Friday, February 1, 2008

Weird discovery of the day

In my local library recently, I stumbled upon a book published in 1889, by T.F. Thiselton-Dyer, called "The Folklore of Plants."

As if I don't have enough to read already.

After Sweetie and I watched a Walton's episode together tonight, I browsed through the book, which begins with an exposition of ancient religious beliefs regarding plants.

In Vienna, Austria, preserved behind glass, there stands a very, very old stump. Thiselton connects it to the ancient trees that Europeans once held sacred or even worshipped. This specimen, it seems, would receive a nail from each journeyman of the city setting out to make his way in the world.

If that poor tree could speak, it might have asked for less violent veneration.

Locally, it is called: Stock im Eisen, or The Nail Studded Stump.

A website which I browsed to glean more information, stays strictly secular:

"This memorial, at the corner of Kaernter street allegedly marks the spot where the forest which once surrounded the medieval city of Vienna came to an end. Attempts to analyse the roots of this single remaining tree show that it has a spruce weighing 75 kilos which must have been felled around 1440. A wider ring of iron encircles the base of the tree and in it there are a handful of old fashioned nails. This 'tree in iron' was first mentioned in the documentation of the area in 1533."


Maria said... must have some stories....

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

eastcoastdweller said...

Maria: Can You imagine something like the Spoon River Anthology, a collection of short accounts from each of those journeymen who left their nail embedded?

Lone Grey: You're welcome. That's what blogging is all about. That and writing about one's dinner. (o: