watervole: (Cerne Abbas giant)
While pondering over the questions of the Cerne Abbas Giant, Beelezbub and frying pans, a phrase came into my mind: "the devil's frying pan"
The probable origin of the frying pan. )</td> </tr> <tr> <td> </td> </tr> </tbody></table>

And the final example of the model maker's craftsmanship is Beelzebub who is a dirty lookin clart.

"Here comes I Beelzebub,
And in my hand I carry a club,
And over my shoulder, a frying pan,
A'm'nt I a horrible old man,
And if you don't believe in what I say
Enter in the bold slasher
And he'll soon clear the way"

So, there we have what I've got so far.  The frying pan is for torturing the damned souls (and must have been used for commedy value to claim to fry other things on occasion).  'the Devils Frying pan' was a phrase with familiarity in some areas at least. The club (rather than pitchfork) is speculatively there because it rhymes with Beelzebub.

As you can see from the similarity of phrasing between the different mumming plays, they likely started from one original source and changed as they moved onwards.  The characters change and develop as they move (beelzebub isn't that common a character, I just happen to be focusing on him) and the script changes too, but the common elements of a fight between two warriors, a death and a cure by a quack doctor (and often an appeal for money) all remain as core elements of the play.

Where does that leave me with regard to the Cerne Abbas Giant?

It now seems likely to me that people at one time regarded the figure as representing the devil.  Probably at a time long enough after it was carved for it's origins to have been forgotten, and a time when all pagan-looking figures were associated with the devil.  If he was the devil, then the earthwork (also ancient and generally a bad thing, espcially with all those dodgy May Day revels) was obviously his frying pan.


Jan. 16th, 2009 11:03 am
watervole: (mummers)
The trouble with starting to investigate mumming traditions is that it's very addictive!

The more you find out, the more you want to know, and between 'Stations of the Sun' and the web, there's an awful lot of material out there.What connection is there between mumming and a chalk hill carving? )


watervole: (Default)
Judith Proctor


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