In Ireland and Scotland, the first farmer to finish the grain harvest made a corn dolly, representing the Cailleach (also called “the Carlin”), from the last sheaf of the crop. The figure would then be tossed into the field of a neighbor who had not yet finished bringing in their grain. The last farmer to finish had the responsibility to take in and care for the corn dolly for the next year, with the implication they’d have to feed and house the hag all winter. (McNeill)
This corn dolly, in the form of a sceptre, was devised and made by Alec Coker, an experienced corn dolly maker. It consists of a long spirally woven ‘neck’-like core, above which are five spirally woven semicircles. Above this is a head made up of four spirally woven ‘lantern’-like structures. This dolly was used with another dolly in the shape of an orb as stage regalia. (MERL/86/84)
Fylfot Corn Dolly - Circa 1980s. Traditional English corn dolly, these figures were made to celebrate a successful harvest, often from the last sheaf gathered from the field. Photos from the Museum of Rural Life in Reading, Berkshire, England.