Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Fiction

Hello, internet! Isn't it lovely to have some rain again? If it had held out any longer, I was going to do a rain dance!

That got me thinking. Isn't it interesting the little things that get passed down from generation to generation; things that once had great significance but now are only silly superstitions or folklore. They are nothing more than midly interesting stories told when there isn't really anything else to talk about. I find that rather sad, especially since I love plant lore.

I find it fascinating that certain plants, trees, and flowers were considered good or dangerous. For instance, cradles were never to be made from Elder wood because the spirit of that tree would pinch the baby. Bluebells were shied away from since hearing them ring would mean your death was near at hand.

It seems ludicrous now, but at one time these things were practically law. So, here is my little homage to a long forgotten practice.

Post No. 11: Superstitions

Young men unbridled
Wild seed sown
Do not idle
Where foxglove grows.

As poetry goes, the Elders of Dren were there first to admit that this little rhyme left much to be desired. But Dren was no great seat of learning, no oasis for creative sorts. Dren was a very practical town, as most towns of the Frontier were and had to be. Whenever a poem was made it was done for practicality. A rhyme was easy to teach and to remember. Rhymes were warnings.

And this warning, like so many others, is based on a tale passed down from the first founders. These people were, by necessity, superstitious. After all, who knew what lurked in the new lands far from the places they all knew. The old rituals were observed, more for peace of mind than anything else. As an old wife’s saying went, “It’s possible there isn’t a brownie in your house, but it’s also possible there is.”

This lore pertained to every aspect of life, even to the plants that grew wild in the countryside. Primroses give sight, pansies encourage love, and clover brings luck while old oaks are avoided and every house wife knew to never bring wild thyme into the home. More dangerous than thyme or oak, however, is foxglove.

Pretty though they are, the foxglove has long been known to be a witch’s flower. Many mothers in Dren warn their sons, young men of age, to stay clear of the foxglove field. Legend says that when the forest was first cleared to make room for the town, a thick copse of rowan trees, tangled with vines, was cut down for pasture land. Almost overnight, the ground became blanketed with foxglove blossoms and the sounds of a woman laughing merrily came to the ears of the townspeople.

Soon, the young men began to disappear from town. It was said by those who had last seen them that they appeared to be in a trance after dallying by the delicate purple flowers and were being inexorably drawn back towards the field of foxglove blooms, never to be seen again. No one knows what happens to them and the mystery only deepens the superstition.

Only those heedless young men of courting age are spirited away. So mothers and fathers start their rhymes when the sons are young, hoping that tales of witches and malicious sprites will keep them from the place where the foxglove grows.


  1. ..I think I need to get me some foxglove! :D

    One of things mom always told me was to never talk about your dreams before breakfast. Apparently, if you did your dream wouldn't come true.

  2. So that's what I've been doing wrong...


  3. Did I ever tell you about the "Doctrine of Signatures" in regard to wild flowers?