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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/253

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bearing stags' horns and cow horns on the top of poles, with sheets or petticoats flying below. This procession attends a man and his wife seated back to back on an ass.

"Such a strange show I ne'er have seen." Syntax exclaim'd, "What can it mean? Patrick, you may perchance explain The hist'ry of this noisy train."

"Please you," Pat answered, "I can tell This frolic-bus'ness mighty well: For there's no place I ever saw Where this is not the parish law."

Patrick goes on to explain that it is the punishment inflicted on a hen-pecked husband, on one where the grey mare is the better horse. But this is not the original and more general signification, as the horns carried on the rods indicate. It expressed the popular feeling when the recognised code of honour was broken. It attended marriages where scandal attached to the union. Mr Henderson says:

"The riding of the stang has been practised from time immemorial in the towns and villages of the North of England, and is still resorted to on occasions of notorious scandal. A boy or young man is selected, placed on a ladder or pole, and carried shoulder--height round the town, the people who accompany him having armed themselves with every homely instrument whence noise