B: Beith, or Beech in the Scottish Gaelic alphabet.
Each letter's linked to a tree or shrub.
Incredibly useful, beeches were called the “Queen Tree,” consort of King Oak. The wood's good for fencing, furniture, and drums; as yule logs burns with a bright, calm flame.
Beech-nuts (mast) fattened swine in forests for centuries and a human food source. Cresoline, the nuts' oil, is used externally on wounds to reduce swelling.The French used leaf-stuffed mattresses, lilts de parlement (“speaking beds") . Bark strips were woven into pottles, strawberry baskets.
Folklore: Beeches were “wish-trees,” part of Celtic tree-worship.
|Stack of Beech Slabs|
|Ancient Beech Roots|
|Avenue of Beeches in Co. Antrim|
Why do I link beeches with Broonies? And what're broonies, anyway?
Because both begin with the letter b, and because both are useful!
|Palmer Cox's English Brownies|
No, the broonies are short stocky folk, with large hands and feet, long hair and beards, round rosy faces, brown clothes, the only Faery folk who can stand Cold Iron, and love to help and be useful.
It’s unwise to arouse their ire; they'll get revenge!
I prefer to tell about broonies as kind helpers.
Some tales can be found in Duncan Williamson's wonderful Broonies, Silkies & Fairies collection, or "The Lairdie with the Heart o' Gold," in Sorche nic Leodhas' Heather & Broom.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a broonie? Maybe they'd make things from beechwood!