Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Quote o' the Moment - Trout Season

"The water of the sacred well must never be used for household purposes--cooking, washing, or the like. But after the well was cursed by the priest, and the tents were struck, and no pattern was held there any longer, it lost all its sanctity, and was no longer held sacred by the people, who began to fill their pails, and carry the water away from home for cooking and household use; while also they all washed their clothes down at the well, just as if no sanctity had ever been in the water.

"However, one day a woman having put down a pot of water to boil, found that no amount of fire would heat it. Still it remained ice-cold, as if just drawn from the well. So she looked carefully into the pot, and there beheld the Sacred Speckled Trout sailing round and round quite contented and happy. On seeing this, she knew that the curse was lifted from the well, and she ran and told the priest.

"His reverence having seen the Sacred Trout with his own eyes, ordered it to be carried back to the well, the water of which at once regained all its sacred powers by the blessing of the priest; and he gave the people leave thenceforth to hold their pattern there, so as they have behaved themselves like decent, God-fearing Christians for the future. But the water was not allowed to be carried away any more to their houses for household purposes; the desecration of the holy water of a sacred well being strictly forbidden as dangerous and unlucky."

-Lady Wilde
(Oscar's Mom)

9 comments:

Thalia Took said...

Mmmmm, Sacred Trout Almondine. (Or is it Sacred Salmon Noisette, with hazelnuts? Now that's brain food.)

Evn said...

*snort, spew*

I do like hazelnuts. Although I'm more in the mood for Sacred Trout n' Chips.

Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

This is wonderful. Thanks, Evn

knottybynature said...

Trout season....

Duck season....

Wabbit season....

But it's a nice story, where does it come from? (I mean, other than Momma Wilde...)

Evn said...

Cat, you're very welcome!

Knotty, I'm not exactly sure where it comes from--the folk tales in Lady Wilde's book came from research carried out by her late husband, and there's not much in the way of documentation.

Regardless, it's fascinating stuff. You can browse an extensive list of the folklore she collected here.

Matt Gerlach said...

Question concerning:

"His reverence having seen the Sacred Trout with his own eyes, ordered it to be carried back to the well, the water of which at once regained all its sacred powers by the blessing of the priest;"

So was it the return of the Sacred Trout that resanctified the water? Or the blessing of the priest? Or had the water just always been sacred? It's interesting how the story maintains the Pagan idea of a spirit indwelling the place, making it sacred, and yet they had to throw in "well the preist blessed it too" as a Christian tag-on.

Evn said...

So was it the return of the Sacred Trout that resanctified the water? Or the blessing of the priest? Or had the water just always been sacred?

Matt, I honestly don't know. But the passage that follows strikes me as significant:

"...he gave the people leave thenceforth to hold their pattern there, so as they have behaved themselves like decent, God-fearing Christians for the future."

The priest doesn't ask that they be God-fearing Christians, just that they behave like them. Call me an optimist, but I appreciate the "as you were" sentiment here.

Tessa said...

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Ruth

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Evn said...

Ruth, I'm glad you've enjoyed it! I enjoy muffins, so we're going to get along just fine.