Gabriel Hounds, Ratchets


Gabriel Hounds, Ratchets
   In northern counties, the name Gabble or Gabriel Ratchets was applied to a strange yelping sound heard in the sky at night, supposedly a death *omen. The name, first recorded around 1665, implies a link with the dogs of the *Wild Hunt, 'ratchet' being an old word for a type of hound. In Cleveland, the explanation given was that 'a gentleman of the olden times was so strangely fond of hunting that, on his deathbed, he ordered his hounds all to be killed and buried at the same time and in the same tomb as himself', and therefore he and they still hunt as ghosts (J. C. Atkinson, The Gentleman's Magazine (1866), part II, 189); in Derbyshire, that a squire persisted in hunting on Sundays, and once drove his pack into a church, for which sin he is condemned to ride out on stormy nights for ever (N&Q 11s:5 (1912), 296-7). Some informants, however, spoke of spectral birds with glowing eyes which showed themselves (singly) to those who had a friend or relative close to death, shrieking mournfully; others, of ghosts of *unbaptized babies flitting round their parents' homes.
   It is generally agreed that the sounds are really bird cries: curlews, widgeon, teal, or wild geese. 'Gabble' is a good word for this noise, which would explain the name; however, 'Gabriel' is supported by a Derbyshire belief from the mid-19th century that 'the angel Gabriel was hunting ... [the damned] and that the cries were uttered as the lash of the angel's whip urged them along' (N&Q 7s (1886), 206).
   ■ Joseph Wright, The English Dialect Dictionary (1898-1905).

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • birds —    It is widely said to be an *omen, or even a cause, of death if a wild bird enters, or is brought into, a house, or beats against a window (Opie and Tatem, 1989: 25 6); this does not apply to farmyard fowls or caged birds. Some people even… …   A Dictionary of English folklore

  • Cŵn Annwn — In Welsh mythology and folklore, Cŵn Annwn (  /ˌkuːn …   Wikipedia

  • Wild Hunt — For other uses, see Wild Hunt (disambiguation). The wild hunt: Åsgårdsreien (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo The Wild Hunt is an ancient folk myth prevalent across Northern, Western and Central Europe.[1] The fundamental prem …   Wikipedia

  • Chasse fantastique — La chasse sauvage de Wotan, par F. W. Heine La chasse fantastique, chasse aérienne, chasse sauvage dans la désignation générique, est une légende présente dans un grand nombre de pays, le Centre et le Nord de l Europe, et dans la plupart des… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Chasse sauvage — Chasse fantastique La chasse sauvage de Wotan, par F. W. Heine La chasse fantastique, chasse aérienne, chasse sauvage dans la désignation générique, est une légende présente dans un grand nombre de pays, le Centre et le Nord de l Europe, et dans… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cacería salvaje — Odín, uno de los principales protagonistas de la cacería salvaje en sus variaciones escandinavas. Ilustración de 1886 por Georg von Rosen. Se conoce como cacería salvaje a un mito del folclore europeo que se pr …   Wikipedia Español