(11/6/01 11:19:51 pm)
| A year and a day|
I received the following inquiry in my inbox today. Does anyone have any answers or ideas?
"A fellow teacher and I were discussing conventions in traditional stories involving quests, and an interesting question came up that I am hoping you can answer. What is the basis for the time limit of a year and a day that comes up in so many fairy tales and legends? A year seems a reasonable time limit, so why is the extra day added?"
Thanks for helping me help someone else!
(11/7/01 6:14:49 am)
| Brewer's explanation|
According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phase & Fable:
"In law the period of time in which certain matters determines a right or liability. Thus the Crown forerly had a right to hold the land of felons for a year and a day, and if a person wounded does not die within a year and a day, the assailant is not guilty of murder."
It seems as if the tellers of tales borrowed this legal term as part of their stories. Gail
(11/7/01 12:29:42 pm)
| Re: A year and a day|
I know in many cultures "a year and a day" is how long trial marriages, sometimes called "handfasting," are supposed to last. Basically testing to see if you can live with each other, though I hear it was also a test to see if the bride could bear children. If there was no sign of a child in that time-frame, the groom could separate from her, no questions asked!
(11/12/01 10:57:17 am)
| Year and a day|
Thought you might be interested that I was working on an immigration case effected by a change in the year sentence. According to old immigration law if the sentence was 364 days (a year less a day) the felon would not be automatically deported for having an aggravated felony, but the law has now changed to refer not to the actual sentence given, but to the possible sentence period. In this case, my client was convicted under the old law, but is facing deportation under the new law. The old sentence allowed for someone who essentially "made a mistake" to be given an out with INS's blessing - not anymore and they are reaching back to grab people whose crimes are years, sometimes decades old. Supreme Court heard a case re: a similar sitation (we were in the amicus) this summer.
Okay, enough, but it is good foder for a story about how a one time offender (in our case someone who translated a conversation re: a drug drop) but is a basically good person can get caught in a trap.
Miss you all at the forum, but I have been reading.
(11/13/01 3:13:52 pm)
| Re: A year and a day|
This was also the time limit on a lord's ownership of a runaway serf. In feudal England, if serfs ran away from their master and weren't caught in that time, they were free.