Fairy Friends





It is a good thing to befriend the fairies, as the following stories

show:--



There have been from time immemorial at Hawick, during the two or three

last weeks of the year, markets once a week, for the disposal of sheep

for slaughter, at which the greater number of people, both in the middle

and poorer classes of life, have been accustomed to provide themselves

with their marts. A poor man from Jedburgh who was on his way to

Hawick for the purpose of attending one of these markets, as he was

passing over that side of Rubislaw which is nearest the Teviot, was

suddenly alarmed by a frightful and unaccountable noise. The sound, as

he supposed, proceeded from an immense number of female voices, but no

objects whence it could come were visible. Amidst howling and wailing

were mixed shouts of mirth and jollity, but he could gather nothing

articulate except the following words--



"O there's a bairn born, but there's naething to pit on 't."



The occasion of this elfish concert, it seemed, was the birth of a fairy

child, at which the fairies, with the exception of two or three who were

discomposed at having nothing to cover the little innocent with, were

enjoying themselves with that joviality usually characteristic of such an

event. The astonished rustic finding himself amongst a host of invisible

beings, in a wild moorland place, and far from any human assistance,

should assistance be required, full of the greatest consternation,

immediately on hearing this expression again and again vociferated,

stripped off his plaid, and threw it on the ground. It was instantly

snatched up by an invisible hand, and the wailings immediately ceased,

but the shouts of mirth were continued with increased vigour. Being of

opinion that what he had done had satisfied his invisible friends, he

lost no time in making off, and proceeded on his road to Hawick, musing

on his singular adventure. He purchased a sheep, which turned out a

remarkably good bargain, and returned to Jedburgh. He had no cause to

regret his generosity in bestowing his plaid on the fairies, for every

day afterwards his wealth multiplied, and he continued till the day of

his death a rich and prosperous man.



* * * * *



About the beginning of harvest, there having been a want of meal for

shearers' bread in the farmhouse of Bedrule, a small quantity of barley

(being all that was yet ripe) was cut down, and converted into meal. Mrs.

Buckham, the farmer's wife, rose early in the morning to bake the bread,

and, while she was engaged in baking, a little woman in green costume

came in, and, with much politeness, asked for a loan of a capful of meal.

Mrs. Buckham thought it prudent to comply with her request. In a short

time afterwards the woman in green returned with an equal quantity of

meal, which Mrs. Buckham put into the meal-ark. This meal had such a

lasting quality, that from it alone the gudewife of Bedrule baked as much

bread as served her own family and the reapers throughout the harvest,

and when harvest was over it was not exhausted.





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