Hunting-the-gowk! Book sale and Giveaway.

April starts tomorrow. Will you be hunting-the-gowk?


Hunting for a book bargain or maybe a giveaway? 

Leave a comment on this post and you could win a hand crafted, antique-style Celtic pendant and earrings.


This is no April fool prank!


What on earth  is a Gowk you might ask.

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Gowk in Scots refers to the  Cuckoo bird. Believed to be fairy-touched and often associated with simpletons,  their call  was said to beckon the souls of the dead. It was also believed the cuckoo had the ability  to travel back and forth between the worlds of the living & the dead.

Originally the hunting the gowk  was celebrated on April 13, associated with the first call of the cuckoo, who also brought with it  a ‘Gowk Storm’ and the start of  Spring rain.

Cuckoos were also believed to possess the power of prophesy and could foretell a person’s lifespan, the number of their children and when they would marry.

Gowk  also meant a stupid person or fool. It came from  the Old Norse  ‘gaukr’, a cuckoo. The word can also be traced back to  Anglo-Saxon (Old English) ‘gouk’ and was replaced by the French  word ‘coucou’ after the Norman Conquest.

In Scotland April fool’s day is  known as Hunt-the-Gowk Day, April Gowk or Gowkie day.  Unlike the one-day custom of playing pranks on friends and family the jocularity continues for two days.

On these two days, the Scottish  embrace April Fool’s Day and the tradition known as ‘hunting the gowk’. To be sent on a ‘gowk hunt’ meant to be sent on a fool’s errand. While today is celebrated primarily with simple pranks, it used to be common to select a victim and  asked him/her to deliver a sealed note requesting help or a favor. But the note actually  read, “Dinna laugh, dinna smile, Hunt the gowk another mile.” Recipients of this note would tell the messenger they can’t help without another person’s assistance and send the messenger somewhere else where they would get the same response. This continued until  the poor messenger had been run all over town.

The Scottish continue the foolery by celebrating Taily Day on April 2nd. On this day the pranks continue and often includes sticking a paper tail on the back for their victim. Kind of like the more modern prank of a ‘kick me’ sign.
There has always been  a  rule  that while the trickery could begin at midnight of April 1, it  had to end by noon. Those who failed to observe this rule themselves became the April Fools.

Why April 1st?

April Fool’s day or the origin of the term can be traced back to Roman and Biblical times. The Roman legend when Pluto abducted Proserpina and took her to live in the underworld. Her mother, Ceres, the goddess of grain, upon hearing the echo of her daughter’s cry for help searched but in vain. A fools errand  commemorated during the Roman festival of Cerealia  at the beginning of April.

Biblical ties refer to the day Noah sent a dove to search for land before the flood water resided and it never returned. A fool’s errand. Or the time when Jesus was sent from Pilate to Herod and back, fostering the old term  Sending a man from Pilate to Herod”  sending someone on a fool’s errand.

One theory is that April Fool’s Day began in the mid to late 1500s when the pope ordered the calendar changed from the Julian Calendar to the Georgian Calendar. This meant New Year moved from between March 25th and April 1st to Jan 1st. But not all embraced the idea and those who clung to the old ways were subject to ridicule and pranks. In France where the changes first took place, paper fish were stuck to the back of unsuspecting victims and called Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish. This later became April Fool.

But the fact it coincides with the spring festival the feast of fools Festus Fatuorum  Can’t be discounted. Participants in this festival elect a Lord of Misrule  or Lord of Mayhem and they mimicked many religious practices. This festival was banned by the church between the 15th and 16th century because it mocked religious practices.

In Britain the legends go back to the 13oos when it was declared that any road the king set his foot on became his property. In the village of Gotham, when they heard King John planned a trip through their area, the villagers decided to deny him entry for fear of losing their land. When the king found out, he sent his army to end the defiance. They arrived to find the town members partaking in pranks and foolish acts like trying to drown fish or to hold a bird captive in a roofless pen. Deemed a village of fools, too insane to be punished they were spared. Since then they celebrate April Fool’s day.





About B.J. Scott

With a passion for history and romance, I always have several exciting works in progress. Each manuscript offers a blend of passion, adventure and where appropriate, a dab of comic relief. Carefully researched historical facts are woven into the storyline, providing a backdrop from which steamy romance, gripping plots and vivid characters—dashing alpha heroes and resourceful, beguiling heroines you can’t help but admire—spring to life. I also write contemporary, paranormal, time travel and romantic suspense. After several years in the nursing and child and youth work fields, I met and married my knight in shinning armor and he whisked me away to his castle by the sea. Actually, it is a century old home in a small town in SW Ontario, Canada, on the shore of Lake Erie, where we reside with our four dogs and a cat. While born in Canada, my ancestors were from Scotland, Ireland and England. Perhaps the reason for my fascination with anything Celtic. In the fourth grade, I discovered the work of C.S Lewis, and was hooked on books. While I dabbled in writing for many years, I began to pursue my writing dream in earnest when I completed the first book in my Fraser Brother Trilogy, Highland Legacy. Like all authors the road to publication was not smooth and there is always something new to learn. When I got my first contract, I was thrilled and grateful to my husband, family and friends for their support. One book spawned three and the Trilogy was born. Thanks to the readers. Without you there would be no need for authors or new books. When I am not writing, working at my childcare job or on my small business making had braided Celtic jewelry, Beaded book thongs and assorted other swag and gift idea, you will find me reading, camping or antique hunting. I am a PAN member of Romance Writers of America, World Romance Writers, Celtic Heart Romance Writers, Savvy Authors and several writer critique groups. I am also a proud member of the Clan Scott Society
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23 Responses to Hunting-the-gowk! Book sale and Giveaway.

  1. Danniell Hampton says:

    Your jewelry is so pretty.

  2. Ronda Tutt says:

    Grabbed your awesome book on Saturday when it was on sale and am looking forward to reading it within the next week. Love your jewelry, you have true talent.

  3. Ronda Tutt says:

    LOL I just looked to see if the book had loaded in my kindle and noted it was the 1st book I got. Gonna grab the second one now. Awesome deal!

  4. Referring to a cuckoo bird, but hunting for the gowk is a fools errand. A great April’s Fool gag

  5. Mary Preston says:

    Loved this post thank you. I had not heard about the GOWK before.

  6. Lori Ha says:

    I have learned some interesting info today. I had never heard of a GOWK before and so now I know and I’m sure it will spark some entertaining conversation with my family and friends 😀

  7. Fern Martin says:

    This reminds me of brothers taking their now spouses on a snipe hunt. So funny!! Thanks for sharing this fun information.

  8. Neena Martin says:

    Your Gowk is so cute!

  9. Just love it all the books the jewelry!

  10. Good luck to all. Enjoy the great reads.

  11. dholcomb1 says:

    Thanks for the story of the “gowk.”

  12. B.J. Scott says:

    Always interesting to find out something new. I had never heard of it until the head of the Clan Scott society that I belong to posted the question and I looked it up lol Was surprised to learn something new too

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