The men of Kent are born with tails, as a punishment for the
murder of Thomas á Becket. (Lambert: Peramb.) (See the
“For Becket's sake, Kent always shall have tails.”
It is said that the Ghilane race, which number between 30,000 and
40,000, and dwell “far beyond the Sennaar,” have tails three or four
inches long. Colonel du Corret tells us he carefully examined one of
this race named Bellal, the slave of an emir in Mecca, whose house he
frequented. (World of Wonders, p. 206.)
The Niam-niams of Africa are tailed, so we are told.
The Chinese men were made to shave their heads and wear a queue
or tail by the Manchu Tartars, who, in the seventeenth century, subdued
the country, and compelled the men to adopt the Manchu dress. The women
were allowed to compress their feet as before, although the custom is
not adopted by the Tartars.
“Anglicus a lergo caudam gerit”
probably refers to the pigtails once worn.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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