The Ox

: Popular Rhymes And Nursery Tales

In Herefordshire, on the eve of Twelfth-day, the best ox, white or

spotted, has a cake placed on his left horn; the men and girls of the

farm-house being present, drink out of a silver tankard to him,

repeating this verse--

We drink to thee and thy white horn,

Pray God send master a good crop of corn,

Wheat, rye, and barley, and all sorts of grain:

If alive at the next time, I'll hail thee again!

The animal is then sprinkled with the libation. This makes him toss his

head up and down, and if, in so doing, the cake be thrown forwards, it

is a good omen; if backwards, the contrary. Sir S. Meyrick, Trans.

Brit. Arch. Assoc. Glouc. 1848, p. 128, appears to consider this custom

a relic of the ancient Pagan religion.