A correspondent desires to know more of the cult of dashing the habers referred to in this column on Saturday. Out of our erudition we are ever ready to elucidate.
The origin of the ancient tribe of dashers (pronounced dash-ers) is so remote as to be lost in the mist of ages. It is known that in the early seventh century they flourished in northern Mesopotamia. Each carried a peculiar, wand-like weapon known as the "haber," and with these they fiercely dashed their enemies or jousted with one another in tournament. They were very popular with the ladies of the period, particularly in England, where a stong off-shoot of the tribe in 832-894 A.D.
One literary fragment that has been preserved gives us some inkling of the fierce valor of these interesting Dashers. It runs:
"Eke, I'll dash mine haber for Emmaline On ye billowie bent o' Lincoln Greene! And, by my klobba and counter stroke, She'll vow me a vallyant Dasher-bloque."
(N.B. - "Klobba" means the curious mail worn by the Dashers.)
Unfortunately, during either the late years of the ninth or the early part of the tenth century, the Dashers contracted the habit of cotton-biting. This vice soon became general among them, so that their enemies used to say: "Give a Dasher enough cotton and he'll bite himself to death."
This prophecy proved all too true, and the lone surviving Dasher dashed his last about 952 A.D.
Though the tribe vanished the order still persists, even to this day; but the fierce war-like spirit is not quite so marked.
If any archaelogist or University professor cares to supply further information about these interesting people it will be published gladly - perhaps.
(Note. - The word "haber" is pronounced hab-er, and rhymes with "yabber." The "h" is frequently not silent.)
"C. J. Dennis"
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003|