Now I believe in the Good People and my family know ways of dealing with them and it’s a lucky thing too.
It was May last, 2018, my boyfriend and I were cycling the track through a place called the Black Valley in County Kerry. It sounds gloomy but really it’s a lovely place. It was a bright morning and we set out early, hoping to beat the weather coming in later that day.
So anyway, we’d been riding only about 30 minutes when I saw a lovely painted horse there, stood beneath a fairy tree looking at us, and I mean staring at us. Hard like.
If you don’t know what a fairy tree is I’ll tell you, it’s a lone hawthorn tree sitting in the middle of a field all by itself. And so it was this fairy tree with the horse stood under.
I don’t know what it was about this horse, but I felt like it was calling me or something, so I told my boyfriend to stop and we hopped off our bikes, climbed the stone wall and walked over to it.
As we got closer, I could see the horse was shattered, exhausted like. With eyes beseeching or something but not moving, standing right still. And then I saw why, surrounding the horse, about a yard from his hooves, was a neat circle of mushrooms.
My boyfriend reached his arm out to pat the horse and I smacked it down and said “Don’t go putting your arm in a feckin fairy ring” so I said.
I thought a minute then decided it best to call me Mam and ask her. So I did and she told me what to do.
With my boyfriend holding my left arm, I stood close to the outside of the mushroom ring and leaned my right arm into the ring and grabbed the mane of the horse, which was neatly plaited, and pulled it out. I’d like to tell you it was a gentle tug but the Good People don’t give up their mischief easy so it was more of a yank.
The horse stumbled when it got out of the ring and then took off. I’m sure he was grateful, although he didn’t stick around to say so.
I knew we’d used up all our luck that day so we turned around and rode home. Spent the rest of the day on the couch with Netflix!
We went back the next weekend to check on the horse and he looked grand. He was well away from the fairy tree mind!
But we really were lucky, especially being it was May. Without my boyfriend there to hold one of my arms I wouldn’t think of reaching into that fairy ring for fear of never getting out myself.
I’d like to think the Good People were just having some fun with the horse. Dancing and singing all night long and plaiting its mane and all, I surely hope they meant it no harm, for they do have a care for animals but you can never be sure.
My advice to anyone spotting a fairy ring is to stay well away, never step in it, no matter what. Even if there is a pile of coins or a diamond ring or anything else sat in the middle of the ring, keep walking, don’t stop and don’t be tempted.
And best stay clear of the fairy trees too, just leave them be and you should have no trouble.
Emily – County Kerry.