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Morvah


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Granite moor 6 miles NW of Penzance on the north-western slope of the furthest promontory of Land's End, Cornwall, containing distinctive megaliths, which was formerly the site of a Lughnasa-like August festival. Morvah's most distinctive feature is the doughnut-shaped Men-an-tol [Corn., holed stone], which originally formed the entrance to a chambered tomb and which acquired a reputation for healing powers in oral tradition. In the 19th century three acres of the moor were set aside for the Morvah Fair on 1 August, a time for horse-racing, merrymaking, courtship games, and storytelling, featuring the hero Jack the Tinkard. The Morvah legend begins when Tom, a local giant, uses an axle-beam and cartwheel to overcome an evil giant whose uprooted tree cannot save him in combat. Tom moves into the evil giant's castle, assumes his great wealth, marries, and has a family. Soon Tom is joined by yet another giant, Jack the Tinkard, who is initially hostile but eventually becomes an ally. Like the Irish hero Lug Lámfhota, Jack is the master of many skills, which encourages Tom to allow him his daughter's hand. To make a home for his bride, Jack kills the giant of Morvah by taking the cover off an old mineshaft and letting his opponent fall into it. Jack's wedding and the union of Jack and Tom's families takes place on 1 August.

Subjects: Religion.


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