Shakespyeare: Day 30 - To Elf

my friend Becky, hair elfed
Elf - verb - to tangle, knot, or mat.

I came across this lovey verb in my latest Shakespeare reading (King Lear). In scene VII, a fugitive Edgar decides to disguise himself as a mad hobo to evade capture: My face I'll grime with filth, / Blanket my loins, elf all my hair in knots, / And with presented nakedness outface / The winds and persecutions of the sky.

This echoes Mercutio's strange rant on the nature of dreams in Romeo and Juliet. He tells Romeo that Queen Mab has visited him in his sleep and gives a litany of her nocturnal activities which includes fairy hairstyling: [She] plaits the manes of horses in the night / And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs, / Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes.

The motto of Fróðskaparsetur Føroya is "oh gentle elves set light to lead the Faroes on their starry way from age to age. One can only hope this guidance includes a fair amount of hair knotting.

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