berries were amongst the vegetable mass ; they were very tender and most of them soon crumbled to dust ; — they are about the size of those of the mistletoe.' ^

The Hays, as we have seen, claimed kinship with the Stuarts, of whom the Rev. Hilderic Friend - says : ' The

^J. Allies Antiquities and Folk-lore of Worcestershire ed. 2 London 1852 p. 164. The oak-log with its contents was then preserved in the Scarborough Museum. There may have been similar oak-kings at Glastonbury. For, according to Giraldus Cambrensis Speculum Ecclesiae 2.9 f. cited by Camden Britattnia ed. Gough i. 59, Henry II. made search for King Arthur's tomb at Glastonbury and discovered ' a coffin made out of the trunk of an oak hollowed, in which were lodged the bones of this famous champion. ' It should also be observed that mistletoe is particularly frequent in all the orchards about Glastonbury (R. J. King Sketches and Studies London 1874 p. 48).

2 Friend Flowers and Flower Lore ^. 12, after King, Sketches and Studies, V- 53-