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his field, he proceeds to set up a lame goat of this sort in his neighbour's field where there is still corn standing. No one likes to have the Lame Goat put in his field, “not from any ill-luck it brings, but because it is humiliating to have it standing there visible to all neighbours and passers-by, and of course he cannot retaliate.”" The corn-spirit was probably thus represented as lame because he had been crippled by the cutting of the corn. We have seen that sometimes the old woman who brings home the last sheaf must limp on one foot.” In the Böhmer Wald mountains, between Bohemia and Bavaria, when two peasants are driving home their corn together, they race against each other to see who shall get home first. The village boys mark the loser in the race, and at night they come and erect on the roof of his house the Oats-goat, which is a colossal figure of a goat made of straw.” But sometimes the corn-spirit, in the form of a goat, is believed to be slain on the harvest-field by the sickle or scythe. Thus, in the neighbourhood of Bernkastel, on the Moselle, the reapers determine by lot the order in which they shall follow each other. The first is called the fore-reaper, the last the tail-bearer. If a reaper overtakes the man in front he reaps past him, bending round so as to leave the slower reaper in a patch by himself. This patch is called the Goat; and the man for whom “the Goat is cut” in this way, is laughed and jeered at by his fellows for the rest of the day. When the tail-bearer cuts the last ears of corn, it is said, “He is cutting the Goat's neck off.” In the neighbourhood of Grenoble, before the end of the reaping, a live goat is adorned with flowers and ribbons and allowed to run about the field. The reapers chase it and try to catch it. When it is caught, the farmer's wife holds it fast while the farmer cuts off its head. The goat's flesh serves to furnish the harvest-supper. A piece of the flesh is pickled and kept till the next harvest, when another goat is killed. Then all
the harvesters eat of the flesh. On the same day the skin of
1 R. C. Maclagan, “Notes on folk- * Above, p. 236. lore objects collected in Argyleshire,” 3 Folk-lore, vi. (1895), p. 151, from infor- A. W. F. p. 165. mation given by Mrs. C. Nicholson. * Ibid. p. 166; M. F. p. 185.
III AS A GOAT 275
the goat is made into a cloak, which the farmer, who works with his men, must always wear at harvest-time if rain or bad weather sets in. But if a reaper gets pains in his back, the farmer gives him the goat-skin to wear." The reason for this seems to be that the pains in the back, being inflicted by the corn-spirit, can also be healed by it. Similarly, we saw that elsewhere, when a reaper is wounded at reaping, a cat, as the representative of the corn-spirit, is made to lick the wound.” Esthonian reapers in the island of Mon think that the man who cuts the first ears of corn at harvest will get pains in his back.” probably because the corn-spirit is believed to resent especially the first wound ; and, in order to escape pains in the back, Saxon reapers in Transylvania gird their loins with the first handful of ears which they cut." Here, again, the corn-spirit is applied to for healing or protection, but in his original vegetable form, not in the form of a goat or a cat. Further, the corn-spirit under the form of a goat is sometimes conceived as lurking among the cut corn in the barn, till he is driven from it by the threshing-flail. For example, near Marktl, in Upper Bavaria, the sheaves are called Straw-goats or simply Goats. They are laid in a great heap on the open field and threshed by two rows of men standing opposite each other, who, as they ply their flails, sing a song in which they say that they see the Strawgoat amongst the corn-stalks. The last Goat, that is, the last sheaf, is adorned with a wreath of violets and other flowers and with cakes strung together. It is placed right in the middle of the heap. Some of the threshers rush at it and tear the best of it out; others lay on with their flails so recklessly that heads are sometimes broken. In threshing this last sheaf, each man casts up to the man opposite him the misdeeds of which he has been guilty throughout the year.” At Oberinntal, in Tyrol, the last thresher is called Goat." At Tettnang, in Würtemberg, the thresher who
1 A. W. F. p. 166. tr. Gebräuche unter den Sachsen Sieben* Above, p. 271. burgens, p. 19. Cp. B. A. p. 482 sy). * Holzmayer, “Osiliana,” Perhand- * Panzer, Beitrag zur deutschen
/ungen der gelehrten Estnischen Gesel/- ..]/rthologie, ii. p. 225 syg., § 421 ; schaft zu Dorpat, vii. Hest 2, p. 107. .4. Is’. P. p. 167 sq. * G. A. Heinrich, Agrarische Sitten * A. H. F. p. 168.
gives the last stroke to the last bundle of corn before it is turned goes by the name of the He-goat, and it is said “he has driven the He-goat away.” The person who, after the bundle has been turned, gives the last stroke of all, is called the She-goat." In this custom it is implied that the corn is inhabited by a pair of corn-spirits, male and female. Further, the corn-spirit, captured in the form of a goat at threshing, is passed on to a neighbour whose threshing is not yet finished. In Franche Comté, as soon as the threshing is over, the young people set up a straw figure of a goat on the farmyard of a neighbour who is still threshing. He must give them wine or money in return. At Ellwangen, in Würtemberg, the effigy of a goat is made out of the last bundle of corn at threshing; four sticks form its legs, and two its horns. The man who gives the last stroke with the flail must carry the Goat to the barn of a neighbour who is still threshing and throw it down on the floor; if he is caught in the act, they tie the Goat on his back.” A similar custom is observed at Indersdorf, in Upper Bavaria; the man who throws the straw Goat into the neighbour's barn imitates the bleating of a goat; if they catch him, they blacken his face and tie the Goat on his back.” At Zabern, in Elsace, when a farmer is a week or more behind his neighbours with his threshing, they set a real stuffed goat or fox before his door.” Sometimes the spirit of the corn in goat form is believed to be killed at threshing. In the district of Traunstein, Upper Bavaria, they think that the Oats-goat is in the last sheaf of oats. He is represented by an old rake set up on end, with an old pot for a head. The children are then told to kill the Oats-goat.” A stranger passing a harvest-field is sometimes taken for the Corn-goat escaping in human shape from the cut or threshed grain. Thus, when a stranger passes a harvest-field, all the labourers stop and shout as with one voice, “He-goat He-goat l” At rape-seed threshing in Schleswig, which is generally done on the field, the same cry is raised if the stranger does not take off his hat."
1 E. Meier, Deutsche Sagen, Sitten * Panzer, op. cit. ii. p. 224 sq., § und Gebräuche aus Schwaben, p. 445, 420 ; A. W. F. p. 169. § 162; A. W. F. p. 168. * A. W. F. p. 169. * Ibid. p. 17o.
* A. W. F. p. 169. * Ibid. p. 17o. p p. 17
II i A.S. GOAT AND BULL 277
At sowing their winter corn the old Prussians used to kill a goat, consume its flesh with many superstitious ceremonies, and hang the skin on a high pole near an oak and a large stone. Here it remained till harvest, when a great bunch of corn and herbs was fastened to the pole above the goat-skin. Then, after a prayer had been offered by a peasant who acted as priest (Weidulut), the young folks joined hands and danced round the oak and the pole. Afterwards they scrambled for the bunch of corn, and the priest distributed the herbs with a sparing hand. Then he placed the goatskin on the large stone, sat down on it and preached to the people about the history of their forefathers and their old heathen customs and beliefs." The goat-skin thus suspended on the field from sowing time to harvest represents the cornspirit superintending the growth of the corn.
Another form which the corn-spirit often assumes is that of a bull, cow, or ox. When the wind sweeps over the corn they say at Conitz, in West Prussia, “The Steer is running in the corn”;” when the corn is thick and strong in one spot, they say in some parts of East Prussia, “The Bull is lying in the corn.” When a harvester has overstrained and lamed himself, they say in the Graudenz district (West Prussia), “The Bull pushed him "; in Lothringen they say, “He has the Bull.” The meaning of both expressions is that he has unwittingly lighted upon the divine corn-spirit, who has punished the profane intruder with lameness.” So near Chambéry when a reaper wounds himself with his sickle, it is said that he has “the wound of the Ox.” In the district of Bunzlau the last sheaf is sometimes made into the shape of a horned ox, stuffed with tow and wrapt in corn-ears. This figure is called the Old Man (der Alte). In some parts of Bohemia the last sheaf is made up in human form and called the Buffalo-bull.” These cases show a confusion of the human with the animal shape of the cornspirit. The confusion is like that of killing a wether under the name of a wolf." In the Canton of Thurgau, Switzerland, the last sheaf, if it is a large one, is called the Cow.' All over Swabia the last bundle of corn on the field is called the Cow ; the man who cuts the last ears “has the Cow,” and is himself called Cow or Barley-cow or Oats-cow, according to the crop; at the harvest-supper he gets a nosegay of flowers and corn-ears and a more liberal allowance of drink than the rest. But he is teased and laughed at ; so no one likes to be the Cow.” The Cow was sometimes represented by the figure of a woman made out of ears of corn and cornflowers. It was carried to the farmhouse by the man who had cut the last handful of corn. The children ran after him and the neighbours turned out to laugh at him, till the farmer took the Cow from him.” Here again the confusion between the human and the animal form of the corn-spirit is apparent. In various parts of Switzerland the reaper who cuts the last ears of corn is called Wheat-cow, Corn-cow, Oats-cow, or Corn-steer, and is the butt of many a joke.” In some parts of East Prussia, when a few ears of corn have been left standing by inadvertence on the last swath, the foremost reaper seizes them and cries, “Bull ! Bull !” On the other hand, in the district of Rosenheim, Upper Bavaria, when a farmer is later of getting in his harvest than his neighbours, they set up on his land a Straw-bull, as it is called. This is a gigantic figure of a bull made of stubble on a framework of wood and adorned with flowers and leaves. Attached to it is a label on which are scrawled doggerel verses in ridicule of the man on whose land the Straw-bull is set up." Again, the corn-spirit in the form of a bull or ox is killed on the harvest-field at the close of the reaping. At Pouilly, near Dijon, when the last ears of corn are about to be cut, an ox adorned with ribbons, flowers, and ears of corn is led all round the field, followed by the whole troop of reapers dancing. Then a man disguised as the Devil cuts the last ears of corn and immediately slaughters the ox.
* Praetorius, Deliciae Prussicae, p. 23 sq.; B.A. p. 394 sy. * M. F. p. 58. 3 Whia. * /bid. p. 62. * Ibid. p. 59. * Above, p. 265 sq.