New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1898.
Hardcover. Between these covers are pages and pages dedicated to the place plants hold in legends and fairy lore, sacred traditions and superstitions, folk-medicine and mysticism, and more. The Folk-Lore of Plants was penned in 1889 by historian and collector of folklore, The Reverend Thomas Firminger Thiselton-Dyer (1848–1923), brother of botanist and director of Kew Gardens, William Turner Thiselton-Dyer. Subjects include "Plant Worship," "Plants in Witchcraft," "Plants in Demonology," "Plants in Fairy-Lore," "Love-Charms," "Dream-Plants," "Sacred Plants," "Plants in Folk-Medicine," and "Mystic Plants." Opening with a discussion of whether trees have souls, The Folk-Lore of Plants consults such diverse traditions and viewpoints as those arising from the Ojibwe, the Iroquois, the Dayaks of Borneo, the Wallachia of Romania, the people of Fiji, Sumatra, Germany, Scotland, Cornwall, Greek and Roman mythology, and many more, resulting in such alluring sentences as this one: "It is noteworthy, also, that the Indian belief which describes the holes in trees as doors through which the special spirits of those trees pass, reappears in the German superstition that the holes in the oak are the pathways for elves..." In the chapter "Plants in Witchcraft," among many other subjects, you'll find a survey of what plant materials are favored by witches for locomotion, via broom, of course, made of besom in England, to which is added hay in Germany, and ragwort in Cornwall, to which is added rushes and cornstalks in Ireland, as well as the plants witches use for invisibility, defense, the opening of locks, and more. The chapter "Plants in Fairy-Lore" begins with a head to toe discussion of the many varieties of flowering plants which fairies use to clothe themselves and continues with what plants once picked might lead to being "pixie-led" in Devonshire or carried away on a fairy-horse on the Isle of Man, and of course, the chapter faithfully covers fairy-rings and toadstools as well. Added to these subjects are of course many, many more, from the role of plants in love charms and dreams, sacred traditions, medicine, language, and so on, all contributing to Thiselton-Dyer's pronouncement: "[I]t is clear that the imagination has at all times bestowed some of its richest and most beautiful fancies on trees and flowers." Like a primeval forest dense with roots and lush with flowers, The Folk-Lore of Plants is thick with stories about the many meanings plants hold in human thought and in traditions the world over; a treasure trove of folk-lore, wisdom, superstition, and sacred knowledge about plants.
7 5/8" X 5 1/8". 328pp., plus 24pp. ads. Ex libris Sunny Slope Camp of Tryon, North Carolina, with their occasional stamp throughout; Sunny Slope was a girls' camp associated with the YWCA, operating in the 1910s in western North Carolina. Sage green cloth over boards, with blossoms and leaves stamped in black and in gilt to upper board and spine, lettered in gilt. Publisher's cloth binding bears the unidentified monogram of the artist: R in reverse. Moderate wear to binding, with rubbing and bumping to extremities, small tears to bumped head and tail of sunned spine, and light scattered soiling and scattered rubbing, including a few ink drops to top corner of upper board. Rear hinge a touch tender and some gatherings uneven; binding remains firm and sound. Occasional light foxing, pencilled marks, and toning to pages throughout, with one newspaper clipping laid in. Good. Item #11592