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In Kent the Ivy Girl is, or used to be, “a figure composed of some of the best corn the field produces, and made as well as they can into a human shape; this is afterwards curiously dressed by the women, and adorned with paper trimmings, cut to resemble a cap, ruffles, handkerchief, etc., of the finest lace. It is brought home with the last load of corn from the field upon the waggon, and they suppose entitles them to a supper at the expense of the employer.”” In the neighbourhood of Balquhidder, Perthshire, the last handful of corn is cut by the youngest girl on the field, and is made into the rude form of a female doll, clad in a paper dress, and decked with ribbons. It is called the Maiden, and is kept in the farmhouse, generally above the chimney, for a good while, sometimes till the Maiden of the next year is brought in. The writer of this book witnessed the ceremony of cutting the Maiden at Balquhidder in September 1888.” A lady friend * informs me that as a young girl she cut the Maiden several times at the request of the reapers in the neighbourhood of Perth. The name of the Maiden was given to the last handful of standing corn; a reaper held the top of the bunch while she cut it. Afterwards the bunch was plaited, decked with ribbons, and hung up in a conspicuous place on the wall of the kitchen till the next Maiden was brought in. The harvest-supper in this neighbourhood was also called the Maiden ; the reapers danced at it. In the Highland district of Lochaber dancing and merry-making on the last night of harvest used to be universal and are still generally observed. Here, we are told, the festivity without the Maiden would be like a wedding without the bride. The Maiden is carried home with tumultuous rejoicing, and after being suitably decorated is hung up in the barn, where the

dancing usually takes place.

When supper is over, one iii. 7///E J/.4//DEN 185 of the company, generally the oldest man present, drinks a glass of whisky, after turning to the suspended sheaf and saying, “Here's to the Maiden.” The company follow his example, each in turn drinking to the Maiden. Then the dancing begins." On some farms on the Gareloch, in Dumbartonshire, about seventy years ago the last handful of standing corn was called the Maiden. It was divided in two, plaited, and then cut with the sickle by a girl, who, it was thought, would be lucky and would soon be married. When it was cut the reapers gathered together and threw their sickles in the air. The Maiden was dressed with ribbons and hung in the kitchen near the roof, where it was kept for several years with the date attached. Sometimes five or six Maidens might be seen hanging at once on hooks. The harvest-supper was called the Kirn.” In other farms on the Gareloch the last handful of corn was called the Maidenhead or the Head ; it was neatly plaited, sometimes decked with ribbons, and hung in the kitchen for a year, when the grain was given to the poultry.” In the island of Mull and some parts of the mainland of Argyleshire the last handful of corn cut is called the Maiden (Maighdean-Bhuana). Near Ardrishaig, in Argyleshire, the Maiden is made up in a fanciful three-cornered shape, decorated with ribbons, and hung from a nail on the wall.” In the North of Scotland the Maiden is kept till Christmas morning, and then divided among the cattle “to make them thrive all the year round.”* In Aberdeenshire also the last sheaf (called the clyack sheaf) was formerly cut, as it is still cut at Balquhidder, by the youngest girl on the field; then it was dressed in woman's clothes, carried home in triumph, and kept till Christmas or New Year's morning, when it was given to a mare in foal, or, failing such, to the oldest cow." According to another account of the Aberdeenshire custom the sheaf in question is

inadmissible. When he wrote to me
(7th November 1899) his materials on
this subject were not yet sisted, but he
added: “When I come to weigh all
the evidence connected with mell, I
shall probably find that the first mean-
ing of the word is “the last sheaf cut
at harvest,’ and that it was put up in
the form of a mell to be thrown at sor
a prize, and that me// originally means
a mallet; throughout all the north a

mallet is always called a mell.”
* Brand, op. cit. ii. 21 sq.
* Folk-lore Journal, vi. (1888), p.
268 sq.

* Mrs. Macalister, wife of Professor Alexander Macalister, Cambridge. Her recollections refer especially to the neighbourhood of Glen Farg, some ten or twelve miles to the south of Perth.


* J. Macdonald, Religion and Myth, p. I4 I sq.

* From information supplied by Archie Leitch, late gardener at Rowmore, Garelochhead. The Kirn was the name of the harvest festivity in the south of Scotland also. See Lockhart's Life of Scott, ii. 184 (first edition); Early Letters of Zhomas Carly/e, ed.

Norton, ii. 325 sq.
3 Communicated by Mr. Macfarlane
of Faslane, Gareloch.
* R. C. Maclagan, in Folk-lore, vi.
(1895), pp. 149, 151.
5 Jamieson, Dictionary of the Scottish
/anguage, s.r. “Maiden.”
° W. Gregor, in Aroue des 7 raditions
Aofulaires, iii. (1888), p. 533 (485 B);

kept in the house until the first mare foals. It is then taken down and presented to the mare as its first food. “The neglect of this would have untoward effects upon the foal, and disastrous consequences upon farm operations generally for the season.”" In Fifeshire the last handful of corn, known as the Maiden, is cut by a young girl and made into the rude figure of a doll, tied with ribbons, by which it is hung on the wall of the farm-kitchen till the next spring.” A somewhat maturer but still youthful age is assigned to the corn-spirit by the appellations of Bride, Oats-bride, and Wheat-bride, which in Germany and Scotland are sometimes bestowed both on the last sheaf and on the woman who binds it.” At wheat-harvest near Müglitz, in Moravia, a small portion of the wheat is left standing after all the rest has been cut. This remnant is then cut, amid the rejoicing of the reapers, by a young girl who wears a wreath of wheaten ears on her head and goes by the name of the Wheat-bride. It is supposed that she will be a real bride that same year.” In the upland valley of Alpach, in North Tyrol, the person who brings the last sheaf into the granary is said to have the Wheat-bride or the Rye-bride according to the crop, and is received with great demonstrations of respect and rejoicing. The people of the farm go out to meet him, bells are rung, and refreshments offered to him on a tray.” Sometimes the idea implied in these names is worked out more fully by representing the productive powers of vegetation as bride and bridegroom. Thus in some parts of Germany a man and woman dressed in straw and called the Oats-wife and the Oats-man, or the Oats-bride and the Oats-bridegroom, dance at the harvest festival; then the corn-stalks are plucked from their bodies till they stand as bare as a stubble field.

id., Folk-sore of the North-East of Scotsand, p. 182. An old Scottish name for the Maiden (autumnalis nymphula) was A'apegyrne. See Fordun, Scotichron. ii. 418, quoted in Jamieson's Dict. of the Scottish Language, s.v. “Rapegyrne.”

J. Macdonald, Religion and .]/yth, p. 140 sq.

* Fo/*-/ore Journal, vii. (1889), p. 51 ; 7%e Quarterly Ā’eview, clxxii. (1891), p. 195.

* W. Mannhardt, Die Äormaïmonen, p. 3o ; Folk-lore /ournal, vii. (1889), p. 50.

* W. Müller, Beiträge zur VolksA unde der Deutschen in .)/ahren, p. 327.

* J. E. Waldfreund, “Volksgebräuche und Aberglaube in Tirol und dem Salzburger Gebirg,” Zeitschrift

für deutsche ..]/ythologie und Sitten

&unde, iii. (1855), p. 340.


In Silesia, the woman who binds the last sheaf is called the Wheat-bride or the Oats-bride. With the harvest crown on her head, a bridegroom by her side, and attended by bridesmaids, she is brought to the farmhouse with all the solemnity of a wedding procession." In these last instances the corn-spirit is personified in double form as male and female. But sometimes the spirit appears in a double female form as both old and young, corresponding exactly to the Greek Demeter and Proserpine, if my interpretation of these goddesses is right. We have seen that in Scotland, especially among the Gaelic-speaking population, the last corn cut is sometimes called the Old Wife and sometimes the Maiden. Now there are parts of Scotland in which both an Old Wife (Cailleach) and a Maiden are cut at harvest. As the accounts of this custom are not quite clear and consistent, it may be well to give them first in the words of Dr. R. C. Maclagan, who has collected them. “Nicholson in his Gaelic Proverbs, p. 415, says that one account he got made it a competition between the reapers of two rigs, the first done getting the Maiden, the last the Old Wife. The better version, he says, made it a competition between neighbouring crofters, and the man who had his harvest done first sent a handful of corn, called the Cailleach, to his neighbour, who passed it on till it landed with him who was last. That man's penalty was to provide for the dearth of the township, gort a' bhaile, in the ensuing season. Nicholson then describes the Maiden as the last handful cut on a farm or croft, and says it was given as a “Sainnseal (Hansel) to the horses first day of ploughing.' It was meant as a symbol that the harvest had been secured, and to ward off the fairies, representatives of the ethereal and unsubstantial, till the time came to provide for a new crop.” ” Again, the Rev. Mr. Campbell of Kilchrenan, on Loch Awe, furnished Dr. Maclagan with the following account of the Highland customs at harvest. The recollections of Mrs. MacCorquodale, who now resides at Kilchrenan, refer to the customs practised

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more than fifty years ago in the wild and gloomy valley of Glencoe, infamous in history for the treacherous massacre perpetrated there by the Government troops in 1692. “Mrs. MacCorquodale says that the rivalry was for the Maiden, and for the privilege she gave of sending the Cailleach to the next neighbour. The Maiden was represented by the last stalks reaped ; the Cailleach by a handful taken at random from the field, perhaps the last rig of the reaper last to finish. The Cailleach was not dressed but carried after binding to the neighbour's field. The Maiden was cut in the following manner. All the reapers gathered round her and kept a short distance from her. They then threw their hooks [sickles] at her. The person successful in cutting her down in this manner was the man whose possession she became. Mrs. MacCorquodale understood that the man of a township who got the Cailleach finally was supposed to be doomed to poverty for his want of energy. (Gaelic: treubhantas— valour.) “A sample of the toast to the Cailleach at the harvest entertainment was as follows: “The Cailleach is with . . . and is now with (me) since I was the last. I drink to her health. Since she assisted me in harvest, it is likely that it is with me she will abide during the winter.' In explaining the above toast Mr. Campbell says that it signifies that the Cailleach is always with agriculturists. “She has been with others before and is now with me (the proposer of the toast). Though I did my best to avoid her I welcome her as my assistant, and am prepared to entertain her during the winter.” Another form of the toast was as follows: “To your health, good wife, who for harvest has come to help us, and if I live I'll try to support you when winter comes.’ “John MacCorquodale, Kilchrenan, says that at Crianlarich in Strath Fillan they make a Cailleach of sticks and a turnip, old clothes and a pipe. In this case the effigy passed in succession to seven farms, which he mentioned, and finally settled with an innkeeper. The list suggested that the upper farms stood a bad chance, and perhaps that a prosperous innkeeper could more easily bear up against the reproach and loss (?) of supporting the Cailleach. Duncan MacIntyre, Kilchrenan, says that in one case where the last

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