Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/274

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238 Correspondence.

The idea was that high winds were good for the trees by moving the roots, (p. 12.)

Mrs. G used to plant beans for Mr. Frankis at the Parsonage, now the

Rectory. When the work was done, she said, "We had a rare whip-cat" {i.e. supper and games), "especially ' hunting the slipper.' " (Cp. Bean-feast, cp. Tip-cat. Probably "cat" is chat, a piece of wood; picking up wood is described as " chatting." (p. 13.)

The Open- Field System existed here till 1S97.

The title of certain plots of land called " No-Man's Land," or, as in Upton St. Leonard's, "Norman's Acre," looks back to archaic times. . . . There is a tree marking a place in Upton referred to in former surveys of the parish as " Gospel Beech," and another as "Gospel Oak." (pp. 29, 30.)

The Moon is said to affect trees and animals. It is held that pigs should be killed under a rising moon or the bacon will not " plim," i.e. swell, in the pot. Wood cut then, too, is believed to last longer in the ground, and seeds sown then to grow better, and trees grafted to be more successful. Rushes for candles in Scotland were thus gathered. This is referred to in Dr. John- son's "Tour in the Hebrides," and in Evelyn's "Sylva." (p. 12.)

An old woman named Cole, who kept a school at Bond End, in the timber house, was much resorted to, to cure thrush in children. She had a formula of incantation, and touched the mouth, said to be with borax.

Another person, Comfort Whatley (died 1857) is said to have done the same. To cure shingles, wheat was placed on the blacksmith's anvil and then applied.

Warts were cured by a black snail being placed on them, pricked with blackthorn as many times as there were warts to be touched. The skin of the snail was then hung on the thorn bush ; no one was to be told, it was to be kept " perdu." (p. 12.)

The cuckoo had its stories. It was not believed to be migratory : it was remarked, " He go abroad, not he ; he be too lazy to fly from one parish to another." The bird was supposed to hide in granaries and hollow trees. A story runs that one cold night a log of wood was placed on the fire, and the family party sat round it. The log blazed, when the song of the cuckoo was plainly heard. All jumped up, the sheep-dog barked, but before the log could be split the bird was burnt to ashes. It was strongly stated that the song was heard, (p. 13.)

The following is a conversation with a friend : " I've allers noticed that when the "Ayquils" hoUohs " weet, weet," we gets rine. If you listen to them you can hear them speck quite plain : " wet, wet." They've been holloh- ing very loud this last d'y or two, and see what rine we've got. They hoUohs as they flies along."

The birds were Woodpeckers, probably the Lesser Spotted species ; perhaps so-called "Ayquils " from their beak, which bores into trees, — French aiguille, a needle, (p. 18.)

Long years ago a certain Miss Nicholls hanged herself, and her ghost was