A Boy Taken To Fairy Land

: Welsh Folk-lore

Mrs. Morris, of Cwm Vicarage, near Rhyl, told the writer the following

story. She stated that she had heard it related in her family that one

of their people had in childhood been induced by the Fairies to follow

them to their country. This boy had been sent to discharge some domestic

errand, but he did not return. He was sought for in all directions but

could not be found. His parents came to the conclusion that he had
r /> either been murdered or kidnapped, and in time he was forgotten by most

people, but one day he returned with what he had been sent for in his

hand. But so many years had elapsed since he first left home, that he

was now an old grey-headed man, though he knew it not; he had, he said,

followed, for a short time, delightful music and people; but when

convinced, by the changes around, that years had slipped by since he

first left his home, he was so distressed at the changes he saw that he

said he would return to the Fairies. But alas! he sought in vain for the

place where he had met them, and therefore he was obliged to remain with

his blood relations.

The next tale differs from the preceding, insomuch that the seductive

advances of the Fairies failed in their object. I am not quite positive

whence I obtained the story, but this much I know, that it belongs to

Pentrevoelas, and that a respectable old man was in the habit of

repeating it, as an event in his own life.

A Man Refusing the Solicitations of the Fairies.

A Pentrevoelas man was coming home one lovely summer's night, and when

within a stone's throw of his house, he heard in the far distance singing

of the most enchanting kind. He stopped to listen to the sweet sounds

which filled him with a sensation of deep pleasure. He had not listened

long ere he perceived that the singers were approaching. By and by they

came to the spot where he was, and he saw that they were marching in

single file and consisted of a number of small people, robed in

close-fitting grey clothes, and they were accompanied by speckled dogs

that marched along two deep like soldiers. When the procession came

quite opposite the enraptured listener, it stopped, and the small people

spoke to him and earnestly begged him to accompany them, but he would

not. They tried many ways, and for a long time, to persuade him to join

them, but when they saw they could not induce him to do so they departed,

dividing themselves into two companies and marching away, the dogs

marching two abreast in front of each company. They sang as they went

away the most entrancing music that was ever heard. The man,

spell-bound, stood where he was, listening to the ravishing music of the

Fairies, and he did not enter his house until the last sound had died

away in the far-off distance.

Professor Rhys records a tale much like the preceding. (See his Welsh

Fairy Tales, pp. 34, 35.) It is as follows:--One bright moonlight

night, as one of the sons of the farmer who lived at Llwyn On in Nant y

Bettws was going to pay his addresses to a girl at Clogwyn y Gwin, he

beheld the Tylwyth enjoying themselves in full swing on a meadow close to

Cwellyn Lake. He approached them and little by little he was led on by

the enchanting sweetness of their music and the liveliness of their

playing until he got within their circle. Soon some kind of spell passed

over him, so that he lost his knowledge of every place, and found himself

in a country the most beautiful he had ever seen, where everybody spent

his time in mirth and rejoicing. He had been there seven years, and yet

it seemed to him but a night's dream; but a faint recollection came to

his mind of the business on which he had left home, and he felt a longing

to see his beloved one: so he went and asked permission to return home,

which was granted him, together with a host of attendants to lead him to

his country; and, suddenly, he found himself, as waking from a dream, on

the bank where he had seen the Fairy Family amusing themselves. He

turned towards home, but there he found everything changed: his parents

were dead, his brothers could not recognize him, and his sweetheart was

married to another man. In consequence of such changes, he broke his

heart, and died in less than a week after coming back.

Many variants of the legends already related are still extant in Wales.

This much can be said of these tales, that it was formerly believed that

marriages took place between men and Fairies, and from the tales

themselves we can infer that the men fared better in Fairy land than the

Fairy ladies did in the country of their earthly husbands. This,

perhaps, is what might be expected, if, as we may suppose, the Fair Tribe

were supplanted, and overcome, by a stronger, and bolder people, with

whom, to a certain extent, the weaker and conquered or subdued race

commingled by marriage. Certain striking characteristics of both races

are strongly marked in these legends. The one is a smaller and more

timid people than the other, and far more beautiful in mind and person

than their conquerors. The ravishing beauty of the Fairy lady forms a

prominent feature in all these legends. The Fairies, too, are spoken of

as being without religion. This, perhaps, means nothing more than that

they differed from their conquerors in forms, or objects of worship.

However this might be, it would appear that their conquerors knew but

little of that perfect moral teaching which made the Fairies, according

to the testimony of Giraldus, truthful, void of ambition, and honest.

It must, however, be confessed, that there is much that is mythical in

these legends, and every part cannot well be made to correspond with

ordinary human transactions.

It is somewhat amusing to note how modern ideas, and customs, are mixed

up with these ancient stories. They undoubtedly received a gloss from

the ages which transmitted the tales.

In the next chapter I shall treat of another phase of Fairy Folk-lore,

which will still further connect the Fair Race with their conquerors.