By Jacqueline Simpson
With 1250 entries starting from dragons to mom Goose, may perhaps Day to Michaelmas, this captivating 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 good fortune? folklore experts offer trustworthy and sometimes amazing solutions to those and different curiosities that experience formed way of life in England for hundreds of years. They discover the gala's 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. in addition they offer concise snap shots of genuine and mythical characters that populate the general public reminiscence, together with Robin Hood, The Brothers Grimm, woman Godiva, Puck, and The Sandman. Fairies, mermaids, hobgoblins, and changelings are yet many of the supernatural forces surveyed right here. in spite of the fact that, as folklore encompasses the mundane in addition to the wonderful, various different entries remove darkness from the importance of colours, numbers, plants, animals, and family gadgets. research the curious heritage in the back of our mistrust of the "black sheep," well known credence in "wishbone" needs, folks remedies for nosebleeds and warts, and protracted outdated other halves' stories. as well as historical and medieval folklore, you can find many modern city legends, e.g., the vanishing hitchhiker--a spooky determine noticeable ominously through tourists in Britain and the United States--and the teeth Fairy. An unique source, The Dictionary of English Folklore may be a desirable significant other for readers of English literature, historical past, cultural stories, and delusion.
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Additional resources for A Dictionary of English Folklore
Opie and Tatem, 1989: 15–17; Lean, 1903: esp. ii. 20–3. bees. In medieval, Elizabethan, and Stuart times, bees were regarded as mysterious, intelligent, and holy; their wax was used in church *candles, honey was a biblical image for God’s grace and the joys of heaven, poets praised the hive as a model for the perfect society, grouped around its ‘king’ (it was only in the 1740s that English naturalists admitted the large bee was female). Something of this awe remains in a nursery riddle from the 16th century, with the answer ‘a bee’: Little bird of Paradise, She works her work both neat and nice; She pleases God, she pleases man, She does the work that no man can.
He was one of the ﬁrst of the Victorian folk-song enthusiasts in the ﬁeld, commencing his collecting in 1888, and publishing Songs of the West (1891) and A Garland of Country Song (1895). His books inspired others, such as Anne *Gilchrist, to take an interest, but his cavalier attitude to both texts and tunes gave him a bad name with other collectors. Nevertheless, he was one of the few of his generation who showed an interest in the singers as well as the songs, and he left several descriptions of the old men and women from whom he collected and whom he manifestly loved for their own sake.
The now ubiquitous custom of presenting a cake with burning *candles to someone on their birthday—with their age symbolized by the number of candles—appears to be relatively new to England. Several British correspondents in N&Q in 1902 describe the custom as common in Germany, and one mentions it as practised in the USA, but they make it clear that the custom was unknown to them in this country. N&Q 9s:8 (1901), 344–5, 486–7; 9s:9 (1901), 96. black. Many traditional meanings of black are gloomy: night, death, evil, or the *Devil.