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Glasgow Arms

An oak tree, a bell hanging on one of the branches, a bird at the top of the tree, and a salmon with a ring in its mouth at the base.

St. Kentigern, in the seventh century, took up his abode on the banks of a little stream which falls into the Clyde, the site of the present city of Glasgow. Upon an oak in the clearing he hung a bell to summon the savages to worship, hence the oak and the bell. Now for the other two emblems: A queen having formed an illicit attachment to a soldier, gave him a precious ring which the king had given her. The king, aware of the fact, stole upon the soldier in sleep, abstracted the ring threw it into the Clyde, and then asked the queen for it. The queen, in alarm, applied to St. Kentigern, who knew the whole affair; and the saint went to the Clyde, caught a salmon with the ring in its mouth, handed it to the queen, and was thus the means of restoring peace to the royal couple, and of reforming the repentant queen.

The queen's name was Langoureth, the king's name Rederech, and the Clyde was then called the Clud.

The tree that never grew,
The bird that never flew,
The fish that never swam,
The bell that never rang.

A similar legend is told of Dame Rebecca Berry, wife of Thomas Elton, of Stratford Bow, and relict of Sir John Berry (1696). Rebecca Berry is the heroine of the ballad called The Cruel Knight, and the story says that a knight passing by a cottage, heard the cries of a woman in labour, and knew by his occult science that the child was doomed to be his wife. He tried hard to elude his fate, and when the child was grown up, took her one day to the seaside, intending to drown her, but relented. At the same time he threw a ring into the sea, and commanded her never again to enter his presence till she brought him that ring. Rebecca, dressing a cod for dinner, found the ring in the fish, presented it to Sir John, and became his wife. The Berry arms show a fish, and on the dexter chief point a ring or annulet.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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