Folk-Lore Notes.


I have seen some of the old men getting very angry if anyone would whistle at sea; they allowed it was bothering the wind, and I don’t like whistling at sea my. self, although I have no belief that it will make more wind to come.

They used to say that a woman with red hair was a very unlucky person to meet at starting on a journey.

Fairies are very light, and I suppose the strong winds have blown them away, as they are not allowed to come into the houses in stormy weather as they used to do, for they get no Shee dy Vea (welcome).

Fairies don’t show themselves to the present generation as they did to the old folks, but it is not to be wondered at, for the people are now so sinful, and impudent, and wicked, that the fairies themselves make no acquaintance with us ; and every generation gets worse, for the faith of many is waxing cold.

I have not heard anything about fairies this long time. There is no one hearing them but the woman in the little shop. She was telling me the other day that she went out one night this winter about twelve o’clock and she heard them among the elder trees, and they were talking away in some language that she could not under-stand, and they came as near to her that she could hear them whisper in her ears, but could not understand what they were saying. So she got very fearful, and got in the house as fast as possible and shut the door after her. I fancy they must be foreign fairies that are visiting the Island, for all the fairy tales I have heard from the old folks was Manx. But it appears the Manx fairies are gone away, or have changed their language like the Manx people, and it is no wonder when the people gave over talking Manx. Perhaps the fairies could not understand English,and changed their language as well for spite, for I have heard that some of them were very spiteful when offended.

The old fishermen when leaving their crofts to prepare their boats for the herring season, I have heard, could tell whether the season would be good or bad by the kind of fairies they saw on their way home in the evening, but the fairy days are over, and I don’t think many people wish them to come back again.

All the old folks that were familiar with the fairies in Cregneish are gone to their rest, and the young ones gave no credit to their stories, and the most of them is lost and I cannot recall them, for I only laughed at their tales though they were telling them in earnest and believed that it was the truth.

The old fairy tales are almost forgotten, and there are few new ones. It appears the fairies in these days are more shy and do not like to be seen, though I am told they are heard often, but I don’t hear of any one that can understand their language. I suppose it will be the language of fairyland, and whether that land is under the earth or above it nobody knows and nobody can tell.

I cannot imagine what was the cause of bugganes, or why they don’t make a noise or shew themselves in our days. I suppose there are not so many murders now-a-days as there used to be, and the murderers are very often paying the penalty with their lives in our days. When in the old days they used to murder there was no justice to be found, and the ghosts of the murdered persons were howling for revenge until the time of their natural life was expired, then they seemed to be at rest—or perhaps the murderer had died and they had their revenge.

It seems that the ghosts are like the fairies, and don’t like to show themselves as they did formerly. The old folks believed that every ghost came back with a peep at the house and its inmates the third night after burial, but if they came now-a-days they shew themselves but very seldom. I have heard of ghosts coming home very often when I was young, and I was afraid to go out at night, but I never came across any of them.

—(The late) E. FARAGHER*

* These notes by the late E. Faragher. of Cregneish, were made in 1900


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