|In Christine Bloxham's book 'Folklore of Oxfordshire' (published by Tempus 2005), There is another version of the witche's rhyme, associated with the Rollright stones involving a Danish General and goes thus:
Said the Danish GeneralBloxham's book also tells that the stones can never be counted. A victorian baker, determined to count them accurately, brought a basket containing a pre counted number of loaves and put down one in front of each stone. But he either had not included enough loaves or they mysteriously vanished because he failed in his task.
If Long Compton I cou'd see
Then King of England I shou'd be
But replied the British General,
Then rise up hill and stand fast Stone
for Kind of England thou'lt be none
Another legend says that if anyone can count the same amount of stones three times in a row, they shall have any wish granted.
The witch is said to have changed herself into an Elder tree. A festival of cakes and ale used to be held on Midsummer's Eve, when the Elder was in bloom. People stood in a circle around the tree and as they cut the trunk it would weep red sap, resembling the witch's blood, (blooding a witch is said to rid her of her magical powers) and the King Stone would move his head and watch the spectacle.
The last tale retold in Bloxham's book tells of the Dowser Enid Smithett, who when dowsing at the site of the Rollrights, felt faint and dropped her pendulum in the long grass. Instead of flopping to the ground, it stood rigidly, for some time....
A Farrier from Hook Norton tells of how the King Stone got its unusual shape by saying an immoral king tricked Wayland Smithy into making enchanted armour for him, but upon wearing it he was twisted and deformed and turned to stone, for only the faeries could don that armour without risk of harm.
Posted by jacksprat
8th January 2006ce
Edited 15th January 2006ce