The Elf Dancers Of Cae Caled


Dr. Edward Williams, under the year 1757, writes as follows:--

I am now going to relate a circumstance in this young period of my life

which probably will excite an alternate smile and thoughtful reflection,

as it has often done in myself, however singular the fact and strong the

evidence of its authenticity, and, though I have often in mature age

called to my mind the principles of religion and philosophy to account<
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for it, I am forced to class it among my unknowables. And yet I may

say that not only the fact itself, but also the consideration of its

being to my own mind inexplicable, has afforded some useful reflections,

with which this relation need not be accompanied.

On a fine summer day (about midsummer) between the hours of 12 at noon

and one, my eldest sister and myself, our next neighbour's children

Barbara and Ann Evans, both older than myself, were in a field called Cae

Caled near their house, all innocently engaged at play by a hedge under a

tree, and not far from the stile next to that house, when one of us

observed on the middle of the field a company of--what shall I call

them?--Beings, neither men, women, nor children, dancing with great

briskness. They were full in view less than a hundred yards from us,

consisting of about seven or eight couples: we could not well reckon

them, owing to the briskness of their motions and the consternation with

which we were struck at a sight so unusual. They were all clothed in

red, a dress not unlike a military uniform, without hats, but their heads

tied with handkerchiefs of a reddish colour, sprigged or spotted with

yellow, all uniform in this as in habit, all tied behind with the corners

hanging down their backs, and white handkerchiefs in their hands held

loose by the corners. They appeared of a size somewhat less than our

own, but more like dwarfs than children. On the first discovery we

began, with no small dread, to question one another as to what they could

be, as there were no soldiers in the country, nor was it the time for May

dancers, and as they differed much from all the human beings we had ever

seen. Thus alarmed we dropped our play, left our station, and made for

the stile. Still keeping our eyes upon them we observed one of their

company starting from the rest and making towards us with a running pace.

I being the youngest was the last at the stile, and, though struck with

an inexpressible panic, saw the grim elf just at my heels, having a

full and clear, though terrific view of him, with his ancient, swarthy,

and grim complexion. I screamed out exceedingly; my sister also and our

companions set up a roar, and the former dragged me with violence over

the stile on which, at the instant I was disengaged from it, this warlike

Lilliputian leaned and stretched himself after me, but came not over.

With palpitating hearts and loud cries we ran towards the house, alarmed

the family, and told them our trouble. The men instantly left their

dinner, with whom still trembling we went to the place, and made the most

solicitous and diligent enquiry in all the neighbourhood, both at that

time and after, but never found the least vestige of any circumstance

that could contribute to a solution of this remarkable phenomenon. Were

any disposed to question the sufficiency of this quadruple evidence, the

fact having been uniformly and often attested by each of the parties and

various and separate examinations, and call it a childish deception, it

would do them no harm to admit that, comparing themselves with the scale

of universal existence, beings with which they certainly and others with

whom it is possible they may be surrounded every moment, they are but

children of a larger size. I know but few less credulous than the

relator, but he is no Sadducee. 'He who hath delivered will yet


My friend, Mr. R. Prys Jones, B.A., kindly informs me that he has several

intelligent boys in his school, the Boys' Board School, Denbigh, from

Bodfari, and to them he read the preceding story, but not one of them had

ever heard of it. It is singular that the story should have died so soon

in the neighbourhood that gave it birth.