The Source

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      I read that not only were their druid bards to entertain the court, there were also professional druid farters, that would cut humorous farts in front of the court.

      It was a kind of medieval comedy, the flatulist was a type of court jester, and in Ireland the figure was known as a braigetoír. Apparently, they were considered pretty low-ranking among the bards and filidh. Despite our modern notions of chivalry, being prim and proper and so on, ideas that seem to be more Victorian than anything else, medieval humour could be quite bawdy, coarse and slapstick at times.

      … but I think this black sow chasing the children is really weird. does this happen in Cornwall also?

      I don’t know of any Cornish, or West Country, traditions about nightmarish sows or wild boars, ironic in a sense because in Culhwch and Olwen Arthur chases the great boar – Twrch Trwyth – through Cornwall before finally driving it into the sea. Of course, in medieval folklore, Arthur is the “Boar of Cornwall”, too, and despite what many others might say, any Cornish person will tell you that Arthur is one of us! 😀 The motto of the Old Cornwall Society is “Nyns-yw marow Myghtern Arthur!” – King Arthur is not dead!

      Breton culture has the Ankou, the servant of death and the associated of cry of the owl, the bird of death. The Ankou guards each parish and then there are the ur gannerez-noz (kannerez-nos) – les lavandières de nuit – the washerwomen of the night – to be strongly avoided according to traditional folklore. The washerwomen are almost like banshee-type (bean sí) figures who are found washing the clothes of those who are to die.

      In Cornwall and the West Country, the yeth or wisht hounds are black, red-eyed dogs, usually, although not always, malevolent ghost dogs, that can be found wandering the moorlands or guarding certain ancient sites. In Wales similar traditions are found with the gwyllgi – the wild hounds – that are seen at night. Moreover, whereas black cats are considered unlucky in many parts of the world, in the West Country, at least, they are considered lucky, however, black dogs used to be considered very unlucky and this may well be because of the ghostly hounds of the night in folklore.

      The West Country in general abounds with stories of ghosts, hellish hounds, wild beasts, the devil himself and headless coachmen and so on, nevertheless, as with all things, a healthy pinch of salt should be taken with these stories too. The West Country, Cornwall in particular, was well-known for smuggling, wrecking, piracy and contraband and it has been said that many of these tales were concocted to keep fearful people away from the coasts and moors at night so that they didn’t witness the illegal activities that were going on!


      david poole

        The Beast of Bodmin Moor is a great story, although I think that that may be a large black cat. Mermaids feature in Cornish stories which makes sense, Cornwall is often coastal or at least, some of its best features are. Selkies possibly, women who become human when they remove their skins who can be stolen away by mortal men. Cornwall also has fairies which come in a great many varieties, such as piskies, spriggans and knockers. The knockers are associated with stories revolving around the old, abandoned tin mines of which there are many littered across the Cornish landscape. I once saw the story of the Cutty Black Sow in an episode of Tales From The Dark Side, where a young boy is trying to help his dying grandmother by placing stones with names on within their hearth fire; it doesn’t end well as some stones happen to fall out, which as we know means trouble for the Cutty Black Sow will catch up with you, and he does.


          Thank you Dowgri and David for the wonder stories. piracy along the east coast of America is referred to as “the right to plunder” abandoned property, and the people along the coast have their own culture and some of them still speak Elizabethan (OE) English on the islands out in the bay. Pigs really can rip kids to pieces and are not safe to play around. But pigs can also be very loving animals. I love pigs. what would scare me is seeing a dog with red ears. I was wondering if the braigetoír would have used animal stomachs as a way to hold air and create a fart sound, and I can see how it could add humor to a story in the right place. I know that kids love funny sounds when they are listening to story time. I think the thing about the owls is true because I always am visited by owls before someone in my family dies. and I have had the black ravens of the Morrigan try to warn me one time, and if I hear them again, I intend to take their advice. I do believe that there is some form of communication between this world and the Celtic Otherworld, and that it is only natural the the Celtic Gods and goddesses would try to help us if they can, because the druids are still interested in what the Celtic Gods and goddesses have to say, or said in the past. I always have a Bridget cross on my door, and I feel it helps to keep the creepy spirits away, and that it makes me feel better knowing that I honor Bridget. I feel that the early Celts did have a better relationship with nature than most of us do now, and that there are no warmer and kinder people in the world than we Celts. and British humor is really funny and always makes me smile. PEACE TO ALL BEINGS star tree

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