The priests of the pagan Celts believed that any injury to an oak would be severely punished by the presiding deity of that tree. The Druids always erected their altars of sacrifice beneath an oak tree, and their name is in fact derived from the Greek word “drus’, an oak. After most of the traces of Druidism as a religion had been obliterated and the superstition joined the ranks of the forgotten, the English began to look upon the oak as a sort of weather predictor. Even today in Britain the following quatrain can sometimes be heard:
When the oak comes out before the ash,
You’ll have a summer of wet and splash;
When the ash comes out before the oak,
You’ll have a summer of dust and smoke.
In Medieval Europe, it was said that if you had a toothache, you should drive nails into an oak tree – it wouldn’t kill the current pain, but would surely prevent a future attack.