The Oakman.

Oaken are the most widespread tree fairies in England; sometimes they are merged with oak trees, and sometimes the appear as forest dwarfs who offer tempting food to passing mortals, which will turn out to be poisonous fungi disguised by fairy glamour. They inhabit copse, it invariability indicates the presence of oaken, and mortals should be warned to avoid the area.

Oaken become extremely angry and dangerous if their tree is cut down. It was said the when an oak is felled, it gives out shrieks and groans that can be heard a mile away.

Oaken also guard all the forest animals and punish those who harm them, such as foxhunters. However, they also possess beneficial, magic; the rain that gathers in their oak hollows has powerful, magical healing qualities.

The oak tree has manifold associations with fairies. The majority of fairies are found in woods and forests, particularly oak groves. Elves and fairies are often said to dwell within the hollow trunks of oaks. A New Forest rhyme advises to “turn your cloaks for fairy folks are in old oaks”. The concept of tree spirits is ancient and very widespread. In Greek myth, dryads and hamadryads are the spirits of the trees themselves.

The oak is a tree that is perhaps more honored in lore than any other. The Roman writer Pliny recognized that the Greek drus, meaning “oak” or “oak spirit,” Is related to the Celtic word druid. Some authors suggest that the second syllable may be related to the Indo-European wid, meaning “know,” and the derived meaning would be “oak knowledge.” It has been proposed that bard in Welsh is bardd. The Celts carved the grove of oaks. On the island of Anglesey there are still traces of the ancient groves of the druids. An oak coppice or grove near Loch Saint on the Isle of Skye was so sacred that no one would enter it, even into the nineteenth century. Oaks were often designated local meeting places, a practice that goes back to druidic times but persisted well into the recent past, with Gospel Oaks being popular location for itinerant Christian preachers.

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Published in: on October 11, 2008 at 9:04 pm  Comments (1)  
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