[from Manx Notes & Queries, 1904]




It is not lucky to meet any barefooted persons, or to sell herrings without first sprinkling 'them with a handful of salt, or to bring them in sight of any person, outside the crew, before some salt is thrown on them, or to go to sea the, first night without salt, or to put white stones in among the ballast. Some men, too, are noted for bringing ill-luck with them to whatever boat they may go to sea in, and many is the bad herring season put down to so-and-so's being on board.


To nail a horseshoe to the stern of the boat inside. To dip the end of the first net down into the water three times, before beginning to shoot all out.


When the old Manxmen started to get ready for the fishing, the first thing was to get a " kishen " apiece of ale, and after that to haul the boat alongside of the ballast ; the skipper would be carrying a bottle of rum with him to give them "drops" at intervals. He did not work, but sat on the gunwale at the stern, with his claw-hammer coat on, the tails of which had to be a certain length. The men would put stones in the boat until the tails of the coat touched the water, when the skipper would sing out: "Cum ort! patchey ayn jeh." (Stop! there's plenty in her.)




A company of fairies visited a farmhouse one night, after the good folk had gone to bed and were preparing to bake cakes, when they found there was no water in the crock to wet the dough; a great hubbub arose, as they all united to jaw the servant for her carelessness, and ended by going up to her bedroom and bleeding her under the big toe until they had enough to wet the dough and finish their baking. An old beggarwoman, who had been given a shakedown in the kitchen, heard and saw the whole performance, but went away in the morning without telling what she had seen. The servant was taken sick with some mysterious ailment that could not be cured, until the old beggar came to the house again, and hearing of the servant being sick, told what she had heard the fairies say on the night of her last visit, whereupon the master went to a herb-doctor, and got herbs for her, after which she recovered all right.

(All these notes, 228 to 228a, come from Peel).


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