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Fairies


The Cailleach

From high mountain pass, exhaling ice breath, (2).
Comes Cailleach clothed in summers death.
Cold fingers search under starlight’s lantern
Staff cracks dew to frosted mantle, (3).
In the stags hoary frosted bark,
Riding with wolves on the cloak of the dark. (4).
From mountain, hillock, stone and spring (5). Read More »

The Coblynau

The Welsh version of the Cornish Knockers, these mine spirits were relatively good humoured, and helped the miners by knocking in places with rich lodes of mineral, or metal. The Coblynau dressed in miners' attire, and stood at around 18 inches in height. Read More »

The Cwn Annwn

The Cwn Annwn, which means hounds of the otherworld (underworld), are Welsh phantom dogs seen as a death portent. Their growling is louder when they are at a distance, and as they draw near the growling grows softer and softer. Read More »

The Dwarfs In Schalk Mountain And Wohlden Mountain

Schalk Mountain (Schalksberg), between Ettenbüttel and Wilsche, near Gilde on the Aller River, is only a little mole hill today, but formerly it was a high and narrow mountain in which the dwarf people made their home. Read More »

The Fairies' Hill

According to Lord Archibald Campbell in his 'Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition, Argyllshire Series, vol. 1 (1889); There is a green hill above Kintraw, known as the Fairies' Hill, of which the following story is told. Read More »

The Fairy And The Bible-Reader

ON a still Sabbath evening in summer, an old man was seated, reading his Bible in the open air, at a quiet spot upon the Ross-shire coast. A beautiful little lady, clad in green, drew near, and addressing him in a silvery voice, sought to know if for such as she Holy Scripture held out any hope of salvation. Read More »

The Fairy Cup Of Kirk Malew

I have heard many Manxmen protest they have been carried insensibly great distances from home, and without knowing how they came there, found themselves on the top of a mountain. Read More »

The Fairy Nurse

There was once a little farmer and his wife living near Coolgarrow. They had three children, and my story happened while the youngest was on the breast. Read More »

The Fisherman And The Merman

OF mermen and merwomen many strange stories are told in the Shetland Isles. Beneath the depths of the ocean, according to these stories, an atmosphere exists adapted to the respiratory organs of certain beings, resembling in form the human race, possessed of surpassing beauty, of limited supernatural powers, and liable to the incident of death. Read More »

The Gloaming Bucht

"SPEAKIN' o' fairies," quoth Robbie Oliver (an old shepherd, who lived at Southdean in Jedwater, and died about 1830), "I can tell ye about the vera last fairy that was seen hereaway. When my faither, Peter Oliver, was a young man, he lived at Hyndlee, an' herdit the Brocklaw. Read More »

The Godmother

Two girls, all dressed up, were walking along playfully and mischievously one evening when suddenly a gigantic fat toad waddled across their path. The girls joked about the large animal: One of them said that if it ever had a baby, she would be its godmother. The other one quickly added that she would cook for the occasion. Read More »

The Isle Of Pabaidh

THERE came a woman of peace (a fairy) the way of the house of a man in the island of Pabaidh, and she had the hunger of motherhood on her. He gave her food, and that went well with her. She stayed that night. Read More »

The Kelpy of Morphie

In 'Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs' (1893), James Mackinlay tells the following tale of a captured water horse. 'A pool in the North Esk, in Forfarshire, called the Ponage or Pontage Pool, was at one time the home of a water-horse. This creature was captured by means of a magical bridle, and kept in captivity for some time. Read More »

The Lapland Clergyman's Wife who was Midwife to a Troll

According to ‘The Science of Fairy Tales’ (1891) by Edwin Sidney Hartland ‘A clergyman's wife in Swedish Lappmark, the cleverest midwife in all Sweden, was summoned one fine summer's evening to attend a mysterious being of Troll race and great might, called Vitra. At this unusual call she took counsel with her husband, who, however, deemed it best for her to go. Read More »

The Lost Child

Robert Hunt in his 'Popular Romances of the West of England; or, The Drolls, Traditions, and Superstitions of Old Cornwall' (1865) gives an account of the lost child of Trefonick which was given to him thirty years earlier by an old woman of the parish. Read More »

The Mermaid Of Knockdolion

'THE old house of Knockdolion stood near the water of Girvan, with a black stone at the end of it. A mermaid used to come from the water at night, and taking her seat upon this stone, would sing for hours, at the same time combing her long yellow hair. Read More »

The Mermaid Wife

A STORY is told of an inhabitant of Unst, who, in walking on the sandy margin of a voe, saw a number of mermen and mermaids dancing by moonlight, and several seal-skins strewed beside them on the ground. At his approach they immediately fled to secure their garbs, and, taking upon themselves the form of seals, plunged immediately into the sea. Read More »

The Midwife Of Listowel

"Why do you call the fairies 'good people?'" asked I.
"I don't call them the good people myself," answered Duvane, "but that is what the man called them who told me the story. Some call them the good people to avoid vexing them. I think they are called the good people mostly by pious men and women, who say that they are some of the fallen angels." Read More »

The Old Man And The Fairies

The following story appeared in P. H. Emerson's 'Welsh Fairy-Tales and Other Stories' (1894).  Many years ago the Welsh mountains were full of fairies. People used to go by moonlight to see them dancing, for they knew where they would dance by seeing green rings in the grass. Read More »

The Poor Man Of Peatlaw

THE following is an account of a fairy frolic said to have happened late in the last century:--The victim of elfin sport was a poor man, who, being employed in pulling heather upon Peatlaw, a hill in Selkirkshire, had tired of his labour, and laid him down to sleep upon a fairy ring. Read More »

The Servant Girl And The Elves

Once upon a time there was a poor servant girl who was diligent and neat. Every day she swept out the house and shook the sweepings onto a large pile outside the door. One morning just as she was beginning her work she found a letter on the pile of sweepings. She could not read, so she stood her broom in the corner and took the letter to her employers. Read More »

The Trolls Celebrate Christmas

Of the manner in which the trolls celebrate Christmas Eve there are traditions throughout the whole North. At that time it is not advisable for Christian men to be out. On the heaths witches and little trolls ride, one on a wolf, another on a broom or a shovel, to their assemblies, where they dance under their stones. Read More »

The Two Young Ploughmen

"You have been often at the Gatehouse," said Johnny Nicholson; "well, you'll mind a flat piece of land near Enrick farm; well, that was once a large loch; a long way down from there is still the ruin of a mill, which at that time was fed from this loch. Read More »

The Undreamed Region: Barrows In Folklore & Archaeology

Hills, mounds and burial sites. Places which have a timeless allure. Such places can be seen and regarded as mythically liminal, a place that it is not a place. A place outside of time. A place where the living freely walk with the dead. Barrows are just such places. Read More »

The Water Horse Bridle of Nether Lochaber

In Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs (1893), James Mackinlay quotes an anecdote by Rev Dr Stewart, 'A drover, whose home was in Nether Lochaber, was returning from a market at Pitlochry by way of the Moor of Rannoch. Night came on; but, as the moon was bright, he continued his journey without difficulty. On reaching Lochanna Cuile, he sat down to refresh himself with bread, cheese, and milk. Read More »



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