Category Archives: Water 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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West Scotland Silkie

This is such a curious tale. I’m so pleased that the story of the Portrush Selkie, here in this collection served to remind Em from Belfast of this story about her Granny. And that she shared it with us!!!

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I was reading the post about the Portrush Selkie and it reminded me of something.

Years ago, i would have been in my early twenties, my aunt and i were going through my Granny’s things after she passed. She used to wear this old overcoat and floppy hat, every day (whenever i see that show Vera i laugh coz she reminds me of my Granny), she’d go out walking along the coast road or along the shoreline in that hat and coat.

old bookIn the pocket of the overcoat was a small tatty notebook and worn down pencil. And inside the notebook were loads of this scribbling.

It took me a minute to figure out her writing but turned out she was keeping a sort of log of sightings she was making of what she called a Silkie. The notes went back a bit, about 5 years before she died but stopped about 6 months before she died. I suppose that was when she stopped walking.

She made comments about where she saw the Silkie, what the weather was like on the day, how many people were about and what it was doing and what mood she thought it was in! You know, happy, melancholy, playful, agitated. She even wrote ‘aroused’ in one entry. Don’t ask me how she knew it was aroused. black rocks

Seems like most of the sightings were on or around this outcrop of black rocks. I know the place. It has this broad overhang over the rocks and not a cave as such but a sort of nook in it. I’m in Ireland now, and this on the west coast of Scotland. I’ve been thinking about it a lot since reading the story of the Portrush Selkie. I  might even go up there for a visit.

Anyhow, my Aunt was really interested in the notebook too and ended up taking it with her. I wish now i’d asked to keep it.

I was wondering if anyone else has heard of a Silkie on the west coast of Scotland?

Em – Belfast.

If you or someone you know has any knowledge of Silkie dwelling on the west coast of Scotland, please let us know. I’m sure many of us would be very curious for any information or photos of the area Em’s Granny took her walks…

 

 

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

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

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.

 

Playing with Pond Faerie

This is a story which my father has told me about my childhood. I was too young to remember any of the details so I will be relying on my father’s veracity, yet he isn’t a man prone to fantasy.

The incident occurred when I was a young child… possibly around 6 years of age. I was a blonde, curly haired, boy who wasn’t one for wandering.

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We were on a family picnic at a large park. The park was kind of in the country, but not too far from town. There were various areas of trees and bushes, as well as many ponds of green tinged water. There were other families about, but they were doing their own things away from us.

At some point I had gone for a wander to play and my parents paid me little attention until they noticed I had been gone for a while. Despite this, they were not too worried, we were in the country and it wasn’t a very populated area.

After a while, my father noticed I had been gone for some time and decided to go look for me. He wandered about the park and didn’t see me with any of the other children. He walked round and round without finding any trace of me. Apparently, he was starting to get a little worried, yet he was sure I was still there somewhere… he told me he was thinking that I was just hiding from him.

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He walked to the edge of one of the ponds and listened, to hear if he could find me. While he listened, he looked down at the water and noticed an odd bright green plant a short distance under the water. The plant appeared strange to him and something about it peaked his curiosity.

For a reason he can’t explain, he got down on his knees and reached into the water, and grasped the bright green plant.

He pulled the plant out and as it started to emerge, he realised it wasn’t a plant, it was my hair which he had grasped.

He lifted me into the air and I just looked at him calmly, then he put me on the grass and I sat down peacefully. He stared at me in shock and asked me what happened. In my childish language I told him that I was playing with some other children. They told me to follow them into the water and I was playing with them there, under the water.

The weirdest thing about this story is that I was sitting on the bottom of the pond for several minutes. I wasn’t hurt in any way and when I emerged I was calm and acted as though nothing traumatic had happened.

Danny – County Kerry