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Peppermill
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Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

This thread may be presumptuous, but Daughters of the Witching Hill has had enough unusual and seldom used words that I thought it might be fun to have a thread on the words that caught our attention as readers. Some of these might be archaic words today, but I haven't searched to be certain.  If our author has been thorough in her historical research, which she certainly seems to have been, we will probably find them to have origins dating back to the first half of the millennium.  It must have been a particular challenge and even intellectual game to bring this vocabulary to life here.

 

Let us start with a not too unusual word:  ostler, the work of Bess' father.

 

Main Entry: hos·tler  
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English osteler, hosteler, hostler innkeeper, hostler -- from Old French ostelier, hostelier, from ostel, hostel + -ier
1 a also os·tler : one who takes care of horses at an inn or stable : GROOM b : one who is in charge of the horses or mules used in an industry : STABLEMAN

 

(Since trains hadn't yet been invented, we can ignore the second definition: "one who takes charge of a railroad locomotive after a run")

 

"hostler." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (4 Oct. 2010).

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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dhaupt
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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

Pepper, what a great idea. Thank You. 

I hope everyone will partake in this thread.

My book isn't here at work, but I will be looking in it and choosing a word.

 

Thanks again Pepper

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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

[ Edited ]

Okay this is a word that made me stop reading and look it up in the dictionary and of course it wasn't there so I put up with dial up and looked up "Clemming" I knew it had to do with famine because of it's use in the book on page 56 "That winter one in twenty of us in Pendle Forest died of the hunger and clemming, and if it wasn't for the work we did, Liza and I would have likely perished too."

 

I did find it in Wikitionary

Etymology 1 Verb

to clem (third-person singular simple present clemspresent participle clemmingsimple past and past participle clemmed)

  1. (transitive or intransitive) To be hungry.
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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

Peppermint said:

 

Main Entry: hos·tler  
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English osteler, hosteler, hostler innkeeper, hostler -- from Old French ostelier, hostelier, from ostel, hostel + -ier
1 a also os·tler : one who takes care of horses at an inn or stable : GROOM b : one who is in charge of the horses or mules used in an industry : STABLEMAN

 

 

Mountain_Muse -  I especially enjoy the etymology of the words.   In fact, it is the use of these "contemporary" usages that is making the reading of this story so much fun.  It keeps you on your toes and gives you a sense of peeking through the dim and dusty window of time. 

 

Thanks for the heads up on the book!

 

Mountain_Muse

A really good book is much like an artichoke. As you peel back each page of the of the book, you get closer and closer to the succulent heart of the story.
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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

[ Edited ]

 


Mountain_Muse wrote:

 

 I especially enjoy the etymology of the words.   In fact, it is the use of these "contemporary" usages that is making the reading of this story so much fun.  It keeps you on your toes and gives you a sense of peeking through the dim and dusty window of time. 

 

Thanks for the heads up on the book!

 


 

Muse -- I quite agree about enjoying the etymology of the words and the sense Sharrot gives us of "peeking through the dim and dusty window of time"  -- in part accomplished by the way she uses these ancient words.

 

I have an online subscription to Merriam Webster unabridged and love it when reading books like these.  (I am very sorry to experience the encroachment of advertising on m-w.com. It always used to be my first source; the past six months I now find myself going directly to the subscription view.)   However, I am afraid that I may have to pull out my OED (Oxford English Dictionary) for this book before I quit.  Even M.W. Unabridged Online doesn't do as good a job of recording the dates of origin of words.  (But that means locating the magnifying glass as well, which has migrated from its associated box to be available for other tasks as well! lol)

 

I still am having difficulty imagining what it must have been like as a writer to have imbued herself in this ancient dialect enough to be able to recreate it for her readers.

 

Pepper

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"


Peppermill wrote:

 


Mountain_Muse wrote:

 

 I especially enjoy the etymology of the words.   In fact, it is the use of these "contemporary" usages that is making the reading of this story so much fun.  It keeps you on your toes and gives you a sense of peeking through the dim and dusty window of time. 

 

Thanks for the heads up on the book!

 


 

Muse -- I quite agree about enjoying the etymology of the words and the sense Sharrot gives us of "peeking through the dim and dusty window of time"  -- in part accomplished by the way she uses these ancient words.

 

I have an online subscription to Merriam Webster unabridged and love it when reading books like these.  (I am very sorry to experience the encroachment of advertising on m-w.com. It always used to be my first source; the past six months I now find myself going directly to the subscription view.)   However, I am afraid that I may have to pull out my OED (Oxford English Dictionary) for this book before I quit.  Even M.W. Unabridged Online doesn't do as good a job of recording the dates of origin of words.  (But that means locating the magnifying glass as well, which has migrated from its associated box to be available for other tasks as well! lol)

 

I still am having difficulty imagining what it must have been like as a writer to have imbued herself in this ancient dialect enough to be able to recreate it for her readers.

 

Pepper


Pepper,

 

My Senior English Teacher (you know, the one I had back in the middle ages), read and spoke Middle English fluently.  I fell in love with the language and the music of it's sound then and at the same time found a great respect for Etmology.  We had the complete unabridged Webster's 2 volume until recently.  It now resides in our little country library that lacked a dictionary of substance.  Yes, I will definitely miss it, but feel it has found a home where it will find new friends. :-) 

Maybe I will check out the Spelling Bee site to see if they point to an Etemology website we can reference.  I can't even pull out my History of the English Language, as my daughter now has it for reference material.  Oh welll LOL.  But the book is definitely going to be fun.  Just read some of the dialogue with a deep Scottish or Welsh brogue and you will get a tiny sense of the Middle English sound.  It is very lyrical.

I look forward to your further posts over the next few weeks.

 

Mountain_Muse

A really good book is much like an artichoke. As you peel back each page of the of the book, you get closer and closer to the succulent heart of the story.
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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

Words for today:

 


boggart   
Etymology: earlier boggard, buggard, from 1bug + -ard
1 dialect chiefly Britain a : GOBLIN b : a specter or ghost; especially : one that is believed to be malicious   [p. 13, 116]
2 dialect chiefly Britain : SCARECROW

 


gob   
Etymology: Irish Gaelic & Scottish Gaelic, beak, protruding mouth
: MOUTH <a short stumpy man with a pipe perpetually in his gob -- Walter Macken> [p. 37]

 

(Has other meanings as well, but I believe this is the primary use in DotWH.  Might also sometimes refer to a large mouthful of something or an equivalent amount.   Did not find gobsmacked [p.61].)

 

skitter  
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): -ed/-ing/-s
Etymology: probably freq. of 1skite

 

{Etymology from skite/shoot: Middle English sheten, shoten, shuten, from Old English scemacronotan; akin to Old High German skiozzan to shoot, Old Norse skjomacrta to shoot, Crimean Gothic schieten to shoot an arrow, Lithuanian skudrus quick, agile, Sanskrit codati he incites, skundate he hurries}

 

intransitive verb
1 : to pass or glide lightly or hurriedly: as a : to skip along a surface <skittering across the ice on belly or back -- S.H.Adams> b : to skim along or scamper with bobbing motions : SCURRY, SKIP  {SCAMPER} <watch a rabbit skitter off into the woods -- Grace Metalious>  ...[p. 102]

 

scarper   
Inflected Form(s): -ed/-ing/-s
Etymology: perhaps from Italian scappare to flee, escape, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin excappare -- more at ESCAPE
Britain : to run away : make off   [p. 5]

 

scuttle  
Function: intransitive verb
Inflected Form(s): -ed/-ing/-s
Etymology: probably blend of 1scud and shuttle v.
1 : to move with or as if with short rapidly alternating steps : SCURRY <a tiny man came scuttling in by another door -- Gordon Merrick> <armies of brown fiddler crabs scuttle across the road -- American Guide Series: Florida> <a little motorcar so small that it scuttled up the road ... with the abruptness of a wound-up toy -- Thomas Wolfe>
2 : to withdraw from or abandon a possession or country once occupied or a policy or obligation in a hasty manner <scuttling out of our responsibilities in the Middle East -- New Statesman & Nation>  (p. 112, 170)

 


"scuttle, scarper, skitter, gob, boggart." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (7 Oct. 2010).

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

I LOVE this thread! Thanks for starting it Pepper. When I first began reading DotWH it took me a few chapters to become comfortable with the rhythm of the language but once I did it was delightful! I have always been a lover of words and their etymology and I'm glad to see there are plenty more of us. I wish I still had my copy of the book (had to return it to the library last week) so that I could pick out a few of my favorites but I do see many of them in the previous posts. Thanks again...this was fun:smileyhappy:

Paula

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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

Thanks to each of you who have expressed an enthusiastic response to this thread!

 

I have slowly come to the view that the language is a key draw of this book, perhaps more so than the story and plot themselves.  (I am struggling with the relationship of fact to fiction -- and what that implies for this particular work of art/literature.)

 

Words for tonight -- this will be short, I need some sleep after last night and today:

 

messe

Main Entry: mes·sa di vo·ce    
Inflected Form(s): plural mes·se di voce \-(secondarystress)samacrd-\
Etymology: Italian, literally, placing of the voice
: the singing of a gradual crescendo and decrescendo on a long sustained tone -- used of a vocal technique originating in 18th century bel canto



"messa di voce." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (7 Oct. 2010).

 

[The introductory "A Charme" reads;  "Lord in his messe."]

 



crabbed    [p. 3]

Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, partly from crabbe (crustacean), partly from crabbe (crab apple) + ed
1 a : perversely obstinate : INTRACTABLE, CONTRARY <he sets out his theory with such ingenuity ... that it would be a crabbed mind indeed that didn't respond -- R.J.Cruikshank> b : out of humor : CROSS, PETULANT <the only audible response in this country should be a crabbed and jaundiced bickering -- Economist>
2 : characterized by harshness or roughness : BITTER <a crabbed satirist> <crabbed wit>
3 obsolete : CROOKED, GNARLED, ROUGH
4 : difficult to understand : INTRICATE, OBSCURE <crabbed style> <the crabbed complexities of fine automotive machinery -- Newsweek> <his mature compositions are generally considered the more cerebral and crabbed -- Sarah R. Watson>
5 of handwriting : difficult to read <wrote laboriously in his old man's crabbed hand -- Verne Athanas>
synonym see SULLEN

 

CRABBED refers to accustomed, harsh, forbidding, morose crossness <an old crone who knew magic and could be asked for help, but who was apt to be crabbed and was best left alone -- W.W.Howells>

 

"crabbed." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (7 Oct. 2010).

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

Pepper,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this thread.

I love it too and I've learned a lot also, when I read the novel the first time I needed a computer close because so many of the words I wanted to look up couldn't be found in my regular Webster's.

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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

Just lost my post!  Guess I am more uptight than I want to admit about a minor surgical procedure scheduled later this morning!  (My kids are coming to be with me - son & his wife.)

 

Anyway, glad you are enjoying this thread!  I am willing to use my Unabridged access if anyone wants to ask about a particular word.

 

Wanted to get this post up 'cause I may not get back on today.  I did look up "clem" in the OED this morning,  Will write more on that later.  Is related to clam, carries a connotation of "pinched" from either hunger or thirst....

 

For today, here is a link to an exhibit I saw recently at Frelinghuysen Arboretum (yes, like the NJ senator) on medicinal plants.  I haven't taken the time yet to sort out which ones are in our book and which ones in the book are missing, but for now, know that the link on the page above leads to some interesting pictures.

 

Just one already fairly common word today, since it is used to widely throughout the book:

 

 1caul   

Inflected Form(s): -s
Etymology: Middle English calle, from Middle French cale, perhaps back-formation from calotte skullcap
1 : a covering network: a archaic : a woman's netted close-fitting cap b obsolete : a net used to enwrap c obsolete : a net foundation for a wig d : the network at the back of a woman's cap
2 : an enclosing or investing membrane: a : GREATER OMENTUM b : the inner fetal membrane of higher vertebrates especially when unruptured or covering the head at birth : AMNION


"caul." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (8 Oct. 2010).

 

The usage in the book seems almost as a synonym for "cataract", at least on p. 3 and other references to Bess Southerns's eyesight.

 

 


dhaupt wrote:

Pepper,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this thread.

I love it too and I've learned a lot also, when I read the novel the first time I needed a computer close because so many of the words I wanted to look up couldn't be found in my regular Webster's.


 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

Pepper, I'll be thinking of you and hope to see you back soon

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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

I'm enjoying this thread too.  Interestingly, I have not felt the need to look up many words because the author does a good job of providing enough context that I can glean the meaning of unfamiliar words, which I love because I don't like to get up and interrupt my reading to look up a word that keeps me from understanding what is going on in the story.

 

I didn't know the meaning of clemming, so I am glad to add that to my vocabulary.

 

Caul came up on the B&N boards recently with regard to another book.  I looked it up at that time because I hadn't heard of it.  There are lots of superstitions regarding the presence of a caul at birth!  In the book we were reading at the time, it had to do with the character not being able to drown.

Laura

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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

Pepper,

 

Take care and we will miss you AND your etimology of our story!  Get better fast,  

 

Nay, it is I who be the missing of the mistral.  For the mistral bears the tale and sees the light. 

 

Mountain_Muse 

A really good book is much like an artichoke. As you peel back each page of the of the book, you get closer and closer to the succulent heart of the story.
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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

[ Edited ]

Thanks to each of you for your kind words and thoughts.  I feel as if they helped carry me through the day, along with the charming, entertaining 13-month old in the waiting room, my kids (now on the train back to the city), the kind nurse, and the competent doctor.  I think my body was trying to create my own Halloween witch's costume with that growth on my septum!  (Now I can kinda laugh, rather than freeze.  I'm fortunate to be healthy enough to have needed few interventions across my lifetime to date.)  My nose is only slightly sore tonight.  Checkup in two weeks.

 

For page 4, here are pictures of Feverfew and Lungwort:

 

Feverfew

 

Feverfew -- Tanacetum parthenium

 
Used for its antipyretic (preventing, removing or allaying fever) properties and to treat migrane headaches, according to Frelinghuysen Arboretum brochure. 

 

Lungwort

Bluebells, Jerusalem Sage, Lungwort picture


"Lungwort has long been known as a medicinal herb used for asthma, bronchitis, tuberculosis, and other respiratory ailments - hence the name. Young leaves are added to salads, and Lungwort extract is an ingredient in vermouth. Plants used for extracts and infusions should be cut and dried in early summer, or after flowering is complete. Care must be exercised however when selecting Lungwort species for ingestion. Some varieties are  known to be toxic and are may be linked to liver damage. As a result, the herb is subject to legal restrictions in some countries."

 

Source:  Plantcare.com

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

[ Edited ]

Okay, where do I feel like playing today?  (Just got back from watching the simulcast of Das Rhinegold from the Met at a fairly local theatre.  Quite a production!  If you like Wagner at all and didn't get to the Met itself or see it today, you might want to catch the replay, probably Wednesday, if it is somewhere near you.  The weather is lovely outside and it was difficult to come inside.)

 

Anyway, back to DotWH.  Think I'll do a few words that we probably know or could get from the context, but for some reason of being interested in nuances, I jotted on my list to look up.

 

p. 5 woe-working   Don't readily find a definition, but do find this Bible passage:

 

Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.  Micah 2:1, KJV.  For others as well.

 

Tibb didn't approve of woe-working.

 

forespoke/forespeak

Etymology: Middle English forspeken, forespeken, from for-, fore- fore- + speken to speak -- more at SPEAK
1 : to speak of beforehand : FORETELL, PREDICT
2 : to bespeak in advance <all the rooms were forespoken weeks ago>


"forespeak." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (9 Oct. 2010).

 

Seems to mean here for Bess to tell Tibb what she wants to have happen to Dick Baldwin; she replies "Only justice" to Tibb's inquiry about seeking revenge.

 

drystone
Function: adjective
Date: circa 1702
chiefly British : constructed of stone without the use of mortar as an adhesive <a drystone wall>

 

(Note the date, if accurate, is a little late for this early 1600's passage.  Certainly seemed fine to my "ear."  What a challenge words must have been for the author!)

 

"drystone." Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (9 Oct. 2010).

 

Drystone Wall

 

August, 2005 by David R Edgar in the Lake District.

 

This is the sort of wall I imagine Tripp as sitting upon.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

[ Edited ]

Okay, here is the herb for today from my pen, mentioned on p.19 and elsewhere:  tansy.

 

"Known to botanists as Tanacetum vulgare L., family Asteraceae, tansy has a long history of use in folk medicine. This strongly aromatic herb, which reaches a height of up to 3 feet and produces bright yellow flowers, is native to Europe but is naturalized and widely cultivated in the United States.

 

"The dried leaves and flowering tops of tansy have been employed, usually in the form of a tea, as an anthelmintic (expels worms), tonic, stimulant, and emmenagogue (promotes menstrual flow-often a euphemism for promoting abortion). Tansy also makes a flavoring in cakes and puddings, especially those eaten at Easter. And it enjoys a considerable reputation as an insect repellent, especially for flies.

 

"Fresh tansy yields between 0.12% and 0.18% volatile oil which is extremely variable in its chemical composition, depending upon the specific source plants utilized. Indeed, scientists indicate that a number of chemical races of tansy exist which perpetuate their own distinctive composition of the oil, just as other plants breed true for flower color or a similar more noticeable characteristic. It is generally agreed that the physiological actions attributed to the plant mainly come from the thujone content of the oil. But some tansy oils are entirely free of thujone, and others contain as much as 95% of that compound. This composition is determined by the genetic makeup of the plant and is not appreciably influenced by environmental factors. Thus the effect of any tansy preparation will be dependent on the chemical race represented, since this determines the thujone content of the contained volatile oil. Without subjecting a specific plant sample to an analysis for thujone, it is impossible to estimate the proper dosage for a tansy preparation.

 

"Moreover, thujone is a relatively toxic compound, capable of inducing both convulsions and psychotic effects in human beings. There are far more effective and much safer medicines than the thujone-containing tansy for expelling and destroying intestinal worms - the principal use of the plant in folk medicine. In this enlightened era, there is absolutely no reason to utilize a potentially dangerous, toxic material of this sort as an emmenagogue-abortifacient. As a matter of fact, since more effective insect repellents are readily available, there is no real reason to use tansy for anything. Well, perhaps there is just one. Tansy is used as a flavoring agent in certain alcoholic beverages, including Chartreuse, but the resulting product must be thujone-free.

 

"Tansy resists frost and cold, and its attractive yellow flower heads are extremely long lasting, both when they are in bloom and after they have been picked and dried. Patches of tansy can survive for decades in the same location. The very name tansy, herbalists declare, is a corruption of the Greek word for immortality - athanasia.

 

"Because of its strong smell, tansy is a natural insect repellent. In the Middle Ages dried tansy was one of the "strewing herbs" scattered across floors to keep pests away. Housewives also hung it from rafters, packed it between bed sheets and mattresses, and rubbed it on meat to discourage lice, flies, and other vermin. In more recent times, they have used tansy to repel moths and get rid of fleas.

 

"Tansy also has a long history as a seasoning and medicinal plant. In England, the leaves were once used to flavor small tansy cakes eaten during Lent - their bitter taste symbolized Christ's suffering. A tea from the leaves was once commonly taken for colds, stomachaches, and intestinal worms. Folk healers also made a poultice from the leaves to place on cuts and bruises."

 

Source:  herbs2000.com   Bold added.

 

Tansy

 

Michael Shephard, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

 

Another interesting link on tansy.  Note that this one suggests tansy cakes were eaten during Lent because fish were believed to cause worms!

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"


Peppermill wrote:

Okay, where do I feel like playing today?  (Just got back from watching the simulcast of Das Rhinegold from the Met at a fairly local theatre.  Quite a production!  If you like Wagner at all and didn't get to the Met itself or see it today, you might want to catch the replay, probably Wednesday, if it is somewhere near you.  The weather is lovely outside and it was difficult to come inside.)

 

Anyway, back to DotWH.  Think I'll do a few words that we probably know or could get from the context, but for some reason of being interested in nuances, I jotted on my list to look up.

 


Hey Pepper!

 

Me thinkest I have eyes of green today!!!  Das Rhinegold! WOW  I miss opera, even though my taste runs to Mozart or Puccini...  But still you haven't experienced opera until you've experienced Wagnerian Opera.

 

Listening to these characters talk back and forth takes me back to the early days of my childhood when my great grandmother and her sisters we still alive and all lived together (as widows).  I would sit and listen to them talk about having the "gift", which was always whispered with heads close together and eyes darting around to make sure no one was listening.  Several hundred years later and a whole pond away, it still wasn't acceptable to be known as having the "gift".  But as a family, they were proud of it. 

 

 They would share stories of someone having "forespoke" about something or the other and talk about their younger days living back in the Appalachians,  I can still here the soft brogue in their voices that could be traced all the way back to Scotland.   (We as children thought it all was hilarious and that they were all going a little looney with age.)

 

I think I have found another reason to enjoy this story, even with the story's sadness for the hardships of the time period.  It is funny how reading a story can bring up long forgotten memories. 

 

Great job on the herbs, too.  Pepper.  BTW,  up in the Highlands, most the herbs they talk about grow wild.  Hubby and I go out exploring so I can photograph them....

 

Mtn_Muse

 

A really good book is much like an artichoke. As you peel back each page of the of the book, you get closer and closer to the succulent heart of the story.
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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

 


Mountain_Muse wrote [excerpt]:

Peppermill wrote:

Okay, where do I feel like playing today?  (Just got back from watching the simulcast of Das Rhinegold from the Met at a fairly local theatre.  Quite a production!  If you like Wagner at all and didn't get to the Met itself or see it today, you might want to catch the replay, probably Wednesday, if it is somewhere near you.  The weather is lovely outside and it was difficult to come inside.)


Hey Pepper!

 

Me thinkest I have eyes of green today!!!  Das Rhinegold! WOW  I miss opera, even though my taste runs to Mozart or Puccini...  But still you haven't experienced opera until you've experienced Wagnerian Opera.

 

Mtn_Muse

 


Muse -- I put some information on the Idle Chat page on the theatres where the Encore run will be playing on October 27.  Check out whether there is a theatre near you.  Tickets are about $20.  It is quite a production, love it, hate it, or otherwise; definitely one to see for both the staging and the music, as well as the singing.

 

 

There was also a simulcast in Wales this time, so I presume there will be an encore there as well.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Words in the October 2010 Read "Daughters of the Witching Hill"

[ Edited ]

Okay, will switch gears today from words and herbs to foods.  Since it is October and there is a reference already on page 9, I'll start with "soulcakes", which we are told were distributed to the poor at funerals.

 

"These are part of the traditional English Hallowe'en festivities. Traditionally these were flat round cakes flavoured with saffron, mixed spices and currants. Indeed, during the 19th and early 20th centuries children would go 'souling' on All Souls' Day (November 2nd) where they would request alms or soul cakes with the following song:

"A soul, a soul, a soul cake.
Please god missus a soul cake.
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us merry.
Up with your kettles and down with your pans
Give us an answer and we'll be gone
Little Jack, Jack sat on his gate
Crying for butter to butter his cake
One for St Peter, two for St Paul,
Three for the man who made us all.

"Often the children would be accompanied by a hobby horse (very much an echo of the ancient Celtic past here), which, typically, was called the Hooden Horse at this time of year.

"Soul Cakes were also part of All Saints' Eve superstitions. It was believed that the spirits of the departed would return to their homes on this night. As a result candles were lit to guide their way and food and drink (including soul cakes) were put out for them."

 

From Celtic Recipes, Soul Cakes (bold added)

 

Some other interesting sites with additional tidbits of information and suggestions:

 

Soul Cakes: Hallowed Offerings for Hungry Ghosts (NPR)

 

"Long ago, however, at the beginning of the Christian era in Britain, Druidic rites were a fresh and vivid memory. Four times a year, bonfires banished the ill-tempered spirits hiding in the night. The Halloween, or Samhain, fires might have been a way of whistling in the dark, laughing in the face of the oncoming cold and scarcity.

 

"Samhain was the festival of the dying sun god, and its dark power stayed potent even as the old ways faded. Samhain became All Souls' Eve and All Souls' Day. The practice of gathering round a bonfire waned. Instead, night visitors of the Dark Ages began to venture abroad, going house to house. If they were lucky, they would be met at the doorstep with a plate of sweet and steaming soul cakes."

 

"...They were used to pay the beggars who came around on All Souls' Eve and offered to say prayers for the family's departed...."

 

A Soul Cake Recipe

 

More Soul Cake Recipes

 

"Soul cakes were traditionally baked as a gift for the spirits of the dead. In many European countries, the idea of 'Souling' became an acceptable alternative for Christians. The cakes took many different names and shapes -- in some areas, they were simple shortbread, and in others they were baked as fruit-filled tarts. Still other regions made them of rice flour. Generally, a soul cake was made with whatever grain the community had available...."

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy