Fairy Riches And Gifts

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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