Nine Maidens

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Several groups of standing stones in Cornwall and Devon are called ‘The Nine Maidens’, or ‘The Merry Maidens’. Supposedly, these were girls who were turned to stone for dancing on a Sunday; at Belstone (Devon) the piper was petrified too and the stones are said to dance every day at noon. Such tales are pan-European; they date from the Middle Ages to warn of judgements on sinners who disregard holy times or places.

S. P. Menefee, Folklore 85 (1974), 23–42;Westwood, 1985: 201–2.

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