Category Archives: Leanan

The Fairy Whistle

I have never heard a tale quite like this one. Could it be the Leanan Sidhe at work?

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We were only teenagers then. Had been on the drink after a game like. My three cousins and me, walking home at a stumble.

The oldest, I won’t tell his name, was barely walking at all. Me and my other cousins took turns half carrying him across the fields and anyway we all fell into this ditch. It was shallow enough, and we all just lay there, under a tall tree, looking up at the stars for I can’t say how long.

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The night was silent, and so were we, which I suppose was the first sign of something unusual. Then we hear this music. It was simple, a whistle I think it was. Quiet, but close. I said to my cousin who was less inebriated than the other two “Do you hear that?”. He says “I do”. There was no one around for miles. My cousins’ house the only one nearby.

We listened for a time. All four of us. It was the most beautiful tune, played over and again. Almost had me in a daze. Then I shot up and realized we were laying our backs against the side of a fairy ring. I knew it well in daylight and wouldn’t go near it then. So, I upped and got them moving again.

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Well we got home no trouble and next day recalled the whistle we heard. We all four of us remembered it the same but swore not to mention it to our Mam’s for fear they’d tear strips off us for being foolish enough to sit on a fairy fort. But that tune, it was lighter and sweeter than anything I’d heard before or since.

Now you’ll be expecting me to tell you some terrible bad luck befell the four of us soon after. Well it didn’t. We were fine. In fact, I suppose you could say we were better than fine. For a time.

Each of us grew and spread our wings. My cousins each excelled in their field of interest. It’s not for me to tell their names but one was a successful multimedia artist in the city, another was a regarded musician who had traveled the world and the last was a history teacher who published several books on Fairy Folklore.

I say was because all 3 are passed now. Suddenly and every one before their 30th birthday. They each lived a short, bright life and I too have enjoyed a surprising measure of success in my own field.

In the end, we only saw each other at funerals. We’d look at each other with these eyes you know. Now there’s only me left. Well anyway, the thing is, I turn 30 myself next year and find myself wondering about that fairy fort, and the whistle we heard that night. And I wonder what awaits me.

Michael – Ireland.

I received a follow-up email from Michael and he asked me to add a curious detail which he forgot to include in his own account. Michael says that since that night, when he and his cousins lay back on the wall of the fairy fort, none of the 4 men ever experienced a sleeping dream. Ever again. Make of that what you will. If you have a theory on this, or how it relates to his extraordinary tale, I would love to hear it.

I wish Michael all the very best and thank him again for sharing.

Cheers, Kitty.

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Billy Connelly’s Secret

Well, I don’t know much about Faeries but my Auntie Yvonne sure thought she did.

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When I was a kid, we would haul our caravan from Liverpool twice a year and stay in the backyard of Yvonne’s house at Tenby in Wales. Of course, being a teenager at the time, I thought it was an utter ‘drag’ but now I have many fond memories of those holidays.

As to Auntie Yvonne, well she was one of a kind. Her house was full of cats. More than I could count, and more than she could name too. She would just call them all ‘sweetie’ or ‘dear’ or ‘darling’. I remember seeing cat hair just floating on the air and landing on food and in cups of tea. It never bothered Yvonne a dot.

The back door to her house stood open 9 months of the year, so the cats could go in and out unbothered and she had those macramé hanging baskets everywhere! Inside the house and outside. She said they afforded the Faerie a safe and pleasant place to land, or nap, away from the cats.

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Mind you, they all contained hard plants like cactus, “because” she said, “it’s all good and well for Faerie to visit, but I don’t want them so comfortable they want to stay“. So it was, while we would go to the beach or the park, Yvonne would stay home and spend half the day walking around with a watering can talking or singing to the plants, or perhaps wetting the Faerie!

And good God, she must have driven her neighbours made. From dawn til dusk you would hear her holler “I’m coming out now!” or, “I’m going in now!”. To warn the Faeries you see, in case any were crossing by her backdoor, Yvonne believed it a necessary courtesy to warn the Faerie of her movements so she didn’t step on them. She said that passing Faerie will always cross a doorway. I don’t know about that, but I know I never got a sleep in at Yvonne’s house, every morning from 5am I would be woken by her yelling “Coming out noooooow”.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you about Yvonne and Billy Connelly.

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Once darkness fell, Yvonne’s life revolved around the telly, and why wouldn’t it, her telly was top of the range for the time. (No one really knows where she got her money from but that’s another story).

Yvonne covered her velvet lounge in crochet blankets which were themselves covered in cat hair. Mum and Dad sat with Yvonne and the cats on the lounge. Mum and Yvonne sipping their Pimm’s and lemonade, and Dad his beer,  but I refused to get covered in cat hair, (and wasn’t allowed the Pimm’s) so always sit on the purple vinyl pouf. That is how we spent every evening of our Tenby holiday, gathered around the telly.

If the telly was King, Michael Parkinson was its Prince. Yvonne adored him and och! I remember being mortified when she regaled us with all his sexy qualities.

Anyhow, Billy Connelly came to be a regular sort of guest on Parkinson’s show and I happened to be at Yvonne’s house several times when Connelly made an appearance. Every single time Connelly made his way down those stairs and sat down beside Parky, Yvonne lowered her voice to a hush and told us most earnestly that Connelly was “touched by the Faerie”.

Look at him” she’d say and point at the telly, “He wears the skin of an ordinary man but look, just look at how he has people enthralled. Mesmerized, euphoric, they forget themselves when he’s talking. Mark my word, he is no ordinary man. He is touched, there is no doubt. That is Faerie work”.

Then, she would sit back on her furry crochet blanket and laugh so hard she would pee herself. And this was a young woman, she must have been in her late 30’s at the time, with an otherwise healthy bladder, she would literally pee herself with laughter.

Connelly wasn’t the only person she thought ‘touched’ by Faerie. I can tell you that, according to Yvonne, Charlie Chaplin, Van Gogh and Elvis Presley were also ‘touched’.

Well, if it is true Faerie ‘touch’ some ordinary people, turn them into something a little bit special, then Yvonne was surely touched herself. She was an extraordinary woman. I wish I had taken the time to talk to her more, to know her better. I can’t help thinking this world would be a better place if there were more people like my Auntie Yvonne.

From Michelle, Liverpool, UK

Faerie Muse?

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I don’t know if this is really Faerie related or not but I’ll tell you anyway.

You know they say that some people have been ‘touched’ by the Wee Folk? Well I’ve often wondered if I saw it in action.

I’ve been to loads of concerts and seen Christy Moore many times, solo, with Sinnot, Lunny and Planxty too, and every performance was memorable but there was this one time something happened I’ll never forget.

It was a normal rowdy crowd, a few hundred, half-torn and well up for the night. Moore walks out on stage, unassuming as always, with his guitar in hand, and I swear, the air was sucked out of the whole room.

The crowd to a one, gasped, as though God or William Wallace or a wailing Banshee herself had walked on stage.

And so they were, mesmerized and silent for a good 7 seconds and he looked more than a wee surprised himself. Of course, he kicked in some banter and the crowd breathed again, all at once. Yelling and clapping began and the night took off, but what had happened was, well the best word I can use is ‘unnatural’.

No offence to Christy but he’s an ordinary looking fella, so it wasn’t his looks took our collective breath away. I’ve often wondered what the hell happened that night.

So, if you believe the Wee Folk occasionally act as muse and single out a Human for special attention, maybe take a closer look at Christy Moore.

Grant – Glasgow