Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/58

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exceedingly unlucky, and carefully guarded against.' The scene of tlie poem is in the vicinity of Edinburgh. Clyack-shaif, kirn-cut, kirn-dollie, kirn-baby, maiden, and bride, are names given to the last handful (or handfuls)."

The Rev. E. B. Birks, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, tells me that at Orwell, in Kent, within living memory, it was the custom to throw water on the last waggon returning from the harvest-field ; water was also carried in the waggon, and the people in the waggon threw water on those they met. The waggon was called hawkey.[1]

The Rev. J. J. C. Yarborough, of Chislehurst, Kent, informs me that in a part of Yorkshire, it is still the custom for the clergyman to cut the first corn. Mr. Yarborough thinks that the first corn so cut is used to make the communion bread, but of this he is not sure. He tells me also that as the reaping-machine goes round and round the corn-field, the wild animals (hares, rabbits, &c) retreat into the standing corn in the middle of the field, and when the last patch is to be cut down the reapers stand round it with sticks, ready to knock down and kill the animals when they dart out of the corn. A friend tells me that the same thing happens when the reaping is done by hand ; but the machine by its whirring noise seems to daze and stupify the creatures more than does the simple reaping by hand. This fact suggests an explanation of the reason why the spirit of the corn is so often supposed (as Mannhardt has shown) to be incarnate in animal form in the last corn cut.

My friend, Mr. H. E. Cameron, of Newton Leys, by Ashbourne, Derbyshire, writes me : "As a boy, I remember [2] the last bit of corn cut was taken home, and neatly tied up with a ribbon, and then stuck up on the wall above the kitchen fire-place, and there it often remained till the 'maiden' of the following year took its place. There was no ceremony about it, beyond often a struggle, as to who would

  1. So I spelt the word from Mr. Birks's pronunciation ; he did not know the proper spelling,. It is plainly the same word as Hawkie, Hockey, Horkey in Brand and Hone. [J. G. F.]
  2. Mr. Cameron's recollections refer not to Derbyshire, but to Invernesshire, and particularly, I believe, to Glen Moriston. [J. G. F.]