Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/66

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56 The European Sky- God.

Lud, the southern equivalent of Lot, had a sanctuary on the site of St. Paul's Cathedral/ where he too, for aught we know to the contrary, may have had a sacred tree. Is there an allusion to such a tree in the familiar nursery rhyme ? —

Upon Paul's steeple stands a tree

As full of apples as may be.

The little boys of London town

They run with hooks to pull them down :

And then they run from hedge to hedge

Until they come to London Bridge.

Geoffrey of Monmouth ^ cites as part of Merlin's prophecy the following remarkable words : ' After this shall be produced a tree upon the Tower of London, which, having no more than three branches, shall overshadow the surface of the whole island with the breadth of its leaves.' This unmistakable reference to Yggdrasill's Tree^ suggests that the odd conceit of an apple-tree growing on the steeple of Old St. Paul's originated in a similar belief and is, in fact, evidence of a British sky-tree on the hill where Lludd the sky-god was represented by king Lud. Further evidence may perhaps be found in the ancient Cornish drama de origine mundi edited and translated by Edwin Norris in 1859; for it describes* the apple-tree of Paradise in terms that certainly recall the Scandinavian world-tree: —

In it there is a tree, High with many boughs ;

But they are all bare, without leaves. And around it, bark There was none, from the stem to the head.

All its boughs are bare.

1 Supra p. 50.

2 Geoffrey of Monmouth British History 7. 3 in Giles Old English Chronicles p. 200.

' Folk-lore xv. 292.

^E. Norris The Attcietit Cornish Drama Oxford 1859 i. 59.