Puck’s Potion

In 2002, scientists recreated a #Shakespearian #lovepotion ❤️ Studies of #midsummernightsdream led them to create the elixir used on #Titania 🧚 Queen of the Fairies to make her fall in love with the first person she saw. In the play, the mischievous character #Puck was instructed to find a “little western flower” and produce a magic potion from its juice. The brew is applied to the sleeping Titania’s eyes and she falls in love with Bottom—despite the fact that he has been given a donkey’s head. 🐴

The Royal Society of Chemistry says research of the play’s text revealed the wild pansy—or ‘heart’s ease’—was the basis of the potion. It was used in old folk remedies for cardiac problems—so, problems of the heart!

Fragrance company Quest International was then asked to create a #perfume based on this fictional potion. Dr Charles Sell, head of organic chemistry at Quest, said: “There are scores of references to plants and herbs in Shakespeare, who was obviously very knowledgeable about their real and mythical potency.” The resulting perfume was called ‘Puck’s Potion’, but it had a powerful, old-fashioned parma violet smell, and they opted not to commercialise it.

You’ll have to rely on your wit and good looks instead this #ValentinesDay ! 😉❤️ Painting: ‘Scene from a Midsummer Night’s Dream, Titania and Bottom’, Edwin Landseer, 1851

#FolkloreThursday #folklore #potions #shakespeare #herbalremedy #folkremedy

Faerie Tree vs DeLorean


Stories of the misfortune that befell those who dared cut down a #faerietree are legion.🌳 Perhaps the most famous tale about faerie thorns is that of the ruin of the #DeLorean car company, whose factory was built over the sacrificed roots of a faerie tree.🧚 The tree was one of the most important religious symbols to the #Celts. Virtually all species of trees were deemed magical in some ways, however none was more tightly linked to the faerie world than the #thorn or #hawthorn, whose spiky thorns, white blossoms, and distinctive red haws or berries were said to have been favoured by the Good People. All individual hawthorns shared the faeries’ general beneficence towards their species, but certain thorns marked faerie lands: those that grew in a group of three; those that grew alone in a stony field; and those those that grew together with an oak and ash to make the most magical of all groves.
#FolkloreThursday

Alewives

“For centuries, #Alewives dominated the brewing industry.🍺 Professional brewsters and alewives had several means of identifying themselves and promoting their businesses. They wore tall hats to stand out on crowded streets. To signify that their homes or taverns sold ale, they would place broomsticks—a symbol of domestic trade—outside of the door. 🐈 Cats often scurried around the brewsters’ bubbling cauldrons, killing the mice that liked to feast on the grains used for ale. “If all of this sounds familiar, it’s because this is all iconography that we now associate with witches. 🧙‍♀️ While there’s no definitive historical proof that modern depictions of witches were modelled after alewives, some historians see uncanny similarities between brewsters and anti-witch propaganda.” – @addisonnugent @atlasobscura https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/women-making-beer Image: #MotherLouse #Alewife by David Logan (1634-1692) Wellcome, Wikimedia Commons #witches #folklore #brewing #feministemployment

Appalachian Dialect

As the linguistic legend goes, the #Appalachian ⛰️ dialect is so odd and archaic, hundreds of years out of step with the rest of the English-speaking world, that it’s the oldest living English dialect—older than the speech of Shakespeare, closer to Chaucer. Isolated from the outside world by natural barriers, they have preserved the language of #ElizabethanEngland. It’s a myth repeated frequently by linguaphiles, but is it true? Language has an important place in the #folklore of #Appalachia and one of the ways Appalachian communities show solidarity and belonging. Perhaps it’s evolved to become its own entity, but the romanticised past is a story all its own. JSTOR by linguist #ChiLuu Photo: Tony Barber, Getty Images #FolkloreThursday #WorldMountainDay #language

Boys & Girls Come Out to Play

The old English 18th century nursery rhyme ‘Boys & Girls Come Out to Play’ 🤾🏻‍♀️ warns of the dangers of faeries luring children out of their beds. 🧚🏻‍♀️

 

Boys and girls come out to play,
The moon doth shine as bright as day;
Leave your supper, and leave your sleep,
And come with your playfellows into the street.
Come with a whoop, come with a call,
Come with goodwill – or not at all.
Up the ladder and down the wall,
A half-penny loaf will serve us all;
You find milk, and I’ll find flour,
And we’ll have a pudding in half an hour.

Now, it’s possible that children might sing such a rhyme to ask their playmates to come and join them outside, but there’s something slightly sinister about this jaunty ditty. 😈

It’s far more likely that this rhyme is a warning against leaving the safety of your bed. 🛌🏻 Night 🌃 was the time of witches 🧙🏻‍♀️ faeries, and evil spirits. 👻 The moon🌜 in particular was seen as intensifying their power and tempting forth even more dangerous creatures, like werewolves. 🐺

The poem is a siren call to children to leave the safety of their homes and come out to play with their enticing magical playmates with the promise of a faerie pudding. 🎂 But as any child who knows their fairytales 📜 can tell you, faerie time passes at a completely different rate to normal time. ⏰ One night spent playing with your new friends, and you could come home only to find that everyone you had known died of old age. ⚰️☠️ Source: Jack Albert ‘Pop Goes the Weasel: The secret meanings of nursery rhymes’

Image: ‘Fairy Islands’ from the book Elves and Fairies, 1916, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

Folklore, legends, myths, and lost histories from the British Isles – collected by Dr Romany Reagan

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