HERN THE HUNTER?

Hern the Hunter was a ghost with great horns upon his head who is said to have haunted Windsor Park. When the Merry Wives of Windsor, in Shakespeare's play, wished to punish Sir John Falstaff still further they induced him to dress up as Hern the Hunter and keep an appointment with them at midnight in the park. Instead of coming alone, however, the Merry Wives brought a host of people from Windsor, disguised as fairies, who made rings round the bogus hunter, lynching him and beating him until the fat knight at long last was brought to his senses. The Elizabethans were firm believers in ghosts, and the people of Windsor no more doubted the existence of the real Hern the Hunter than they did the presence of the royal palace in their midst. They imagined him to hunt the stags at midnight, and any strange sound that came from the woods at that time would cause them to whisper to each other with bated breath: " There goes Hern the Hunter." === THE VICAR OF BRAY? The Vicar of Bray was a gentleman whose name you often hear during an election, for candidates are fond of bestowing the title upon those of their opponents whom they charge with altering their opinions to suit their own ends. Simon Alleyn, Vicar of Bray, certainly wore his convictions lightly. In the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI he was Protestant; in Mary's reign he turned Catholic, and when Elizabeth came to the throne he once again became Protestant, resolved, whoever the monarch might be, to die the Vicar of Bray. There was another vicar, one Simon Symonds, who is reputed to have been an Independent during the Protectorate, High Churchman in the reign of Charles II, Papist under James II, and a moderate Protestant under William and Mary. It will be seen from this that the Vicar of Bray is an excellent title to give to a politician who is not consistent in his views, but simply alters them as occasion would dictate.