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Re: charcoal burners and adders

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Posted by Peter Hyland on February 14, 2020 at 12:09:12 user Peter_H.

In Reply to: Re: charcoal burners and adders posted by Dave Thewlis on February 14, 2020 at 09:09:42:

There is a mention of the charcoal burners' adder in a book published by TARS some years ago - 'Jibbooms and Bobstays', a book which explains many of the words and practices found in AR's books. I think I can quote all of this without infringing copyright - it is only 3 sentences:

"The question of whether the adder kept in a moss-lined cigar box 'for luck' was a pet or for some reason a practice steeped in ancient lore is unclear. Dr J B Smith, writing in 'Lore and Language'(1989) looked at Ransome's work as a key to folklore and language and had this to say:

'The charcoal burners, as a group apart, were nothing if not conservative, and it may be that we have here a reflex of the Scandinavian spirit beliefs recorded, for instance, by the Swedish folklorist Norland. In Southern Sweden, Norland tells us, the 'spirit' was a white snake kept in a box.' "

I suspect this might be more information than Beardbiter wishes to receive, but nevertheless I will add that Dr Smith's article is available in full online.

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