The White Hart

Free Range Folklore

Merry met virtual traveller and welcome to a new set of mini posts for all called ‘Free Range Folklore’. These posts will be as and when I stumble upon some free ranging folklore which is exactly what happened this week when I visited Sky Park Farm with the wee one.

As you can see from the above video, the illusive white hart from folklore was in abundance at the farm in the form of leucistic red deer!

The ethereal white hart crops up in myth and legend as the quarry of the hunter king; the one that got away, the one that lead him astray and got him lost in the woods.

It's an interesting motif and can be interpreted in several different ways: an illusive goal, a distraction, a lesson in greed ... I’ll let you decide.

In the main, in Celtic folklore, they are considered messengers from the other worlds in particular the fae world. They appear as portents, a sign you have strayed from the path and you follow them at your peril.

I won’t lie, it was uncomfortable to see these mythical beast behind a wire mesh fence, I much prefer to see the wild white hart on the downs, which I am occasionally treated to not too far from where I live, but none the less there was something quite magical about this little bit of free range folklore.

Illustration by Helen Stratton

For more about the folklore of stags and deer, you can listen to the latest episode of the podcast here:

Cerridwen's Cauldron
Season 4 Episode 1: The Horned Gods - The Folklore of Stags, Hinds and Deer
Listen now (41 min) | Welcome to Season 4 and the first theme for this season is ‘The Horned Gods’. In this episode I explore the prince of the forest, the stag and its associated folklore, gods and mythology. On occasion there are dark folkloric characters explored in this podcast and so, as always, I would recommend that you should listen through first before listening wi…
Listen now

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Cerridwen's Cauldron
Cerridwen's Cauldron
Dawn Nelson