Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/336

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322 The European Sky -God.

Oak formed the badge of the Stuarts. As, however, it was not evergreen, the Highlanders regarded this as ominous of the fate of the royal house.' Among the many Scottish armorial bearings in which an oak-tree figures Sir James Balfour Paul Lyon gives those of Reginald Macdonald Steuart (1813) as 'Arg. an oak tree vert surmounted of a double-headed eagle displayed or.' ^ Again, in the grounds of Dalhousie Castle, some two miles from Dalkeith, is the famous Edgewell Oak, so called because it stands on the edge of a fine spring. Local tradition has it that a branch falls from the tree whenever a member of the [Ramsay] family dies.- The original oak fell early in the eighteenth century ; but a new one sprang from the old root, and the tree was still flourishing in 1889.^

In England too special sanctity attaches to the mistletoe-bearing oak. At Croydon there used to be a great forest of oak-trees called Norwood, in which at a point where four parishes met stood an ancient tree known as the Vicar's Oak. One of the oaks in this forest bore mistletoe, ' which some persons were so hardy as to cut for the gain of selling it to the apothecaries*

^ Sir James Balfour Paul Lyon Ordinaiy of Scottish Arms Edinburgh 1903 p. 371 No. 5466. See ib. s. vv. 'Oak,' 'Oak-slips,' 'Tree.'

^ If a branch was blown down off certain old ash-trees at Manor Farm, Hill Deverill, in South-west Wilts, this was held to portend the death of one of the family living there {Folk-lore xii. 72). Cp. J. Aubrey Remains of Gentilisme ed. J. Britten London 1881 p. 180.

^J. M. Mackinlay Folk-lore of Scottish Lochs and Springs Glasgow 1893 p. 238.

^ Friend Flowers and Flower Lore ii. 378 f. ' Bacon says the Mistletoe upon oaks is counted very medicinal,' etc., J. Brand Popular Antiquities of Great B?-itam ed. Ellis London 1849 i. 525 'The mistletoe of the oak, which is very rare, is vulgarly said to be a cure for wind-ruptures in children,' Folkard Plant Lore, Legejtds, and Lyrics p. 442 ' The powder of an oak- mistletoe was deemed an infallible cure for epilepsy,' etc., V. S. Lean Collectanea Bristol 1903 iii. 505 ' The mistletoe of the oak, a capital thing for a sick cow. — Lees.' See further J. Aubrey Reiiiains of Gentilisme p. 89.