Despite mentioning Hamlet a couple of posts back, I wholly admit that the works of William Shakespeare do not often occupy my thoughts. But the last couple of days I have been thinking about Macbeth, or at least part of it. Whilst doing some research into the Rowan tree and it’s myth and lore I was reading “The Forest in Folklore and Mythology” by Alexander Porteous, written in the 1800s. In this book he discusses a passage in Macbeth where the sailor’s wife in response to a request for chestnuts from the witches, says , ‘Aroint thee, witch!’ but that some authorities seem to think this should be ‘A rown-tree, witch!’.

Neither seem to make much sense to me and it did occur to me that since Old Shakey was from the Midlands, if you say ‘Aroint thee, witch!’ in something approaching a Brummie accent you come very close to something that sounds like “Alright. Thee witch”.

This is probably nothing but simplistic mental doodling on my part and realising that I thought I’d have a quick look around the internet to see if anyone of more erudition than I had anything on the subject posted anywhere.

My search was fruitless, but I did come across an article on Rowan which seemed to want to give the impression that it was an original piece of work, but was simply rehashed and unaccredited content from Porteous.

I didn’t think it was even that well done, but it did set me thinking. Since “The Forest in Folklore and Mythology” is over 100 years old and out of copyright, is there any comeback on this and are there any laws around plagiarism?

And with that having had two semi-intelligent things to conjure with in the space of two days I went to bed exhausted.

Tomorrow I shall confine myself to one of Little Boots’ comics.

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