Category Archives: Friendly Faerie

Faeries by the old Elm Tree

I’ve just been reminded of a story from when I was around 10-11.

I used to walk home from my junior school through a wood (it was longer but meant I didn’t have to walk on the road). There was a brook which disappeared into a rudimentary brick-built tunnel mainly torn up by tree roots of an old elm tree.

tree roots stream

So, on good days I would sit there for awhile, dropping things into the brook to watch them disappear into the darkness of this tunnel. It felt like a very special and secret place and although I was a very talkative kid it was my time for silence.

old lady hands

One day, I was playing with a friend from my village and we went to take some topsoil in a wheelbarrow to her Nan who lived near the wood. I’d never met her before (although I had seen her around). My friend introduced me and the Nan replied “Oh you’re the little boy who plays with the faeries up by the elm tree“.

Now at the time I assumed she meant “I was away with the faeries” a local saying that meant in your own world. I was surprised because I always thought I’d been alone and unwatched so the fact my friend’s Nan had clearly seen me was a bit embarrassing.

However, a few years later my friend told us that her Nan kept a journal about her time with the faeries in the wood. I now like to think that my playing by that brook wasn’t alone but was overwatched by others and in turn they talked to my friends Nan about me.

Needless to say, as a teen I always made sure not to get up to anything in that wood that could get back to my friends Nan!

Kit Cox.

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Lights at Trundle Hill Fort

I remember going to the Trundle (Hill Fort) in Sussex one Lammas eve just before sunset only to find it unusually quiet (I had the place to myself).

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Got the odd feeling the whole hill was being somehow set outside of the stream of time for a while, or somehow time was flowing round it (this won’t make much sense to anyone who hasn’t felt something similar themselves).

At the top I happened to look down at the grass and was amazed to see what we call “glow-worms”. The insects with the lit up bodies. They hadn’t been there/glowing before that. Not one or two mind you, but hundreds and hundreds. The whole damn hill was covered in them like stars! It was a really beautiful sight at sunset I can tell you.

Now I grew up on a farm not so very far away from this hill in Surrey, and never saw a “glow-worm” in all my life before that (I was 18-ish), and I have only ever seen one since (I’m 50).

I definitely got the feeling the “fair folk” were putting on a show somehow, manipulating the natural world, though I dare say the less impressionable souls will see nothing to wonder at. But there it is.

Guthfrith Karlsson – England.

Tweed Faerie on Knocknarea

I was walking up Knocknarea (Mountain in County Sligo), where I know the Good Folk ride. Two friends and I climbed up to see Maeve’s Cairn.

It was just before sunset, and we had quite an adventure coming back down a steep slope in the dusk.

knocknarea

Suddenly, about a third of the way down, I looked up and standing right in front of me was a handsome young man in tweeds.

You’ve been up to see Maeve then,” he said with a nod.

We have,” I answered with a smile, my two friends just behind me.

He nodded again. “She’s a grand girl.”

That she is,” I agreed and both of us moved on.

Seconds later I turned to comment about him to my friends, only to find that he was gone.

There were no trees, no bushes, nowhere to hide on that section of the mountain. And yet in the matter of seconds he wasn’t there.

I do have to say that if all Fae look like that, they’re quite the nicest looking beings I’ve met. 🙂

Eileen – United States.

 

Encounter with Scottish Forest Faerie

I was living in my car at this time, my partner lived in his. We both had one dog each with us, but we were freezing cold and struggling to cope with the elements.

We were temporarily homeless and had nowhere else to go. On this particular night we were on the beach at Oban.

oban-town-in-scotland
Oban, Scotland.

The wind was strong and it was below freezing. My partner suggested we go to the forest. It was a place he often camped in, and he had left a small tent in a secret location there, it was his emergency home.

I agreed to spend the night in the tent, because I needed to lay down flat, and my car was too small to sleep in and relax.scot forest logs

The forest itself was on an incline. The ground was very muddy and slippery. We only had the moonlight to help us navigate our way up through the trees. I had to climb over fallen trees and crawl under the low laying ones. I was not in a good mood.

We found the tent and it was in a state of disrepair. The front zip had broken and the inner bedroom compartment zip only went down half way. So this made the tent colder than usual.

I complained constantly about our plight, while the wind whistled round the tent and the cold froze my fingers and toes.

maple puddle

I bought a mat and a sleeping bag to lay on, but as soon as I got in the sleeping bag, that is when the rain started. It poured down and soon the tent floor was soaking, which in turn saturated my sleeping bag. By now, I was a snivelling wreck.

I just sat crying and feeling sorry for myself suddenly, two men started talking to each other at the back of the tent. I could hear them as clear as anything. They sounded like they were having a normal day to day chat but I could not make out any of their words, even though I felt it was familiar, like English.

The chat seem to last some time, possibly about half an hour. During this time I tried to think of any possible reason why, or how, anyone had found this actual spot, that was well hidden from the public, and why they should be stood chatting in a storm.

The chat ended. After a few moments I heard the sound of heavy foot prints walk around the tent, crunching sticks under foot. My heart was pounding in fear, because we were so vulnerable.

Suddenly something hit the tent, it hit it so hard the canvas came inwards towards me. This happened 3 times. It was as if someone was using a heavy stick to strike the tent. My heart was beating so fast, I could barely speak. The dogs started barking and jumping around. Then silence.

I was now so distressed I was on my knees rocking backwards and forwards. I hadn’t slept for nights, and I was exhausted. I closed my eyes and tried to lull myself to sleep.

tent in rain

That is when I heard the music. It was coming from further up the forest. There was no housing up there, or anywhere a band could play. Yet, it sounded like a band was starting. I heard a rich, male voice start to sing out in to the wind. I could not make out the words, but he sounded like a young man.

violin

The violins sounded out, yet they were not violins. The instruments where familiar, yet nothing I had heard of in my day to day life.

The music got louder and louder and it was like a party was starting. I heard lots of voices start to join in. It gave me comfort, but it intrigued me so much, because I wanted to know how and why anyone would want to party in a storm, in the middle of winter, in a cold, muddy forest. It made no sense.

I still had my eyes closed, but now I “saw” all these faces coming towards me, mocking me, teasing me, trying to scare me. Some were hideous and frightening, some human like and handsome. The one I recall the most was the young man. I somehow linked his face to the voice that was singing. He had a mop of dark curly hair and beautiful green eyes, he looked Irish to me, he was the one with the cheeky smile.

I was so infuriated by my plight that I had no time for fear now. So the scary faces that growled at me, I swore at, and told them to back off. Their expressions changed. Some looked bemused, one looked shocked. Then suddenly, it was if they thought “who the hell is this woman?”, and they softened up towards me. I honestly felt like they came to ward me off, and some came to welcome me, but in the end, it was like a general acceptance. I really believed at this point that I was in THEIR forest, and that they had decided I could stay.

I spoke in my mind to the faces and their expressions is where I got their answers. I asked them if I should leave my partner, because I blamed him for out plight, and one laughed, the other looked confused, and the other face rolled its eyes! In other words, “it was none of their business!”

So they disappeared. That is when the wind picked up, and started to whistle through the trees. I could not believe what I was hearing, it was like the trees where singing! It was so beautiful, it hypnotised me. I felt like I should leave the tent and follow the sound, and go and join the fairies, but at this point, my partner told me to stay inside. It was like I was been lulled out of the tent.

I stayed put and then suddenly the wind died down, then the rain stopped.

That is when the ball of light came bouncing in to the tent. It was like a purple, lit up bouncy ball. It came in and knocked things over. There was no explanation for what it was. The dogs went insane and started barking at it at running towards it. I was sat opened mouthed in absolute wonder.

It bounced out of the tent and disappeared.

That is when I fell asleep.

The next morning I asked my partner if he saw or heard anything, to which he replied, “Congratulations Fallbrook, you met the fairies”.

rainbow after storm

We got a job soon after and moved into a park. During the coming winter when the season ended, they came back to see me twice. Both times they struck the caravan three times! I knew it was them. I called out “hello”.

I believe the fairies are like people. You get the good, the bad, and the ugly. I think they saw my distress, and some wanted to help me, while others wanted to scare me out of their forest, but they came around because I am strong spirited. I see them as my friends.

I try to protect the forest, because I believe it is their home. I also think that when I go to other places on the west coast of Scotland, they recognise me.

They are hidden, but real. I love them. I hope to meet them again and talk to them. I just hope that my circumstances are nicer than the last time.

I did meet them again, but that is another story.

I swear my story is true. I really did see them, and hear them. My dogs saw them. They see us, but it is hard for us to see them. I believe that you need the second sight to see them.

Kelly Fallbrook – Scotland.

The Portrush Selkie

Thank you for your interest in my Father’s story. I’ll just explain how I came to have it.

My Father was a traveling man, he was known as The Grey. My Mother was a settled woman. They both tried each other’s way of living but neither could manage it for more than a few months at a time. So, when I was around 6 years old, Mother and I went our own way, settling in Cornwall with her family while Father took to the road. We saw him from time to time, but he rarely came this far south.

A few months ago, a traveling family known to us paid a visit with the sad news my Father had died. They gave us his few belongings and I was surprised to find Father had been writing an account of his life. In mind, I think, to publish. It would have been a colorful read, and there are several tales of him crossing paths with the Little People.

There is one in particular I want to share with you because it seems to be one Faerie rarely mentioned when discussing the Little People.

Well I’ll give you Father’s story exactly as he had it drafted in his notes. Of course, he didn’t write it himself, a friend would have helped him with that, but it sounds like his voice good enough.

Anyway, you are welcome to share his words. Who know, one day I might make a book of his notes.

John – Cornwall

*

The year was 1966. I spent the good part of the summer and autumn working out of a pub there in Portrush (Northern Ireland). It is a fishing town ye know, and me regulars were fishing men. Twas a rough sort of place, not a place for tourists if ye get me meaning. Well i ran the bar and broke up the fights, but there weren’t many of them anyway. The job paid, and left me days to free and that suited me well enough.

I’m not one for going out on the sea meself, I prefer me feet on the ground, but often turned me ear toward the talk of the fishing men, for they were never short of a line or two.

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Well I heard manys the tale over that stained bar, and most I couldnae repeat for fear of of offending some one or another, then there are those I have long forgotten altogether, but a few I remember right well and are worth the repeating.

Ye see, from time to time, the fishing men would turn their talk to the woman of the water who dwelled at Portrush Head out there. The Selkie.

selkie freeimages (3)

One day, I heard this between two fishing men…

“I saw Herself today”

“Ah, ye did”

“She turned me round well enough”

“She turned ye round, aye she did”

“Just clear o’the harbour, She crossed me bow 3 times there”

“Not wanting ye to see open water, so?”

“Aye”

“After I’d gone out was it?”

“Aye ye were in the deep by then”

“Ye turned yerself back then”

“Aye, that I did”

I’d need both me hands to count the times I heard this conversation. The fishing men were familiar with Selkie and held that if She crossed yer path, that is yer bow, 3 times it meant ‘turn yer boat around and get yer feet on dry land’.

Twas a warning of sorts. Not that they feared Herself, not a jot of that, no, they were fond of Herself, but believed She knew if bad luck would befall them in the deep water and so at every corner, did heed her warning and stay dry that day.

They would only speak of Herself among each other mind, only among the fishing men. If a brickie or a farming man walked in the door they’d shut up quick shot. But they didn’t seem to mind me listening in, sure wasn’t I pouring their drinks anyway.

They said other things about Her too, that if ye caught Her playful she would come alongside the boat and squeal in delight as She swam through the wash, but not any boat. She had her favorites.

There were a handful o’boats out of Portrush She had no regard for at all. It was said if She saw a fishing boat take more than their share from the sea, or creatures from the water that were too small for taking, well bad luck would follow them until such time her temper cooled.

There was this one day, the fishing men came in early. They’d been drinking for hours before I got to the pub meself. All the boats had gone out that morning and why wouldn’t they? It was a clear, bright morning as I remember it meself. No sign of a Selkie warning. But not an hour out to sea, Herself appears, singing a loud, wailing song byside each boat before swimming swift onto the next.

Well, some took heed, those fellas telling the story o’course, and turned for safety of the harbor. Others couldnae see the warning for the coin ye see, and ignored Her. Didn’t a mighty storm blow up in the same hour and smash one of the boats to bits. The others who ignored Her made it back to safety of harbor but with boats battered for their trouble.

Three dead so they told me, and wishing it weren’t so with every jar.

“She told em”menacing-clouds-1312090 (2)

“She did that”

“She could do no more”

“She could not”

“They know, the fairy folk…”

“Aye, they know well enough”

Well there was a great sadness for a time and the fishing men didnae mention Selkie for weeks after. I asked em one night, how was Herself and I tell ye, it were like getting teeth pulled, getting them to talk.

“She hasnae come by, since the storm”

“But we’ve heard Her”

“Aye, we’ve heard Her well enough, singing from yonder rocks”

“Broken hearted She sounds”

“None can say they don’t care for us, the fairy folk”

“None who know, can say that”

I cannae say if those fellas told their families about Selkie, and how She took care of the fishing folk, but about a week after that they were back chatting about Her again. She was out with the boats, swimming byside and having a lark.

And their spirits were lifted. They were fond of Her and no doubt.

The Grey.

 

 

 

The Red Fox

This happened 18 months ago. My husband and I woke early to visit my Mother at the retirement home as she was poorly with flu.

While my husband made tea, I pulled the curtains back in our sunroom which opens out to the garden.

Stood there, just a few yards from the glass door was a red fox, staring at me, with a wee branch from a Rowan Tree in its mouth. The branch had no leaves, but an abundance of red berries.

I stood perfectly still as we stared at each other and quietly called to my husband to come and see for himself, for I knew well enough he would never believe me if he hadn’t seen it himself.

When my husband entered the room, the fox stepped forward and gently lay the Rowan branch upon the grass close to the door. All the while it never took its eye from mine.

red-fox-in-the-wild-free images (2)

The telephone rang and the red fox turned and scarpered away.

The caller was from the retirement home to tell us my dear Mother had passed away during the night.

I knew immediately, and without a doubt, that the red fox was delivering a message. The Rowan Tree signifies courage, wisdom and protection, and it was a message from my Mother.

Heather – near Aberdeen.

Our Cousin Quinn

This is a story that has been passed down, and around, my family for donkey’s years. As far as I know, it is the first time it has been written down and shared outside the family and I am curious to know if any of your readers have a similar story in their own family.

The last time I gave our cousin Quinn a thought was as passing mention in a paper for school. The subject was ‘The Good People’ (as we called them at the time) and their influence in County Galway, where my family had lived for many generations.

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My family moved from Ireland to Ottawa, Canada, 20 odd years ago but I was reminded of the story this past fall by my sister, who just returned from a visit to Ireland herself.

The story was always told by my Father, and not often, perhaps once a year at Christmas or Halloween. Now, my father was a pragmatic man, an Engineer in fact, not prone to sentimentality or melancholy, but when he told this story a change came over him. He spoke with a great reverence, as though every word were of enormous importance. (I also had a sense, even as a child, that he knew more than he told us and I wish now that I had pressed him to tell me more.)

Father always began by telling us that it was told him by his own Grandfather (on his Mother’s side) and that his Grandfather swore on the honour of his own Mother that every word of it was true.

Well here it is anyway, make of it what you will.

The story goes that in the year 1845, when the potato blight, or the Famine as it is commonly known, first struck, the Kelly’s (my Great Grandfather’s maternal ancestors), lived very near their cousins the Quinn’s. Both families were tenant farmers to the same landlord and by all accounts, they enjoyed a friendly association.

One thing of which Father was always adamant: the Kelly’s had no cause to speak ill, or muddy the name, of the Quinn’s. Then or now.

The two families, and their other neighbours, weathered the failed harvest of 1845 but disaster struck in 1846 when they were evicted from their cottages and forced to live on the road. The Kelly’s and the Quinn’s bid goodbye and travelled separately, scavenging for food as they went.

Months later, the Kelly’s and the Quinn’s crossed paths at a temporary ‘soup-kitchen’ provided by a wealthy landlord. (His generosity it is said, was dependent on the people promising to leave his lands once they had been fed.)

The Kelly’s were grieved to learn that Quinn’s wife, who was pregnant at the time of their eviction, had succumbed to hunger and died, leaving her husband to care for their 5 children. Worse still, was the state of Quinn himself. The story goes that he was half-mad with delirium.

famine-4-free
Statue of Man in Dublin Famine Memorial.

We all know it is not uncommon for law-abiding, God-fearing people to make ‘uncharacteristic’ decisions at desperate times but as 1847 approached, and with the country on verge of catastrophe, Quinn came to Kelly with a crazy, and ungodly, offer.

(At this point in the story, and I remember this well, Father would pause, gaze down at the floor and say “we must not judge him harshly. Desperate times call for desperate measures. If it were not for Quinn, we would none of us be here today”.)

Quinn, he told Kelly, had been visited by the Wee Folk. The Good People. The Faerie.

fairy-tale-1376064 (2)He said the Faerie had come to him that very morning as he kneeled beside the river, his children asleep on nearby grass. There were 2 of them and Quinn described them to Kelly as naked, with red skin and very long legs. The Faerie spoke to him in Irish and with great pity in their eyes asked after his suffering.

As Quinn explained his troubles, the Faerie edged closer and closer until they were crouching close beside him. Quinn told Kelly he felt no fear and did not shy when they each placed a red hand upon the skin and bone of his back. Indeed, he said he felt a great warmth pulse through his body and closed his eyes as he listened to the Faerie hum in harmony with each other.

On opening his eyes, Quinn saw the Faerie were now sat in front of him and his children, who were wide awake and curious. “You may come with us” they said to Quinn, “You will work and eat and dance and be safe from pain and suffering”.

Quinn and Kelly knew of the Good People and their ways and their dangers. Every descendant of Kelly to have told the story has said that under normal circumstances Quinn would never have risked his children’s lives to the Faerie but we must remember, those were far from normal circumstances.

Quinn excitedly told Kelly that the Faerie extended their invitation to his ‘kind and worthy’ kin and invited Kelly and his family to join him. But no amount of impassioned pleading could convince Kelly to leave off his chances on the road, and in the hands of his God, to join the land of the Faeries and so it was, Quinn and Kelly parted ways. This time forever.

But, that was not the end of the story. Before he walked his starving children back to the river, Quinn whispered something into Kelly’s ear.

That whisper not only saved the lives of the Kelly family, but secured the prosperity of their descendants.

It is said, and long believed, that Quinn told Kelly if he would not go with the Faerie, they would offer him a gift to save his family from starvation. Kelly was told to go, under cover of darkness, to the old Oak tree standing at the curve of the river and there, dig to a shallow hole where there was buried a small wooden box filled to brim with coins.

Kelly did this, and following Quinn’s advice, took his family across the waters to England. There Kelly bid his time until the year 1855 when they returned to County Galway and bought a cottage and parcel of land.

The Kelly’s, and their descendants, farmed this land until the 1970’s but it has since been sold off and the Kelly’s scattered across Ireland, Canada, America and Australia too. But, I’m happy to say there are still some of the old family there, in Galway. They welcomed my sister recently and reminded her of the tale of ‘mad’ Quinn who they still say is ‘off with the Faeries’.

Mad or not, isn’t Quinn still remembered some 170 years later? As for descendants of the Kelly’s, we are going strong and I think all of us (privately or openly) are grateful to Quinn, and the Faerie of Ireland.

From John – Ottawa, Canada.