Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The golden calf

I have occasionally told of legends connected with my adopted county of Sussex but I have only just learned of a new one.  I was given a book about Sussex on my recent birthday and the flyleaf promises to tell the tale of the fabulous golden calf which lies buried somewhere on the South Downs.  The calf is the one that Aaron had made for the Israelites and some people are supposed to have a pretty good idea of its approximate location.  When I get that far into the book I'll let you know!

Meanwhile, you might be amused to learn of a twist in the Sussex dialect that was once common: the reduplicated plural.  For example, fairies were commonly called pharisees.  Schoolteachers used a nonsense rhyme in their attempts to drum the habit out of children:

I saw three ghosteses
Sitting on posteses
Eating hot toasteses.
The butter ran down their fisteses,
Dirty little beasteses!

In old Sussex, gender was almost always feminine.  The old Sussex saying about this is that "everything in Sussex is a She except a tom cat and she's a He".

Mayhap I'll come back to this subject somewhen.

Could the golden calf be buried somewhere in this picture of Standean on the South Downs just north of Brighton?

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