|The Mistletoe Gatherer (1894) John Everett Millais|
Millais brings us a young lady in the snow, with her mistletoe bundle on her back and her scythe in her hand. As an avid reader of Astrix books as a child, I thought it was only Getafix the Druid who used a scythe when gathering his mistletoe, but no, behold, she has her scythe! As she perches on her snowy tussock, she is in danger of letting her big bundle of mistletoe touch the ground behind her. Apparently mistletoe should not touch the ground at any point between gathering and hanging, as it may become contaminated with evil spirits. Hanging mistletoe in your house will protect you from said spirits, and lightning, apparently. No wonder it's popular.
The Victorians loved it, mind you any excuse for a bit of inappropriate touching in the name of tradition and the Victorians endorsed it. But where to get some? This Autumn I suddenly noticed this strange dark ball in the branches of the tree outside our house. First of all I thought the poor tree was going bald in an odd way, but then I realised I was looking at something like this...
Anyhow, I'm off to town to see if I can find an honest urchin with a bundle of mistletoe, and I'll be sure to get a branch with a good many berries, because, as they say 'pick a berry off the mistletoe, for every kiss that's given. When the berries have all gone, there's an end to kissing'.
It's a long dark month and I don't intend to run out any time soon.
See you tomorrow.