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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/365

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A Yorkshire "Wassail Box."

(Vol. xiv., p. 419; Vol. xiii., pp. 94-6.)

" Wassail Boxes " are still carried round, generally by girls and in the month of November only, in Scarborough and its neighbourhood, but the number has very greatly lessened of late years, and the boxes now do not always contain a doll, but sometimes merely a few sprays of holly and an orange or apple. In one box carried round two winters ago, there was a single doll with an indistinct black object at one side, of which the two tiny boys carrying the box said, "Please, mum, it's the devil!" The name "vessel cup" is not used in this neighbourhood. The box photographed in Plate III. (which shows the contents only), was obtained for me

from the village of Wheatcroft, by S A , who is a

Roman Catholic. The dolls in it have been carried round for twenty-five years. The box measures x\\ in. x 7^ in. by 3 in. deep. It has a lid, but this is not always the case, though the contents of a box are always covered. The box contains, besides the two dolls (the larger of which is dressed in red), paper flowers, a lemon, holly and mistletoe, a purse, and an artificial orange and an artificial apple, both the artificial fruits containing sweets. If all the fruits are real, it is necessary to put in a bag of sweets. The purse should have a hole in it. The children carrying a box never knock or ring, but open each house door and begin to sing, " God rest you, merry gentlemen." If no notice is taken, they sing the piece over again, until some-