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Pembrokesire C M. Presbytery.…





Pembrokeshire Folklore.


Pembrokeshire Folklore. The following article (by Cadrawd') is re- printed from the South Wales Daily News for July 12th An old wizard in North Pembrokeshire used to siy that he obtained the power of bewitching in the following manner :-The bread of his first communion he pocketed. He made pretence at eating it first of all, and then put it in his pocket. When he went out from the service there was a dog meeting him by the gate, to which he gave the bread thus selling his soul ti) the devil. Ever after he had been in the possession of the power to bewitch. The old man said that this was the nniversal method of initiation into the secrets of the "black art," which was so mt.c1 talked about by the old people. Divination. To find out the name of your husband or wife beforehand. A door-key was placed on Ruth chap, i, and the 16th verse, and the Bible was tied so that the book could be lifted by the end of the key. The book was suspended by the two index fingers and the above verse repeated, the person divining keeping in his or her mind any name which they wished to try whether it was the name of their future husband or wife. If the diviner had fixed upon the right name, the Iliblc would turn round during the recital of the verse if not, the book would not move. Another method was to peel a turnip in a narrow strip,, beginning at the apex and ending at the junction of the podium. The skin must not break off, but peel off in one unbroken strip. Place the turnip, which must be quite clean and without a spot <. f skin, behind the entrance door. The first person that comes into the house, of the opposite sex to the diviner will have the same Christian name as that of the future husband or wife. The Crimean War seen in the skies. About six months before the outbreak of the Crimean War, in 1853, John Meyler, Cilciffeth, s iw a strange image in the sky. lie was return- ing home late from Morville, and when nearing lVnterwin he saw the image of armies in the skies. There were several battalions at first, and they increased in number till they spanned the heavens. There were two-opposing forces, and he could distinctly see the image of mflh falling and of horses galloping across the firmament, and the clashing of great masses of men. He was so tenilied that he called at Penbank and cilled the attention of Mr James Morris, who lived at the place at the time, and he saw the same thing. This strange phenomenon appeared for about two hours. The Little Men. In South Pembrokeshire there is a belief that the rings ofter to be seen in fields, meadows, etc., are made by fairies. These are rings of dark green, darker than the grass, often to be seen in pasture lands. In the mushroom season these rings are covered with mushrooms. The people believe that the Little Men," as the fairies are called in Pemkrokeshire, were dancing there during the night, hence the mushrooms in the morning. Magpies. To meet a piat (the South Pembrokeshire dialect word for magpie), the bird of omen, was a sure sign of a misfortune. The following is the local tradition :— To meet one piat, certain bad luck To meet two piats, is certain good luck To meet three piats, foretells a burying To meet four piat, foretells a wedding. Carrion Crow. If the carrion crow makes three circles round a field, croaking the while, the owner of that field will have heavy losses in cattle shortly after. Dogs' Double Sight. Dogs arc reported to possess double or second sight, i.e., they can see a spectral funeral, ghost, etc., aud hear things that transpired in the super- natural or unseen world. If a dog howls in the night, or barks at the moon or stars," it is put down as a forerunner of death in the near future. Johnny John, of Bobblefcon, and the Fairies. Johnny was a natoiious character, and one night whilst walking in his garden a fairy came to him in the form of a greyhound, and passed between his legs, carrying him away at a lightening pace on his back. He brought him through a thornbush that a blackbird would not lly through. He was away for a few seconds merely, according to his own idea but when he returned, which he succeeded in doing when the greyhound happened to ^tumble against something and he jumped off, he found that his friends had iiiissed him exactly a fortnight. The Game of Knappen. This game was much in vogue in South Pem- brokeshire sixty or seventy years ago. Some say that the last .great match was played at Crswell Quay, some forty years ago, between the young men of Pisgah, Cresselly, and Williainston Quarries on the one side, and those of Lawrenny on the other. The game may be described as follows :-The ball was a wooden one, made invariably of bramble root, which was supposed to be harder and more durable than any other wood, and it would not split. Each one carried a bandy, made of hazel or ash, the same in shape as a golf club. There would be sometimes 20 or even 50 men a-side. The course must be a long, flat stretch of ground, from three to six miles long, and the ball was started right at the middle of the plain, of course. The leader who won the toss would throw up his bandy into the air and catch it in the handle as near the middle as he could, and this would be measured from where he had laid hold of it upwards by handwidths. His opponent would catch in the stick close to where he held it, then the other, and so on to the end. The one who could cover the last part with the width of his hand would get the first hit at the ball. If perchance an inch or even half an inch would not be covered by the last hand, the other would catch it with finger and thumb, and if he could with that grasp wave the bandy nine times round his head the fiist hit was his, if not it was the other's. Two poles were set up, one at each goal, and each side would play as best they could, hitting the ball towards their goal. The time when the country folks used to play at this and other games was chiefly Sunday. It is mentioned that about the last game played on Pisgah Hill was when there was baptising in the Cresswell river, by a minister of the name of H Evans, of Neyland. The young folks of Cresselly and dis- trict were pitted against those of Lawrenny. They fiist of all went down to the river to witness the baptism of some persons, and after the cere- mony was over they spent the remainder of the afternoon playing knappen in an adjoining field, while the older, and those who were members of the chapel, held their afternoon service. The evening was spent atCresswell Quay public house, drinking, and there was some lighting towards the end. Churching and Christening in the Pa it. The midwife would go along with the mother and child to church. The child was brought to be christened, and the mother to be churched. The midwife always curried the child. A slice of bread and butter, or bread and cheese, was also brought by the midwife (white or wheatau bread, which was most scarce in those days), and given to the first person they met of the sex opposite to that of the child on their way to church. A s ory is told that Parson Itees, of Jeffreston, was met by a party, who gave him the bread and cheese, which he took and ate without any ado. The custom was supposed to ensure plenty to-the child through life, and keep it from want.


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