Senior Member

Please what does "tan-heap" mean in this context?:

'What am I to do?' he asked. She replied, 'Go farther into the wood until you come to a house, wherein lives an old woman; she will offer you food and drink, but you must not take of either; if you do, you will fall into a deep sleep, and will not be able to help me. In the garden behind the house is a largetan-heap, and on that you must stand and watch for me. I shall drive there in my carriage at two o'clock in the afternoon for three successive days; the first day it will be drawn by four white, the second by four chestnut, and the last by four black horses; but if you fail to keep awake and I find you sleeping, I shall not be set free.

Source: THE RAVEN FAIRY TALE by the Brothers Grimm.

  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I haven't met this word before, but it clearly means a pile of tan! I suppose that "tan" is meant in this sense (sense A11a in the OED):
    The crushed bark of the oak or of other trees, an infusion of which is used in converting hides into leather.
    In other words, someone has been gathering the bark of trees for sale or for use in the leather-making industry, and is keeping it in a big pile in the garden.
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