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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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IN ST. LOUIS, THE "VEILED PROPHET" HAS BECOME A LEGENDARY
FIGURE. ACCORDING TO THE LEGEND, THIS PROPHET OR KING
FROM A FAR-AWAY LAND VISITS EVERY YEAR THE FAIREST CITY IN
THE LAND (WHICH IS ALWAYS ST. LOUIS) AND THERE SELECTS HIS
QUEEN OF LOVE AND BEAUTY, WHO WILL REIGN WITH HIM FOR A
YEAR. IN REALITY, THE ANNUAL OCCASION IS A SOCIAL AFFAIR
AT WHICH THE DEBUTANTES ARE PRESENTED TO SOCIETY. BUT IT
IS CARRIED OUT WITH ALL THE SPLENDOR AND POMP BEFITTING
HIS ROYAL MAJESTY WHO APPEARS AT THE BALL IN ROYAL ROBES
AND WITH VEILED FACE ACCOMPANIED BY HIS PAGES, HERALDS
(WHO ANNOUNCE THE DEBUTANTES WHOSE NAMES, ESPECIALLY
THAT OF THE CHOSEN QUEEN, HAVE BEEN KEPT SECRET UNTIL THIS
SHINING HOUR), AND THE BENGAL LANCERS WHO FORM AN HONOR
GUARD FOR THE QUEEN.
THE DAY AFTER THE BALL, THE VEILED PROPHET, HIS QUEEN AND
HER COURT, RIDE THROUGH THE STREETS OF THE CITY IN THE
ANNUAL VEILED PROPHET PARADE, COMPLETE WITH FLOATS,
MARCHING BANDS, ETC.
IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE PPARADE THE PROPHET "DISAPPEARS"
UNTIL HIS NEXT ANNUAL VISIT. (BUT SOMEHOW THE QUEEN
ALWAYS STAYS BEHIND TO PRESIDE AT ALL THE SOCIAL AFFAIRS OF
THE CITY.)

Where learned: NASHVILLE ; TENNESSEE, ASSUMED

James Callow Keyword(s): ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Maturity
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Festival

Date learned: 04-08-1969

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