ANSWERS: 1
  • The middle english word maggot meant a whim, fancy or silly idea. It is believed this came from the belief that the brain was full of maggots (probably from observations of cadavers) and the bite of one of these maggots would give rise to an unusual thought or idea. In fact Jonathan Swift in Mechanical Operation of the Spirit (1704) elaborates "If the bite is hexagonal it produces poetry; if circular, eloquence; if conical, politics, etc". There was an expression "When the maggot bites" meaning "When the fancy takes me".(Dictionary of Phrase and Fable 1884). Consequently anything that was considered whimsical or fanciful was known as a maggot. A whimsical dance or piece of music was also known as a maggot e.g. "Betty's Maggot", "Huntington's Maggot", and "Captain's Maggot" in the same way that there are some dances and pieces of music from this period called "fancies". Both fancies and maggots tend to be tunes that are unique and unusual and don't fit into other categories.

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