[From A Second Manx Scrapbook]

CHAPTER VI

THE FAIRIES THEMSELVES AND KINDRED SPIRITS

3. Other Spirits and Apparitions.

The uncanny personages hitherto described may be regarded as types of those seen by many people in many parts of the Island. The hero of the following story is a rarer bird, but if he is a stranger to Fairyland I do not know where else to place him. My narrator (whom I have known for thirty years) was walking home from Ramsey towards Milntown late one evening in the winter of 1912. It was a dark night and she carried a lantern, but it went out after she had left the town. As she was nearing Milntown corner, but short of the darkest part of the road, there suddenly appeared just in front of her, and facing her, a little man about two feet high, wearing a red cap and a long blue coat with a lot of shining buttons down the front of it. He had white hair and bushy greyish or whitish whiskers all over the lower part of his face, and the upper part was covered with hundreds of wrinkles. His bright blue eyes, the kindest eyes she ever saw, were smiling up at her. All this was visible by the light of a sort of little lantern he carried in his hand, with a tiny but very brilliant spark of light in it. They stood looking at each other for a few moments until he vanished. She felt immensely amused at seeing him. [fpc she must also have had extraordinary colour vision to distinguish colours on a dark night]

It is known in the family that her mother's sister, who died a generation ago, more than once saw exactly the same apparition. She herself had heard of this long before, in her childhood, but had not thought of it for years. What she saw might possibly be explained as a visual projection of this forgotten memory ; but before this explanation is adopted it should be mentioned that it was to her that the helpful light used to appear on dark nights, as described on page 90. This began about twelve years later. Believers in guardian spirits will know how to account for the whole matter. Those who favour a fairy explanation will point to the story about a little old man with an extraordinarily wrinkled face who, one fine summer day, sat himself on the chest of a man venturing to take a nap near the Glen Aldyn quarries.1

Here may be included two other manifestations which have less of the fairy flavour than the vision of the gnome-like little man. The first reached me from a friend of the man concerned. This man was quite recently driving a car late at night along the road between the Corrany and Lewaigue. When he came to a certain spot he was confronted with a great black mass barring the way. He felt as though his hair were standing up, but resolved to drive through the obstacle. As he accelerated, the cloud of darkness rose up before him and let him pass under it.

An Englishwoman, by profession a nurse, was spending a holiday with a friend of hers a few years ago in a certain roadside cottage between Lezayre Churchtown and Sulby village. One evening when dusk was setting in she went out with the intention of climbing to the top of the hill opposite. When she was about half-way up she heard a voice, clear but not loud, say " Good night ! " almost in her ear. She turned round sharply, but no one was in sight. She went on. The same thing happened a second time, and a third. She grew nervous ; a chilly feeling came over her, and she retraced her steps down the hill. Next morning she asked her hostess whether the hill was supposed to be haunted, and on being told that it was, she felt she might relate what had happened to her without incurring suspicion of her sanity. This was told to me by a friend of her hostess.

A Manxwoman of education was cycling from Peel to Dalby one evening before dark in the year 1922. On coming to the hill at Gordon cottages something made her look behind her. She saw in the distance what looked like a horse with a man's head and face, the whole apparition being of a pale grey or whitish hue. It was following her and gaining on her. She pedalled hard up the hill in a panic, expecting the sound of galloping hoofs, but hearing nothing. The creature did not catch up to her, and after she had gained the top of the hill and the skirt of Glen May village she saw no more of it, and felt it had gone.

This experience, which was related to me less than half an hour after it had occurred and while its effects were still noticeable, pairs with a traditional story concerning the same piece of road. A horse standing there was mounted by a man who shortly afterwards found it had human ears, and was nearly carried to destruction.2 To the lower part of Glen Rushen half a mile away is assigned a legend in which the ratio of human to equine in the creature is transposed ; a Water-horse, temporarily human in shape except for a tell-tale detail, carries off a girl. Just so is the Centaur seen carrying off a woman on certain ancient Macedonian coins, while on others the abductor is a man with hooves, ears and tail of a horse. " Satyr and Centaur, slightly diverse types of the horse-man, are in essence one and the same."3 And a famous picture by Zeuxis portrayed a female Centaur with semi-human ears-the ears of a Satyr.4

Of the Keymagh, the spook which haunted the stiles and gateways of the churchyards, nothing is remembered now beyond that characteristic, which is implied in his name. He, or she, probably embodied (if the term may be used in this connexion) some article of superstition similar to the Scottish belief that it is the duty of the last person buried in a churchyard to wait there and prevent the burial of a suicide or an unchristened child. He is relieved of his office by the next comer. That Keymaghs have always been confined to the stiles of churches may be doubted, partly on account of their name, which means merely " the Stile One," and partly because Manx people used to say a prayer or good word before crossing any stile or cloghan. A spirit of some kind once took the shape of a grey horse which confronted a man who was about to cross a stile to visit his dying sister. Every time he tried to get over the horse threw up its heels at him. He said a prayer and the horse vanished. He found the woman just expiring. The horse was thought to be an evil spirit which wanted to keep him away till she was dead. Roeder has a Rushen story very similar to this one which I heard on the West side of the Island. In neither case was the apparition called a Keymagh, but the situation it took up points to its having a right to the name.

The Cughtagh is not now spoken of by that title, but it seems likely that some of the numerous and stillremembered bugganes of the coastal caves were once called Cughtaghs ; for this personage was a dweller in the caverns under the cliffs. The Cughtagh and the Keymagh are coupled (both in the plural) in a bloodstopping charm in Manx 5 -a rare honour, for Manx charms are otherwise consistently Christian in their invocations. The Cughtagh is easily identifiable with a denizen of the Scottish Isles called Ciuthach (with many variants), who in current lore is a nasty personage inhabiting sea-caves, but in the older stories was a giant of a gentlemanly character with whom the Fianna enjoyed single combat. He also figures in the Irish romance of Dermat and Grania, whom he visits after they have taken possession of his cave during his absence at sea in his canoe. Professor W. J. Watson 6 comments upon him in the following terms:

" In view of the fact that traces of Ciuthach are found, one may say, from Clyde to the Butt of Lewis, it is clear that at one time he played a great rõle in the traditions of the West. Among all the confusion of the traditions as they have come down to us, there may be, and probably is, an ultimate historical basis. It may not be unreasonable to surmise that the Ciuthach was a broch-dweller, who degenerated in the tales, and perhaps in fact, into a cave-dweller. . . . Throughout the references to him there runs the feeling that Ciuthach was a hero, or the hero, of a race different from the Gael . . . The conclusion suggested is that Ciuthach was a hero of the Picts." Professor Watson suspects the name to mean a cave-man. The Manx form of the word, as we now have it, appears rather to allude to its owner's uncleanliness, and the name has probably suffered in the Island a degeneration corresponding to that of the tradition. In justice to the Cughtagh, he might be defined as a Fenoderee who has taken to the sea.

In the next number of the Celtic Review David MacRitchie, on the strength of a description of the Ciuthach in a version of " Diarmaid and Grainne " (Dermat and Grania), claims him as a representative of the " Finn-men " who frequented the coasts of Scotland in their little skin-canoes. In that event the Manx Cughtagh, in his earlier and more romantic days, might be recognized in the strange visitor who haunted the Dalby coast and entertained the people with his singing, and from whose repertoire has survived the " Arrane Ghelby," the Dalby Song.

Of the Glashan I have heard no news these many years, but earlier writers call him a brownie and give him the helpful characteristics of the Fenoderee. It may be that the Glashan has been lost in the Glashtyn through the similarity of their names ; the Glashtyn is now sometimes confused with the Fenoderee.

Of the Croghan there is still less to tell, only that she was seen at wells and springs. Ulster possesses a fairy with a similar name.

In the first Scrapbook I have described some of the forms taken in local stories by the notorious buggane of Gob ny Scuit on North Barrule. Still another of its disguises, I find, was that of the spectre of a gigantic man smeared and dripping with blood; though human in shape he had horns like a bullock and flaming eyes. Albeit his appearance was against him, he never did an actual hurt to anyone. He walked by day as well as by night, but in the daytime he was invisible.7

" He has seen the Spectre Hound that haunts the Isle of Man ; has heard him bark, and at every bark has seen a ship sink." So says a character in the story of " The Haunted Ships," in Allan Cunningham's Traditional Tales. Was any such power ever attributed to the Moddey Dhoo of Peel Castle or of any other place in the Island ? It would be refreshing to hear something new about the first-named animal-if animal he really was, for a man told me last year that it was not a dog at all, but the spirit of a man imprisoned in the Castle " for his sins." Dorothy Wordsworth heard that it was the spirit of the Duchess of Gloucester. 8 Can there have been any connexion between the Moddey Dhoo legend made famous by Scott and the buried hound whose bones were discovered some years ago in an imposing but unidentified tomb within the Castle precincts ?

The Moddey Dhoo species is not yet entirely extinct. One which has long haunted a locality near Ramsey is more deserving of fame than the Black Dog of Peel Castle, if only because he has been seen oftener and more recently. In 1927 a friend of mine met him one night at Milntown corner as she turned into Glen Aldyn. " He was black, with long shaggy hair, with eyes like coals of fire. I was frightened and would not pass, so we looked at each other, and the dog gave me a chance to pass him. It happened just before my father died." From a widely-respected family doctor I had in 1931 his description of the same beast. As he was driving to a confinement at 2 a.m. he saw it sitting at the side of the road just beyond Milntown corner. It appeared to be a big black dog-like creature nearly the size of a calf, with bright staring eyes. When he came back a couple of hours later it was still there. He had had no previous experiences of the kind, but members of his family are " psychic."

In the second instance the eyes of an ordinary dog would have been illuminated by the lamps of the motor-car, but in the first case the only light at this tree-shadowed corner was that which shone from the " dog's " eyes. This spectral creature is believed to be a portent of evil, and to be connected with the similar Moddee Dooey which roam the Sulby hills. I have confined myself to first-hand descriptions of him.

THE CARRASDHOO MEN.

The Northside legend of the Carrasdhoo Men has, as a whole, every appearance of being an exaggerated version of actual facts, and to that view of it I intentionally confined my previous remarks.9 There are, nevertheless, in Esther Nelson's rendering of it into ballad form a couple of passages which might be suspected of importing the magical element into a folk-tale not otherwise coloured by superstition. The first passage can only be understood to mean that the outlaws could hear at an indefinite distance the lightest of whispers :

"the slightest word
Sighed unto silence, or scarcely spoken,
Had gathered around him the bandit horde;
For there was no trace, there was no token."

The Manx, Irish and Scottish people's reluctance to speak harshly of the fairies, or even to mention their specific name aloud, must have been due to a belief of this nature. (Is the fairies' detestation of loud noises due to this sensitive hearing ?) The particular instances of the belief I happen to have met with occur only in the lore of the largest island of the three, but it probably exists in Ireland also. In the Mabinogi of " Lludd and Llevelys " the faculty of far-hearing is credited to the inimical invaders called Corannieit or Coranied, who are generally admitted to have been of the fairy race.10" Such was their knowingness that no conversation could be held anywhere on the Island [of Britain], however low its tones, without their being aware, if the wind took hold of it."11 The same keenness of hearing is attributed to Math son of Mathonwy in the Mabinogi of that title, who was certainly a magician : " the slightest conversation between two persons, howsoever softly it may be whispered, if the wind catches it, it comes to his knowledge," which is obviously a mere variation of one and the same folk-tale formula. The Coranied were eventually dispersed into Scotland and Ireland, according to the Iolo MSS.

I do not wish to lay too much stress on this point, but merely to mention it in connexion with what does look like an allusion to the fairy practice (imitated in Scotland by the witches) of shooting, unseen by men, the flint arrowheads at them-or more exactly, of flicking them off the left forefinger with the thumbwith intent to kill. Though these arrowheads seem to be little valued now in the Isle of Man, except by peaceful-minded antiquaries, the expression guinn-shoe, "fairy dart," shows that a better-informed idea of their purpose once existed. There are, moreover, a couple of charms against them on record. The lines in question of the Carrasdhoo ballad are these :

" It was not a weapon, it was not a dart,
Nor a gunshot wound, nor a flying ball;
But death smote the bravest ; his manly heart
Beat once; 'twas over-they saw him fall;
He died without murmur or dying moan,
There was buried deep in his brow a stone.
" Sooth, it was fearful and strange to tell,
So truly, fearfully, worked the spell ;
How the pebble was winged with such fatal power
None knew, or may know to their dying hour;
None saw it hurled, none saw it strike."

It may be that Miss Nelson introduced effects of her own to heighten the colour. Even if this is not one of them, but belongs to a version current in her time, it is too incidental to be evidence that the obscure legend of the Carrasdhoo Men originated in a piece of Manx fairy-lore or witch-lore ; but these may have left their mark on it.

Another version of the legend (alluded to briefly in A Manx Scrapbook) was related to me about three years ago by a Northside lady who had it from her grandfather. He died about the year 1899 at the age of 86, and had heard the Carrasdhoo tales in his boyhood. The Carrasdhoo men had a sort of a storehouse on the right side of Ballure Glen 13as you go up, not far from the shore. It was there they used to take the stuff from smuggling and wrecking; they carried it up on ponies. There was plenty to eat and drink going after they had had a bit of luck. A Robert Christian of Ballure and the miser Mylecharaine of the song were involved in the business and shared in the booty. This account, it will be seen, goes back well over a hundred years.

T. E. Brown's notice of the gang may have been due to his acquaintance with Esther Nelson's ballad, but his spelling of the name suggests otherwise. " I think you know our bogs are inhabited by a dark people, the Carysdoo, and that they bewilder and entice poor travellers as the mermaids overpower the fishermen."14 Here again a suspicion is conveyed, by the comparison with mermaids, that there was something other than human about the Carrasdhoo Men.

Footnotes

1 The quarries are not more than a mile from Milntown.

2 Moore, Manx Folk-lore, page 2.

3 See A Manx Scrapbook, page 484. This is the Cabbyl-ushtey or Water-horse.

4 Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, page 380.

5 Lawson, Modern Greek Folk-lore, page 236: chapter on the survival of pagan deities.

6 Mona Miscellany, page 178. " The Three Mothers," well-known in the rapports of fairydom with mythology, appear in this and other Manx charms.

7 See Celtic Review, ix., 193-209-

8 The Antiquary, xiv., 259 ff.

9 See her Journal in the Isle of Man, 1828. Her description, by the way, of her home while in the North of the Island points to its having been Ballure Cottage, near Ramsey.

10 In A Manx Scrapbook, pages 385-6.

11 According to Rhys, Celtic Folk-lore, page 675, they were (like the Nelsonian malefactors) fen-dwellers. On page 195 he quotes a Welsh folk-lorist's statement that "the fairies knew whatever was spoken in the air without the houses."

12 Loth's Mabinogion, i., 235.

13 There is some uncertainty whether it was Ballure or Ballaugh Glen.

14 Letters, ii., 17.

 

4. A Fairy Stronghold.

The fairies and their camp - followers formerly possessed the entire Island, and they had it all to themselves. Their co-occupation of parts of it appears to have lasted till quite recent times. Let us consider one of these regions which humanity has, on more or less equal terms, shared with fairydom. Picture a small triangular area, two of whose sides measure not more than three miles each, and the third side two miles. Its apex is formed by the convergence of a river-valley with high ling-clad hills in which the river rises ; its base is a high-road running parallel with the adjacent coast. It is penetrated by no thoroughfare deserving the name of road according to modern ideas ; such of its farms as are still tenanted are connected with each other (and, deviously, with the high-road) by rough green tracks more or less water-logged for half the year, and by field-paths. From bearing grain and roots the land has lapsed into pasture of the coarsest quality, upon which the gorse and ling are a continually rising tide. Some of the farm-houses marked in the Ordnance Survey of 1868-70 lie in ruins, others are barely recognizable sites. More than a few are merely a name and a memory. Where now is one human being, fifty years ago were perhaps ten. The population has ebbed into the lower lands, to Douglas, to England, and to the Colonies.

Nevertheless the human element, even in its most flourishing days, must have been heavily outnumbered by the fairies, the ghosts, the demons, and the formless and nameless shadows born partly of darkness and partly of the fear of darkness. By daylight all these shared a peaceable possession with mankind. After nightfall the earth, the air and the waters were undisputedly theirs, to have and to hold till daybreak, cum furta et fossa.

The final clause may be interpreted literally. As regards the furca, it is related that after a man had cut down the elder-trees which nearly surrounded a small house beside the river, he was found hanging from one of the beams of the " loft " or upper chamber ; he had been driven to this act by the fairies whose beloved bushes he had destroyed. The fossa was a little isolated pool half-way down the slope of the valley, in which the fairies used to duck persons who displeased them.

In its seclusion and decay this district is by no means singular, nor yet in its hauntedness. I choose it as an example because I have been fortunate enough to meet with a number of people who remember stories of its non-human inhabitants, and because I know nearly all the trivial features of the landscape which occur therein. If I am not personally acquainted with the incorporeal actors, I do at least feel sure that all of them have been believed in and many of them have been seen or heard. Even when deductions have been made, there cannot be a farm precinct, a field, a lane or a footpath which has not, once or much oftener, been the scene of a supernatural manifestation, so intensely active was the spirit-life of the district.

In the first place, it was over-run with the Little People. The fairy clan's headquarters was the aforesaid small pool, to-day smaller than ever. From the nearest house, some three lnindred yards away, they were often seen congregated about this dub, even in daylight. John-the-Lord was on very familiar terms with them. He would sit at the edge of their pool and hold arguments with them on political and other matters. If he ventured to express an opinion too flatly contrary to theirs they were liable to heave him into the dub. John was not above taking a drop of other kinds of drink occasionally ; but Billy Creetch was a strictly sober man, yet when he was going to his work at the mines below at half-past six in the morning (an hour, I suppose, which has not yet seen a drunken man) he got took at the fairies here, worse than ever John did. His mate from the mine came up to know why he had not turned in for his shift, but he was not to be found, and nothing was seen of him till the afternoon of the following day, when he arrived home wet and bedraggled with his enforced journey across hedges and ditches to a distant point of the coast. Around this same pool unaccountable lights were seen after nightfall, and in a hole in its bank a cuckoo left an egg year after year, which was unfailingly hatched.*

It is not definitely stated that this cuckoo was in any sense a fairy bird. Her fondness for the spot, however, brings her under suspicion. Mr. J. G. Mackay in Scottish Gaelic Sludies for September, 1929, says that a Highland name for the cuckoo was Eusz-sidhe, Fairy-bird. In Main the cuckoo is reckoned to be one of the '' Seven Sleepers " and to hibernate underground.

From their dub the fairies had a regular path, beat, or " parade " as far as the nearest gate, which stands on the boundary-line between two farms ; there was trouble for the man who got in their way when they were on the move. Against the left-hand pillar-stone of this gate a visitor from another world was sometimes seen standing-the figure of a man in a long brown coat with bright buttons, but a figure of more than human height. Horses disliked passing between the two pillars late at night, and cattle kept away from them. Each of the two cairns in the field further on had its guardian buggane. From the ditch alongside a track not far from the gateway the semblance of a woman used to rise with startling suddenness and follow the passer-by through the gap in the hedge into the adjoining field. She gave forth a loud noise of jingling, clattering and rattling, as though she were covered with chains and cans and bits of metal, ridiculous to tell of but most terrifying to hear. The third time this happened to a man he stood still and said : " In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, let this creature be taken away from me ! " At that she turned and went back along the field-path to where she had come from, and was never seen again. At a hedge (dry stone wall) on his own farm about a quarter of a mile away a Scotchman frequently spoke with the red-hatted Manx fairies, and one day his shepherd found him lying there, dead.

Some of the local wells, besides being curative, were haunted. At one was a Moddey Dhoo, which is described as being of " a kind of shining blackness, and getting bigger and bigger while you were watching it." It took no notice of human beings, and nobody attempted to meddle with it. Another well was haunted by mysterious lights. Reddish lights also rose up out of the ground to a great height, highe_ than a man, and travelled in front of people for a long way, finally vanishing. A headless woman was seen from time to time walking round one of the farmhouses. A procession of shadowy forms was often seen to pass along the side of a certain field from one corner to the other, and disappear into a bushy spot which was otherwise of bad repute and seems never to have been cleared for cultivation. Fenoderee roamed the whole district impartially, lending a hand with the work where he was most needed.

Two girls, sisters, English bred but of local extraction on one side, were spending a holiday in this neighbourhood. Many years afterwards one of them told me this story, the details of which were stamped on her memory. There were on the farm two horses very similar in size and colour, each one with a white streak down his face, and each one having a name. One day the girls, in passing along the lane above the Horse-field, happened to see them standing side by side gazing upwards over the hedge, and stopped to discuss the question of which was which. In the middle of their argument, instead of seeing the two horses a few feet away from them they found they were looking straight down at a man who was standing in their place ; and he was looking equally straight at the girls. He wore a long brown coat and had a black moustache, and they had never seen him before. No horses were visible. One girl whispered to the other to wait and see which way he went, and they would take the opposite way. After a few moments he walked off in the direction of the farmhouse, and was quickly lost to their sight without there being a building or sufficient growth to conceal him. They described him afterwards to the people at the house, but he was not known.*

Much was heard hereabouts without being seen, and was no less dreadful for its invisibility. At a certain uncultivated spot the crying of a child was heard to come over the hedge by people passing along the track. No one ever tried to find out the cause. Past a farmhouse a heavy, plodding footstep used to be heard sometimes, and is heard still, between five and six o'clock in the evening, passing up the lane towards the Foawr Stones (a bilingual attempt at rendering Claghyn y Foawy, the Stones of the Giant), of which a trace can yet be seen in the middle of the way and in the adjoining hedge. It maybe the remains of a small stone-circle. This was another place the horses would not pass after dark without much urging, and they were equally shy of many other spots which were known to be haunted. " Between twelve and two " is said to have been the time of night they objected to especially, but it is difficult to imagine a Manx horse being asked to work at such hours since the smuggling era. A similar footstep was heard periodically passing a cottage in the early part of the evening ; in this case a shadow was seen as well, when the door was standing open, as the sound went by. In an instance related to me by one who had been paying a call there, the chickens outside the door ran to cover as though frightened by a hawk, and the cats came in with their fur standing up.

* Dr. Douglas Hyde in his introduction to the Irish section of Evans-Wentz' Fairy Faith relates a similar experience which befell him when a boy. while he was looking at a horse which was careering round a field it suddenly changed into a woman who continued racing round and round in the same manner, and then vanished. In more than one Highland story deer are seen to turn into men and a man into a horse.

 

The strange matters mentioned hitherto pertain to a small area within the larger one. The hills which form the general background are now tenanted apparently by nothing mere dangerous than sheep and curlews. In the days when their lower slopes were more busily cultivated, these high barren lands secreted a Giant and a Magician, a Grey Man and an Old Woman, a large white beast with one horn, an enormous beast with branching horns, a howling cat-headed demon, a whirling wheel of fire, and who knows what other portents and perils ? For one now remembered there must have been a dozen a couple of centuries ago ; they have dwindled with the population they over-awed. From the river to which these hills decline the fairies let their favourites among mortals overhear sweet melodies which may not all have been lost to posterity; for did not one hearer note them down on the rocks with a sharp pebble ? Other singing, as of human voices in distant unison, exhaled mysteriously on still evenings out of a certain steep piece of ground on the opposite bank, called the Granane, where long mossy stones lie half hidden under bushes and briars, and lights tremble along the rugged surface after nightfall. The villagers and farmpeople used to come to their own bank of the river to listen to this singing. On the other side, where the music came from, tradition says that religious rites were practised in some far-off age ; here, too, treasure was buried under the soil, and in the search for it a tumulus has been rifled of its urn. Nearly facing this place, on the hither side of the stream, a natural lawn surrounds a pointed stone erect in the centre of it, from which the gorse and the long grass stand back in a respectful circle.

Out of the same river issued a Tarroo-ushtey of especially ferocious character, who terrorized the dwellers on the further bank. His personal name was yn Dhow Vargayd Margaret's Bull, and the Moaney was his chief haunt. The bullocks of that farm were on several occasions found cruelly mutilated. After keeping watch for many nights the inmates of the house saw, through a window, the water-bull coming up out of the deep part of the gill and attacking the bullocks. After the farmer had tried every means he could think of to get rid of him, he sent off the Island for a black Spanish bull and planted him on the farm. One very dark night terrible noises were heard, from which it was gathered that the new bull and the water-bull were fighting furiously. By and by their own animal seemed to be getting the worst of it ; he came towards the house and took to running round and round on the farm street, bellowing. Expecting the Tarroo to follow him, the inmates fortified the doors back and front with their heaviest furniture and waited for daylight. Then they discovered the Spanish bull lying gored to death, but no trace of the other. This my informant reckons to have happened sixty or seventy years ago, and the farm has never been tenanted since.*

About the Fairy Tailor now. He was working at a house in Agneash one time, and he found he was running short of thread. He was wanting it in a hurry, for some wedding clothes, wasn't it, I think that was it, so what did he do but off he went for it himself. They saw him go out of the house and heard his footsteps dying away. Well, in about forty minutes or half an hour they heard him coming back again, and he had the thread with him in a paper bag with the name of the Ramsey shop on it where he had bought it, and that showed plain enough where he had been to. Ramsey'll be about five or six miles from Agneash, going through the air, and it was through the air he went, right enough. There was no other way he could have done it in the time. Themselves was carrying him along. He was very thick with them always, that's the way he was getting the name of " the Fairy Tailor." They were always known to be taking round Agneash, more than any place on the Island. Lots were seeing them. Some say he flew to Douglas from his own house down by the river, on the other side of it, but that's not right at all. It was from Agneash they were carrying him, to the shop in Parliament Street. I just forget the name. Yes, Kneale the draper.

" Well, all them things is what they used to be telling. I'm sure I don't know ! "

 

On the Hebridean islet of Heiskeir (Monach 1. on the maps), off North Uist, it was a particularly fierce house-bred black bull which was put to fight with a water-horse. The water-horse used to come out of a small lake and terrorize the islanders. Finding the bull a match for him on land the horse lured him into the lake and finished him. off under water. Otherwise the story, told at length in " Some Legends of Heiskeir " (Celtic Review, iii., 177-9), reads like an expansion of the Lonan affair.

 

 


 

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