By Jacqueline Simpson
With 1250 entries starting from dragons to mom Goose, may possibly Day to Michaelmas, this mesmerizing dictionary unfurls the colourful heritage in the back of the vacations, customs, legends, and superstitious ideals of britain. Ever ask yourself why we kiss less than the mistletoe at Christmas or imagine a rabbit's foot brings reliable success? folklore experts supply trustworthy and infrequently excellent solutions to those and different curiosities that experience formed way of life in England for hundreds of years. They discover the fairs and earlier 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. additionally they supply concise pix of genuine 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 the various supernatural forces surveyed the following. notwithstanding, as folklore encompasses the mundane in addition to the glorious, a variety of different entries remove darkness from the importance of colours, numbers, vegetation, animals, and family gadgets. examine the curious background in the back of our mistrust of the "black sheep," renowned credence in "wishbone" needs, folks remedies for nosebleeds and warts, and protracted previous better halves' stories. as well as historic and medieval folklore, you will discover many modern city legends, e.g., the vanishing hitchhiker--a spooky determine noticeable ominously through tourists in Britain and the United States--and the enamel Fairy. An exciting source, The Dictionary of English Folklore could be a desirable spouse for readers of English literature, historical past, cultural reports, and myth.
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Extra resources for A Dictionary of English Folklore
This happye or lucky day’ (Palsgrave, Acolastus, 1540: 90, quoted by Opie and Tatem: 16), and there are numerous 17th-century literary references to the belief (see Lean). A further belief was that it is lucky to get out of bed backwards, provided it was not deliberate. The ﬁrst known mention is in Congreve’s Love for Love (1695) and again there are a number of literary references. Two more bed-related superstitions are included under *feathers and *washing. Opie and Tatem, 1989: 15–17; Lean, 1903: esp.
A variant on the terms ‘boggart’ and ‘bogy’, used for particularly frightening and evil specimens. Mrs Balfour said it was ‘a not uncommon theory’ in part of Lincolnshire that bogles are really the dead, still able to appear and to act, until the time their corpses are fully decayed (Balfour, 1891: 402). Jessica Lofthouse describes those of north Lancashire and Cumbria as ‘spine-chilling’ creatures, which could appear as ‘a light, a ball of ﬁre, a ghostly shape, a phantom hound or bull or calf, or red hen or black cock’.
Reported by folklorists all over the country in only slightly differing forms, the Bible and Key was a popular method of divination. In the version collected by Ella M. Leather in 1909 (1912: 65–6), it is used for three purposes—to discover a lover’s name, to name a thief, or to remove a spell. To ﬁnd a lover, place the key in the Bible on the page containing Ruth 1: 15, with its text ‘Whither thou goest I will go’. Close the book birds 23 and bind it with string. Two people hold up the Bible with their foreﬁngers under the key.
A Dictionary of English Folklore by Jacqueline Simpson