[Yn Lioar Manninagh Vol 2 pp194/197]



In handing in the Annual Report of the Folk Lore and Place-Name Section I should like to say just a word to the members of this Society, with the hope of inducing them to try and interest themselves a little more in this, and our other Sections—there is such a large field for Folklore in this Isle within the reach of many of our members who go about so much among Country people, and who can hardly fail, therefore, to hear, from time to time, so many odd stories and traditions—I wish they would just note down what they hear (as far as possible in the narrator's own words), and kin send their notes to me. It would be doing a most valuable work, a work which, unless done now, and in the present, can never be accomplished all ; for these Folk Lore and Fairy Tales, foolish and incredible as they often appear, are. of incalculable interest, showing, as they do, the beliefs and customs of our forefathers here in this Island. Year by year the old people who alone are the store houses of these tales and traditions, are dying out. I am convinced that there is still very much left for us to learn from the and gather together aluch must be done now or not at all I would, therefore, urge upon our members the importance of exerting themselves a little more, and at once, for the Manxman's motto, "Traa dy liooar" (time enough), will not do in this case. We have already collected a not small amount of very fresh and original matter, some of which has from time to time appeared in "Yn Lioar Manninagh," and we trust before long to be able to publish it altogether in a small volume.

In former days it was commonly believed by the natives of the Island that they saw fairies and other supernatural sights, which had to them a real existence. It is said that these visions were largely due to the fact that in the home-made bread which they eat, the rye, oat, and barley cake, was mixed up a great quantity of the seed of the darnel, which grew amongst the corn, and, in the rough way in which flour was then prepared, was ground up with it. This darnel seed had the most intoxicating effect on those who eat it, and worked upon the imagination to such an extent that they were firmly, convinced they saw sights and heard sounds of an extraordinary character, which impressed themselves deeply upon their minds, and amongst which they really believed that they lived.


A small farmer, who lived near Orry’s Dale, was returning home late one night, across the fields near Bishop’s Court, when, so he said, the Devil came up to him, and, to rid himself of this most undesirable company, he repeated aloud the verse of a well-known hymn. The Devil immediately took to his heels, and, with a hiss, went off with his bag in the direction of Orry’s Dale where, as the neighbours remarked, he would not get much, as John Christian Crellin, formerly of the 6th Dragoons, was living there at the time.


Old Bill Pherick was coming home late one night across the mountains from Druidale, and heard the fairies singing, just as he was going over the river by the thorn tree that grows there—the tune they had was "Bollan Ven," and, as he wanted to learn it from them, he went back three times before he could pick it~ up and remember it, but the third time he was successful; just then the sun got up, and the fairies immediately dispersed, for they always go at sun-rise. He came home whistling the tune, and since then it has always been very popular, and very much played on the fiddle ; the words of the song "Yn Bollan Bane" are sung to it. Many people think that Bill Pherick invented the tune ; but he didn’t, he got it straight from the fairies.


"It’s a sign of death, mm ; yes, it is, for there was three swarms came them three yeers, one after another, into the chimley of the house, an’ I lost three, one after the other ; a big lump of a boy, and two gells, it was a terrible loss. Do you remember the year Parson died ? Well, Tom was goin’ to work one morning, and he toul (told) me as he was goin’ along he saw a swarm of bees go down the Parson’s chimley. I said to him, there’ll be a. death there soon. Sure enough, the Parson died that year.


Always put eggs to hatch under a hen at high tide—"Full tide brings full eggs," i.e., chickens.

The following notes have been collected by Mr P. M. C. Kermode : —


N. (Arbory) could often hear the fairies beetling and bleaching their clothes down at the stream.


The Witch of Cranstal having dipped her stick in some filthy mixture, drew it across a field, and put a cow to graze in the other part of the field.

Although there was no fence, other than the charmed line, neither was cow tethered. yet the hay grew and was cut in the half where the cow was not put by her.


E.C. (Bride) remembers a girl baking at his house, and forgetting to br the "Thollag rheiny" ("Sallag rhenny," dividing cake). When she got into bed she received a blow in the eye which knocked sparks out. This she knew to be from the fairies, and she went down and baked another cake and broke it for them.

K. (Andreas), when a lad, went with another boy after birds’ nests. At —— there was a very large briar, uncut for years. The other lad was passing through, with his face almost touching the briar, when his face, which was "as straight as yours," suddenly slipped all to one side, and was never right again. The people said it was the fairies.


C (Maughold) describes its cry as being something between the bellowing of a bull and a man being choked !


He saw two (about 25 years ago) with "tails three yards on the ground". He ran and got to the house, which received a blow that shook it !


C. (Arbory), returning home one night (February, 1892), passed through great thickness of Fairy Dogs—the road being covered with small black things. He cried, "O ! Lord ! whatever is this !" and they disappeared.


Mrs C. (Arbory), about December, 1891, going to the stream for water, passed through a terrible stink—"between a burnt rag and a stink." Again, at the stream the stink was so "thick" she could scarcely breathe. She said nothing till she got home, then she told them she had "smelled the fairies." She knew a case (30 or 40 years ago) of a girl who, when walking with her sister, said "O, Lord! what a stink!" The sister smelled it, but said nothing.

Since then this other has lost her sense of smell—never smelt anything since. And she is alive yet! ‘


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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
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