The Fairies Of Merlin's Craig

Early in the seventeenth century, John Smith, a barn-man at a farm, was

sent by his master to cast divots (turf) on the green immediately behind

Merlin's Craig. After having laboured for a considerable time, there

came round from the front of the rock a little woman, about eighteen

inches in height, clad in a green gown and red stockings, with long

yellow hair hanging down to her waist, who asked the astonished operator

how he would feel were she to send her husband to tir (uncover) his

house, at the same time commanding him to place every divot he had cast

in statu quo. John obeyed with fear and trembling, and, returning to

his master, told what had happened. The farmer laughed at his credulity,

and, anxious to cure him of such idle superstition, ordered him to take a

cart and fetch home the divots immediately.

John obeyed, although with much reluctance. Nothing happened to him in

consequence till that day twelve months, when he left his master's work

at the usual hour in the evening, with a small stoup of milk in his

hand, but he did not reach home, nor was he ever heard of for years (I

have forgotten how many), when, upon the anniversary of that unfortunate

day, John walked into his house at the usual hour, with the milk-stoup in

his hand.

The account that he gave of his captivity was that, on the evening of

that eventful day, returning home from his labour, when passing Merlin's

Craig, he felt himself suddenly taken ill, and sat down to rest a little.

Soon after he fell asleep, and awoke, as he supposed, about midnight,

when there was a troop of male and female fairies dancing round him. They

insisted upon his joining in the sport, and gave him the finest girl in

the company as a partner. She took him by the hand; they danced three

times round in a fairy ring, after which he became so happy that he felt

no inclination to leave his new associates. Their amusements were

protracted till he heard his master's cock crow, when the whole troop

immediately rushed forward to the front of the craig, hurrying him along

with them. A door opened to receive them, and he continued a prisoner

until the evening on which he returned, when the same woman who had first

appeared to him when casting divots came and told him that the grass

was again green on the roof of her house, which he had tirred, and if

he would swear an oath, which she dictated, never to discover what he had

seen in fairyland, he should be at liberty to return to his family. John

took the oath, and observed it most religiously, although sadly teased

and questioned by his helpmate, particularly about the "bonnie lassie"

with whom he danced on the night of his departure. He was also observed

to walk a mile out of his way rather than pass Merlin's Craig when the

sun was below the horizon.

On a subsequent occasion the tiny inhabitants of Merlin's Craig surprised

a shepherd when watching his fold at night; he was asleep, and his bonnet

had fallen off and rolled to some little distance. He was awakened by

the fairies dancing round him in a circle, and was induced to join them;

but recollecting the fate of John Smith, he would not allow his female

companion to take hold of his hands. In the midst of their gambols they

came close to the hillock where the shepherd's bonnet lay,--he affected

to stumble, fell upon his bonnet, which he immediately seized, clapping

it on his head, when the whole troop instantly vanished. This exorcism

was produced by the talismanic power of a Catechism containing the Lord's

Prayer and the Apostles' Creed, which the shepherd most fortunately

recollected was deposited in the crown of his bonnet.

The Fairies Giving Money To A Man For Joining Them In Their Dance The Fairies Placing Money On The Ground For A Poor Man facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail