Online Encyclopedia

HERNE THE HUNTER

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 372 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HERNE THE HUNTER,. a legendary huntsman who was alleged to haunt Windsor Great Park at night, especially around an aged tree, long known as Herne's oak, said to be nearly 700 years old. This was blown down in 1863, and a young oak was planted by Queen Victoria on the spot. Herne has his French counterpart in the Grand Veneur of Fontainebleau. Mention is made of Herne in The Merry Wives of Windsor and in Harrison Ainsworth's Windsor Castle. Nothing definite is known of the Herne legend. It is suggested that it originated in the life-story of some keeper of the forest; but more probably it is only a variant of the " Wild Huntsman" myth common to folk-lore, which (E. B. Tylor, Primitive Culture, 4th ed. pp. 361-362) is almost certainly the modern form of a prehistoric storm-myth.
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