What have we found out about beeches?

Here at wodibow we find Mastodons inside beeches.

And we’ve discovered that beeches (or Fagus) have a hard, heavy, resistant and uniform wood. Also, they’re traditionally used in carpentry, so their wood comes from sustainable forests and there is no risk of deforestation.

For those who love etymology, Wikipedia tells us that Fagus is a generic Latin name with an ancient root of Indo-European origin that is related to the Ancient Greek φηγός phēgós “class of oak”. (Carlo Battista; Giovanni Alessio (1950–57). Barbera, ed. Dizionario etimologico italiano. Firenze.)

And in several botany web pages we’ve found out that Fagus, in Greek, means “to eat”, and that the origin of the tree’s name has to do with the fact that it has many edible parts: beechnuts or mast (the fruit); the seeds encapsulated in the beechnuts, which taste similar to hazelnuts and can be used to make flour and oil.


We’ve also discovered that it’s a tree surrounded by legends:

From Madrid
The coalmen and lumberjacks from Montejo say that the woods in El Chaparral are inhabited by fairies and pixies that lure travelers into their lairs and turn them into lizards and robins, to fill the forest with wild life and make it more charming.

From León. The Witch Haeda
“Many years ago, when men still lived under the stars and the winters were long and harsh, there was in the forest of Faedo a witch called Haeda. She had supernatural powers, given to her by a demon that cautioned her to use them only for evil or she would be consumed in three days and disappear. (…) One cold day of winter, Haeda saw a family; the parents couldn’t keep their children warm. So she used her powers, took some heavy rocks from the mountain and set them ablaze. They became red and crackled with sparks (…) they burned the whole night through (…) and so the family slept warm. The following morning they discovered a mound of ashes and couldn’t explain what had happened.

The snow kept falling that day, there was fog in the mountain pass and the cold was unbearable. Haeda thought that even if she helped the family once more, she would still retain some of her power. So she pulled rocks out of the mountain once more and set them ablaze to make a huge bonfire. The family spent a warm night and the folowing morning they found a lot of ash that kept a treasure of warm embers inside; so they used them to bake some potatoes for the children’s breakfast.

That day Haeda went to a pool and saw that her reflection looked very old and tired. Despite her exhaustion, she didn’t hesitate to help the family once more. She was willing, but then thought that perhaps it wouldn’t be enough, for the winter in that land was very long. The good witch pondered for a while and with all her might she filled the mountains with rocks that could burn with warm fires. Many families came then into the valley and founded a village that they called Ciñera. From that day on, no child was ever cold at night, for that was Haeda’s will.

They tell the story that Haeda went to die to the forest of Faedo, where she left locks of white hair among the beeches.”

Josefina Díaz, resident from Ciñera, grandmother and storyteller.
You can read the whole story (in Spanish) here:

And poetry:
The beeches are legend.
Someone, among the old beeches,
read a dreadful story
of crimes and battles.
Who has seen without tremor
beeches in the pine grove?

Las encinas, Antonio Machado. You can read the original here:

And popular sayings:
“If you never read a fairy tale when you were a child, walk among the beeches and you’ll write one.”

Let’s see what you find about beeches! We accept subimissions. Thank you.

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