29 AUGUST 2019
THE BURIED MOON
SERIES · I EPISODE · V
It was just flashes to begin with, between the trunks of the trees. He mistook it, at first, for a ghost light, a will-of-the-wyke come to lead him to into devilry. The traveler had set out to cross the Carland, but night had stolen in upon him: and there was no moon in the sky that night, so that the black around him was total. But out there, hidden from his eyes, he could hear them: the night walkers and the shadow crawlers; the bogles and the horrors; the grimms and the dark dwellers...
The Buried Moon was collected by a folklorist in the North Lincolnshire Carrs, in the Ancholme Valley of the late nineteenth century. It is considered unusual because of its mythological character, uncommon in English popular folk tales. This has led some to doubt about its authenticity, though other scholars have defended its credentials.
At one time in the past, the Carrs were a region of wetlands surrounding the Ancholme River which were subject to regular flooding, until artificial drainage allowed them to be claimed for pastureland and agriculture. A possible location for the town or village mentioned in this tale is the medieval market town of Glanford Brigg, or the neighbouring hamlet of Scawby Brook, which sit on the River Ancholme. Glanford Brigg was a crossing point on the river as far back as 1138, and prehistoric boats and buildings have been discovered in the area. The town's formal charter for a weekly market and yearly fair date from a royal grant in 1205. The town was a source for several early recordings of English folk songs, and is itself the subject of the traditional ballad Brigg Fair.
The Buried Moon includes a wealth of folklore references. We encounter a wise woman who fills the role of the helpful wizard, explaining supernatural events and providing detailed magical instructions the protagonists must follow to the letter. There is the injunction against speaking whilst moving through fairy-touched lands; the hazel twigs they are instructed to carry were a common instrument for dowsing - employing a magical wand to discover underground springs or buried treasure - and the magical ghost lights or will-o-the-wisps, which mark the place where the moon is buried in this story, were also reputed to mark the locations of buried treasure.
'The Buried Moon' in Jacobs, Joseph, ed. More English Fairy Tales. New York: G. P Putnam's Sons, 1894.
"Brigg Fair." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 15 Sep. 2018. Web. 4 Jul. 2019.
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"Carrlands: mediated manifestations of site-specific performance in the Ancholme valley, North Lincolnshire" on www.landscape.co.uk
"Brigg." on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 26 Apr. 2019. Web. 4 Jul. 2019. "Brigg Town History" on the Way Back Machine
"Dowsing." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 17 May. 2019. Web. 4 Jul. 2019.