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Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore

DigiTrad:
OLD OAK TREE


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: The old oak tree (29)
Lyr Req: The Old Oak Tree (4) (closed)
(origins) Lyr Add: Squire McCallian/Old Oak Tree (8)
Lyr Req: The Old Oak Tree (9)


FIDDLE-4 26 Aug 04 - 08:00 AM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Aug 04 - 09:10 PM
Bernard 25 Aug 04 - 08:48 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 Aug 04 - 07:56 PM
GUEST,GUEST,DGALDAS 25 Aug 04 - 05:47 PM
Joybell 22 Jun 04 - 08:22 PM
Joybell 21 Jun 04 - 10:46 PM
Joybell 21 Jun 04 - 10:15 PM
Joybell 21 Jun 04 - 06:47 PM
GUEST,dgaldas@aol.com 21 Jun 04 - 05:12 PM
Stilly River Sage 12 Jun 03 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Q 11 Jun 03 - 11:22 PM
GUEST,Q 11 Jun 03 - 11:12 PM
Stilly River Sage 11 Jun 03 - 09:52 PM
*daylia* 11 Jun 03 - 10:50 AM
*daylia* 11 Jun 03 - 10:31 AM
LadyJean 11 Jun 03 - 12:40 AM
Gareth 10 Jun 03 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,Q 10 Jun 03 - 06:12 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Jun 03 - 05:00 PM
GUEST,Q 10 Jun 03 - 03:59 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Jun 03 - 03:44 PM
GUEST,Q 10 Jun 03 - 03:32 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Jun 03 - 02:20 PM
GUEST,Q 10 Jun 03 - 01:32 PM
*daylia* 10 Jun 03 - 12:47 PM
*daylia* 10 Jun 03 - 12:44 PM
Nerd 10 Jun 03 - 12:28 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Jun 03 - 12:20 PM
Gareth 10 Jun 03 - 10:54 AM
*daylia* 10 Jun 03 - 09:59 AM
AKS 10 Jun 03 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,Q 09 Jun 03 - 11:00 PM
*daylia* 09 Jun 03 - 10:16 PM
*daylia* 09 Jun 03 - 09:58 PM
GUEST,Q 09 Jun 03 - 03:16 PM
Nerd 09 Jun 03 - 02:30 PM
*daylia* 09 Jun 03 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,Stilly River Sage, sans a cookie 09 Jun 03 - 01:44 AM
Nerd 08 Jun 03 - 10:22 PM
Gareth 08 Jun 03 - 04:32 PM
*daylia* 08 Jun 03 - 03:05 PM
Gareth 08 Jun 03 - 01:54 PM
Stilly River Sage 08 Jun 03 - 10:38 AM
*daylia* 08 Jun 03 - 10:04 AM
*daylia* 08 Jun 03 - 09:37 AM
Stilly River Sage 08 Jun 03 - 02:43 AM
Nerd 08 Jun 03 - 12:27 AM
GUEST,Q 07 Jun 03 - 09:57 PM
*daylia* 07 Jun 03 - 09:49 PM
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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: FIDDLE-4
Date: 26 Aug 04 - 08:00 AM

X:599
T:Oak Tree, The
R:reel
D:Sharon Shannon
D:Tommy Peoples
D:Frankie Gavin: Frankie Goes to Town
Z:id:hn-reel-599
M:C|
K:D
FDAD FDAD|FAAF GEFD|~A,3B, CA,EA,|A,G,A,B, CDEG|
FDAD FDAD|FAAF GEFA|(3Bcd eg faec|1 d2ce dBAG:|2 d2ce dfeg||
|:fB~B2 fa^ge|fece ~f3e|cA~A2 fAeA|(3cBA ea fece|
fB~B2 fa^ge|fece faec|ABce ~a3e|1 faec dfeg:|2 faec dABc||
d2fd ~d2fd|c2ec ~c2ec|d2fd ~d2fg|gfge dcBc|
d2fd Adfd|c2ec Acec|dfaf gefd|(3Bcd ec dBAG||
"variations"
|:FD~D2 FDAD|FDAD GEFD|~E3F GEED|~E3F GECE|
FD~D2 FDAD|FDAD GEFA|Bdef gece|1 dfec dBAG:|2 dfec dfeg||
|:fB~B2 fa^ga|fece fcec|A2cA eAce|Acea fece|
fB~B2 fa^ge|fece fcec|ABce ~a3e|1 faec dfeg:|2 faec dABc||
d2fd ~d2fd|c2ec ABcA|d2fd ~d2fg|gfge dcBc|
defd adfd|cdec ABcA|~d3e f2ec|Bdec dBAG||
Tommy peoples a lot.
fiddle-4


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Aug 04 - 09:10 PM

Not pedantry, but trying to keep an already over-long thread manageable. It's easy to provide a link to a text posted elsewhere (see FAQ) and posting the same material in multiple threads makes for more, not less, "ferreting around"; especially for those of us who try to answer questions for people who aren't familiar with the use of search engines.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Bernard
Date: 25 Aug 04 - 08:48 PM

Now, now, let's not get too pedantic!! Maybe 'Guest' ain't familiar with our ways... and it can save everyone a bit of ferreting around if someone posts the lyrics in the context of the thread... I've even seen Joe Offer do it!! So ner!

Have to agree about citing sources, though! ;o)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Aug 04 - 07:56 PM

Guest, There already is a thread, 23026, Origins, The Old Oak Tree, with a version of "Betsy, The Old Oak Tree." The song also is in the DT.
Old Oak Tree: Old Oak Tree
The contents of Mudcat should be checked before posting lyrics. It also is good practice to cite sources of lyrics posted here.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: GUEST,GUEST,DGALDAS
Date: 25 Aug 04 - 05:47 PM

The Old Oak Tree

Dark was the night cold blew the winds and heavy fell the rain
Young betsy left her own dear home and come not back again
She left her widowed mothers side fearing not rain nor cold
Although being young and fair to roam yet love had made her bold

At half past ten that weary night beneath the old oak tree
She had promised James her own true love and with him she would be
She heeded not the drenching rains nor the howling tempest roar
But threw her cloak around her and quickly left the door

That night passed on and day break came and betsy dident come home
Wich caused her mother for to weep and wonder where she had roamed
Till at lenth this widow started out she cried in accents wild
Ill search this kingdom over or find my darling child

Three long and dreary weeks was spent in searching the country around
But their searching was of no avail young betsy was not found
And men to reach her lonely house this weak worn widow tried
Till pressed by grief she there lay down and broken hearted died

More nearer to the scene of was the owner of the ground
Young squire mccullion rode one day to hunt with all his hounds
He rode up hill he rode down dale through gallant company
Until by chance they lost the fox beneath the old oak tree

I was there the dogs began to bark to howl and snuff the clay
And all the gentlemens whips and horses couldent drive the dogs away
Till at lenth the gentlemen gathered around they yelled for pick and spade      
They dug the ground and there they found this missing mureded maid

Her breast that once was fair and white was black with wounds and blows
And from the cuts the blood did gosh and trinkle through her clothes
The grave to show the murderous work it was a horrid sight
To see the worms set through her eyes that once was blue and bright

And in her breast a knife was plunged more dismal to the sene
And on the helve the gentlemen read young james mccullions name
I done the deed mccullions cried and soul is food for hell
So hide her cold corps from my eyes and I the truth will tell

I rote a marriage promise to which I signed my name
This bein on an evil hove(?) I had ruined poor betsy fame
I own I loved young betsy with all my valiant heart
I had gained her soul victoriously which did implore my part

And every time that we would meet she would say make me your bride
But I laughed at all her tears and woes being hardened in my pride
She teased till I grew tired just as it seems to me
When the devil whispered take her life and then you will be free

The knife that did my dinner cut I plunged into her breast
And with the helve I knocked her down I need not tell the rest
And ever since that mortal hour she stands before my eyes
I think I see her bleeding ghost or hear her dying cries

Then he stooped and on the corps he cast a look of pain
He drew a pistol from his breast and fired it through his brain
He was buried where he fell on no Christian grave found he
And none were found to bless the ground beneath the old oak tree.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Joybell
Date: 22 Jun 04 - 08:22 PM

Well having done more homework I see that now I have an alternate title for the Liza Wells ballad - it rightly belongs with the "Old Oak Tree" right here in the data base.
                                                   Joy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Joybell
Date: 21 Jun 04 - 10:46 PM

I should note that regarding Liza Wells - the songs in the repertoire of Val Turton are mainly popular 19th century songs from America, England and Scotland.
Liza Wells has always sounded like a broadside to me but I've never been able to track it down. There are a few American murders that might fit the story - one has the girl's name as "Betsy" but the links seem a bit vague.
Liza Wells sounds rather like a "goodnight ballad" without the hanging - something Jemmy Catnach - the famous broadside printer - might have come up with on a slow day when there was no genuine news. That's my read on it, but it's just a theory. Joy


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Subject: Lyrics add: Liza Wells
From: Joybell
Date: 21 Jun 04 - 10:15 PM

Here is what I think may be a variant of "The Old Oak Tree" as mentioned by Guest dgaldas. It was collected in Binalong New South Wales, Australia, by Rob Willis. It was sung for him, in 1991, by Val Turton (born 1927).

Liza Wells

Dark was the night, cold blew the wind, and heavy fell the rain
When Liza left her dear old home, to never return again.
She left her dear old mother's side, and she went out in the cold.
For she was young and sensitive and love had made her bold.

She heeded not the wind that blew, or the tempest raging o'er
She drew a mantle 'round herself, and boldly left the door.
The night passed on and the day passed on and Liza came not home
Which caused her dear old mother to say, "How can she roam alone?"

'twas in the scenery of some woods, where the owner of some land,
Squire Coleman and some of his gentlemen, were hunting with their hounds.
Over hills and down the dells all gallantly rode they
Until the hounds they all did stop beneath an old oak tree.

The hounds began to yelp and bark, and to yelp and bark did they
And all the whips those hounds did get could not drive them away.
The gentlemen they gathered 'round and they called for pick and spade
For they dug the ground and there they found the murdered mystery maid.

In her side they found a knife, and with a look of shame,
The gentlemen read on the blade young Squire Coleman's name.
"Oh gentlemen" Squire Coleman said, "My soul is fit for Hell
Oh hide me from that cold, cold corpse and the truth to you I'll tell.

I know she loved me dearly, and from me would not part
And in my selfish, wicked way I knew I'd won her heart.
She pleaded me, tormented me, tried me make her my wife
And the Devil whispered in my ear, "Why don't you take her life?"

And with that knife found in her side I pierced her snow-white breast
Oh, gentlemen", Squire Coleman said, "Why need I tell the rest?".
He knelt down by the cold, cold corpse, and with a look of pain,
He drew a pistol from his belt and fired it through his brain.

And where he died they buried him. No Christian grave got he
No marble stone to mark the place beneath that old oak tree.

                                     Joy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Joybell
Date: 21 Jun 04 - 06:47 PM

Ok Guest, I was about to retrace that early request myself. I'm sure that poem is the same one as sung by two elderly sisters here in Australia. They learned it from their grandmother. I'll look it up and post the lyrics if they differ from yours. Joy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: GUEST,dgaldas@aol.com
Date: 21 Jun 04 - 05:12 PM

I'm going through some old letters (1890's or so) and I've found the Poem "The Old Oak Tree" hand written but the verses are not the same as you have. I'm trying to trace the original version and by whom it was written by. Or who can be of any help researching this. There was no name written on it but it was in my family papers. It's about a murder of a woman called "Betsy" by "Squire James McCullion" who on being exposed as the murderer commits suicide!!!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Jun 03 - 03:24 PM

We lived in Temple, in Central Texas, for 8 years (far too long!) and used to visit Mother Neff State Park, the first state park. They have some state record trees out there, no doubt a few of them are oaks.

One of the trees in that web site, Q, is at Rio Frio. Have you been out there? It's a gorgeous county, with real interesting convergences of desert and prairie zones. And the river itself--just south of Rio Frio in Uvalde County is Garner State Park--it's so green it's like lime jello, but it's just the light, the water is cold and crystal clear. Great American Trails Company (don't know anything about them) has a nice little slide show if you have a Flash plugin.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 11 Jun 03 - 11:22 PM

This nursery web site provides information on live oaks in the Texas Hill Country and on oak wilt. The lead picture is of a magnificant live oak. Hill Country oaks

There are good pictures also if you scroll down to the end of the article.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 11 Jun 03 - 11:12 PM

Nicholas Black Elk died in 1950. His story is told in Neihardt, J. G. ed., 1961, "Black Elk Speaks, Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux. Univ. Nebraska Press. A new edition was put out in 2000, $14.95 in paperback ($50 cloth).

The age of the tree seems to be controversial; taking a bore for tree ring analysis could easily settle that, and would provide a history of local wet-dry cycles during its lifetime. The tree certainly was in a precarious location. Its 'sacredness' might be 'new age.'

I told a lie in my last post. Pines in East Texas, and in southern Alberta, are not of the Ponderosa species. My mind was not in gear when I wrote that, extending ponderosa's range considerably.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 Jun 03 - 09:52 PM

Bill Black Eagle, a modern living person, is the informant named in the Austin Chronicle, NOT (Nicholas) Black Elk. Let's not get sloppy and go astray by placing Black Elk (as Neihardt presented his story) on a visit to Texas and climbing Enchanted Rock. It just didn't happen!

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: *daylia*
Date: 11 Jun 03 - 10:50 AM

oops, I just re-read the final messages on the Tree of Life page and realized that the tree is dead. Sorry bout that!

daylia


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: *daylia*
Date: 11 Jun 03 - 10:31 AM

" Don't the Brits celebrate Oak Apple Day, in honor of King Charles' escape?"

LadyJean, at Gareth's promptings I've been doing a bit of research on Charles II's escape from the Roundheads. You might be interested in this article about Oak Apple Day :


"Monarchists celebrate on 29th May

Charles II's escaped from the Roundheads on 6th September 1651. In parts of England, people still commemorate the restoration of the monarchy by wearing sprigs of oak in memory of the time when the king hid in an oak tree following the Battle of Worcester.

Thanks to the protection of this tree in the grounds of Boscobel Hall, Staffordshire, Charles was eventually crowned king of Great Britain and Ireland on 29th May 1660; ...

The wearing of a sprig of oak on the anniversary of Charles' crowning showed that a person was loyal to the restored king. Those who refused to wear an oak-sprig were often set upon, and children would challenge others to show their sprig or have their bottoms pinched. Consequently, this day became known as Pinch-Bum-Day. In parts of England where oak-apples are known as shick-shacks, the day is also known as Shick-Shack Day. It is also likely that the royal association conceals a pagan tradition of tree worship."



:>) Pinch Bum Day! I just love those oh-so-English 'handles', like Rev. Daubeney's Feltwell parish. Do you suppose it was named thus because people felt well when passing by that venerable oak on Oak St? (tongue planted firmly in cheek!)

To take you across the pond for a moment, this article from The Austin Chronicle about the plight of a certain "sacred oak" in Enchanted Rock State Natural Area (Texas) is quite interesting, if a little dated. This tree sits atop Enchanted Rock, said to be a traditional 'sacred mountain' of the local native peoples. Some claim that it is the tree Black Elk spoke of in his apocalyptic visions, and that it's present diseased state (it's been mysteriously losing it's foliage for a few years) is indicative of the approaching 'end of the age'. Others say it's been hit with oak wilt like many other Texas oaks in recent years [sheesh, is 'God' just checking out of Texas then? ;>)   ]. The argument against the latter is that oak wilt is spread via the roots of the trees, and this solitary tree grows on a rock.

In any case, the ailing tree and the local legends surrounding it were brought to the attention of the public by one Ira Kennedy, a local historian and folklorist. At the time of the article in the Austin Chronicle, it had been receiving much attention, people climbing the mountain with buckets of water to try to save it etc.

I'm wondering if the tree is still alive today?

There's more about Black Elk's vision, Ira Kennedy and the debate surrounding this 'sacred oak' at this link, the Tree of Life. Sorry I couldn't find anything more recent about it.

daylia


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: LadyJean
Date: 11 Jun 03 - 12:40 AM

With regards to Robin Hood; For my sins! I produced three medieval Robin Hood plays. Robin of the dramas was nothing like the charming hero of my girlhood. He was a guy who hung out in the woods and picked fights, which he generally won. No robbing rich, no giving to the poor. Blessedly we didn't find out we had the bowdlerized version of "Robin Hood And The Monk" until our last rehearsal. Friar Tuck ends the play by reciting a naughty little rhyme about Maid Marian. We were fed up with the girl who played the role, but Friar Tuck wasn't what you'd call a quick study.
Beatrix Potter wrote a story called "The Fairy In The Oak", which begins with the country proverb, "Fairy folks is in old oaks."
Don't the Brits celebrate Oak Apple Day, in honor of King Charles' escape? I remember a song from John Roberts and Tony Barrand's album or spring carols, "Now we do bring you the royal branch of oak. God bless our king and queen and all the royal folk."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Gareth
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 07:03 PM

To confuse matters even further -
"Hearts of Oak, are are ships,
Jolly Tars are our men."

Tho' Gunthur Prien (deceased) and U47 might disagree.

Gareth

A Virtual Pint in the "Royal Oak", Ystrad Mynach to any non UK 'Catter who can interpret that reference.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 06:12 PM

Kendall and Falconer lost everything when they were taken prisoner and sent off to Mexico. They couldn't have had much, since they had attached themselves to a trading party on its way to Santa Fe. After their capture, they endured horrific treatment, loss of men ordered executed by the sadistic Mexican officer in charge, and starvation. Once in Mexico, new officers took over and the treatment was reversed; those who had survived were fed, clothed, and allowed some freedom of movement.

Falconer is worth a footnote here in Canada because he adjudicated the Canada-New Brunswick boundary. I think it was less than 20 years later that the two joined in Confederation.

Yep, ponderosa pine is our big tree, commercially as well, all the way from the piney woods of Texas to Alberta, and, as you say, eastern Washington, etc.

This thread supposed to be about oaks? Okey-dokey. Here in southern Alberta, the parts in climatic zone three, the burr oak will grow; it has been used by Calgary Parks Dept. on a few streets. Mighty slow-growing, though. I sometimes miss the live oaks of Texas- spent time under them doing assignments (and dozing) when I was in school there.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 05:00 PM

I won't go read it, then. I picked this simply as an an example of how opinion can become an academic resource over time, not really meant to alter the course of the discussion. I did a quick search in JSTOR to see if something in the humanities would pop up (mostly there were scientific studies of how oaks behave in heat, with environmental stresses, how it works for a crop (cork, acorns, etc.). I didn't grow up with any oak lore to speak of; in Washington State there is very little quercus activity. One scrubby shrub type that appears in the Millersylvania area and south (in a glacial moraine/prairie setting) and I think maybe some little isolated population of some sort in the San Juans?

Trees with a lot of cultural lore up there are the Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) and commercial importance like the Douglas fir (Pseudosuga menziesii). In Eastern Washington, the Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) is the big tree on the block. And Merry Marry Men? How about the Frozen Logger! (okay, it's a bit of a stretch!

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 03:59 PM

The account of Falconer, appended to Kendall's narrative, is given in some detail here: Falconer
Nothing of relevance.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 03:44 PM

I expect Falconer cataloged what he found, and perhaps the plant community associations. There was a typo in my scan (had to print the GIF then scan it to Word and correct it). Should have said their "baggage" was siezed in New Mexico--perhaps it was never returned? Had to list stuff from memory? Lots of oaks in Texas that's for sure! For art of the period that includes wonderful botanical detail, have you seen the border survey by William H. Emory? Map of Texas and the countries adjacent* has wonderful etchings--more cactus than oak, but about the same period. 1844.

*full title in catalog: Map of Texas and the countries adjacent / compiled in the Bureau of the Corps of Topographical Engineers, from the best authorities, for the State Department, under the direction of J.J. Abert by W.H. Emory ; W.J. Stone, sc.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 03:32 PM

Falconer came to Texas in 1840. He joined the Texan-Santa Fe Expedition, and his notes appeared as an appendix to Kendall's Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition. He later served in British Guiana and Wales. Not certain what his connection is here, except that live oaks are abundant on the more clayey soils of south Texas (as opposed to pine on the more sandy soil). The sharp separation of the species mark the soil change through the city of Houston.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 02:20 PM

Daylia, if you want the subtext discussion to stop, then cease giving with one hand and taking with the other. A close reading would have indicated that if I responded, I'm at work. But you'd try the patience of a saint, Robin Hood or not, with the continual picking at the remarks of Mudcatters who don't meet your approval.

Your "wink" symbol doesn't fool anyone into thinking that it is meant to smooth over the barb in your words. Getting the last word isn't going to happen when the ointment you use to sooth your verbal pricks is filled with itching powder. They're just begging to be scratched. So if I respond testily when providing a clarification or correction, don't suggest that I don't have sense of humor then post links to define jokes. I have a fine sense of humor when there is something that is really meant to be laughed at, and I can deliver puns that will zing into the stratosphere over your head.

This thread appears to have been plagued by Oak Wilt.

The following opinion has great value and merit and given enough time, the post from the fellow at the feltwellnorfolk.freeserve site may have equal credibility. It has to stand a test of time (and in this case, it also passed a peer review). I picked the following up via JSTOR, an academic database. It came up on a search for "Oak Trees" so somewhere in the article is a discussion of Oaks, but I'm not going to read for it right now. From the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London

    PAPERS READ


    Before The

    ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY.



    I.-Notes of a Journey through Tezas and New Mexico, in the Years 1841 and 1842. By THOMAS FALCONER, Esq., of the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn.


    IN the following notes it is proposed to give the outline of a journey through Texas and New Mexico. They have no claim to scientific accuracy, for most of my papers, as well as those of my companions, especially some containing an estimate of each day's journey, and the bearings of the course followed, were, together with a collection of shells and minerals which I had made, taken possession of, with the baggae of my party, by the Mexican authorities in New Mexico. All that can be recorded is the general characteristics and condition of the country traversed, as indicatjng the peculiarities of some districts which may deserve examination when the pending contest between Texas and Mexico shall terminate, and a more pacific disposition among the Indian tribes or the north towards strangers than prevails at present shall permit it to be made.
    I left Galveston for Houston March 12., 1841, in a steamer drawing about three and a half feet or water. The wind had been blowing hard, and "had blown the water out of the bay," so that we were unable to cross Red Fish Bar, on the N. of Galveston Bay. We grounded in about three and a. quarter feet of water, and remained unable to move for upwards of twenty- four hours. On the morning of the l4th we passed Harrisburgh, situated at the side of Buffalo Bayou. . .


SRS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 01:32 PM

Thanks be that there were only scrub oak (a nasty, invasive scrub) near my birthplace, hence none of these wild English stories. Our trees were pine, spruce, aspen and cottonwood. Oak was brought in as flooring, furniture or coffins. The last is pointed to by a rhyme that we used to sing as children:

Oh, we chopped down that old oak tree
And tuk it away to the mill
To make a coffin so fine
For that old dawg of mine
Oh, they chopped down that old oak tree.

Lots of stories instead about the big cottonwoods along the rivers and arroyos. La Llorona wailed as she wandered through them at night. Outlaws hid there. The big cats from the mountains came down the washes at night and ate children who played there after dark. They were the site of the ultimate 'frontier justice'.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: *daylia*
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 12:47 PM

Nerd, there's a KOA Kampground near my home, and there's OAK Trees on site too! I've even seen a couple Robins flying about there! What a coincidence!! Maybe I'll start a whole new religion about it ...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: *daylia*
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 12:44 PM

SRS, I was joking about the verdict. To clarify that for you, from Merriam Webster's on-line dictionary:

"Main Entry: joke
Pronunciation: 'jOk
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin jocus; perhaps akin to Old High German gehan to say, Sanskrit yAcati he asks
Date: 1670

1 a : something said or done to provoke laughter; especially : a brief oral narrative with a climactic humorous twist
b (1) : the humorous or ridiculous element in something
(2) : an instance of jesting : KIDDING c : PRACTICAL JOKE d : LAUGHINGSTOCK

2 : something not to be taken seriously : a trifling matter"


But, thanks anyway for issuing it so quickly. And on such a slow connection, too! Very commendable.

Shall we email the Reverend and tell him what unsubstantiated garbage his work is? Perhaps criminal charges would be in order! Maybe a public hanging could be arranged, complete with a 'drawn and quartered' encore. At the very least, to be forever blacklisted from the library of the venerable and highly esteemed Mudcat scholars and saints would seem to be in order!

daylia



PS -- that last paragraph is also a joke. See above for a precise definition.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Nerd
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 12:28 PM

Don't forget the other Oak Anagram:

any interpretation is A-OK! (groan)!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 12:20 PM

Geez.
    Of course, finding the same info on a few different sites and knowing that my own dentist is familiar with this old folk-remedy still doesn't make it the f-oaking truth now, does it? I still need the final verdict from SRS!! ;>)


Every single link on this page:http://www.feltwellnorfolk.freeserve.co.uk/written/feltwell_parish.htm
is generated from this Internet Provider: http://www.feltwellnorfolk.freeserve.co.uk/. There are no external links, no references to anything except itself as source. That makes it an unreliable resource. Is this the type of analysis you were looking for from me? I wouldn't use this site to justify anything I was trying to support in an academic argument because it isn't constructed in a way to show where its information comes from. It's personal opinion, and as opinion, has a validity all its own. But it must be recognized for what it is.

My modem won't be restored until late in the week (a new one is coming since the first one was pronounced dead by the DSL tech). Circular logic and fuzzy thinking are never going to be suitable for academic discourse unless the discourse is focusing on circular logic and fuzzy thinking. If I'm at work on the LAN I'll answer questions, but I'm not going to waste my time at home on a slow dialup connecting trying to spell out what makes questionable information sources questionable. I suggest rereading previous posts where this has been discussed before. Nerd and Q have spelled it out here very well. My conclusion? "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Gareth
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 10:54 AM

Just to add a little more confusion to the debate, the Royal Oak was sometimes known as the "Hallowed" Oak.

Click 'Ere
&
Click 'Ere

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: *daylia*
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 09:59 AM

Hmmm, Oak ... Kao ... koa ... oka .... okay Q, you may be right about the dates re the "toothache nails", I don't know. I didn't discuss the date with my dentist, either -- had a few other things on my mind, like pain!

But here's an article from the American Medical Association, describing a similiar, if slightly more bizarre remedy used by American pioneers on the Western frontier in the 1800's ...

"To cure a toothache, pick the tooth with a coffin nail, the middle toe of an owl, a needle used to make a shroud, or a splinter from a tree struck by lightening; apply the juice of the "toothache plant" (prickly ash), pack the tooth with cotton soaked in oil of cloves, rub it with sumac (poison oak) gum; then chew the root of a thistle." Egads!

And here's another reference, giving more info specifically about medicinal uses of oak in folklore, but again not mentioning specific dates.

"Folkloristic medicine made widespread use of various trees, not so much as remedies, but for the purpose of transferring the evil spirits of disease from the sufferer to a strong healthy tree, which seemed much better equipped to cope with it. The practice is known as 'transfer magic'. A variety of rituals were associated with this custom and all of them involved reciting certain spells, which caused the disease spirit to take leave from the body and take up residence with the tree.

Oaks, as the strongest of all the trees, were deemed effective against many different kinds of affliction, among them were gout, fever, toothache, headache and even broken bones. Sometimes bits of the sufferer's garment, some hair or fingernails were plugged into the tree with the help of nails (often coffin-nails), thereby banning the disease daemon into the wood."


Warning: the last article is by one of those "new-age" herbalists, though. No doubt some folk here will write it off as garbage on that basis alone.

I've got a few more references, but I'm sure they'll all be p'd upon anyway. So, I'm foaking off now. Please forward any complaints to my lawyer!

;>)   daylia


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: AKS
Date: 10 Jun 03 - 09:33 AM

oka (Fin) = thorn, barb; now what about that;-)?

In Finnish lore the oak (tammi is mentioned to be God's tree (the rowan being the holy one), but in the "beginning" it behaves badly by growing too high, stopping the clouds and hiding the moon and the sun, so the whole process of creation is delayed. And, as it turns out, no human can cut it down, so the sea folk are asked to come to help. Up comes a man, a thumb long in size, but he grows to be a giant in brass armour and by three strikes of his brass axe the job is finished. Those who managed - or dared - to collect leaves, twigs or any parts of the grand oak, became blessed or lucky or whatever positive. Some splinters drifted across the sea to the North (the stead of the bad guys) and were there exploited in witchery practices.

Presently, the oak is merely a rarity here, because the summer tends to be a bit too short for it, but the bog and lake sediments show that it has been rather common - as has the hazel - some 3000-5000 y's ago.

AKS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 09 Jun 03 - 11:00 PM

Daubeney's interesting little local history makes no claim that "toothache nails" were used in the 18th century, but incidentally mentions that there was an ancient belief that it was a cure for ague and toothache, in his discussion of an oak that he believes could be over 500 years old.
This story is mentioned in several works (where, first?). I could well believe that some ignorant medieval peasants might believe this, but 18th century? No, no.

Oak is Kao spelled backwards, which means high in Chinese. Re-arrange the letters and you have koa, also a large tree. Hmmm, is there a connection? Not too far-fetched for some, I'm sure.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: *daylia*
Date: 09 Jun 03 - 10:16 PM

:>) Nerd, I just saw your last post. Just figures God ... oops, Oak! ... is lurking around here someplace. Probably trying to figure out how He could get a makeover, to look more like that gorgeous hunk of manhood found at the opening 'click' of the "Legends of Robin Hood" site ... yumyumyum ...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: *daylia*
Date: 09 Jun 03 - 09:58 PM

Q, the folklore regarding oak trees, nails and toothaches certainly isn't "fakelore" according to my own dentist! He got the whole office laughing when I asked him about it last week -- kept calling out to his assistant for a hammer and more nails. The humour made the 90 minutes on that chair -- and thank heavens for the modern dentist chair -- a lot easier to take. I've sure liked him a lot better since I found that out!

Here's another source of the same information, an article by Rev. A. R. V. Daubeney, M.A. of Feltwell Parish in S. West Norfolk describing local history. Scroll down to his entry about Oak Street --

"Oak trees planted at the junction of roads, like the Feltwell oak, were much resorted to, in by-gone days, by people suffering from ague; it was supposed that the complaint could be transferred to the tree and probably a nail was then driven in. An ancient cure for toothache was to drive a nail into an oak tree, and strange as it may seem, it was firmly believed that, by this means, the pain could be conveyed from the tooth into the tree."

Of course, finding the same info on a few different sites and knowing that my own dentist is familiar with this old folk-remedy still doesn't make it the f-oaking truth now, does it? I still need the final verdict from SRS!! ;>)

Gareth, the Holy Tree at Glastonbury Abbey is a Thorn, not an oak, according to the links you gave and a few others I've found since. According to legend, it sprang from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea, and bloomed every year at Christmas and at Easter, which is very unusual for a thorn tree. Slips were taken from the original tree before it was destroyed many centuries ago, and apparently the tree's progeny still bloom at Christmas and Easter. They are in the gardens around Chalice Well.

I found a beautiful site with a "virtual tour" of Chalice Well, pictures of the oaken bower (pergola) at the entrance to the gardens, the Well itself with it's oaken cover, and lovely pictures of the "Holy Thorn" trees. Click here for the entrance to the virtual tour (takes a minute for the java scripting to load), and here    for the pictures of the "Holy Thorn" and a bit more info about the trees.

Enjoy!   daylia


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 09 Jun 03 - 03:16 PM

The Anglian Gardener website (daylia) seems to have fakelore by the bushel. The nonsense about driving a nail into the tooth or gum and then putting the nail into an oak tree, in the 18th century, is an example.
In 1685, Charles Allen published "The Operator for the Teeth," outlining extractions, etc. in English. An article in the official journal of the DASA (Dental Assn. South Af.), "An Outline of Dental History," is a good, brief summary. Paré was performing extractions in France (Court medicine) in the 16th century.
Porcelain false teeth that worked are described in a book by N. D. de Chemant, 1779, "A Dissertation on Artificial Teeth." Edward Jenner, who discovered vaccination, was one who used his teeth, and wrote a testimonial.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Nerd
Date: 09 Jun 03 - 02:30 PM

Agreed, daylia. Thanks for the response. As I said, I don't think we're so far apart in principle, but God (or in this case, Oak) is in the details.

SRS, I like the analogy with the Lincoln/Kennedy parallels. That's another case of very selectively presenting some facts, and inventing some others, in order to make it look like there are parallels; it's very similar to what the Robin Hood as Pagan God crowd often does.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: *daylia*
Date: 09 Jun 03 - 09:48 AM

Nerd, thanks for taking the time to explain the procedures of academia
so well, and for choosing your words carefully to avoid sounding arrogant, demeaning and pompous. ie -- "It is a requirement in academic research that you express original opinions that no one has expressed before. You don't want ideas that are already held by others, you want ones that will be held by others after they've read your analysis. If you send an article to be published and the ideas in it are already out there, the journal will turn you down. On the other hand, if your interpretations don't square with facts, they'll also turn you down. Credibility in context, not adherence to a party line, is what gets Humanities research published." Amen to that!

Actually, I don't think we disagree about much here at all, except that I really can still enjoy an article or a viewpoint, even if the scholarship is less than pristine. That, however, does not mean that I'm confused about the facts of the matter!

While the scholars argue about the elusive "facts" behind the Robin Hood legends -- if indeed any such "facts" ever existed! -- perhaps the greatest and only "fact" is that the legends do exist, and that they evolve over time, reflecting the ever-changing social conditions, the needs/desires of the people who love them. That certain C20 neo-pagans/scholars have come to deify Robin, even to the point of creating a new spiritual movement through their interpetation of the legends, is a great "fact" in and of itself! One that will no doubt continue to interest and influence many generations of scholars, historians and seekers to come.

daylia


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: GUEST,Stilly River Sage, sans a cookie
Date: 09 Jun 03 - 01:44 AM

Thanks, Nerd. My access to the web is limited until Southwestern Bell gets their lines in order after several rainy days. With my slow laptop and the old dialup modem, it's catch as catch can, and you said what I would have, but with more patience, and with some good reading recommendations as well.

Ah, the humanities. A master's in English wasn't enough, I pursued one in Philosophy also. Advisors in each field thought the other was less in the ivory tower. Ha!

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Nerd
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 10:22 PM

daylia, I appreciate what you say and I think the two of us are not so far apart. However, I do think you're trying to have it both ways just a little. For example, when you wrote:

It is a very interesting "coincidence" (ha ha!) that Robin and his 12 merry men (... gee, how many? TWELVE? sounds so vaguely familiar!! ;>) ...) came to be associated with an ancient oak, the traditional dwelling-place of divinity!

it sounds as if you are laughing at scholars for saying this association between Robin and a certain oak tree is just a coincidence, when something so obvious as Robin's TWELVE merry men is not being recognized as significant.

My point isn't that it's coincidental, quite the opposite. My point is that a lot of this stuff, including the twelve merry men and quite probably the association with an oak tree, has been made up purposely to make Robin Hood look more like a pagan god. I'm not saying that this kind of invention isn't worthwhile, just that we have to keep it separate from our ideas about what Robin Hood texts have meant in the past.

Just as "Robin Hood's Bower" could not possibly have had the same meaning in Pagan Britain as it did in 1550, few of the pagan associations with Robin Hood predate the neo-Pagan movement. They have been invented in relatively modern times. There's nothing wrong with that, but the website is trying to claim that these are old, original meanings. It is, in other words, either misleading or misinformed. It seems in some cases that you are making similar arguments, though I may have misunderstood you.

You also misunderstood me. You have taken my description of scholars "reading meanings out of stories" to mean looking for facts. I didn't say facts, I said meanings. It is important, though, to attend to what legends actually say before you try to interperet what the meanings might have been at any given moment. If the scholarly way, of trying to say "this legend seems to have meant this at this particular time" seems boring to you, that's obviously your right. But you'll have to understand that the alternate approach, "this is what this legend means to daylia and/or Nerd right now" might be equally boring and insignificant to others.

Your statement

if everyone's minds were restricted in the scholarly fashion, no-one daring to express an original opinion or idea or belief without also providing "... a few links to other people who believe the same thing, and you have what appears to be credible support." as decreed by SRS above, how much folklore would there be left to enjoy??? Would the stories even get off the ground in the first place? What would happen to the faculty of creative imagination? Original thinking, if a idea must be first proven to be held by others to be credible? These are the tenets of academia of course, but do they work very well in everyday life?

shows that you have limited respect for academia, but also that you have limited understanding of it. It is a requirement in academic research that you express original opinions that no one has expressed before. You don't want ideas that are already held by others, you want ones that will be held by others after they've read your analysis. If you send an article to be published and the ideas in it are already out there, the journal will turn you down. On the other hand, if your interpretations don't square with facts, they'll also turn you down. Credibility in context, not adherence to a party line, is what gets Humanities research published.

I would actually recommend that you read some scholarship on Robin Hood; it's far more entertaining than you might think. One recent anthology has articles examining how medieval Robin Hood stories employ mercantile ideologies rooted in the rising middle classes; how Robin Hood ballads portray female cross-dressing and what this might mean about gender images in the middle ages; the importance of Ivanhoe as a transitional text between two very different conceptions of Robin Hood; an analysis of how Robin Hood is turned into a theme park attraction in contemporary Nottingham; a study of the use of the Robin Hood legend in the creation of the Comic Book character Green Arrow; and many other papers covering film, literature and even pagan gods.   

Scholarship is not at all the dull, dry, boring and limited place you seem to think it is. The only restriction is that people analyse the legend as it has existed in the world, rather than making up a new legend they like better. There's value in the latter; Robin McKinley and Parke Godwin have both reimagined Robin Hood beautifully. But it's a different kind of value, and the two should not be mistaken for one another. The web site you posted mistakes creative invention for historical interpretation, and that's why people here objected to it.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Gareth
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 04:32 PM

And don't forget the Boscable (SP) or "Royal Oak" where Charles II hid from the roundheads. A descendent of this tree is said to survive.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: *daylia*
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 03:05 PM

Yes, SRS, this is a tired old road we're walking! To clarify this for you once again, I presented the "Legends of Robin Hood" site here, not as some sort of declaration of "fact" -- no-one has been able to do that yet about Robin! -- but as a colorful, interesting and entertaining example of the present-day contributions to the legend of Robin Hood.   

There are plenty of similiar sites on the net, but none were as artistically pleasing and well-written as the one I posted. However, just because there's a plethora of similiar information around, that doesn't make any of it true now, does it?

Perhaps it is dangerous, after all, to present innocent people with a variety of different ideas/opinions/perspectives during a discussion, and expect them to be able to think things through for themselves!   Maybe next time I'd like to post a link, I'll PM it to you first, for your critical analysis, approval and written consent, in the best interests of the Cat, okay?

Gareth, thanks for the links re Joseph of Arimathea. My original hunch was that this "Hallowed Oak", if it existed, had something to do with the legends of Glastonbury and Chalice Well. The lid of that Well is said to be hewn of oak, carved with the symbol of a fish. I'll go over the links in more detail later ... need to finish my gardening now before it thunderstorms!

daylia


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Gareth
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 01:54 PM

Hallowed Oak - Planted by Jesus - Could this be a corruption of the legend of "Joseph of Arimathea" visting Glastonbury and planting his staff which grew into the Holy Oak ?

Click 'Ere

and Click 'Ere for a little more on the history of Glastonbury.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 10:38 AM

Daylia, we've been down this path before. If you post questionable or bogus links with faulty logic or poor citations in an academic sort of discussion, be prepared to have people argue about them. Don't keep pushing the bad scholarship at people as if it has merit. If you think it has merit and it just doesn't show, then find good solid support and post it.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: *daylia*
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 10:04 AM

PS -- I've been trying to find more information about the "Hallowed Oak" said to have been planted in England by Jesus, but the only reference I've found to date regarding Jesus' alleged visit to the British Isles is in the first verse of this poem by William Blake:

"Jerusalem

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold!
Bring me my Arrows of desire!
Bring me my Spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land."


But nothing about a "Hallowed Oak"! I may have the opportunity to visit England next year, and this tree is one I'd like to see, if it exists at all! If anyone has more info, I'd really appreciate it.

daylia


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: *daylia*
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 09:37 AM

Just to be clear, I agree wholeheartedly with Nerd ie. " ... myths can be believed or studied objectively, but if you believe them it might compromise your objectivity. People who hold Pagan beliefs, for example, are often more interested in what the myths mean to them than what the texts of the myths actually say. They read meanings into stories instead of reading meanings out of stories."

People who try to extract 'facts' from myths and traditions obscured by both time and language barriers are venturing onto quite the shakey limb, whether they are scholars, spiritual 'seekers', singers, sonwriters or whatever! The character of Robin Hood has proven very slippery when it comes to pinning any type of 'fact'on him --- even a date that's accurate within a century or two. And I'm grateful for that! That's part of the endearing mystery of the legends - (at least, the mystery is endearing to me!) I've no desire to mince the mystery out of any of the myths about him -- they are all entertaining, inspiring and valuable in their own way.

So what do I 'believe' about Robin? Not much at all, except as I said before, "To define Robin Hood as an archetype, one of many folk-heros (ie. William Tell, Edric the Wild, Hereward the Wake) whose legends personify certain aspects of the ancient pagan vegetation god of Europe, makes a lot more sense than to see him as some sort of "deity" himself. The very fact that there have been so many viable candidates for a historical Robin lends support to the "archetypal" hypothesis."

I posted the link that Nerd and SRS take such exception to, "The Legends of Robin Hood" because it is just that, a collection of legends -- a colorful and enjoyable example of one of the 20th century contributions to the enduring legacy of folklore and myth surrounding Robin. That this "slant" towards identifying him as a pagan diety is now hotly disputed by scholars is no surprise. Trying to prove Robin a "pagan god" is an undertaking first rooted in the scholarly community of the 19th and early 20th centuries, after all, and scholarly opinion is, quite predictably, cyclical in nature.

A hundred years from now, historians and scholars may find the "deification" of Robin by some (not all!) 20th century neo-pagans/scholars to be this era's most significant and enduring contribution to the Robin Hood legacy. That's why I posted the link! If interpreting the stories this way pleases people, helps them connect with/understand their so-called "Celtic roots" and walk more gently on the Earth their mother so to speak, and it harms no-one, then I don't see that it presents much of a problem --- except that it gets the scholars hot under the collar. But then again, isn't that what scholars are for???   ;>)

It seems I've heard the story of 12 merry men from a variety of secular sources all of my life, and it's just that, to me --- an interesting story! A story which some people find creatively and spiritually inspiring even today. Isn't that the reason humans create folklore in the first place?

I wonder ... if everyone's minds were restricted in the scholarly fashion, no-one daring to express an original opinion or idea or belief without also providing "... a few links to other people who believe the same thing, and you have what appears to be credible support." as decreed by SRS above, how much folklore would there be left to enjoy??? Would the stories even get off the ground in the first place? What would happen to the faculty of creative imagination? Original thinking, if a idea must be first proven to be held by others to be credible? These are the tenets of academia of course, but do they work very well in everyday life?

So many questions, so little time ... and the Robin on my roof this morning told me he'd buy me a beer at the Mudcat Tavern when I'm finished planting my lilac trees today. Seems he's got a bit of a bone to pick with a Catter or two ...   ;>)

daylia


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 02:43 AM

Nerd,

First, in General: Good to see the thread survived the shutdown, though perhaps not so smoothly the visitation of a guest. (There may have been a Mudcat ripple effect--my connection died for a couple of days also!)

Your last example reminds me of popular lists enumerating erroneous relationships: an example would be the sort of thing generated to compare Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy (i.e. "Kennedy's assassin shot him from a warehouse and hid in a theater; Lincoln's assassin shot him in a theater and hid in a warehouse"). I don't remember the exact quote, and there is a list of similar items, all along those lines. Coincidence shouldn't be confused with fact, though it is a seductive avenue to follow. Like numerology and astrology, they're practiced and popular because they tell people things they want to hear, but don't necessarily speak what anyone else would consider "truth." The audience is so local as to be just one.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: Nerd
Date: 08 Jun 03 - 12:27 AM

Whew! My Arse is safe from Daylia!

The only thing I'll say about Daylia's comment that scholars "mince those mysteries right out of the myths, without mercy" is that myths can be believed or studied objectively, but if you believe them it might compromise your objectivity. People who hold Pagan beliefs, for example, are often more interested in what the myths mean to them than what the texts of the myths actually say. They read meanings into stories instead of reading meanings out of stories.

To give an example, daylia thinks it's cool that Robin Hood has twelve merry men, because this resonates with the religious character of the "Robin Hood as pagan god" theory. Unfortunately, Robin doesn't have twelve merry men, at least not in the ballads I know. He has a horde. In Robin Hood and the Bishop of Hereford, for example, he has at least seventy-six men; he takes six with him at the outset, and later summons three score and ten.

If you want to count only the "inner circle" of merry men whose names are mentioned, you still won't get to twelve. Some have stretched it to eleven, but they're including Marian and Tuck, who are not merry men, and also some characters who either aren't separate characters or aren't in Robin's band, like Allen-a-Dale.

So nowhere does he actually have twelve merry men. Where did this idea come from? From the neo-paganist historian Margaret Murray, who was intrigued with the religious overtones she perceived in Robin Hood and apparently made up the "rule" that Robin had twelve companions. Even other people convinced of Robin's deep mythological character have debunked this one, including the aforementioned John Matthews, who wrote:

"despite Margaret Murray's statement that Robin was always accompanied by thirteen (sic--he means thirteen including Robin, as the next sentence will make clear) companions, the number in fact varies from 7 to 150, never twice being the same...The notion that, together with Robin, they were a band of thirteen, in keeping with other heroic groups and with the supposed witches coven, is therefore unlikely."

Matthews here tempers his belief in all things pagan with scholarship.

While the scholarly approach may be sadly lacking in evocative drama, it has the virtue of at least attempting to be accurate. It's easy to just declare that Robin Hood parallels religious figures and make up some reasons why, but it's hard to support that with any good evidence.

I should say that I'm not against people in the pagan community creating their own beliefs and practices using the materials of folklore and myth; that's their absolute right and it can yield beautiful results. But it's quite another thing to come back and claim that the beliefs you invented constitute the original meaning of Robin Hood! That way lies madness, as wise neo-pagans have realized.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 07 Jun 03 - 09:57 PM

Holding up Launcelot's sword?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Trees in Folklore
From: *daylia*
Date: 07 Jun 03 - 09:49 PM

GUEST, you know absolutely diddley about what I can or cannot do! And you obviously can't tell whether or not I'm actively engaged in ridicule, either.

Tell me, would you stand under an Oak tree during a thunderstorm?

Would you do it on a hilltop, surrounded by sacred stones???

;>)    daylia


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