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The joy of fecks - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
The joy of fecks
Ah, the childish delight of using powerful search functions to scour vast databases of painstakingly keyed and indexed sixteenth-century texts for the words "Fuck", "Fucker", and "Fuck't".

While pursuing this puerile pastime -- why do we call such things "puerile", when puella is just as likely as puer to do 'em? -- I came across this passage in an account of a woman's bizarre dreams during pregnancy:

At the same time (ouer and aboue) shee thought that in stead of a boye, (which she desired) she was deliuerd and brought to bed of one of these kistrell birds, called a wind-fucker.

[From "The life and godly education from his childhood of that thrice famous clarke, and worthie Orator and Poet Gabriell Haruey", in Haue vvith you to Saffron-vvalden. Or, Gabriell Harueys hunt is vp]

Now, I'm sure I remember hoiho mentioning a while back that kites (as in, the things on strings that you trail dispiritedly across fields in a desperate attempt to get them to fly) used to be called "wind-fuckers". So I now wonder if he was thinking of the bird (hoiho thinking of birds? surely not!), or if the term was transferred from bird to bundle-of-sticks-and-canvas, or what.

Is it time to go home yet?

Current Mood: verbose

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sion_a From: sion_a Date: November 12th, 2003 08:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Kestrels are usually wind-hovers, but being precise about animal species is a fairly recent invention (see your badger-pigges or whatever they were) and I can well imagine a confusion of terms between kites and kestrels. Although a kite (on a string) flies more like a kestrel, so the wind-fucker may have missed out the kite (ornithological) completely.

Did you know that kestrels can see unusually far into the ultra-violet in order to spot vole piss?
From: kaet Date: November 12th, 2003 08:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I wonder why vole piss fluoresces under / reflects UV? It's probably something in their diet. Perhaps carotenes or chlorophyls?
From: kaet Date: November 12th, 2003 08:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent. I've always meant to read Have with you to Saffron Walden, if it's not too long, because of its wonderful name and a vague recollection I have about it being some kind of Cambridge-based parody about bishops and the like. My parents regularly hie to Saffron Walden to buy sausages.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 12th, 2003 08:45 am (UTC) (Link)
The bits I read seemed very funny actually, in a sort of sixteenth-century way. :) I'd print it out for you here but a) it's 83 pages long, so I think they'd notice, and b) our keyed version of the text (as opposed to our page-image scans) is dreadful, full of lacunae and errors and what-have-you.

You may be interested in Early English Books Online, actually, if you haven't already seen it. No idea how expensive it is to subscribe but there's free "Featured Content" on the website. I don't really fancy properly reading anything from scanned images, but it's quite fun to dip into.
From: kaet Date: November 12th, 2003 10:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Depressingly all the featured content is almost all very worthy, or notorious, or otherwise distinguished. Apart from a short pamphlet about a boy who only three could speak Latin, Greek and Hebrew withought having been taught it (apparently through the bounteous gifts of Almighty Cod).

Much of the stuff from that era (as far as I can tell) is parsons going on about pig-breading, or the way vvillovv-vvarblers frighten voles with cries so like those of the devil so that they doth cause badgers to lay eggs under havvthorn bushes such that the raspberry doth flovvreth before pentecost, being an insult to St John the Baptist, and so brin rack and ruin upon poor but honest folk vvho do live by mills or other standing vvater inhabited by svvans or similar fovvl, as was revealed to the personal farry-gither of the Bishop of Northumberland in a tavern in Cheapside the night afore the corronation of the king in the abbee at VVestminster, or somesuch.

I think they've chosen useful (and so boring) books as their examples, which just isn't cricket. :)
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: November 12th, 2003 08:37 am (UTC) (Link)
My understanding is that the term refers to kites as in the birds rather than the things on strings.
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: November 12th, 2003 08:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Puellile is just too hard for people to say.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 12th, 2003 08:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Nah, it's not! Pwllll... puellllllulul... puelllllllllll oh, okay.
cjwatson From: cjwatson Date: November 12th, 2003 09:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Llanfairpuellagwyngyll&^*$!"NO CARRIER
From: kaet Date: November 12th, 2003 10:11 am (UTC) (Link)
return -EGOGOGOCH;
emperor From: emperor Date: November 12th, 2003 09:44 am (UTC) (Link)
The OED is my friend:
windfucker obs

[Cf. ‘Fuckwind, a species of hawk. North.’ (Halliwell).]

1. A name for the kestrel: cf. WINDHOVER.
2. fig. as a term of opprobrium.
imc From: imc Date: November 12th, 2003 01:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
There must be some particularly good reason why I too seem to have done this in the past.
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