Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Badger & The Wild Man

An enduring and well-known figure in English folklore is the Green Man. You'll find his leafy face among the architecture of many a country church, on pub signs, and in folksongs and tales. Less well known is his wild and hairy cousin, the Woodwose. I recently had cause to investigate him closely when I entered a competition held by Badger Ales, my favourite British brewery. They have just opened a new brewhouse, and to celebrate, they've created a very limited-edition beer named Woodwose. To win a few precious bottles they wanted to know how the woodwose relates to Dorset.
After consulting one of my essential tomes, The Lore Of The Land, I came up with what I hope is the right answer. Also, the entry had to be in less than 100 words. So (in 99 words) I came up with this.
(And to top it all, TP made an amazing folk song out of it!) I hope it wins!

The Woodwose

She stole away when the night was still,
Wearing her prettiest clothes,
Up to the beeches on Yellowham Hill,
To meet with a wild wose.

Fierce he was, and covered in hair,
With a gleam in his ancient eye.

He beckoned her into his leafy lair
With a smile that made her sigh.
At morn she rose with blushing cheeks,
And fled home to her father's mill.
She tarried there some forty weeks,
Then went back to the woods on Yellowham Hill.
Up she climbed with a green-haired child,
And came down alone from the wose's wild.

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