"The Folktale Project" Podcast
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The May-Pole of Merrymount - An American Folktale


Season: 1 Episode: 475
Published on

The people of Merrymount—unsanctified in the eyes of their Puritan neighbors, for were they not Episcopals, who had pancakes at Shrovetide and wassail at Christmas?—were dancing about their May-pole one summer evening, for they tried to make it May throughout the year. Some were masked like animals, and all were tricked with flowers and ribbons. Within their circle, sharing in song and jest, were the lord and lady of the revels, and an English clergyman waiting to join the pair in wedlock. Life, they sang, should be all jollity: away with care and duty; leave wisdom to the weak and old, and sanctity for fools. Watching the sport from a neighboring wood stood a band of frowning Puritans, and as the sun set they stalked forth and broke through the circle.

      

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