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The Fairy Boy Of Leith






Source: Folk-lore And Legends Scotland

"About fifteen years since, having business that detained me for some
time at Leith, which is near Edinburgh, in the kingdom of Scotland, I

often met some of my acquaintance at a certain house there, where we used
to drink a glass of wine for our refection. The woman which kept the
house was of honest reputation among the neighbours, which made me give
the more attention to what she told me one day about a fairy boy (as they
called him) who lived about that town. She had given me so strange an
account of him, that I desired her I might see him the first opportunity,
which she promised; and not long after, passing that way, she told me
there was the fairy boy, but a little before I came by; and, casting her
eye into the street, said, 'Look you, sir, yonder he is, at play with
those other boys'; and pointing him out to me, I went, and by smooth
words, and a piece of money, got him to come into the house with me;
where, in the presence of divers people, I demanded of him several
astrological questions, which he answered with great subtlety; and,
through all his discourse, carried it with a cunning much above his
years, which seemed not to exceed ten or eleven.

"He seemed to make a motion like drumming upon the table with his
fingers, upon which I asked him whether he could beat a drum? To which
he replied, 'Yes, sir, as well as any man in Scotland; for every Thursday
night I beat all points to a sort of people that used to meet under
yonder hill' (pointing to the great hill between Edinburgh and Leith).
'How, boy?' quoth I, 'what company have you there?' 'There are, sir,'
said he, 'a great company both of men and women, and they are entertained
with many sorts of music besides my drum; they have, besides, plenty of
variety of meats and wine, and many times we are carried into France or
Holland in the night, and return again, and whilst we are there, we enjoy
all the pleasures the country doth afford.' I demanded of him how they
got under that hill? To which he replied that there was a great pair of
gates that opened to them, though they were invisible to others, and that
within there were brave large rooms, as well accommodated as most in
Scotland. I then asked him how I should know what he said to be true?
Upon which he told me he would read my fortune, saying, I should have two
wives, and that he saw the forms of them over my shoulders; and both
would be very handsome women.

"The woman of the house told me that all the people in Scotland could not
keep him from the rendezvous on Thursday night; upon which, by promising
him some more money, I got a promise of him to meet me at the same place
in the afternoon, the Thursday following, and so dismissed him at that
time. The boy came again at the place and time appointed, and I had
prevailed with some friends to continue with me (if possible) to prevent
his moving that night. He was placed between us, and answered many
questions, until, about eleven of the clock, he was got away unperceived
by the company; but I, suddenly missing him, hastened to the door, and
took hold of him, and so returned him into the same room. We all watched
him, and, of a sudden, he was again got out of doors; I followed him
close, and he made a noise in the street, as if he had been set upon, and
from that time I could never see him."





Next: The Dracae

Previous: Secret Commonwealth



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