Sacred Texts  Sagas and Legends  English Folklore  Index  Previous  Next 


"THE people in the west," writes a correspondent, "have I adopted many words from the Danish invaders." Tradition assures us that the sea-rovers of the North frequently landed at Witsand Bay, burned and pillaged the villages of Escols and Mayon, sometimes took off the women, but never made a settlement. Certain red-haired families are often referred to as Danes and the dark-haired people will not marry with "a red-haired Dane.' He continues :-- "If you were in Buryan Church town this evening, you might probably hear Betty Trenoweth say, 'I 'll take off my touser [toute serve], and run up to Janey Angwins to cousey [causer] a spell; there's a lot of boys gone in there, so there'll be a grand courant [de courir], I expect.' In a short time Betty may come back disappointed, saying, ' 'Twas a mere cow's courant after all, cheld vean--all hammer and tongs.'"

The touser is a large apron or wrapper to come quite round and keep the under garments clean. By a courant with the boys, they mean a game of running romps. It is not at all uncommon in other parts of the country to hear the people say, "It was a  fine courant," "We 'ye had a good courant," when they intend to express the enjoyment of some pleasure party. These are, however, probably more nearly allied to Norman-French.

There are some proverbial expressions peculiar to the west :-

"Sow barley in dree, and wheat in pul." [b]

"To make an old nail good, right it on wood."

" Fill the sack, then it cars stand."
The last meaning that neither man nor beast can work on an empty stomach.

The following are a few of less common expressions, presenting remarkable words :-

'Tis not bezibd--It is not allotted me.

He will never scrip it--He will never escape it.

He is nothing pridy--He is not handsome.

Give her dule--Give her some comfort or consolation.

Hark to his lidden--Listen to his word or talk.

-  It was twenty or some--It was about twenty.

The wind brings the pilme--The wind raises the dust.

How thick the brusse lies--How thick the dust lies.

He is throyting--He is cutting chips from sticks.

He came of a good havage--He belongs to a good or respectable family.

Hame--a straw collar with wooden collar-trees, to which are fastened the rope traces.

Scalpions (buckthorn, or rather buckhorn)--salt dried fish, usually the whiting.

"Eating fair maids, or fermades--(fumadoes) --[pilcbards], and drinking mahogany [gin and treacle]."

[a] See Appendix EE.

[b] In vul. - meaning in mud.

Next: The Bells of Forrabury Church