Monday, July 28, 2008

Blackberry Folklore and Stories

With blackberries in full fruit, I thought I'd share some websites with stories, lore and superstitions about these luscious fruits. The blackberry is more than just a pretty berry!

You can find blackberry legends here; scroll down the page to find the blackberry. There are many other flowers and fruits listed too. Fascinating reading, I just wish I knew the source of the information presented (the librarian in me!). According to the site's author, blackberries were planted around graves to keep the dead from rising as ghosts (maybe their shrouds would get caught on the thorns?)

A Native American raven and blackberry story , along with about 1600 other Native American stories, can be found on the Turtle Island site.

The Devil and the Blackberries: advice from an English blog about the best time to pick blackberries--unless you want a helping of the devil in them!

Another Native American story on the Native Cuisine site is just one part of an interesting site, with lots of recipes, history, and lore. Scroll down to the story about Food Gathering to read the one about blackberries. The print on this page is tiny, so you may need to adjust your screen for that.

Was the blackberry the "burning bush" in the bible? In Plant Lore, Legends, and Lyrics (published in 1892), Richard Folkard suggests this might be the case.

Blackberry's medicinal uses are described at the Alternative Nature Online Herbal site. (This is not an endorsement of the remedies and information on the alternative Nature Online site; I list it as interesting reading for storytellers and writers, and for folkloric background.)

Blackberries in the story of a coat and its history at the HealingStory site.

An African story about blackberries. Blackberries in Africa? Who knew?

And more blackberry folklore on the Gothic Gardening site. Even the Celts, it seems, were into blackberries. And did you know that "when you put blackberries on a threshold or windowsill, you can force a vampire to count over the thorns and berries until morning comes." That is similar to another bit of lore I've heard--that evil spirits have to count all the holes in a screen door or window before coming in; it takes them so long that day breaks before they are through and they have to leave!

That's enough good reading to keep us busy for an evening at least, while eating a good blackberry pie.


  1. Reminds me of a story my family likes to tell about me. My Grandaddy's farm had blackberries growing everywhere, and when I was small we went pickin one time. Somebody had a "great idea" to let me sit me in the bed of the truck while they were pickin. They also had a "great idea" to put the full pails of blackberries in the bed of the truck as well. Need I say more....we came home with very few blackerries and one very full and blackberry juice soiled little girl!

  2. Oh yeah. They weren't thinking straight, were they? I'll bet you were purple for some time!

  3. Hi Granny Sue

    Thanks for the link! Much appreciated.

    The blackberries are starting to darken here in East Anglia (UK). But they are still very bitter.

    We will be making blackberry wine and bramble jelly in September.

  4. Hi Granny Sue,

    Im writing an article on blackberry picking, jam making and its folk or fairy lore in Ireland. Please if you have any further information on this, i would be very interested. Even back to celtic times to the present day.


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