Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Folklore: Meaning of Color of Shoes?

GUEST,Sadie Damascus 26 Aug 15 - 08:32 PM
Megan L 27 Aug 15 - 02:36 AM
Marje 27 Aug 15 - 12:08 PM
JeffB 27 Aug 15 - 05:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Aug 15 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,Hilary 27 Aug 15 - 06:17 PM
LadyJean 28 Aug 15 - 02:22 AM
Dave the Gnome 28 Aug 15 - 10:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 28 Aug 15 - 11:00 AM
meself 28 Aug 15 - 02:34 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:




Subject: Folklore: Meaning of Color of Shoes?
From: GUEST,Sadie Damascus
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 08:32 PM

Hi. In certain versions of Child Ballad 201, Bessie Bell and Mary Gray, there is sung a verse concerning color of shoes. Mary and Bessie, two young women who live together in the woods, "would not wear the shoes of blue, nor yet the shoes of yellow, but they would wear the shoes of green, to run through the streets of Yarrow." I have been told green is the witch's or Wiccan color, and that it has something to do with their sexyuality and/or profession. Can anyone advise me?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Meaning of Color of Shoes?
From: Megan L
Date: 27 Aug 15 - 02:36 AM

That sounds similar to the old rhyme about wedding dresses.


Married in White, you have chosen right,

Married in Grey, you will go far away,

Married in Black, you will wish yourself back,

Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,

Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,

Married in Blue, you will always be true,

Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,

Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,

Married in Brown, you will live in the town,

Married in Pink, you spirit will sink.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Meaning of Color of Shoes?
From: Marje
Date: 27 Aug 15 - 12:08 PM

A green gown was associated with sexual availability - green wouldn't show the grass marks when the girl was rolled on the ground by her ploughboy, etc, but I can't think why green shoes would signify anything.
Unless it was to go with her green dress?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Meaning of Color of Shoes?
From: JeffB
Date: 27 Aug 15 - 05:31 PM

Perhaps someone can tell us how closely Wiccan practices conform to traditional beliefs, how consistent those beliefs were, and how much is accurately known of them. It certainly is interesting how significant colours and plants were in tradition, and how those beliefs survived in various forms into the the modern era. The Victorians, for instance, had a complicated etiquette around the meanings of flowers, which I suppose must have derived from folk beliefs, and they certainly associated the colour red with sexual promiscuity.

Green was also connected with sexuality as Marje says - in Tam Lin Janet, "kilted her green kirtle a little abune her knee", and then went off to (and with), her hero. However, I think the significance of green was less to do with hiding grass stains and more to do with its being the colour of new growth, and by extension of reproduction.

Having said that, Bessie Bell's and Mary Gray's choice of green shoes is still a mystery as the ballad seems to have nothing to do with sex. The two women built themselves a shelter in the woods to escape the plague, but they were infected anyway and died. There is however a traditional back story, which says that a young man brought them food and in doing so he also brought the plague to their hide-out. Perhaps he brought more than that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Meaning of Color of Shoes?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Aug 15 - 05:38 PM

"Brahn boots, I ask you"...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Meaning of Color of Shoes?
From: GUEST,Hilary
Date: 27 Aug 15 - 06:17 PM

In Tam Lin, Janet is also "green as any glass," which I take to be both a symbolic reference to new growth, etc. and also a literal reference to her having morning sickness from being pregnant. An article "Folklore and Symbolism of Green," by John Hutchings discusses, in part, the fact that green was considered bad luck in British folk belief. One informant he writes about talked about the belief that black (mourning) would follow green. This is related to the leaves on the trees dying. In the book Morning Dew and Roses, Barre Toelken writes that "virtually every time someone gets dressed up in green in a ballad that person is dead by the end of the story," though I can definitely think of exceptions to this rule. So, I'm not super familiar with the particular ballad in question with this thread, but as the heroines appear to end up dead by the end of the story, that might relate to the concept of black after green, etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Meaning of Color of Shoes?
From: LadyJean
Date: 28 Aug 15 - 02:22 AM

My sister makes natural dyes. Green is an easy one to do, any number of plants will yield you a nice shade of green. So I don't think green clothing signified anything. It would have been too common.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Meaning of Color of Shoes?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Aug 15 - 10:47 AM

I have been told green is the witch's or Wiccan color, and that it has something to do with their sexyuality and/or profession.

I suspect someone is having you on. Happens a lot in folklore. I had a few people convinced that North West Morris was invented by Blind Willie Higginthorpe, Lamp Man at Wet Earth Pit, who used his enhanced sense of hearing to locate rats and stamp on them with his clogs.

:D tG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Meaning of Color of Shoes?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 28 Aug 15 - 11:00 AM

...There was also Howlin' Ollershaw who, after years down the pit became so ingrained with coal dust he became convinced he was black. The result was Lancashires first blues singer...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Folklore: Meaning of Color of Shoes?
From: meself
Date: 28 Aug 15 - 02:34 PM

So I'll put on my gown of green,
As a forsaken token;
That will let the young lads know,
The bonds of love are broken.

- Mormond Braes


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 21 February 3:49 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.