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An Introduction to Mythology

Page: 62

The Burry Man of South Queensferry was as elsewhere the representation in human form of a tree- or plant-spirit, for these often are represented in anthropomorphic or man-like shape in folk festival. In Bohemia on the fourth Sunday in Lent the girls of the villages go into a wood, cut down a young tree, fasten to it a puppet dressed in white clothes to look like a woman, and with this figure go from house to house collecting gratuities and singing that they bring summer into the village, summer being represented as the spirit of vegetation, returning or reviving. At Thann in Alsace a girl called the 'Little May Rose,' dressed in white, carries a small may-tree covered with garlands and ribbons, and she and her companions collect gifts from door to door, singing as they go. In Lithuania the lads of the village choose the prettiest girl, swathe her in birch branches, and dress her as the May. In Brie, in the Île de France, a lad is wrapped in leaves and is called 'Father May.' In the Frankenwald mountains, in Northern Bavaria, on the 2nd of May a man is enveloped in straw from head to foot to personify a sheaf, and in this guise he dances round a tree erected before the local tavern, after which he is led in procession through the streets, which are adorned with sprigs of birch. In Thuringia as soon as the trees begin to grow green in spring the children choose one of their playmates, around whom they twine leaves till only his shoes peep out from the greenery. Two of them lead him about so that he may not stumble or fall, and they address him as the 'Little Leaf Man.' In Carinthia on St George's Day a young fellow called 'Green George' is

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