Fairy Riches And Gifts
Category: FAIRY MOTHERS AND HUMAN MIDWIVES.
The riches of the Fairies are often mentioned by the old people, and the
source of their wealth is variously given. An old man, who has already
been mentioned, John Williams, born about 1770, was of opinion that the
Fairies stole the money from bad rich people to give it to good poor
folk. This they were enabled to do, he stated, as they could make
themselves invisible. In a conversation which we once had on this
subject, my old friend posed me with this question, Who do you think
robbed . . . of his money without his knowledge? Who do you think took
. . . money only twenty years ago? Why, the Fairies, added he, for
no one ever found out the thief.
Shakespeare, in Midsummer Night's Dream, A. iii., S. 1, gives a very
different source to the Fairy riches:--
I will give thee Fairies to attend on thee,
And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep.
Without inquiring too curiously into the source of these riches, it shall
now be shown how, and for what services, they were bestowed on mortals.
Gratitude is a noble trait in the Fairy character, and favours received
they ever repaid. But the following stories illustrate alike their
commiseration, their caprice, and their grateful bounty.
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