STORY OF THE BEE-STUNG PARSON
Among the old stories which I have obtained from the South of the Island, at Cregneish, the one of the bee-stung parson is of particular interest. It was given me in Manx, and rans thus
Ta mee er chlashtyn skeeal veg mysh saggyrt ren coyrt e vreechyn gys thalear dy chorraghey ad fastyr Jesarn, as ten yn thalear cur y vac thie lhieu moghrey Jydoonee. Myr veh er yn rand gys thie yn taggyrt, haink eh er edd shellan. as ghow eh breechyn yn taggyrt dy yoealley ny shellanyn ersooyl. As tra ve'h er ghecklyn yn vill - hie eh gys thie yn taggyrt lesh ny breechyn. Ren eh lhiggey shaghey spooileil ny shollanyn, as ye traa da'n saggyrt dy gholl ayns yn cheeil, chur eh ny breechyn er ayns siyr, as ghow eh toshiaght dy lhaih ny padjeryn ayns y cheeyl as ghow ny : shellanyn toshiaght dy chur nyu gahyn ayns e lheeayst, as ghow eh tosisiaght dy Iheimyragh as dy stampey, as haink oh magh lesh goall nagh row cairagh dy ye loayrit ayns keeyl :Va er ve paart dy shellanyn ayns e vreechyn.
Or Englished :
I have heard a little tale about a parson that sent his pants to a tailor on a Saturday evening to get mended, and the tailor sent his son with them on Sunday morning, and he came on a bees nest and he took the parsons pants to beat the bees. When he got the honey he went on his way to the parsons house, and as he had delayed by robbing the bees nest, it was about time for the parson to go to church. So he put on the pants in a hurry, and began to read the prayers in the church, and the bees began to sting his thighs, and he began to jump and stamp, until at last he came out with words that were unlawful to be said in church Some of the bees had been in the pants.
Readers of Edwin Waughs " Jannock, or the Bold Trencherman," Manchester, 1873, will recognise the outlines of the above anecdote again, so racingly told in chapter VII., p. 60-68. He puts it into the mouth of Adam Ritson, of Broughton, who thus says : " It happened a long time ago, at a little chapel somwheer Kes'ick way on. It was yan o my granfadders cracks." It is a delightful bit of writing, and the question is where did Waugh really pick up the material?
Waugh visited the Isle of Man in 1869, and the fruits of that trip are laid down in his "Guide to Castletown, Port Erin, and adjacent parts of the Isle of Man," St. Catherines Chapel, or the pretty Island Bay," etc. , Manchester, 1869.
It is a striking coincidence to find the tale simultaneously in Manx, at Cregneish, which Waugh also visited and described. Did he get the story here, of did he obtain possession previously, during his rambles in the Lake Country in 1861, and merely amused the Port Erin or Cregneish fishermen with it when he cracked his jokes with them? When he went to the Island he was fifty-one years old. His fame was then already established, and his was a Lancashire household name.
Manchester. C. ROEDER.
Can any of your readers supply information in regard to the old mound on Castleward (near the old shooting range) ? Evidently this mound has been fortified, for there are yet to be seen the remains of defensive works. There is a very similar mound close to the Parish Church of Malpas (Cheshire).
B. E. P.
" Groosniuys," also " grissniuys" signifies, according to Cregeen, " beastings," or new curd, made of the milk of a cow newly done calving. I picked up the word again recently in the South of the Island. It is derived from " groo," Manx; "gruth," curdsGaelic and Irish. In Gaelic " beastings," or " biestings," is also called "bhainne "first milk or " nos " or " bainne nuis." The latter is doubtlessly derived from the word " nuadh," Gaelic and Irish new, fresh ; so that the Manx " groosniuys," which, as it clearly is the more correct rendering, would correspond to " gruth nuadh " in Gaelic and Irish and thus means fresh, or new curds.
Manchester. C, ROEDER.
Amongst the many Manx proverbs relating to meteorological phenomena the following has been collected by me :
Tra ta bayrn er Baroole
Yiow Kione Vaughold ayrn jeh shen
Tra tan sniaghtey lhie er thie Bushel
Bee eh tammylt roish nee eh tennue
Or in English:
When Barrule will have a cap,
Maughold Head will get share of that,
When the snow lies on Bushels House.
It will be a while before it thaws.
This old weather rule runs on the same lines as the distich found in Cumberiand, viz.
If Skiddaw hath a cap,
Scuffel wots full well of that.
[These are two neighbouring hills, the one in this country and the other in Annandale. If the former be capped with clouds and foggy mists, it will not be long ere rain falls on the other. It is spoken of such who must expect to sympathise in their sufferings by reason of the vicinity of their inhabitants.] (See a complete collection of English Proverbs, by J. Ray, revised by John Balfour, London, 1813.)
Turning to Lancashire we have another parallel :
If Riving-pike do wear a hood,
Be sure that day will neer be good.
(A mist on the top of the hill is a sign of foul weather.)
When Pendle wears its woolly cap,
The farmers all may take a nap.
And again, as present in Lancashire folklore and dialect : " Owd Know " (Knoll, a hill between Redden and Ronesdale) has bin awsin (offering) to put hur durty cap on a time or two to-day, an as soon as hur can shap to see it, therll be waytur among us, yoll see."
In Leicestershire we meet with :
If Bever hath a cap,
You churles of the vale, look to that.
(When the clouds hang over Bevis Castle, it is prognostic of rain and moisture, to the much en-dangering of that fruitful vale lying in the three counties of Leicester, Lincoln, and Nottingham.) We see that the Manx proverb does not stand alone, and is not specifically Manx. It points to Cumberland and North-Western Lancashire for its origination, and most probably was applied at an early period by Lancashire and Cumberland settlers in the Isle of Man. To the former, particularly, as I shall be able to show on a later occasion, the Manx peasantry is very muck indebted for their popular nursery rhymes, songs, ditties, and games, many of which became naturalized in the Island with the incoming of the Stanleys.
Manchester. C. ROEDER.
Time will change the fairest flower,
Time will change the gayest bower,
Time will waste the giant oak,
Time will end all human hope.
Time the palace walls erases,
Time the fairest scenes defaces,
Time will change the monarchs crown,
And lay all his glory down.
Time will change the golden hair,
Time the hardest marble wear,
Time will change the brightest dye,
Steal the light from beautys eye,
Stop the sweetest birds that sing,
Change the charms of rosy spring.
Time will change the sylvan grove,
But time cannot alter love.
Time will change all things beside,
Yet the stream of love will glide,
Till the eye is closed in death,
And the fond heart laid beneath.
When the ties of earth are riven,
Love lives on afresh in Heaven.
When the spirit hence has fled,
And the heart is cold and dead
Then in some Arcadian grove
We shall live again in love.
Time may change and life may flee,
Yet the heart that beats for thee
Shall as fondly round thee twine,
And each throb respond to thine,
Till the sun of life has set,
Nor een then can we forget.
Like yon star that marks the Pole,
The re-animated soul
Lives of love again to dream:
Love shall then be all the theme.
Lovers here may droop and die,
Yet twill blossom in the sky,
By no jealousy distrest,
Where no rival can molest.
Let the world say what it will,
Love shall live and flourish still.
The above were composed in his younger days by my friend Edward Farquhar, and for their mellow cadence, great beauty, and originality, although not perfect in form, deserve preservation in your valuable columns.
Manchester. C. ROEDER.
Perhaps the following Manx charm will be of interest
Trooid magh yn Ellan shoh veagh persoonyn (deiney dy-cadjin) baghey lesh pishagyn oc oddagh lhiettal roie foalley. Ayns Skeeyley Chreest ny Hayrey va dooinney baghey oddagh slaanaghey yn roie foalley ec deiney as beiyn myrgeddin. Dy beagh muc ny booa lhiggey fuill, roieagh yn theay faasechredjuagh dy gheddyn yn " fer-obbee." Shiartanse dy vleeantyn er dy henney haghyr roie foalley ayns Laxey my-e-chione ta mee er chee dy insh diu. Va boirey eddyr daa phersoon, as van derrey yeh er woailley yn jeh elley er y chione lesh cainleyr, huitt y dooinney neealloo, as van uill deayrtey ass y lhott. Hug ad fys dan " fer-obbee," haink eh, as hug eh pishag or y dooinney boght. Ren yn uill sthappal !agh roish my dug eh yn phishag er, hug eh boandeyaanrit er e lhott!
English translation :
Throughout this Island there used to be people (generally men) living with charms at them who could stop the running of blood. In Kirk Christ Lezayre there was a man living who could heal the running of blood at men and beasts also. If there would be a pig or cow letting blood the superstitious peasantry would run to get the "charmer." A few years ago there happened a running of blood in Laxey, about which I am going to tell you. There was trouble between two persons, one had struck the other on the head with a candlestick, the man fell in a swoon, and the blood poured out of his wound. They sent for the charmer, he came, and he put a charm on the poor man. The blood stopped but before he put the charm on him, he put a bandage on his wound.
JUAN Y CRUIN.
Myr yeeagh mee harrish boalley chashtal my ayrey honnick mee yn marroo cur lesh ny bioee ersooyl : Lhong.
In English : As I looked over my fathers castle wall I saw the dead carrying the living away. Solution : A ship.
Abbyr : " abb " as ny gleaysh dty chab.
Say " abb " without moving your chin. It was a kind of puzzle ; you cannot say abb" without moving your chin.
THE SCAA BUGGANE USHAG.
" The ghost of a scarecrow " is an old coat and hat set up in a field to scare the birds away. When anyone had very ragged clothes on people said he was like the ghost of a scarecrow. It is also called buggane doathe adhering buggane, and dollaghanthe frightful figure, from doalblind. Some also put two empty bottles in the field, and the wind makes a peculiar noise in the bottles and frightens the rooks away.
THE PHRASE "GAARDERYN SLOCK."
"Squalls of wind " coming through the Slock. The Slock is the hollow between Cronk-ny-irree-Laa and Surby mountain ; when the wind is N.W. there are squalls coming in through the hollow, and sometimes tumbling the stacks of corn and unroofing the houses. In Lingague there was once an old farmer living, and he was very "fearful " of these Gaarderyn Slock.
THE " BUGGANE Y SMELT."
" The Buggane of the Smelt was held in great fear. There is a story of a very old woman who said she had seen him standing on a stile at the roadside, and she turned round and repeated the Lords Prayer ; and, lo ! he was gone. Some man that met him was in great fear to pass him, when the Buggane accosted him thus: "Ny cur boirey orryms, as cha derryin boirey orts" (dont molest me and I will not molest thee). It used to be a common word with the people living there : " What did the buggane say?" The Smelt is at the Nennagh, close to the big mill. It was thought that the buggane was the spirit of some man that had been murdered there.
Manchester, C. ROEDER.