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Last Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007, 20:33 GMT 21:33 UK
Wish for rain to wash away Homer
Homer Simpson next to the Cerne Giant in Dorset
There is debate about the age of the Cerne Abbas Giant

Pagans have pledged to perform "rain magic" to wash away a cartoon character painted next to their famous fertility symbol - the Cerne Abbas giant.

A doughnut-brandishing Homer Simpson was painted next to the giant on the hill above Cerne Abbas, Dorset, to promote the new Simpsons film.

Many believe the ancient chalk outline of the naked, sexually aroused giant to be a symbol of ancient spirituality.

Many couples also believe the 180ft carving aids fertility.

I'm amazed they got permission to do something so ridiculous
Ann Bryn-Evans
Pagan Federation

The painted Simpsons character has been painted with water-based biodegradable paint which will wash away as soon as it rains.

Ann Bryn-Evans, joint Wessex district manager for The Pagan Federation, said: "We were hoping for some dry weather but I think I have changed my mind.

"We'll be doing some rain magic to bring the rain and wash it away."

She added: "I'm amazed they got permission to do something so ridiculous. It's an area of scientific interest."

'Different and unusual'

It is not the first time the giant has been used to advertise products. He has been used to promote items as diverse as condoms, jeans and bicycles.

Mike Webb, landlord of the New Inn in Cerne Abbas, said his staff were amused by the temporary addition to the village.

"I think it is different and unusual," he said. "We've not heard any complaints here so far, but I'm not sure many of the local people will know who Homer Simpson is."

During World War II, the Cerne giant was disguised to prevent the Germans from using him as an aerial landmark.

Since then he has always been visible, receiving regular grass trimming and a full re-chalking every 25 years.

There is debate among experts about when the giant was created varying from thousands of years ago to as recently as the 17th Century.

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03 Aug 04 |  Dorset


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