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James Callow Folklore Archive

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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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IRISH BLESSING

MAY THE ROAD RISE UP TO MEET YOU
MAY THE WIND BLOW AT YOUR BACK
MAY THE SUN SHINE WARMLY ON YOUR FACE
MAY THE RAIN FALL SOFTLY ON YOUR FIELDS
AND TILL WE MEET AGAIN
UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN
MAY GOD HOLD YOU
IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND.
AMEN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; CHELSEA

James Callow Keyword(s): INITIAL ITERATION

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Speech Speech

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AT A RATHER SMALL BUT FORMAL DINNER PARTY IN THE HOME OF A
BRITISH TELEVISION AND RADIO HOST, I WAS SEATED TO THE LEFT
OF MICHAEL MEYER, AN IBSEN TRANSLATOR AND SCHOLAR OF LITERATURE.
MR. MEYER IS A RETIRED UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR. HIS FATHER HAD
BEEN A PROMINENT, LONDON IMPORT-EXPORT MERCHANT. DURING
THE MEAL, I WAS ENTHRALLED WITH THE LOFTY CONVERSATION AND
RECOLLECTIONS OF THE INTIMATE GROUP OF OXFORD ALUMNI.
ONE SUCH REMINISCENCE CAME FROM MR. MEYER. HE TOLD ME THAT
GEORGE ORWELL, THE BRILLIANT AUTHOR, WAS A FREQUENT VISITOR TO
HIS FATHER'S BUSINESS. ONE SATURDAY MORNING, ORWELL ENTERED
WISHING TO PURCHASE SOME FINE, IMPORTED CHERRY LUMBER. WITH IT,
HE PLANNED TO BUILD BOOKSHELVES. ORWELL ENGAGED THE SERVICE OF
YOUNG MEYER TO HELP IN THE PROJECT.
THE IMPRESSIVE WOOD WAS DELIVERED TO ORWELL'S HOUSE, AND THE
PAIR SET TO WORK. THEY LABORED CAREFULLY, NOT WISHING TO MAR
THE EXTRAORDINARY LUMBER. ONCE THE SHELVES WERE COMPLETED,
ORWELL AND MEYER MOVED THEM INTO PLACE IN ORWELL'S STUDY. THEY
STOOD BACK IN ADMIRATION AND SILENCE FOR QUITE SOME TIME.
SUDDENLY, THE ECCENTRIC AUTHOR DASHED OUT THE DOOR, CALLING
BACK TO THE YOUNG BOY TO WAIT THERE FOR HIM.
HE RETURNED MANY HOURS LATER WITH A TIN OF WHITE PAINT. UNDER
ORWELL'S DIRECTION, THE TWO WORKED FEVERISHLY TO COVER THE FINE
FINISH OF THE CHERRY WOOD WITH A WHITE OVERCOAT! THE
GORGEOUS AND EXTRAVAGANT CHERRY LUMBER NOW LOOKED AS ORDINARY
AS ANY SCRAPS OF WOOD! MEYER WAS DUMBFOUNDED AND RESOLVED NEVER
TO TELL HIS FATHER OF THIS "SIN" IN WHICH HE HAD TAKEN PART.
ORWELL, HOWEVER, SEEMED EXCEEDINGLY PLEASED WITH THE WHITE
BOOKCASE, AND SHOWED THE BOY OUT WITH A HEARTY LAUGH AND A
SERIES OF HANDSHAKES AND PATS ON THE BACK.

Where learned: ENGLAND ; CHELSEA ; LONDON

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

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A guide at the geology center in Chelsea told us
the legend of the discovery of maple syrup.
An Indian on the Eastern coast, I think it was Iroquois,
had stored his hatchet in the side of a maple tree.
Sometime in late winter or early spring, he removed his
hatchet to go hunting. At the base of the tree, there was
a birch bark basket, which happened to catch the maple
water that ran out of the tree when the hatchet was
removed. The Indian's wife needed the birch bark basket
to cook the moose meat in, and so she decided to also use
the water that was already in it. She proceeded to boil
the meat in the maple water all day, and in turn, discovered
that the water made maple syrup (and also tasty moose meat).

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; CHELSEA

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Plant

Date learned: 03-00-1990

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