Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/339

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Hampshire Folklore. 303

you have the full connection of bowers, — with their variants, maypoles, oak sprays, branches, garlands, — Revels, and Jiorns all three linked back to the old High Woods again.^

Naturally, in so wooded a country we expect to find legends and beliefs about trees. I do not know whether the Wiltshire custom of combining the ash and oak sprays on Shick Shack Day was ever followed over the Hampshire border, but the ash has a very important place in the country lore. For instance, we get Gilbert White's well- known account of the pollard ashes through whose split trunks ailing children had been drawn. He wrote as though the custom was dying out in his day, but I met a man in Lymington who told me he knew people now alive who had been passed through a tree in their youth. My informant ought to know, for his mother was a wise woman learned in all such matters. These trees must not be con- fused with the shrew-ash, " whose twigs or branches," White explained, " when gently applied to the limbs of cattle, will immediately relieve the pains which a beast suffers from the running of a shrew-mouse over the part affected," {Letter Ixx), for the shrew-ash obtained its magic, it will be remembered, by the incarceration of an unfortunate mouse in the trunk.

In addition to the Shick Shack customs we find the oak in some of the country tales. Inside the triangular iron pillar that marks where Rufus is supposed to have fallen in the New Forest, is a stone placed by Lord Delaware in 1745 where the oak-tree grew from which the fatal arrow was said to have deflected. This tree was credited with miraculous qualities.^

^^ There is an inn at Nursling called the Horns ; in the south-east of the county there is a Horn Copse, a Horn Wood, and Horndean Village.

" Shaw, the Staffordshire historian, said that, — " The story of its putting forth buds on Christmas Day, which wither again before night, may appear idle and superstitious to those who have not had ocular demonstration ; the latter part, indeed, I will not vouch for, but the former is unquestionably true ; and I have seen as extraordinary an effect on the Glastonbury thorn. The oak, " — he naively