Heritage of Farnish
The Farnishite Barque
An unusual mode of marine transport:
This strange vehicle is still in use by a few fishermen of the village of
Gelling. The Farnishite Barque is actually a hollowed Beech Tree Trunk
(traditionally, this is the only wood used). One long branch is left on
the trunk as a Keel, from which a large stone is hung as ballast. Three
shorter stumps are left topside to which there are attached freshly
cut leafy boughs to serve as a means of propulsion by wind. The barque
shown above seats two persons. The largest known boat of this kind was
said to have seated fifteen.
The Farnishite Casting Thiln
This hunting weapon, the expert use of which is early
inculcated among the Young of the Island, has been utilised since
pre-history. It consists of a foot-long straight Ash stick and a half dozen
large flat stones pierced by a hole and fitting loosely on the stick.
The stones are carried on a specially hooked belt called a Hab. The
missiles are called Runes, from the Runic characters carved on each to
denote ownership. By fitting a Rune on to the stick (or Thiln), one can,
by flicking the latter in the direction of the target, direct the Rune
with considerable force and accuracy at a running or stationary mark.
This is called Casting the Runes.
A Strange Custom
On Midsummer's Day it is customary to find the Islanders
gathered in the Market Places of Gelling and Farnisham for what is
called the "Humbug Fest." Aside from the usual festive activities (much
drinking of Beer and the local brew Shlug), the most notable event of the
day is the Humbug Dance, which starts at sunrise and continues by relay
until sunset, at which time the best dancer is judged King of the Humbugs
by popular acclaim. The dance is performed with one's hands, while the
dancer is suspended from a tree by ropes.
[A kind of Bungee Hand Jive? Among the uncompiled notes
to the original book, there was a mention that the winner
was often thrown promptly into the harbor. --G.S.]
The Literature of Farnish
There has been but one poet of note in the history of
Farnish. This was Billy 'Maister' Millweel (1750-1848*), who wrote
his first poem at the age of 82, after his retirement from the
Fish-Scaling factory. He produced 8 volumes of poetry...celebrating
the History of the Island -- his best in this vein being the Epic
"Nellie the Bold" --, its topography, and its industries. He also
collected the 22 extant anonymous ballads and songs of Farnish, dating
from c.1500 to the present.... Farnish has produced no writers of prose
or fiction to date **
* Date of death supplied by the editor. There is a posthumous poem
by the author that records this event.
** The astute observer will have observed a Shortling Isomerism in