Happy Devil Spit Day, everyone! I hope you've eaten all the blackberries you wanted by now.
September 29, also known as St. Michaelmas Day, is said to be the day on which St. Michael expelled the devil from heaven, sending him tumbling to earth, where legend has it that he landed in a blackberry bramble (so I guess he's Old Scratched, rather than Old Scratch). Some versions of the story say he cursed the blackberries as he landed in them, while other say he spat on them. Whatever the legend, any blackberries left on the vine after this point are likely to be moldy and disgusting anyway, since they'll be damaged by the early frosts. (This makes me wonder what happens in the southern hemisphere. I guess in places like Chile, Australia and South Africa the devil lands on their blackberries in March.)
I find these stories so much more appealing than the scientific explanations. Seeing moldy old berries on the vine and knowing I shouldn't eat them because the devil spat on them is a lot more fun for my imagination than dodging them simply because they're past their prime.
Mmm, devil spit... Cobbler, anyone?