Water World as Another Home for English Nation Reflected in the English Folklore

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PLAN 1. The history of Britain’s relations with its “waterworld”.Why did it inspire the emergence of the rich English folklore ? 2. The water world in the English folklore : tales, stories fears, prejudices, poems connected with seas, rivers, lakes and their inhabitants. 3. Does the English nation try to preserve its precious “waterworld” both as the natural resource and the cultural inheritance. The British are a most curious nation in many aspects. When a tourist from whatever continent comes to visit Britain the first conclusion he arrives at is how bizarre the people living there are. The main reason to their uniqueness will certainly lie on the surface: Great Britain is an island that had to grow up and all the long way of its history alone being separated from

the rest of the world by great amounts of water. This very characteristics turned them into not only a curious nation, but also an interesting and special one, whose history and culture one of the richest in the world. And the water surrounding the island played not a minor part in its forming. So the British people respect and cherish their “watery” neighbour who from the earliest stages of their history up to now gave them food, drink, work, power, respect of other nations, wealth and after all entertainment. It inspired a huge number of stries, tales, poems , superstitions and prejudicies and it has always been worshipped by the people. The field of the country’s economy connected with water was always a great concern for those who ruled it for they naturally attached

much importance to it. From the times when the English society was being born and only beginning to take shape kings already would interest themselves in the conditions of trading across the sea. In the eleventh century Cnut on a pilgrimage to Rome took the opportunity of obtaining from the Emperor and other rulers he met there greater security and reduction of talls for his subjects, traders and others, travelling in their lands. Already in the eighth century an English merchant called Botta was settled at Marceilles, perhaps as an agent for collecting goods to be sold in England. The Viking rades of the late eighth and ninth centuries disrupted trade on the Continent, but Englishmen may well have taken part in the Baltic trade opened up by this time. At least, there is no

reason to deny English nationality to a certain Wulfstan who described to King Alfred a journey taken to the Frisches Haff; he has an English name. On the other hand, we hear of foreign traders in England from early times. Bede speaks of London as the “mart of many nations, resorting to it by sea and land”, and mentions the purchase of a captive by a Frisian merchant in London. But the strongest evidence for the amount of sea traffic in Frisian hands is the assumption of an Anglo-Saxon poet that a seaman is likely to have a Frisian wife: Dear is the welcome guest to the Frisian woman when the ship comes to land. His ship is come and her husband, her own bread – winner, is at home, and she invites him in, washes his stained raiment and gives him new clothes, grants him on

land what his love demands. Men from other lands came also. At the end of the tenth century a document dealing with trade in London speaks of men from Rouen, Flanders, Ponthieu, Normandy, France; from about the same date comes a description of York as the resort of merchants from all quarters, especially Danes. The merchants and seamen plied an honoured trade. The poets speak with appreciation of the seaman “who can boldly drive the ship across the salt sea” or “can steer the stem on the dark wave, knows the currents, (being) the pilot of the company over the wide ocean”, and it was at least a current opinion in the early eleventh century that the merchant who had crossed the sea three times at his own cost should be entitled to a thane’s rank. The merchant in