The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Circle henge


The Puzzle of Stonehenge.

It is stated that persons who visit the extraordinary Druidical remains at Stonehenge never succeed, however careful they may be, in counting the stones twice alike, and the corresponding marks with which they are in many places covered seem to be a sure proof that attempts have frequently been made to ascertain the number correctly. We never heard that the same party, either on a second attempt or on a second visit, could make his numbers tally, and it is a pretty general opinion in the neighbourhood that "old Gooseberry" is somehow mixed up in the affair, and thus frustrates their endeavours.

But some few years ago there lived at Salisbury a baker, who was considered a very clever fellow, and his own opinion fully justified him in making a heavy bet with some friends that he would (by a scheme of his own) go round the stones,a nd on two occasions make the numbers to correspond. Of course very much interest was manifested for the result; and on a certain day the baker proceeded to put his scheme into execution, for which purpose he supplied himself with two basketsful of penny rolls, and started for Stonehenge, confident of success.

He carefully placed a roll upon each of the masses of stone, thus emptying his baskets, just sufficient to cover the whole, with the exception of one; he then cautiously examined them, and feeling quite sure that he was correct that each stone had got its roll, commenced collecting and counting them, and when he had finished he as carefully wrote down the number taken off, and adding the one omitted, became elated with the certainty of winning his wager.

He then began placing the rolls the second time on the stones, taking the same round, and proceeding exactly as he had done at first; but judge of his astonishment when, after the most minute examination and considerable time spent in walking round every direction of the ruins, he not only found that this time every stone had its roll, but that there was positively one left in his basket.

This was a clincher - the poor baker became so impressed with the mysterious part of the business (which he was never able to fathom), together with his losing his wager, but more especially by receiving the jeers of his plain-dealing friends, who had never any inclination to try their luck in such a way, that he became a changed man, and never after ventured to visit Stonehenge, or to make wagers on such dark and unaccountable proceedings.
Dundeed Evening Telegraph, 12th January 1884. "Old Gooseberry" is a new one on me. I'm not sure what connection the Devil has with gooseberries?
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th June 2023ce

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