It was with horror that I read an article, a few years back, that highlighted that fewer Yorkshire-folk now know the words to our ‘national anthem’… On Ilkey Moor Bah’t ‘at. To me, that was incredibly sad. Not only is it ‘our’ song (and all true Yorkshire-folk will defend our right to our own national anthem…) it is also an important and wonderful bit of folk-teaching in its own right.
The song has travelled the world, but it is doubtful how many know the full story. It tells of a young man who has been courting Mary Jane, up on the moors without a hat. The singer tells him that he is bound to catch his death of cold if he is up there hatless and he will end up being buried. Then the worms will eat him… and the ducks will eat the worms… and we will eat the ducks, this ‘getting our own back’. A perfect illustration of the cycle of life, love and death, taught in a way that is easily understood, remembered and absorbed.
That, and my own vain quest to find the lost folklore of Derbyshire, set me wondering just how much was being lost. Some time ago, I asked if readers would be my guest and share the folklore, folktales and traditions with which they were raised. The idea was to preserve online traditions and tales that are no longer being passed down through families and communities. A few did so, and links to their posts can be found below.
Apparently, I am not the only one concerned with the loss of our folk history… the National Trust is also asking for people to write down their memories of folklore and traditions.
While the Trust is collecting stories from Britain, I would like to extend the invitation to share folklore from around the world. Do share your stories!
How did your granny predict the weather? What did your great uncle Albert tell you about the little green men he saw in the woods that night? What strange creature stalks the woods in your area?
So many of these old stories are slipping away for want of being recorded. legendary creatures, odd bits of folklore, folk remedies and charms, and all the old stories that brought our landscape to life…
Tell me a story, share memories of the old ways that are being forgotten. What tips did did Granny teach you? What stories did she tell? Share the folklore of your home. I am not looking for fiction with this feature, but for genuine bits of folklore, old wives tales, folk magic and local legends. Why not share what you know and preserve it for the future?
Email me at email@example.com and put ‘Living Lore’ in the subject line. All I need is your article, bio and links, along with any of your own images you would like me to include and I’ll do the rest.
Previous posts in this series include:
Marcia Meara: Boojum & Hootin’ Annie
Lyn Horner: Spider Woman
Robbie Cheadle: A nursery rhyme with an interesting history
Ichabod Temperance: A Spectral Analysis of Temperance
Bobby Fairfield: A very brief history of an infamous Exmoor family.
Teagan Geneviene: Superstitions You Might Find in Atonement Tennessee