Our farming neighbour thinks that the finest May tree on the island stands outside our office.  He estimated that it's probably carrying at least a million blossoms.  It's a lovely tree, particularly at this time of the year.

The Hawthorn, as it's more usually called, is traditionally thought to guard one of the gates to the realm of the little people, and is also considered as a protection against evil spirits.  In Celtic cultures - and the Isle of Man has a strong Celtic tradition - it is treated with particular respect, with gifts hung on the branches to propitiate the fairy guardians.

Perhaps because the trees are thought to belong to the little people, in some areas it was considered very unlucky to bring hawthorn blossom into the house.  Or perhaps it was merely because the blossom looks spectacular but smells 'like death' if cut - almost literally.  The chemical in hawthorn blossom is the same one as is in bad meat.  It was also unlucky to cut hawthorns down - do you really want angry sprites on your doorstep? - which is possibly why ours has survived to be as big as it is.

Incidentally, the word 'hawthorn' comes from the Old English 'hageþorn', which means 'hedge thorn'.  The beautiful tree has wicked spikes.


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