By Jacqueline Simpson
With 1250 entries starting from dragons to mom Goose, may well Day to Michaelmas, this mesmerizing dictionary unfurls the colourful background in the back of the vacations, customs, legends, and superstitious ideals of britain. Ever ask yourself why we kiss lower than the mistletoe at Christmas or imagine a rabbit's foot brings sturdy success? folklore experts offer trustworthy and sometimes astounding solutions to those and different curiosities that experience formed everyday life in England for hundreds of years. They discover the fairs and prior celebrations of the English calendar, from St. Andrews Day and its culture of drunkenness and cross-dressing to 12th evening and its king and queen cake. in addition they offer concise graphics of actual and mythical characters that populate the general public reminiscence, together with Robin Hood, The Brothers Grimm, girl Godiva, Puck, and The Sandman. Fairies, mermaids, hobgoblins, and changelings are yet many of the supernatural forces surveyed right here. even though, as folklore encompasses the mundane in addition to the glorious, a number of different entries remove darkness from the importance of colours, numbers, plant life, animals, and family gadgets. research the curious heritage in the back of our mistrust of the "black sheep," well known credence in "wishbone" needs, people remedies for nosebleeds and warts, and protracted outdated other halves' stories. as well as old and medieval folklore, you'll find many modern city legends, e.g., the vanishing hitchhiker--a spooky determine obvious ominously by means of tourists in Britain and the United States--and the enamel Fairy. An interesting source, The Dictionary of English Folklore can be a desirable significant other for readers of English literature, background, cultural stories, and myth.
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Additional info for A Dictionary of English Folklore
Another pamphlet of 1638 described the Black Dog of Newgate Gaol which would ride in the cart beside criminals going to the gallows; this was explained as the ghost of a medieval wizard, killed and eaten by starving fellow prisoners. Black dog legends are common in East Anglia, the northern counties, and the southwest, and occur sporadically elsewhere; there is an extensive listing, including modern eyewitness accounts, in Janet and Colin Bord, Alien Animals, 1981: 77–111. A selection is in Briggs, 1970–1: B.
Both John Evelyn (16 June 1670) and Samuel Pepys (14 August 1666) recorded visits to Bankside, although Evelyn did not like it: ‘I most heartily weary, of the rude & dirty passetime . . ‘ Evelyn’s distaste seems to be at the start of a new sensibility, but the consensus over bloodsports began to crumble seriously in the mid- blood sports 18th century as the isolated voices gradually coalesced into a uniﬁed, vociferous, and passionate movement for reform. The reformers attacked the traditional sports on two moral fronts: ﬁrst was the genuine outrage against cruelty to animals, often set in a Christian context, and second was the concern with the effect that such pastimes would have on the moral character of the working classes.
It involved tying a bull to a permanent ring, or stake driven securely 27 into the ground, with about ﬁfteen feet of rope secured to the base of its horns. Dogs were then let loose, one or several at a time, and encouraged to attack or ‘bait’ the bull. Any dog could be used, but in most places people bred and trained animals for the ‘sport’—bulldogs, mastiffs, and so on. As its horns had been blunted, the bull’s main defence was to toss the dogs into the air, and the dog-owners were adept at catching them on sloping poles to break their fall.