The elder is a bit of a mysterious tree. The magical qualities are well known, but the tales conflict with one another. However, in almost every telling of every tale, terrible bad luck will befall a person who abuses or destroys the witch tree.
Like the Hawthorn - in Ireland, the Elder was (is?) always seen as a sacred tree, and it was therefore forbidden to cut one down. It could be dangerous to destroy this tree, it was believed. Not only in Ireland was this belief held.
When I was growing up, we were always warned to respect the Elder and to ask permission of it before trimming any branches. I still do this now! (Mind you, I do to all the trees and hedges I manage!).
'In Denmark, the tree was associated with magic. A dryad called the Elder Tree Mother was supposed to live in its branches. If you wanted to cut the tree to make furniture from its wood, the Elder Tree Mother must be asked permission first. If she wasn't, you ran the risk that she'd follow and haunt you. ALSO
Elder's habit of growing on wasteland, rubbish tips, and cemeteries has earned it both respect and dislike. In the Middle Ages, it was claimed to be the tree on which Judas hung himself.' (The Woodland Trust)
So today, when I went to see for myself what had happened to the beautiful Elder in The Triangle (Jeff had told me it was down) I was very sad indeed at the sight. The flowers are just at their peak for pollinating insects, and we all know how important that is - especially now.
These branches are covered in blossom, withering now.
Anyhow, when I had a good look at the trunk, I came to the conclusion that we do not have to worry about someone being haunted by the Elder Mother. I think Mother Elder herself has struggled with the weight of these beautiful leaves and blossoms on a stem that comes right out of the side of the trunk. I believe the tree has become unbalanced and has fallen.
The main trunk had already been cut, and the side trunk. These two branches were overweight, I think, and have fallen.
Improving this tiny Triangle is proving to be a real challenge! Issues with a bench, a replica fire engine, a bug hotel... on and on!
However, I have a plan, and I hope we can do something soon to show the history of this little space. It is a great place to be when listening to the Beech Tree's story on the Rothbury Tree Trail.