24 December 2010

Friday night folklore: The Christmas Night Dance

This is another variation of the “person left to guard the farm” tale:

On a particular farm one of the women would always be left to guard the farm while the other attended Christmas mass. One Christmas, and several Christmases after this, the woman chosen would be incurably insane when the people got back. Eventually no-one was willing to stay behind, until a new maid was hired and not told what had happened to the others. She was then told to guard the farm on Christmas Night.

When the others were gone, she lit all the lights and placed them so that the whole farm was well lit. Then she sat down on her bed with a book and started reading. She was an intelligent girl and religious. When she had sat for some time, a large group of people entered the farm, men, women and children. The started dancing and invited the girl to join them, but she sat still and said nothing. Every now and them someone would try to cajole her into dancing, even offering her rich rewards if she did so, but she just sat still and quiet. This went on until morning, when the people left. Shortly afterwards the other farm people came back from church, fully expecting to find her insane like the others. They were relieved to find her as sane as she had been when they left, and asked her if anything unusual had happened while they were away. She described the dancing to them, saying she had suspected that nothing good would come of it if she joined in.

After this she always guarded the farm on Christmas Night.

Copyright notice: The wording used to tell this folk-tale is under copyright. The story itself is not copyrighted. If you want to re-tell it, for a collection of folk-tales, incorporate it into fiction, use it in a school essay or any kind of publication, please tell it in your own words or give the proper attribution if you choose to use the wording unchanged.

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