Devil was the villain of the piece. Mrs. Noah refused to go into the ark without her "gossips," and when forced to do so boxed her husband's ear.
The Elizabethan Christmas
It was in the reign of "good Queen Bess" and her immediate successors that the Christmas celebrations took place, with which song and story have made us most familiar.
The festival lasted for twelve days, during which sports of all kinds were enjoyed by high and low. Once a year the poor had their glimpse of plenty.
Immediately after the church services, the nobleman, or country gentleman of that day, stood at his own gates and distributed alms to the aged and destitute, and his servants, tenants, and dependants were feasted in the great hall of his mansion with generous hospitality.
The hall, embowered in foliage—"whatever the yeare afforded to be greene"—was opened at daybreak to all. Strong ale was broached and merrily the "black jack" went round.
The great log was then brought in by a merry crew of sturdy youths and buxom maidens. When it reached its destination, before lighting it, they sat upon the huge timber and sang their Yule-song, after which they were given Yule-cakes—in the form of an infant or with an image of the child Jesus impressed upon them— and bowls of "frumenty."
Part of the log was carefully preserved with which to light the one of the following year.
"Part must be kept, wherewith to tend
The Christmas log next yeare, And where 'tis safely kept, the Fiend Can do no mischief there."
After church and the dole at the gates the great