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The dear green place

Folklore Friday


Here is the bird that never flew

Here is the tree that never grew

Here is the bell that never rang

Here is the fish that never swam.


Glasgui which translates as 'dear green place', or Glasgow in todays dialect, is a place of much richness in diversity of all kinds. I have realised that I love it wildly. I love that the dear green place still has so much space for nature, human and more, especially in its untamed corners.


Glasgow was 'founded', whatever that means, around 550AD in a place previously called Cathures. St Kentigern, also known as St Mungo, is credited with its establishment as a place of dedication to faith and learning.


There are several stories associated with Mungo, referenced inthe rhyme above.

The bird commemorates the wild robin which St Serf, St Mungo's old master, tamed. It was accidentally killed by some of his disciples who blamed St Mungo. He took the dead bird in his hands and prayed over it, whereupon it was restored to life and flew chirping to its master.


As a boy in the monastery, Mungo was left in charge of the holy fire in the refectory. He fell asleep and some of the other boys, being envious of him, put out the fire. When he woke and found what had happened, Mungo broke off some frozen branches from a hazel tree and caused them to burst into flames.


The bell may have been given to St Mungo by the Pope but there is no definite information as to how he obtained it.


The fish with a ring in its mouth is a salmon and the ring was a present from Hydderch Hael, King of Cadzow, to his Queen Languoreth. She gave the ring to a Knight in her favour. The king saw the ring and took it from the Knight while he was sleeping, suspecting his wife was having an affair, and threw it in the river. Later he demanded his wife produce the ring. She went to Mungo with her problem, he caught a fish which happened to have the ring.


Some of my ancestors moved here after generations of clearances and impoverishment from the Highlands. Glasgow has always been a destination for those seeking safety, and a better life. They have not always found it, however Glasgow still opens its wide arms.



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