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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/100

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it is "We hae 'im!" i.e. we have taken the corn spirit. I, in my boyhood, often saw "the neck" crying. Mrs. Bray, in a letter to Robert Southey, 1832, gives a description of "Cutting the neck", but she missed the final ceremony: the flight of the man who carries it and gets drenched with water. "We were passing near a field on the fringe of Dartmoor, where the reapers were assembled. In a moment the pony started nearly from one side of the way to the other, so sudden came a shout from the field which gave him this alarm. On my stopping to ask my servant what all this noise was about, he seemed surprised by the question, and said, 'It was only the people making their games, as they always did, to the spirit of the harvest." She then goes on to describe the ceremony much in the same way as Mr Hunt, only that, according to her, the reapers hold their sickles aloft, not their hats, and as I remember it, her account is correct. She also gives the cry as "We haven! We haven!"

The meaning of this usage would quite escape us unless we had analogous customs elsewhere to elucidate it. The whole matter has been gone into with great minuteness by Mr Fraser in The Golden Bough, and therefore I will not enter into it here fully, but