Category Archives: Losing Time

Boudicea and the Wee Folk

I want to share a story that when he told it in 1960, nearly ruined my Granda. I guarantee you’ve never heard a faerie tale like this one.

I never knew my Granda, he died young, but my father says he was regarded as a man of strong, sound mind until he went around town telling ‘that feckin story‘. Then he lost a lot of friends, and never really recovered from that. It’s pretty sad really, but I guess it was a different time.

So, one day in 1960, my Granda was travelling on one of those double buses from Malahide into Dublin when he bumped into an old friend from school. No one remembers his real name, they just called him Dinny.

So Granda’s sitting there on the bus and Dinny gets on and they have a rare old reunion. They hadn’t seen each other years you see, since they were around 14.

Granda was 20 years old in 1960 and so Dinny should have been, but he hadn’t aged a day and Granda said so. Then Dinny spun him a tale. He said he had ‘been away’ for years with ‘the good folk’.

He claimed to have seen some incredible things, and I’m only telling you the story as was told me.

So Dinny told Granda he had lived with the others in their place, eating and drinking and dancing with them but also working hard. He said he worked on their firepits, and that they’re all over Ireland. He travelled with a bunch of them on a wagon, fixing and lighting pits all over for their cooking and nightime revelries.

Well Granda listened to Dinny and took his words and manner for sincere. Repeating that part of Dinny’s story isn’t what got Granda in strife, I guess in the 60’s the idea of travelling around in a wagon with Faerie was considered believable enough. It was what came next that caused the trouble.

Dinny went on to tell Granda that he had, on several occasions, met Boudicea, (yes, the Celtic Warrior Queen who battled the invading Romans) and that she had been living among the good folk since her defeat in England in the year 60AD.

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Dinny told Granda that she had only recently crossed the waters to the other side. Which we suppose to mean, died. Granda was enthralled, hanging off Dinny’s every word.

Dinny told him Boudicea was ‘not the kind of woman you meet every day’, but a lovely lady nevertheless.

Granda believed every word and wanted to hear more but Dinny cut him off and said he shouldn’t say anymore for fear of strife from the good folk. He said he had gotten in a ‘dot of bother with them you see’, and had to come away for a while, to mix among his own folk while things cool off.

And that was it. They arrived in Dublin and parted ways. Granda never saw Dinny again but believed his story with his whole heart. He told everyone he could about it and even wrote a piece about it for a local paper, which they did not print.

Everyone thought Granda had lost his mind. Not for believing Dinny, but for talking about it so openly. Things were hard for him after that and he died only 5 years later.

Maura – Dublin.

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Cross in the River

My name is Ann. I am 17 and I live in Ulster.

I haven’t told anyone this before (and my name isn’t even Ann) but I wanted to tell someone about a weird thing that is happening.

I like to hang out in these woods near my home. There’s a wee river runs through there and I usually just sit and sketch and listen to music. A few times I noticed some strange sounds around, but the woods are full of weird sounds and animals so I just ignored it.

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Then one day, it was in the autumn, I was sitting at a cross in the river, a place where it splits into two. There are three massive stones which turn the river and I was sitting atop one of them. I heard laughing, quiet like, then felt something brush against me, not hard but it knocked the pencil from my hand into the river. There was more laughing, I looked around but there was nothing there.

So I packed up and got the hell out of there and didn’t go back for a while. Then I had an idea. At the spot where the river splits, there are tall, dense trees and I climbed up and waited. Nothing happened. So I went back the next day, same thing. No weird sounds, no laughter or rustling. Then the third time, I was sat up there about 20 minutes when it happened.

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I heard chatter, and laughter but distant. Not distant far away, but quiet. Like the volume was turned down. Then it quickly got louder. I could make out 6 different voices talking. But they weren’t speaking English, although I picked up a few words in English. It was more like they were talking a few languages, all bunched together. I’m not certain, but there could have been some Irish or Nordic (my Dad watches those Nordic shows on tv).

The voices were really close now and when I looked down at the river and woods below me I could see movement and splashing, but not any real form of anyone. I called out ‘Who’s all there?” and it went silent. They were gone.

That was yesterday. I went back today and sat on the big rock again and waited and within 10 minutes they were back. Same thing. Quiet voices. I sat still and sort of whispered ‘Hello’. The water splashed in front of me as though several big people had jumped off the other big stones, then they started singing. 3 voices. They sounded like a chorus of birds, but real quiet and each singing a different song to the other. It was weird.

That’s all I remember. I woke up on the grass at the base of the big stone. I don’t know how long I’d lay there but everything was ok. Nothing bad happened. I called for them but they were gone. The song was real nice though. I’m pretty sure I’ll go back.

Anyway, searched for anyone talking about special places, you know where the other folk might hang out and found ‘thin places’. Now I’m wondering if the cross in my river is a thin place.

I can’t talk to my Dad or brother about it, they’ll think I’m taking the piss. Does anyone know much about it, or been around a thin place when the good folk are around? Is it safe?

Ann – Ulster

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A note from Kitty.

I have received some interesting information for Ann via Reddit on whether it is safe to return to the place of her encounter, and also some advice on what to do if she does choose to return. Many thanks to everyone for your input.

From Krakenwaffles: I’ve been doing some research lately for a project. Basically, leave the fairies alone, especially if you are already losing time. Fairyland exists out of our time and a few minutes there can last for years. (See the poem The Fairies by Allingham.) Fairies can give you amazing gifts, but they have a cost and often fairies just want to mess with people.

According to Kipling in Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906) if there are many fairies around, the people nearby will get sick.

Fairies are capricious. They can reward humans they like but sometimes they want to keep those humans and replace them with changelings. Do not ever eat anything they give you and do not mess with their land (Glassie, Irish Folktales, 1985).

According to Yeats (Fairy and Folk Tales of Ireland, 1888) fairies are fallen angels. They possess every charm but conscience. Good to the good, evil to the evil. Quickly offended but easily pleased by simple things. Listening to their music can drive you mad. Do not ever join in their songs! If you can’t improve the music somehow they will harm you. They can give magic healing knowledge to humans but this involves the humans being taken to fairyland for years.

According to Beveridge, Children into Swans (2014) thin places are surrounded by mist. It’s not wise to go into the mist because you might cross the border into fairyland.

You might come out ahead if they really like you and are being nice. Fairies can be amazing if they want to. But it would be a huge risk.

Whether or not you believe in fairies, this is what the sources say.

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From Darth_Bfheidir : I’m not a believer, but my mother always said to carry “iron from the earth to banish misfortune”, but what “iron from the earth” means I don’t know. I assume it means unwrought iron.

She also said that an offering of cake or bread is suppose to placate them so they take the bread instead of messing with the person.

Of course the girl in question could always do what you’re supposed to do and stay away, there is a reason these places are marked.

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From BabydollValentine: I know hardly anything about fairies because I’ve just begun this journey.

I read her story and what the fae were doing didn’t seem malicious to me. Just playing and messing with her a bit. Kinda strange she woke up by a big rock tho.

If she decides to keep going back perhaps she could bring a small gift or treat like some cream??

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From BluePaws: A cold forged iron bell could work. If they appear again or you hear them, ring the bell and hopefully they will leave but if they don’t leave some sugar close to where they are, but not too close.

If that doesn’t work find somewhere else, better if that place doesn’t have any lakes, rivers, etc.

 

A Faerie Father

I have an Aunty who believes her daughter, my cousin, was fathered by a Faerie.

The story goes, when she was 16 Aunty disappeared for a week and when she got back home, she was pregnant.

Mam says my grandparents were livid and told everyone outside the family that she went over to England with a pal on a shopping trip and was ‘taken advantage of’, by an English scoundrel, but Aunty tells a different story.

She says she remembers it well. It was broad daylight on the day of the Summer solstice and she was walking home from the bus-stop with two bags of groceries, when she heard some music coming from a nearby ringed fort.

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She says she was smart enough not to go near the music but remembers stopping on the road just to listen.

Next thing she knows, she’s walking in the front door a week later and sick as a parrot.

The whole pregnancy was woeful and she was sent to hospital a handful of times in a dire state. Anyway, my cousin was born early but perfect, and so she has always been.

If it were me I’d probably be pissed with everyone thinking me Da was a Faerie, but it doesn’t bother my cousin at all. She just laughs.

Name withheld at request – County Roscommon