Part One is solemn:
The oak king dressed in oak leaves is beaten with holly clubs. A branch is chopped down (the beheading) and carried to the fireplace which should have bright (paper) flames. A wren (Bran’s sparrow) flies out of the oak and hides in an ivy bush. A robin flies out of the holly tree and chases the wren.
People light candles round the holly tree and place a star on the top. From behind the tree emerges a lady (dressed in red with a cloak of blue and gold) with a baby. She announces:
The star child is born.
Out of the dark of midwinter comes the promise of spring.
Between us the land will become green again,
the crops will grow, animals will have babies and you can be joyful.
A light has been lit in the dark within you.
(or any words to that effect)
Part Two is very gay:
At the end of the Lady’s words out jumps the fool from behind the oak tree. He is an old man with a long white beard, a scarlet cloak covered in stars, and in his hand is a wand of mistletoe. He has a pointed red hat (the jester’s cap) and bells. He shouts ‘Welcome Yule’ and leads everyone in three cheers. He then announces himself as the the Christmas Fool, the Lord of Misrule who will reign for twelve nights and lead everyone on a merry dance.
‘See my horse who will catch it by the tail and come follow me in a dance – uncle Tom Cobly and all.
Her name is nightmare.
What is the name of a female horse – mare.
I only ride her at night.’
To the song ‘Lord of the Dance’:
He laughs, mounts the horse, everyone holds on to each other in a long line with the first one holding the tail as the fool careers around in a merry dance until all fall down in a giddy heap.
© The Estate of Ronald M. White
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