Thrummy-cap

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A Thrummy-cap is a character in Scottish folklore, that appears in many tales. It may have been invented by John Burness in his 1796 Thrummy Cap, A Legend of the Castle of Fiddes.

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The poetic tale, Thrummy Cap, A Legend of the Castle of Fiddes (1796), written by John Burness (cousin of Robert Burns), was popular during the 19th century in the northeast of Scotland - it may be that Burness invented the legend. The name of the tale "Thrummy Cap" holds the name of one of its protagonists. Thrummy Cap encounters a ghost identical to himself (see also Doppelganger). This ghost shows Thrummy where the castle deeds are, which he had stolen from the Laird. This tale employs the restless ghost motif. [1]

"Thrummy cap" was the name of a ghost in another legend in Methil. [2] In the Methil tale, Thrummy Cap haunts a building at the harbor head - this was said to be the ghost of a wood merchant or carpenter, who was not paid for his work, and consequently drowned himself in Methil harbor, and took to haunting the building. [3]

Additionally "thrummy cap" was a nickname for the devil. [4]

In his 1848 Dictionary of Archaic & Provincial Words, James Halliwell-Philipps claimed the term was from Northumbrian fairy tales, and referred to a "queer-looking little auld man" with exploits taking place in vaults or cellars of old castles. [5] "Thrummy Caps" also appear in Michael Aislabie Denham's 1850s list of spirits and fairies - in which Denham makes an unclear reference to the "Thrummy Hills" near Catterick, and also repeats the claim of it appearing in Northumbrian folktales. [6]

See also

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References

  1. Westwood & Kingshill 2009, pp. 317-320.
  2. Westwood & Kingshill 2009, pp. 96-97.
  3. Farnie, Henry Brougham (1860), The Fife coast from Queensferry to Fifeness, pp. 112–3
  4. Westwood & Kingshill 2009, p. 317.
  5. Halliwell-Phillipps, James Orchard (1848), A Dictionary of Archaic & Provincial Words, Obsolete Phrases, Proverbs & Ancient Customs, Form the Fourteenth Century, 2 (J-Z), p. 871
  6. Hardy, James, ed. (1895), The Denham tracts : A Collection of Folklore by Michael Aislabie Denham, and reprinted from the original tracts and pamphlets printed by Mr. Denham between 1846 and 1859, 2, Folklore Society, p. 79

Sources