Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B Is for Beeches & Broonies

#2 on the April 2014 A-to-Z Blog Challenge.

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
Symbolic of  knowledge and wisdom to Druids; Ogma the Artificer carved the Ogham letters on beech tablets. “Book” comes from boc, beech. Early books were written on slabs of beechwood. Henwen the oracular sow (origin of the pig in Lloyd Alexander’s Prydein Chronicles) grew wise  eating sacred beech-nuts.
Ancient Beech Roots
The surface roots of beeches look serpentine, tying into Celts’ mythic belief that snakes symbolize wisdom and rebirth. 

Avenue of Beeches in Co. Antrim
Do I tell beech stories ? No, but you never know when research'll t come in handy! 

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
The English house-helpers in Palmer Cox’s The Brownies, aren't like the Scottish ones my granny told me about!

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.

Beardless Broonie
But they're shy; they'll only come out at night when the household are asleep in bed. They may stay for centuries, content with some simple foods left for them each day. If offended by violence or falsehoods, they’ll depart forever. Don't make them  a new suit of clothes in thanks, they'll be  offended, knowing their work's worth better than mortals. 

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!


  1. Love it! I didn't know they could stand cold iron. That is interesting!

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Tales of colors
    MopDog - The crazy thing about Hungarians...

  2. Csenge, How else could they work around humans after the beginning of the Iron Age? Weapons, nails, farm equipment, pots and pans, knives....
    I keep wondering if, in a remote area of the Highlands, there's a wee croft where one might still be, working awa'.....

  3. I have a brownie! Well, she's a Girl Scout in the third grade, and they call them brownies, based on the characterization you describe here. They're supposed to be helpful and do at least some of their work anonymously and without complaining! We can always wish.

    I didn't know about the relationship of early books to beechwood! Thank you!

    1. I was a Brownie, too! Isn't treelore fascinating?

  4. It is interesting to know that each letter of the Scottish Gaelic alphabet is linked to a tree or shrub. It shows that trees have played a very important role in your culture, doesn't it? I enjoy reading your AtoZ posts, and I am sure to come back.

  5. Thanks, Romi! Are you doing the challenge too?


  6. شركة نقل عفش بالرياض تعد شركتنا من ارخص شركات  نقل الاثاث فنحن نعتمد  بافضل عمل مخصص  في اعمال التغليف بان التغليف في اهم مراحل خدمات نقل الاثاث و لايظهر بالاثاث وعيب بعد ذلك من الالتواء او الكسر ممكن كما اننا نعتمد في افضل المتخصصه والمجهزه بالقيام باعمال نقل على الفور من اى مكان فى الرياض او خارج المملكه كل ذلك فى مقابل افضل الاسعار فلابد  توافر عوامل لنجاح تلك العملية توافر فنيون متخصصون من

    شركة تنظيف فلل بالدمام
    شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف كنب بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف موكيت بالدمام
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف بيارات بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف مجالس بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف منازل بالدمام
    مغاسل الجبر


  7. تقدم شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض رخيصه ارقى وافضل خدمات الحديثة من تنال اعجاب العملاء الشركات التى يوجد طلب فى الرياض لعدم ظهور اى اختلاف انتقال الاثاث من البيت والي البيت وضمان سلامةالاثاث و العفش يوجد لدينا تخفيضات تصل الى 30% خصم من قيمة الخدمة مقدمة من ارخص شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض نتعامل فى بند الاسعار و بالحملة والتى تبلغ و حجم السيارة اكبر و من العادى احتوائه اشياء كثيرة عدد الحمولات العملاء فك تركيب و تغليف ضمات سلامة و امان محافظة شركة نقل اثاث شمال الرياض

    شركة تنظيف مكيفات بالرياض
    شركة تنظيف منازل بالرياض رخيصة
    شركة تنظيف بيارات بالرياض
    شركة تنظيف مجالس بالرياض
    شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالرياض
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض
    شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالدمام
    ارخص شركة تخزين اثاث بالرياض
    بيتك للخدمات المنزلية


If you would like to comment on a particular post or my blog, please click below it in the window; you can then preview, click on a profile such as Anonymous, and add by clicking on "Publish." Thank you!