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Full text of "Manx fairy tales"

NY PUBLIC LIBRARY THE BRANCH LIBRAR ES 



33333011956725 



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MANX FAIRY TALES 



BY 



SOPHIA MORRISON 



. ". 



LONDON 

DAVID NUTT, 57-59 LONG ACRE 

1911 



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AfiTOR, 



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PREFACE 

THERE is at least one spot in the world 
where Fairies are still believed in, and 
where, if you look in the right places, they 
may still be found, and that is the little 
island from which these stories come Elian 
Vannin, the Isle of Mann. But I have used 
a word which shotdd-not be mentioned here 
they are never called Fairies by the Manx, 
but Themselvss > or the Little People, or the 
Little Fellows, or the Little Ones, or some- 
times even the LiT Boys. These Little 
People are not the tiny creatures with wings 
who flutter about in many English Fairy 
tales, but they are small persons from two 
to three feet in height, otherwise very like 
mortals. They wear red caps and green 
jackets and are very fond of hunting 
indeed they are most often seen on 



iv PREFACE 

horseback followed by packs of little hounds 
of all the colours of the rainbow. They are 
rather inclined to be mischievous and 
spiteful, and that is why they are called by 
such good names, in case they should be 
listening ! 

Besides these red-capped Little Fellows 
there are other more alarming folk. There 
is the Fynoderee, who is large, ugly, hairy 
and enormously strong, but not so bad as he 
looks, for often he helps on the farm during 
the night by thrashing corn. He does not 
like to be seen, K> if a tanner wants work 
done by him, he must cake care to keep out 
of the Fynoderee's way. Then, far uglier 
than Fynoderee, are the Bugganes, who are 
horrible and cruel creatures. They can 
appear in any shape they please as ogres 
with huge heads and great fiery eyes, or 
without any heads at all; as small dogs 
who grow larger and larger as you wa 
them until they are larger than elepha 
when perhaps they turn into the shap 
men or disappear into nothing ; as ho: 
monsters or anything they choose. 1 



PREFACE v 

Buggane has his own particular dwelling- 
place a dark sea-cave, a lonely hill, or 
a ruined Keeill, or Church. There are 
many others too, but these are the chief. 

Most of the stories are traditional and 
have been handed down by word of mouth 
from father to son. I owe hearty thanks 
to those from whose lips I have heard them 
Messrs. J. R. Moore, William Cashen, Joe 
Moore, Ned Quayle and others. Of the 
four stories which have not been told to 
me personally Teeval, Kitterland, The 
Wizard's Palace, and Smereree the three 
first have been printed in various folk-lore 
books, and the Manx of the last appeared 
in ' Yn Lioar Manninagh ' some years ago. 
Lastly I must thank my friend Miss Alice 
Williams for her kind he]p and valuable 
assistance in many ways. 



SOPHIA MORRISON, 



PEEL, ISLE OF MANN, 
October 1911. 



CONTENTS 



PAG* 

THEMSELVES . i 

THE BUGGANE OF GLEN MEAY WATERFALL . 8 

How THE MANX CAT LOST HER TAIL . . 4 

THE MAKING OF MANN ...... 16 

THE COMING OF SAINT PATRICK . . 20 

How THE HERRING BECAME KING OF THE SEA . 24 

THE SILVER CUP 27 

THE CHILD WITHOUT A NAME . . . .34 

THE FAIRY DOCTOR 38 

JOE MOORE'S STORY OF FINN MACCOOILLEY 
AND THE BUGGANE . . . " ... .42 

THE FYNODEREE 47 

THE FYNODEREE OF GORDON .... 48 

THE LHONDOO AND THE USHAG-REAISHT . . 54 

BILLY BEG, TOM BEG, AND THE FAIRIES . 56 

THE LAZY WIFE ...... 62 

THE MERMAID OF GOB-NY-OOYL . 71 

THE LOST WIFE OF BALLALEECE ... 75 

SMEREREE 78 

KEBEG . 83 

vii 



viii CONTENTS 

PAGE 

THE FAIRY CHILD OF CLOSE-NY-LHEIY . . 85 

THE LITTLE FOOTPRINTS 93 

THE TALL MAN OF BALLACURRY ... 97 

NED QUAYLE'S STORY OF THE FAIRY PIG . 100 

KlTTERLAND 105 

TEEVAL, PRINCESS OF THE OCEAN . . . no 

THE WIZARD'S PALACE 116 

THE ENCHANTED ISLE 121 

STORIES ABOUT BIRDS ..... 123 
THE MODDEY Doo OR THE BLACK DOG OF 

PEEL CASTLE 129 

LITTLE RED BIRD 133 

TEHI TEGI 134 

JOHN-Y-CHIARN'S JOURNEY .... 138 

A BAD WISH 143 

THE WITCH OF SLIEU WHALLIAN . . . 144 

THE OLD CHRISTMAS 149 

THE BUGGANE OF ST. TRINIAN'S . . . 153 

KING MAGNUS BAREFOOT .... 161 
MANANNAN MAC-Y-LEIRR . . . 169, 171 

THE CORMORANT AND THE BAT . . . 174 
CAILLAGH-NY-FAASHAGH, OR THE PROPHET 

WIZARD 176 

THE CITY UNDER SEA 182 

AN ANCIENT CHARM AGAINST THE FAIRIES . 186 



MANX FAIRY TALES 

THEMSELVES 

I 

THERE was a man once in the Isle of Mann 
who met one of the Little Fellows, and 
the Little Fellow told him that if he would 
go to London Bridge and dig, he would find 
a fortune. So he went, and when he got 
there he began to dig, and another man 
came to him and said : 

1 What are you doing ? ' 

' One of Themselves told me to come 
to London Bridge and I would get a 
fortune/ says he. And the other man 
said : 

' I dreamed that I was back in the 
lil' islan' an' I was at a house with a 
thorn-tree at the chimley of it, and 



2 MANX FAIRY TALES 

if I would dig there I would find a 
fortune. But I wouldn' go, for it was 
only foolishness.' 

Then he told him so plainly about the 
house that the first man knew it was his 
own, so he went back to the Island. When 
he got home he dug under the little thorn- 
tree by the chimney and he found an iron 
box. He opened the box and it was full 
of gold, and there was a letter in it, but he 
could not read the letter because it was in 
a foreign language. So he put it in the 
smithy window and challenged any scholar 
who went by to read it. None of them 
could, but at last one big boy said it was 
Latin and it meant : 

' Dig again and you '11 find another/ 

So the man dug again under the thorn- 
tree, and what did he find but another 
iron box full of gold ! 

And from that day till the day of 
his death, that man used to open the 
front door before going to bed, and 
call out : ( My blessing with the Little 
Fellows ! ' 



THEMSELVES 



II 

Here is a true story that was told me 
by a man named James Moore when I was 
sitting with him by the fire one evening. 
He said : 

' I 'm not much of a believer in most 
of the stories some ones is telling, but after 
all a body can't help believing a thing 
they happen to see for themselves. 

* I remember one winter's night we 
were living in a house at the time that was 
pulled down for the building of the Big 
Wheel. It was a thatched house with 
two rooms, and a wall about six foot high 
dividing them, and from that it was open 
to the scrahs, or turfs, that were laid 
across the rafters. My Mother was sitting 
at the fire busy spinning, and my Father 
was sitting in the big chair at the end of 
the table taking a chapter for us out of 
the Manx Bible. My brother was busy 
winding a spool and I was working with 



B 2 



4 MANX FAIRY TALES 

a bunch of ling, trying to make two or 
three pegs. 

' " There 's a terrible glisther on to- 
night," my Mother said, looking at the 
fire. " An' the rain comin' peltin' down 

the chimley ! ' 

' " Yes/' said my Father, shutting the 
Bible ; " an' we better get to bed middlin' 
soon and let the Ln" Ones in to a bit of 

shelter." 

' So we all got ready and went to 

bed. 

* Some time in the night my brother 

wakened me with a : 

' " Sh ish ! Listen boy, an' look 
at the big light tha 's in the kitchen ! " 
Then he rubbed his eyes a bit and 
whispered : 

1 " What 's mother doin' now at 

all ? " 

' " Listen ! " I said. " An' you '11 hear 
mother in bed, it 's not her at all ; it must 
be the Little Ones that 's agate of the 

wheel ! 3 

' And both of us got frightened, and 



THEMSELVES 5 

down with our heads under the clothes and 
fell asleep. In the morning when we 
got up we told them what we had seen, 
first thing. 

' " Aw, like enough, like enough/ my 
Father said, looking at the wheel. " It 
seems your mother forgot to take the 
band off last night, a thing people should 
be careful about, for it 's givin' Themselves 
power over the wheel, an' though their 
meanin's well enough, the spinnin' they 're 
doin' is nothin' to brag about. The weaver 
is always shoutin' about their work an' 
the bad joinin' they 're makin' in the 
rolls." 

' " I remember it as well as yesterday- 
the big light that was at them, and the 
whirring that was going on. And let any- 
body say what they like, that 's a thing 
I 've seen and heard for myself." 

Ill 

One evening a young man who was 
serving his time as a weaver was walking 
home late from Douglas to Glen Meay. He 



6 MANX FAIRY TALES 

had often been boasting that he had never 
seen any of the Little People. Well, this 
night he was coming along the St. John's 
Road, and when he got near to the river 
a big, big bull stood across the road before 
him. He took his stick and gave it one 
big knock. It went into the river and he 
never saw it any more. 

After that, when he got to the Parson's 
Bridge, he met a little thing just like a 
spinning wheel and there was a little, little 
body sitting where the spool is. Well, he 
lifted his stick again and struck the little 
body that was sitting on the spool a hard 
knock with his stick. The little body 
said to him : 

: Ny jean shen arragh ! J which means, 
' Don't do that again ! ' 

He walked on then till he got to Glen 
Meay and told what he had seen in a house 
there. Then another man said he had seen 
the little old woman sitting on the top of 
the spool of the spinning wheel and coming 
down Raby Hill at dark. So it took 
her a long time, for the first man met her 



THEMSELVES 7 

at six and the second at eleven, and there 
isn't two miles between the two places. 

So they were saying, when the cycles 
came in, that the Little People had been 
before them ! And this is a true story. 



THE BUGGANE OF GLEN MEAY 
WATERFALL 

THERE was once a woman living near Glen 
Meay, and she was the wife of a decent, 
quiet, striving man of the place. There 
was no one but herself and the man, and 
they had a nice little cottage and owned a 
bit of a croft on which they grazed a cow 
and a few sheep and grew enough potatoes 
to do them the winter out ; and the man 
had a yawl and went to the fishing when 
things were slack on land. But for all that 
they were not comfortable, for work as 
hard as the man might at his farming and 
his fishing, he was kept as poor as Lazarus 
by a lazy wife. 

For the woman was fonder of lying a-bed 
in the morning than sitting at her milking 
stool ; indeed the neighbours had it to say 

8 



THE BUGGANE OF GLEN MEAY 9 

that she wore out more blankets than shoes. 
Many a day her man would be going out 
early as hungry as a hawk, without a bite 
or a sup in him. One morning when he 
came in from work for his breakfast there 
was no fire his wife was never up. Well, 
my poor man had nothing for it but to get 
his own breakfast ready and go back to his 
work. When he came in for dinner it 
happened as it had happened for breakfast. 

' Bad luck to her laziness/ he thought ; 
' this is coul comfort for a poor man, but 
I '11 play a trick on her for it.' 

And with that he fetched a bart of straw 
and bunged the two windows of his house. 
Then he went back to his work. 

The sun had not vet set when he came 

+S 

home in the evening. His wife was lying 
in bed waiting for day. 

' Aw, woman/ he shouted, ' make haste 
an' get up to see the sun rise in the wesV 

Up jumped the wife and ran to the door 
just as the sun was going down, and the 
sight terrified her. The whole sky looked 
like fire, and she thought that the end of 



io MANX FAIRY TALES 

the world had come. But next morning it 
all happened as it had happened before, 
and himself said to her : 

' Kirry, it 's the Buggane, sure enough, 
that '11 be having thee one of these days if 
thou don't mend thy ways ! ' 

' What Buggane ? ' said she. 

' Ax me no questions/ said he, ' an' I '11 
tell thee no lies. But it 's the big, black, 
hairy fellow that lies under the Spooyt Vooar 
that I 'm meaninV 

' Aw, houl yer tongue, man ; thou don't 
frecken me wi' thy Bugganes,' shouted the 
woman. 

In the evening the man left the house to 
go out to the fishing. As soon as he had 
gone the woman took a notion in her head 
to bake, as she had only the heel o' the loaf 
left for breakfast. Now, Themselves can't 
stand lazy ways, and baking after sunset is 
the one thing they won't abide. She who 
does so will meet their revenge something- 
is sure to be taken by them, but seldom 
worse than some of the live stock. Well, 
the woman set to work to bake some barley 



THE BUGGANE OF GLEN MEAY n 

bread and flour cake. First, she went out to 
get gorse to put under the griddle, slipping 
the bolt on the door as she came in, that 
none of the neighbours would catch her and 
cry shame on her for baking after sunset. 
She got some meal out of the barrel and put 
it on the round table, and put salt and water 
on it, and then she kneaded the meal and 
clapped a cake out as thin as sixpence with 
her hands. But she was only a middling 
poor baker, one of the sort that has to use 
a knife to make the cake of a right round. 
She had turned the cake twice, and taken it 
off, and brushed the griddle with a white 
goose wing ready for the next cake which 
she was busy cutting round with her knife. 
Just at that moment there was heard the 
sound of something heavy lumbering up to 
the door. After a few seconds SOME- 
THING fumbled at the sneg of the door, 
then SOMETHING knocked high up on the 
door, and a voice like the thick, gruff voice 
of a giant was heard saying, ' Open, open 
for me.' She made no answer. Again 
there was a loud knock and a big hoarse 



12 MANX FAIRY TALES 

voice was heard which cried : ' Woman of 
the house, open for me.' Then the door 
burst open and behold ye, what should she 
see but a great, big ugly beast of a Buggane 
rushing in mad with rage. Without as 
much as a ' By your leave/ he made one 
grab at her, and clutched hold of her by her 
apron and swung her on his shoulder, and 
away with him. Before she knew where 
she was he rushed her across the fields and 
down the hill, till he brought her to the top 
of the Spooyt Vooar, the big waterfall of 
Glen Meay. As the Buggane tore down the 
hill, the woman felt the ground tremble 
under his feet, and the noise of the waterfall 
rilled her ears. And, there in front of her, 
she saw the stream turn to white spray as 
it came leaping down the rocks. As the 
Buggane swung her in the air to throw her 
into the deep pool, she thought that her 
last hour had come. Then all at once she 
remembered the knife that she held in her 
hand ! Quick as thought she cut the string 
of her apron and down she tumbled to the 
ground, rolling over and over down the hill. 



THE BUGGANE OF GLEN MEAY 13 

And before he knew where he was the 
Buggane, with the speed he had on him, 
pitched forward head first down the rush- 
ing Spooyt Vooar. As he went head over 
heels and down to the bottom of the pool 
with a souse you 'd have heard half a 
mile away, she heard him give a roar out of 
him : 

Rumbyl, rumbyl, sambyl, 

I thought I had a lazy Dirt, 

And I have but the edge of her skirt. 

And that was the last that was seen of 
that fellow ! 



HOW THE MANX CAT LOST HER TAIL 

WHEN Noah was calling the animals into 
the Ark, there was one cat who was out 
mousing and took no notice when he was 
calling to her. She was a good mouser, but 
this time she had trouble to find a mouse 
and she took a notion that she wouldn't go 
into the Ark without one. 

So at last, when Noah had all the animals 
safe inside, and he saw the rain beginning 
to fall, and no sign of her coming in, he 
said : 

' W T ho '"s out is out, and who 's in is in ! 
And with that he was just closing the 
door when the cat came running up, half 
drowned that 's why cats hate the water- 
and just squeezed in, in time. But Noah 
had slammed the door as she ran in and it 

cut off her tail, so she got in without it, 

14 



HOW THE MANX CAT LOST HER TAIL 15 

and that is why Manx cats have no tails 
to this day. That cat said : 

Bee bo bend it, 
My tail's ended, 
And I '11 go to Mann 
And get copper nails, 
And mend it. 



THE MAKING OF MANN 

THOUSANDS of years ago, at the time of the 
Battles of the Giants in Ireland, Finn Mac 
Cooil was fighting with a great, red-haired 
Scotch giant who had come over to challenge 
him. He beat him and chased him east- 
wards towards the sea. But the Scotch 
giant was a faster runner and began to get 
ahead of him, so Finn, who was afraid that 
he would jump into the sea and escape, 
stooped down and clutched a great handful 
of the soil of Ireland to throw at him. He 
cast it, but he missed his enemy, and the 
great lump of earth fell into the midst of 
the Irish Sea. It is the Isle of Mann, and 
the great hole which Finn made, where he 
tore it up, is Lough Neagh. 

There were men, too, in Ireland in those 
days as well as giants, and to some of them 

16 



THE MAKING OF MANN 17 

it seemed to happen in a different way. 

Men do not always understand the doings 

of giants, because men live, it may be said, 

in the footprints of the giants. It seems 

that at this time the Irish tribes were 

gathered in two great forces getting ready 

to meet the plunderers who had left 

Scotland and were at work on their own 

coast. Their blood got too hot and they 

went into each other in downright earnest, 

to show how they would do with the rascals 

when they came. To their confusion, for 

they lost hold over themselves, they got 

into boggy ground and were in great danger. 

The leaders, seeing that it was going to 

mean a big loss of life, got all their men 

together on a big patch of dry ground that 

happened to be in the bog-land, when all 

of a sudden a darkness came overhead and 

the ground began to shake and tremble 

with the weight of the people and the stir 

there was at them, and then it disappeared, 

people and all. Some said that it took 

plunge and sank into the bog with the people 

on it. Others said that it was lifted up, 



18 MANX FAIRY TALES 

and the people on it dropped off into the 
swamp. No doubt the darkness that was 
caused by the hand of Finn made it hard to 
see just how it happened. However that 
may be, a while after this they said the sea 
was surging dreadful, and the men in the 
boats had to hold to the sides, or it 's out 
they 'd have been thrown. And behold ye, 
a few days after this there was land seen in 
the middle of the sea, where no man ever 
saw the like before. 

You may know that this story is true 
because the Irish have always looked on the 
Isle of Mann as a parcel of their own land. 
They say that when Saint Patrick put the 
blessing of God on the soil of Ireland and 
all creatures that might live upon it, the 
power of that blessing was felt at the 
same time in the Island. 

Saint Patrick was a mighty man, 

He was a Saint so clever, 

He gave the snakes and toads a twisht ! 

And banished them for ever. 

And there is proof of the truth of the saying 
to this day, for while such nasty things do 



THE MAKING OF MANN 19 

live in England they cannot breathe freely 
on the blessed soil. 

The island was much larger then than 
it is now, but the magician who for a time 
ruled over it, as a revenge on one of his 
enemies, raised a furious wind in the air and 
in the bosom of the earth. This wind tore 
several pieces off the land and cast them 
into the sea. Thev floated about and 

*/ 

were changed into the dangerous rocks 
which are now so much feared by ships. 
The smaller pieces became the shifting 
sands which wave round the coast, and 
are sometimes seen and sometimes dis- 
appear. Later the island was known as 
Elian Sheaynt, the Isle of Peace, or the 
Holy Island. It was a place where there 
was always sunshine, and the singing of 
birds, the scent of sweet flowers, and apple- 
trees blossoming the whole year round. 
There was always enough there to eat 
and drink, and the horses of that place 
were fine and the women beautiful. 



C 2 



THE COMING OF SAINT PATRICK 

IT was the time that Saint Patrick was 
coming on horseback to Mann, over the 
sea from Ireland. When he drew near to 
the land, Manannan Mac y Leirr, that 
great wizard that was ruler of Mann, put 
a charm out of him that made the air round 
the island thick with mist, so that neither 
sun nor sky nor sea nor land could be seen. 
Patrick rode into the thick of the mist, but 
try as he would he could find no way out 
of it, and behind him there was a great 
sea-beast waiting to swallow him up. He 
didn't know in his seven senses where he 
was east, or west and was for turning 
back, when there came to his ears the cry 
of a curlew, calling : 

' Come you, come you, come you ! ! 

Then he said to himself : 

' The curlew will be down feeding among 
the rocks ; she will be calling to her young.' 



20 



THE COMING OF SAINT PATRICK 21 

After that he heard the bleat of a goat : 
' Beware, beware, beware ! J 
And he said to himself : 

* Where the goat bleats for the fall of 
her kid there will be a steep bit of a hill/ 

Last of all he heard the crow of a cock : 

* Come to us come, come ! ! 
Then said Patrick : 

' I believe on me sowl I 'm back of 
Peel Hill. 1 

And with that he took one leap on to 
the little island and put his horse up the 
sheer rock. Soon he stood, sure enough, 
at the top of Peel Hill. As he stood there 
he cried out : 

' Me blessing on the curlew. No man 
afther this is to find her nest ! ' 

' Me blessing on the goat, an* no man 
is to see her bring forth her young ! ' 

r Me blessing on the cock, an* he shall 
crow at dawn ever afther at this same hour ! ' 

He cursed the sea beast and turned 
him into a solid rock and there he lies now 
with his great fin on his back. 

Where the horse's hoofs struck the 
top of the hill there sprang a well of pure 



22 MANX FAIRY TALES 

water, of which man and horse drank, and 
it is called the Holy Well of Saint Patrick 
to this day. If you go down to the ledges 
of the rock, which were made by the horse's 
hoofs as he clambered up, you may see 
the footprints still. 

When Patrick looked about him the 
mist was lifting, and he saw a great host of 
warriors round Manannan's Faery Mound, 
with the first rays of the rising sun shin- 
ing on their spears. But the saint knew that 
they were phantoms raised by Manannan's 
magic power and he bade them to be gone. 

And, behold, they and their master, in 
the shape of three-legged men, whirled 
round and round like wheels before the 
swift wind, which could not overtake them, 
till they came to Spanish Head. There 
they whirled over the houghs so quickly 
and lightly that the gulls on the ledges 
below were not disturbed, then on over 
the rough, grey Irish Sea till they came to 
the enchanted island, fifteen miles south- 
west of the Calf. Once there Manannan 
dropped the isle to the bottom of the sea, 
and he and his company were seen no more. 



THE COMING OF SAINT PATRICK 23 

Saint Patrick on his snow-white horse 
stood still on Peel Hill and blessed the 
island where he had touched land, and 
blessed it has been to this day. Then he 
leapt on to the little islet that he saw below 
him. Ever since it has been called Saint 
Patrick's Isle, and from the rocks on its 
northern side he watched the fierce storm 
which Manannan's going had made. Just 
then a brave ship, with foresail and main- 
sail gone, was driving straight for the 
terrible rocks. Saint Patrick raised his 
mailed hand and the tempest was calmed. 
The good ship righted herself again, and 
those on board were saved. They looked 
up with awe and thankfulness at the rider 
in his shining armour on the snow-white 
steed, standing bright against the blackness 
of the rocks. And ever since that day the 
fisherman, as he sails past the Horse Rock, 
has offed with his cap and put up this bit 
of a prayer to good Saint Patrick : 

Saint Patrick who blessed our Island, bless us and 
our boat, 

Going out well, coming in better, 
With living and dead in the boat. 



HOW THE HERRING BECAME 
KING OF THE SEA 

THE old fishermen of the island have it to 
say that years and years ago the fish met 
to choose themselves a king, for they had 
no deemster to tell them what was right. 
Likely enough their meeting-place was off 
the Shoulder, south of the Calf. They all 
came looking their best there was Captain 
Jiarg, the Red Gurnet, in his fine crimson 
coat ; Grey Horse, the Shark, big and cruel ; 
the Bollan in his brightest colours ; Dirty 
Peggy, the Cuttle-fish, putting her nicest 
face on herself ; Athag, the Haddock, try- 
ing to rub out the black spots the devil 
burnt on him when he took hold of him 
with his finger and thumb, and all the rest. 
Each one thought he might be chosen. 

The Fish had a strong notion to make 

24 



HOW THE HERRING BECAME KING 25 

Brae Gorm, the Mackerel, king. He knew 
that, and he went and put beautiful lines 
and stripes on himself pink and green 
and gold, and all the colours of the sea 
and sky. Then he was thinking diamonds 
of himself. But when he came he looked 
that grand that they didn't know him. 
So they said that he was artificial and 
would have nothing to do with him. 

In the end it \vas Skeddan, the Herring, 
the Lil Silver Fella, who was made King of 
the Sea. 

When it was all over, up came the Fluke, 
too late to give his vote, and they all 
called out : 

You 've missed the tide, my beauty ! ' 

It seems that he had been so busy 
tallivating himself up, touching himself up 
red in places, that he forgot how time went. 
When he found that the herring had been 
chosen, he twisted up his mouth on one 
side, and says he : 

' An' what am I goin' to be then ? ' 

Take that/ says Scarrag the Skate, and 
he ups with his tail and gives the Fluke 



26 MANX FAIRY TALES 

a slap on his mouth that knocked his mouth 
crooked on him. And so it has been ever 
since. 

And, maybe, it 's because the Herring is 
King of the Sea that he has so much honour 
among men. Even the deemsters, when 
they take their oath, say : ' I will execute 
justice as indifferently as the herring's back- 
bone doth lie in the midst of the fish.' 

And the Manx people will not burn 
the herring's bones in the fire, in case 
the herring should feel it. It is to be re- 
membered, too, that the best herring in 
the world are caught in this place off 
the Shoulder, where the fish held their big 
meeting, and that is because it is not very 
far from Manannan's enchanted island. 



THE SILVER CUP 

THERE was once a man living in the south of 
the island whose name was Colcheragh. He 
was a farmer, and he had poultry on his 
street, sheep on the mountain, and cattle in 
the meadow land alongside the river. 

His cows were the best cows in the 
parish. Nowhere could you see such a 
fine head of cattle as he had ; they were 
the pride of his heart, and they served him 
well with milk and butter. 

But after a time he began to think that 
something was amiss with the cows. He 
went to the cow-house the first thing every 
morning, and one morning he noticed the 
cows looking so tired they could hardly 
stand. When it came to milking time they 
found not a drop of milk. The girls, who 
went out to milk the cows, came back with 

empty cans, saying : 

27 



28 MANX FAIRY TALES 

' The milk has gone up into the cows' 
horns ! ' 

Colcheragh began to think that some one 
had put an evil eye on his cows, so he swept 
up some of the dust from the cross four-roads 
close by, in a shovel, and sprinkled it on 
their backs. But the cows got no better. 
Then he wondered if some one was coming 
at night to steal the milk. He made up his 
mind to sit in the cow-house all night to see 
if he could catch the thief. 

So one night after everyone had gone 
to bed he crept out of the house and hid 
himself under some straw in a corner of 
the cow-house. Hour after hour of the dark 
lonesome night crept on, and he heard 
nothing but the cows' breathing and their 
rustle in the straw. He was very cold and 
stiff, and he had just made up his mind to 
go into the house, when a glimmering light 
showed under the door ; and then he heard 
Things laughing and talking queer talk- 
he knew that they were not right people. 
The cow-house door opened and in came 
a whole lot of Little Men, dressed in green 



THE SILVER CUP 29 

coats and leather caps. Keeking through 
the straw, he saw their horns hung by 
their sides, their whips in their hands, and 
scores of little dogs of every colour green, 
blue, yellow, scarlet, and every colour 
yon can think of at their heels. The 
cows were lying down. The Little Fellows 
loosed the yokes from the cows' necks, 
hopped on their backs, a dozen, maybe, 
on each cow, and cracked their little whips. 
The cows jumped to their feet and Them- 
selves galloped off ! 

Colcheragh ran to the stable, got on a 
horse, and made chase after his cows. 
The night was dark, but he could hear the 
whizz of the little whips through the air, the 
click of the cows' hoofs on stones, and the 
little dogs going : 

' Yep, yep, yep ! ' 

He heard, too, the laughing of Them- 
selves. Then one of them would be singing- 
out to the dogs, calling them up by name, 
giving a call out of him : 

' Ho la, ho la, la ! ' 

Colcheragh followed thesesounds, keeping 



3 o MANX FAIRY TALES 

close at their heels. On and on they 
went, helter-skelter over hedges and over 
ditches till they got to the Fairy Hill, and 
Colcheragh was still following them, though 
on any other night he would not have gone 
within a mile of the great green mound. 
When the Little Fellows came to the hill they 
sounded a tan-tara-ra-tan on their horns. 
The hill opened, bright light streamed 
out, and sounds of music and great 
merriment. Themselves passed through, 
and Colcheragh slid off his horse and 
slipped unnoticed in after them. The hill 
closed behind them and he found himself 
in a fine room, lit up till it was brighter 
than the summer noonday. The whole 
place was crowded with Little People, 
young and old, men and women, all decked 
out for a bail, that grand he had never 
looked on the like. Among them w r ere 
some faces that he thought he had seen 
before, but he took no notice of them, 
nor they of him. In one part there was 
dancing to the music of Horn Mooar 
that was the name of the fiddler and when 



THE SILVER CUP 31 

he played all men must follow him whether 
they would or no. The dancing was like 
the dancing of flowers in the wind, such 
dancing as he had never seen before. 

In another part his cows were being 
killed and roasted, and after the dance there 
was a great feast, with scores of tables set 
out with silver and gold and everything 
of the best to eat and drink. There was 
roast and boiled, and sollaghan and cowree, 
and puddings and pies, and jough and wine 
a feast fit for the Governor himself. 
When they were taking their seats one of 
them, whose face he thought he knew, 
whispered to him : ' Don't thee taste 
nothin' here or thou will be like me, and 
never go back to thy ones no more.' 

Colcheragh made up his mind to take 
this advice. When the feast was coming 
to an end there was a shout for the Jough- 
y-dorrys, the Stirrup Cup. Some one ran 
to fetch the cup. The one among the Little 
People, who seemed to be their king, filled 
it with red wine, drank himself, and passed 
it on to the rest. It was going round 



32 MANX FAIRY TALES 

from one to another until it came to 
Colcheragh, who saw, when he had it in 
his hands, that it was of fine carved silver, 
and more beautiful than anything ever 
seen outside that place. He said to himself : 
' The little durts have stolen and killed 
and eaten my cattle this cup, if it were 
mine, would pay me for all.' So standing 
up and grasping the silver cup tightly in his 
hand, he held it up and said : 

1 Shoh Slaynt ! ' which is the Manx toast. 

Then he dashed the cupful of wine over 
Themselves and the lights. In an instant 
the place was in black darkness, save for 
a stime of grey dawn light which came 
through the chink of the half-closed door. 
Colcheragh made for it, cup in hand, 
slammed the door behind him, and ran 
for his life. 

After a moment of uproar Themselves 
missed the cup and Colcheragh, and with 
yells of rage they poured out of the hill 
after him, in full chase. The farmer, who 
had a good start, ran as he had never run 
before. He knew he would get small mercy 



THE SILVER CUP 33 

at their hands if he was caught ; he went 
splashing through the wet mire and keeping 
off the stepping stones ; he knew they 
could not take him in the water. He looked 
over his shoulder and caught a glimpse of 
the whole Mob Beg behind him, close at his 
heels, waving their naked arms in the light 
of the torch each one held up. On they 
came, shrieking and howling in Manx : 

Colcheragh, Colcheragh, 
Put thy foot on the stone, 
And do not put it in the wet ! 

But he ran in the water till he came to the 
churchyard, and they could not touch him 
there. When he went into the cowhouse 
the next morning the cows had all come 
home and they got rest after that. 

He put the cup in the Church at 
Rushen, and they are saying it was there 
for many years ; then it was sent to Lon- 
don. It is said that after this the farmer 
would not go out of his house of an evening- 
after dark. 



D 



THE CHILD WITHOUT A NAME 

IT was many and many a year ago that the 
heiress of Eary Cushlin Farm had a little 
child. Eary Cushlin is a terribly lonely 
place ; it stands high up on the Eanin 
Mooar, the big precipice, close by the steep 
brow of Cronk-yn-Irree-Laa. You might 
live there for months without seeing the 
face of clay, and no person knew of the 
birth of the child. It was not welcome 
when it came, and as soon as it was born, 
it died. Then the mother carried it, at 
dead of night, along the narrow path 
over the rocks, past where the waters of 
Gob-yn-Ushtey leap into the bay, past 
Ooig-ny-Goayr, the Cave of the Goat, to 
Lag-ny-Keilley. She buried it in the 
ruins of the lonely little Keeill that has 
been there on the hill-side for fourteen 

34 



THE CHILD WITHOUT A NAME 35 

hundred years and more. There she left 
it alone. 

A short while after some yawls were 
going to the haddock fishing from Dalby. 
There was the ' Lucky Granny ' from the 
Lagg, the Muck Beg, or Little Pig, from 
Cubbon Aalish's, Boid - y - Conney from 
deary's, Glen Rushen, and others, ten in 
all. Then it began to be said that some- 
thing strange was going on over at Lag-ny- 
Keilley. The men would be fishing close in 
to land under the black shadow of Cronk- 
yn-Irree-Laa, the Hill of the Rising Day. 
When little evening came, the yawls would 
be drifting south with the flood tide, north 
with the ebb, passing and repassing the 
strand of Lag-ny-Keilley. Then they would 
see a beautiful light and hear a lamentation 
and crying, as if from a little lost child. In 
the end the light would run up the steep 
brow to the old Keeill, and go out. The 
men got so frightened that at last they 
would not go on the bay after dark, but 
would make from the fishing-ground as soon 
as the sun was getting low. 



V 2 



36 MANX FAIRY TALES 

Things became so black for the women 
and children at home that one old, old 
man, Illiam Quirk, who had not gone to 
sea for many years, said he would go with 
one of the yawls to see for himself. They 
used to say of him : ' Oul Illiam has 
the power at him in the prayer, and 
he is a middlin' despard fella ; he will 
dar' most anything.' It was so at this 
time his yawl was the last of them 
coming in ; the rest were frightened. It 
was a right fine, beautiful moonlight night 
when he was coming down from the mark, 
and when he was near to Gob-yn-Ushtey 
he heard crying and crying. He lay on 
his oars and listened, and he heard a 
little child wailing over and over again : 
' She Ihiannoo beg dyn ennym mee ! ' 
That is, ' I am a little child without a name ! ' 

' Pull nearer to the Ian'/ said Illiam 
when he heard it. They pulled close in, and 
he plainly saw a little child on the strand 
bearing a lighted candle in his hand. 

' God bless me, bogh, we mus' give 
thee a name ! ' said Illiam. And he took 



THE CHILD WITHOUT A NAME 37 

off his hat, and stood up in the boat, and 
threw a handful of water towards the 
child, crying out : ' If thou are a boy, I 
chrizzen thee in the name of the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost, Juan ! If thou are 
a girl I chrizzen thee in the name of the 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Joanney ! ' 
In an instant the crying stopped, and 
was never heard again, and the light went 
out and was seen no more. 



THE FAIRY DOCTOR 

THE shoemakers and tailors and chance 
spinners used to go round on people's 
houses, making things and spinning rolls 
of wool for the people. 

One time the tailor went to Chaise 
Ballawhane. Long enough they were wait- 
ing for him, and, as luck happened, he 
caught Chaise at home. 

Now Chaise had power over the fishes 
of the sea and the birds of the air as well 
as over the beasts of the field. Himself and 
the Little Ones got on well together too, 
but somehow or other he was never able 
to get the power over them. People said 
he was never able to learn their language 
right. Anyhow, be that as it may, he was 
often enough with them. 

After the tailor had had a crack with 

38 



THE FAIRY DOCTOR 39- 

the women he turned round to Ballawhane, 
who was sitting in the big chair, his elbow 
on the table and his hand holding his 
forehead, the other hand in his trouser's 
pocket to the elbow, and he not minding 
anybody nor anything. 

' I batter take yer measure, Mr. Teare, 
while yer in, for there 's no knowin' how 
long that '11 be/ the tailor said. 

' Aw, boy, boy/ answered Chaise, look- 
ing out through the window people were 
not bothering with blinds then and then 
turning to the clock, he said : ' There 's no 
time goin' to-night : I want to go from 
home apiece, an* it 's time I was gettin 
ready/ Nobody said a word for a minute 
or two. He was exactly like a body with 
his mind far away. Again, all of a sudden, 
he looked at the tailor. Then he said : 

' Ahm goin' to a big supper to-night. 
Thou '11 get nothin' done here, maybe thou 
would like to go ? It 's apiece to go, but 
thou '11 be right enough with me. But 
there 's one promise I '11 be wantin' from 
thee no matter, no matter what thou '11 



MANX FAIRY TALES 

see, nor what thou '11 hear, nor who '11 
spake to thee, thou mustn't spake back 
or it '11 be all over with thee.' 

The tailor was so taken up with the 
chance of seeing the Little People for him- 
self that he promised faithfully, no matter 
what took place, never to speak a word, 
and he knew he would be right enough 
with Chaise. 

Ballawhane then took his hat from 
the latt, and when he was going out .he 
said : 

' I '11 be back for thee just now ; side 
thee things a bit while thou 're waitinV 

In a while there was a noise of horses 
coming up the street it was awful. Then 
they stopped on the street and in came 
Ballawhane saying : 

' We couldn' get another hoss for thee, 
boy, do what we would, but thou '11 have 
to get a hoss of some sort.' 

And going down to the parlour he got 
hold of something, and went out, never 
saying a word. Coming back to the door 
after a bit, he said : 



THE FAIRY DOCTOR 41 

' Come on, boy. I '11 hold her head 
till thou get on/ 

Out goes the tailor, and up, with one 
whip, on her back, and they go like the 
very hommers, on and on, over hedges 
and ditches, till they came to a big brow 
by a river. It seems they knew the w r ay, 
night as it was, for they all took it one 
after another like fun. It was a big jump, 
though, and when the tailor felt himself 
flying through the air, his heart jumped 
to his mouth. 

' Oh Lord, what a jump ! ' he said. 

The next minute he fell flop in a bog, 
with the lapboard between his legs, all 
alone in the dark. Next morning he got 
up all slaaed with slush, looking like a 
thing that had been dragged through a 
gutter, and as quiet as a mouse the shy 
he was, every bit of steam took out of him. 

Awhile after some of the women were 
asking him, how did he like it last night, and 
would he go again ? But all they could get 
out of him was : 

' Aw, naver no more, naver no more ! ' 



JOE MOORE'S STORY OF FINN MAC- 
COOILLEY AND THE BUGGANE 

THIS Finn MacCooilley was an Irish giant, 
and the Buggane was a Manx giant. But, 
anyway at all, this Finn came across from 
the Mountains of Mourne to see what was 
the Isle of Mann like, for he was seeing land. 
He liked the island uncommon well, so 
he stopped in it, living out Cregneish way. 
The Buggane was hearing great talk about 
the giant Finn MacCooilley that was in 
the Sound, so he came down from the top 
of Barrule to put a sight on him. Finn 
knew that he was coming to have a fight 
with him, to see who was best man, and 
Finn did not want to fight. ' Lave him 
to me,' says the wife ; ' an' I '11 put the 
augh-augh on him ! ' 

Before long they caught sight of the 

42 



JOE MOORE'S STORY 43 

Buggane, and he was a walking terror. He 
was coming from Barrule to them, in a 
mighty pursue. 

' Slip in the criddle, Finn/ says she. 
1 It 's me that '11 spake to him.' 

Up comes the Buggane to the door, 
hot-foot. 

' Where 's Himself ? ' says he. 

' This man is gone from home this bit,' 
says she. ' What is it you are wantin' 
with him ? ! 

' Aw, there is no hurry on me. I '11 
put my fut inside and wait till he comes 
back,' says he. 

' Plaze yourself,' says she, ' an' you '11 
plaze me ; but I must get on with my 
bakinV 

' Who have you got in the criddle ? ' 
says he. 

' That 's our baby,' says she. 

' An' in the name of the Unknown 
Powers, what sort of a man is he Himself 
if his baby is that big ? ' 

' He 's very big an' powerful,' says she. 
1 An' the child is favourin' the father.' 



44 MANX FAIRY TALES 

She was baking barley bread, and when 
the baking was done at her, she took the 
griddle and put it between two cakes of 
bread, and gave it to the Buggane to eat, 
with a quart of buttermilk. He went to 
try and eat, and he couldn'. 

' Aw, man-alive ! But this is the hard 
bread,' says he. ' What sort have you given 
me at all, at all ? ' 

' That 's the sort I 'm giving Finn/ 
says she. 

' An* will Finn's teeth go through this ? ] 

' Aw, yes, Finn thought nothing at all 
of 'at in' that that 's the sort of bread 
he was wantin',' says Thrinn. 

Finn got up out of the cradle, and began 
to roar for a piece. She fetched him a 
clout on the lug. 

' Stop your noisin',' says she. ' An' 
stand straight and don't be puttin' the 
drone on yer back like that.' And givin* 
him a buttercake, she says : 

* Ate, ate, lash into ye, an' let 's have 
no lavins.' 

' You '11 have the chile's teeth broke in 



JOE MOORE'S STORY 45 

his head, woman. He can naver ate bread 
as hard as that ! ' says the Buggane. 

' Aw, he can do that with life/ says she. 

But that done the Buggane ; he sleeched 
out and claned away again. He thought 
if Finn was that strong and the baby that 
big, he had best catch home again. 

But it was not long until the Buggane 
and Finn did meet, and then they had the 
battle ! One day Finn met the Buggane 
over at Kirk Christ Rushen, and they went 
at each other early in the day till the sunset. 
Finn had one fut in the Big Sound, an' so 
he made the Channel between the Calf 
and Kitteriand, and the other in the Little 
Sound, an' so he made the narrow Channel 
between Kitteriand and the islan'. The 
Buggane was standin' at Port lern that 's 
what made the fine big openin' at Port 
lern. The rocks were all broken to pieces 
with their feet. But, anyway, the Buggane 
came off victorious and slashed Finn awful, 
so he had to run to Ireland. Finn could 
walk on the sea, but the Buggane couldn' ; 
and when Finn got off and he couldn 1 get 



46 MANX FAIRY TALES 

more revenge on him, he tore out a tooth 
and hove it whizzing through the air after 
Finn. It hit him on the back of the head, 
and then it fell into the sea and became 
what we are now calling the Chickens' 
Rock. Finn turned round with a roar and 
a mighty curse : 

1 My seven swearings of a curse on it ! : 
says he. ' Let it lie there for a vexation 
to the sons of men while water runs and 
grass grows ! ' 

And a vexation and a curse has it been 
to seamen from that day to this. 



THE FYNODEREE 

The Fynoderee went to the meadow 

To lift the dew at grey cock crow, 

The maiden hair and the cow herb 

He was stamping them both his feet under ; 

He was stretching himself on the meadow, 

He threw the grass on the left hand ; 

Last year he caused us to wonder, 

This year he 's doing far better. 

He was stretching himself on the meadow, 
The herbs in bloom he was cutting, 
The bog bean herb in the curragh, 
As he went on his way it was shaking, 
Everything with his scythe he was cutting, 
To sods was skinning the meadows, 
And if a leaf were left standing, 
With his heels he was stamping it under. 

Old Song, 

47 



THE FYNODEREE OF GORDON 

THERE was one time a Fynoderee living 
in Gordon. Those persons who saw him 
said that he was big and shaggy, with 
fiery eyes, and stronger than any man. 
One night he met the blacksmith who was 
going home from his shop and held out his 
hand to him to shake hands. The black- 
smith gave him hold of the iron sock of the 
plough which he had with him, and he 
squeezed it as if it had been a piece of 
clay, saying : ' There 's some strong Manx- 
men in the world yet ! ' 

The Fynoderee did all his work at night 
and went into hidlans in the daytime. One 
night, when he was out on his travels he 
came to Mullin Sayle, out in Glen Garragh. 
He saw a light in the mill, so he put his 
head through the open top-half of the door 

4 8 



THE FYNODEREE OF GORDON 49 

to see what was going on inside, and there 
was Quaye Mooar's wife sifting corn. When 
she caught sight of the great big head she 
was frightened terrible. She had presence 
of mind, however, to hand him the sieve 
and say : ' If thou go to the river and bring 
water in it, I'll make a cake for thee; 
and the more water thou carry back, that 's 
the bigger thy cake will be.' 

So the Fynoderee took the sieve, and 
ran down to the river ; but the water 
poured from it and he could fetch none 
for the cake, and he threw the sieve away 
in a rage, and cried : 

' Dollan, dollan, dash ! Sieve, sieve, dash ! 

Ny smoo ta mee cur ayn, The more I put in, 
Ny smoo ta goll ass.' The more there J s going 

out. 

The woman got away while he was 
trying to fill the sieve, and when he came 
back to the mill he found it in darkness. 

The Fynoderee was working very hard 
for the Radcliffes, who owned Gordon then. 
Every night he was grinding their corn for 



50 MANX FAIRY TALES 

them, and often he would take a hand at 
the flails. If they put a stack into the 
barn in the evening and loosed every sheaf 
of it, they would find it thrashed in the 
morning, but he would not touch one 
sheaf of it unless it were loosed. In the 
summer time he was getting in their hay 
and cutting their corn. 

Many a time the people of the farm 
were passing the time of day with him. 
One cold frosty day, big Gordon was 
docking turnips and he blew on his fingers 
to warm them. 

What are thou blowing on thee fingers 
for ? : said the Fynoderee. 

' To put them in heat/ said the Farmer. 

At supper that night the Farmer's 
porridge was hot and he blew on it. 

' What are thou doing that for ? ' said the 
Fynoderee. ' Isn't it hot enough for thee ? ' 

' It J s too hot, it is ; I 'm blowing on it to 
cool it/ said the Farmer. 

' I don't like thee at all, boy/ said the 
Fynoderee, ' for thou can blow hot and blow 
cold with one breath.' 



THE FYNODEREE OF GORDON 51 

The Fynoderee was wearing no clothes, 
but it is saidjthat he never felt the cold. 
Big Gordon, however, had pity on him that 
he had none, and one frosty winter he went 
and got clothes made for him breeches, 
jacket, waistcoat and cap great big ones 
they w T ere too. And he went and gave 
them to him in the barn one night. The 
Fynoderee looked on them and took them 
up, and says he : 

Coat for the back is sickness for the back ! 
Vest for the middle is bad for the middle ! 
Breeches for the breech is a curse for the breech ! 
Cap for the head is injurious for the head ! 
If thou own big Gordon farm, boy 
If thine this little glen east, and thine this little 

glen west, 
Not thine the merry Glen of Rushen yet, boy ! 

So he flung the clothes away and walked 
his ways to Glen Rushen, out to Juan 
Mooar deary's. He was working for him 
then, cutting the meadow hay for him, 
cutting turf for him, and seeing after the 
sheep. 

It happened one winter's night that 
there was a great snow-storm. Juan 



52 MANX FAIRY TALES 

Mooar got up to see after the sheep, but 
the Fynoderee came to the window. 

' Lie, lie an' take a sleep, Juan/ says 
he ; ' I Ve got all the sheep in the fold, but 
there was one loaghtan (brown native 
sheep) yearling there that give me more 
trouble till all the res'. My seven curses 
on the little loaghtan ! I was twice round 
Barrule Mooar afther her, but I caught 
her for all/ 

When Juan went out in the morning 
all the sheep were safe in the cogee house 
and a big hare in with them, with two short 
lankets on him, that was the brown 
yearling ! 

After a time the Fynoderee went up to 
the top of Barrule Mountain to live, up to 
the very peak. Himself and the wife 
went to make a potful of porridge one day, 
and they fell out. 

She ran and left him. He threw a big 
white rock after her and it struck her on 
the heel the mark of the blood is still 
on the stone at Cleigh Fainey. While 
she stooped to put a rag on her heel 



THE FYNODEREE OF GORDON 53 

he threw a lot of small rocks at her, that 
made her give a spring to the Lagg, two 
miles away. Then he threw a big rock 
with the pot-stick in it it 's in the Lagg 
river to-day. At that she gave two leaps 
over the sea to the Mountains of Mourne 
in Ireland ; and for all that I know she 's 
living there still. 



THE LHONDOO AND THE 
USHAG-REAISHT 

ONE time Lhondoo, the Blackbird, was 
living in the mountains and Ushag-reaisht, 
the Bird of the Waste, as Manx ones call 
the Golden Plover, was living in the low- 
lands, and neither of them was able to leave 
his own haunts. One day, however, the two 
birds met on the borders between mountain 
and plain, and they made it up between 
them that they would change places for a 
while. The Bird of ihe Waste should stay 
in the mountains till the Lhondoo should 
return. 

The Lhondoo found himself better off in 
his new home than in the old one, and he did 
not go back. So the poor Bird of the Waste 

34 



LHONDOO AND THE USHAG-REAISHT 55 

was left in the mountains and any day you 
may hear him cry in a mournful voice : 

' Lhondoo, vel oo cheet, vel oo cheet ? 

S'foddey my reayllagh oo ! ' 
Black Thrush, are you coming, are you coming ? 
The time is long and you are not here ! 

But the Lhondoo answers : 

' Cha jig dy braa, cha jig dy braa ! ' 

Will never come, will never come ! 

Then the poor Ushag-reaisht wails : 

' T'eh feer feayr, t'eh feer feayr ! ' 

It 's very cold, it 's very cold. 

Then the Blackbird goes his ways. 



BILLY BEG, TOM BEG, AND 
THE FAIRIES 

NOT far from Dalby, Billy Beg and Tom 
Beg, two humpback cobblers, lived together 
on a lonely croft. Billy Beg was sharper 
and cleverer than Tom Beg, who was always 
at his command. One day Billy Beg gave 
Tom a staff, and quoth he : 

' Tom Beg, go to the mountain and fetch 
home the white sheep/ 

Tom Beg took the staff and went to the 
mountain, but he could not find the white 
sheep. At last, when he was far from home 
and dusk was coming on, he began to think 
that he had best go back. The night was 
fine, and stars and a small crescent moon 
were in the sky. No sound was to be heard 
but the curlew's sharp whistle. Tom was 

hastening home, and had almost reached 

56 



BILLY BEG, TOM BEG, AND FAIRIES 57 

Glen Rushen, when a grey mist gathered 
and he lost his way. But it was not long 
before the mist cleared, and Tom Beg found 
himself in a green glen such as he had never 
seen before, though he thought he knew 
every glen within five miles of him, for he was 
born and reared in the neighbourhood. He 
was marvelling and wondering where he 
could be, when he heard a far-away sound 
drawing nearer to him. 

'Aw/ said he to himself, 'there's more 
than myself afoot on the mountains to- 
night ; I '11 have company/ 

The sound grew louder. First, it was 
like the humming of bees, then like the 
rushing of Glen Meay waterfall, and last it 
was like the marching and the murmur of 
a crowd. It was the fairy host. Of a 
sudden the glen was full of fine horses and of 
Little People riding on them, with the lights 
on their red caps, shining like the stars 
above, and making the night as bright as 
day. There was the blowing of horns, the 
waving of flags, the playing of music, and 
the barking of many little dogs. Tom Beg 



58 MANX FAIRY TALES 

thought that he had never seen anything so 
splendid as all he saw there. In the midst 
of the drilling and dancing and singing one 
of them spied Tom, and then Tom saw 
coming towards him the grandest Little 
Man he had ever set eyes upon, dressed in 
gold and silver, and silk shining like a 
raven's wing. 

1 It is a bad time you have chosen to 
come this way/ said the Little Man, who 
was the king. 

' Yes ; but it is not here that I 'm wishing 
to be though/ said Tom. 

Then said the king : ' Are you one of 
us to-night, Tom ? ' 

' I am surely/ said Tom. 

' Then/ said the king, ' it will be your 
duty to take the password. You must 
stand at the foot of the glen, and as each 
regiment goes by, you must take the pass- 
word : it is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, 
Thursday, Friday, Saturday.' 

' I '11 do that with a heart and a half/ 
said Tom. 

At daybreak the fiddlers took up their 



BILLY BEG, TOM BEG, AND FAIRIES 59 

fiddles, the Fairy army set itself in order, 
the fiddlers played before them out of the 
glen, and sweet that music was. Each 
regiment gave the password to Tom as it 
went by Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, 
Thursday, Friday, Saturday ; and last of 
all came the king, and he, too, gave it- 
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 
Friday, Saturday. Then he called in Manx 
to one of his men : 

* Take the hump from this fellow's 
back/ and before the words were out of his 
mouth the hump was whisked off Tom 
Beg's back and thrown into the hedge. 
How proud now was Tom, who so found 
himself the straightest man in the Isle of 
Mann ! He went down the mountain and 
came home early in the morning with light 
heart and eager step. Billy Beg wondered 
greatly when he saw Tom Beg so straight 
and strong, and when Tom Beg had rested 
and refreshed himself he told his story : 
how he had met the Fairies who came every 
night to Glen Rushen to drill. 

The next night Billy Beg set off along 



60 MANX FAIRY TALES 

the mountain road and came at last to 
the green glen. About midnight he heard 
the trampling of horses, the lashing of 
whips, the barking of dogs, and a great 
hullabaloo, and, behold, the Fairies and 
their king, their dogs and their horses, 
all at drill in the glen as Tom Beg had 
said. 

When they saw the humpback they all 
stopped, and one came forward and very 
crossly asked his business. 

' I am one of Yourselves for the night, 
and should be glad to do you some service/ 
said Billy Beg. 

So he was set to take the password- 
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 
Friday, Saturday. And at daybreak the 
King said : ' It 's time for us to be off/ 
and up came regiment after regiment giving 
Billy Beg the password- -Monday, Tuesday, 
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. 
Last of all came the king with his men, 
and gave the password also Monday, 
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Frida}^ 
Saturday, ' AND SUNDAY/ says Billy Beg, 



BILLY BEG, TOM BEG, AND FAIRIES 61 

thinking himself clever. Then there was a 
great outcry. 

' Get the hump that was taken off 
that fellow's back last night and put it on 
this man's back,' said the King, with 
flashing eyes, pointing to the hump that 
lay under the hedge. 

Before the words were well out of his 
mouth the hump was clapt on to Billy 
Beg's back. 

' Now/ said the King, ' be off, and 
if ever I find you here again, I will clap 
another hump on to your front ! ' 

And on that they all marched away 
with one great shout, and left poor Billy Beg 
standing where they had found him, with a 
hump growing on each shoulder. And he 
came home next day dragging one foot 
after another, with a wizened face and as 
cross as two sticks, with his two humps on 
his back, and if they are not off they are 
there still. 



THE LAZY WIFE 

WELL, there was a woman once, and she was 
scandalous lazy. She was that lazy she 
would do nothing but sit in the corner of 
the chiollagh warming herself, or going on 
the houses for newses the day long. And 
one day her man gives her some wool to 
spin for him ; he was terrible badly off for 
clothes to wear, for she was letting them 
get all ragged on him. He had told her 
to mend them until he was tired, but all 
he could get out of her was ' Traa dy liooar.' 
Time enough ! 

One day he comes to her, and says : 

' Thou liggcy my kraa, here is some 

wool for thee to spin, and if it is not done 

a month from this day, I'll throw thee 

out on the side of the road. Thou and 

thy Traa dy liooar have left me nearly bare.' 

62 



THE LAZY WIFE 63 

Well, she was too lazy to spin, but she 
would be pretending to be working hard 
when the husband was in the house. She 
used to put the wheel out on the floor 
every night before the husband came in 
from work, to let on to him that she had 
been spinning. 

The husband was asking her was the 
thread getting near spun, for he said he was 
seeing the wheel so often on the floor that 
he wanted to know if she had enough to 
take to the weaver. When it came to 
the last week but one, she had only one 
ball spun, and that one was knotted arid as 
coarse as gorse. When her husband says to 
her : 

' I 'm seeing the wheel middling often 
on the floor when I come home at night ; 
maybe there 's enough thread spun at thee 
now for me to take to the weaver next 
week ? : 

1 1 don't know, at all,' says the wife. 
f Maybe there is ; let us count the 
balls.' 

Then the play began ! Up she went on 



64 MANX FAIRY TALES 

the lout, and flung the ball through the hole, 
down to him. 

* Keep count thyself, and fling the balls 
back again to me/ says she to the man. 
And as fast as he flung the ball up to her, 
so fast she flung it down to him again. 
When he had counted the ball, maybe, two 
score times, she says to him : 

' That 's all that 's in.' 

' Aw, 'deed, you 've spun well, woman, 
for all,' says he ; ' there 's plenty done at 
thee for the weaver.' 

Aw, then she was in a great fix, and 
didn't know in her senses what to do to save 
herself. She knew she would sup sorrow 
if she was found out, but she could think 
of nothing. 

At last she bethought herself of the 
Giant that lived in a lonesome place 
up the mountain, for she had heard tell 
he was good to work, and the woman, she 
says to herself : 

' I 've a mind to go my ways to him/ 
She took the road early next morning, 
she and her rolls of wool, and she walked 



THE LAZY WIFE 65 

up hills, down gills, till at last she came to 
the Giant's house. 

' What are thou wanting here ? ' says 
the Giant. 

' I 'm wanting thee to help me/ says 
she ; and she up and told him about the 
ball of thread and everything. 

* I '11 spin the wool for thee,' says the 
Giant, ' if thou '11 tell me my name when 
thou come for the balls a week from this 
day. Are thou satisfied ? : 

' Why shouldn't I be satisfied ? ' says 
the woman ; for she thought to herself 
it would be a middling queer thing if she 
couldn't find out his name within a week. 
Well, the woman she tried every way to 
find out the Giant's name, but, go where 
she might, no one had ever heard tell of it. 
The time was getting over fast, and she 
was no nearer to the Giant's name. At 
last it came to the last day but one. 

Now, as it happened, the husband was 
coming home from the mountain that day 
in the little evening, and as he neared the 
Giant's house, he saw it all in a blaze of 






66 MANX FAIRY TALES 

light, and there was a great whirling and 
whistling coming to his ears, and along 
with it came singing, and laughing, and 
shouting. So he drew near the window, 
and then he sees the big Giant inside sitting 
at a wheel, spinning like the wind, and his 
hands flying with the thread to and fro, 
to and fro, like the lightning, and he 
shouting to the whistling wheel : ' Spin, 
wheel, spin faster ; and sing, wheel, sing 
louder ! J 

And he sings, as the wheel whirls faster 
and faster : 

' Snieu, queeyl, snieu ; 'rane, queeyl, 'rane ; 
Dy chooilley clea er y thie, snieu er my skyn. 
Lheeish yn ollan, Ihiams y snaie, 
S'beg fys fee yn ven litcheragh 
Dy re Mollyndroat my ennym ! ' 

Spin, wheel, spin ; sing, wheel, sing ; 
Every beam on the house, spin overhead. 
Herself's is the wool, mine is the thread, 
How little she knows, the lazy wife, 
That my name is Mollyndroat ! 

When the husband got home that even- 
ing he was late, and his wife said to him : 

' Where have you been so late ? Did 
thou hear anything new ? ' 



THE LAZY WIFE 67 

Then he said : 

' Thou are middling good to spin thyself, 
ven thie ; but I 'm thinking there 's one in 
that 's better than thee, for all. Never in 
all my born days did I see such spinning, 
a thread as fine as a cobweb, and hear such 
singing as there was going on in the Giant's 
house to-night.' 

' What was he singing ? ' says the wife. 
And he sang the song to her : 

Snieu, queeyl, snieu ; 'rane, queeyl, 'rane ; 
Dy chooilley clea er y thie, snieu er my skyn. 
Lheeish yn ollan, Ihiams y snaie, 
S'beg fys fee yn ven litcheragh 
Dy re Mollyndroat my ennym ! 

Well, well, the joy the woman took 
when she heard the song ! 

' Aw, what sweet music ! Sing it again, 
my good man/ says she. 

And he sang it to her again, till she 
knew it by heart. 

Early next morning, she went as 
fast as her feet could carry her to the 
Giant's house. The road was long, 
and a bit lonesome under the trees, 



F 2 



68 MANX FAIRY TALES 

and to keep up her heart she sang to 
herself : 

1 Snieu, queeyl, snieu ; snieu, queeyl, snieu ; 
Dy chooilley vangan er y villey, snieu er my skyn. 
S'lesh hene yn ollan, as lesh my hene y snaie, 
Son shenn Mollyndroat cha vow eh dy braa.' 

Spin, wheel, spin ; spin, wheel, spin ; 
Every branch on the tree, spin overhead. 
The wool is Himselfs, the thread is my own, 
For old Mollyndroat will never get it. 

When she got to the house, she found 
the door open before her, and in she went. 

'I ' ve come again for the thread/ says she. 

' Aisy, aisy, good woman/ says the 
Giant. ' If thou don't tell me my name thou 

j 

won't get the thread that was the bargain.' 
And says he : ' Now, what 's my name ? J 

' Is it Mollyrea ? ' says she to let on 
that she didn't know it. 

' No, it is not/ says he. 

' Are you one of the Mollyruiy ones ? ' 
says she. 

' I 'm not one of that clan/ says he. 

'' Are they calling you Mollyvridey ? ' 
says she. 

* They are not/ says he. 



THE LAZY WIFE 69 

' I '11 warrant your name is Molly- 
chreest ? ' says she. 

' You are wrong, though/ says he. 

' Are you going by the name of Molly- 
voirrey ? ' says she. 

' 'Deed I am not,' says he. 

' Maybe your name is Mollyvartin ? 
says she. 

' And, maybe, it 's not at all,' says he. 

' They 're saying/ says she, ' that there 
was only seven families living on the islan' 
at one time, and their names all began with 
" Molly " ; and so,' says she, ' if you are not 
a Mollycharaine, you are none of the rael, 
oul' Manx ones, at all.' 

1 1 am not a Mollvcharaine/ says he. 

*/ * * 

' Now, be careful, woman ; next guess is 
your last/ 

At that she pretended to be frightened, 
and says she, slowly, pointing her finger 
at him : 

' S'lesh hene yn ollan, as lesh my hene y snaie, 
Son shenn Moll-YN-DROAT cha vow eh dy braa.' 

The wool is Himself s, and the thread is my own, 
For old Moll-YN-DROAT will never get it. 



70 MANX FAIRY TALES 

Well the Giant, he was done, and he was 
in a red rage, and he cries : 

' Bad luck to you ! You never would 
have found out my name unless you 're a 
mummig yn aishnee.' 

1 Bad luck to yourself, my boy/ says 
she, ' for trying to steal a dacent woman's 
wool.' 

' Go to the Devil, yourself and your 
fortune-telling,' shouts he, jumping up and 
flinging the balls at her. 

And away home with her, and her balls 
of thread. And if she didn't spin her own 
wool for ever after, that 's nothing to do 
with you and me. 



THE MERMAID OF GOB NY OOYL 

ONCE on a time there lived at the bottom 
end of Cornah gill a family of the name 
of Sayle, and the Mermaid who had her 
haunt up Bulgham way was a friend to 
them. They were always in luck's way 
and never seemed to be short of anything. 
Sure enough they were full of thrift, and to 
fill in odds of spare time they made lobster 
pots from the osier that grew around in 
plenty, and they always found a ready 
market. They kept a cow and a few sheep, 
just to give work to the women in the 
long winter nights, but their living was 
mostly got by the sea. 

It was well known that Sayle had a 
strong liking for apples, and that he would 
often bring some with him out in the boat, 

but when he got well up in years he would 

71 



72 MANX FAIRY TALES 

be leaving a lot of the boat-work for the 
boys, and then the luck began to get less, 
and many a time one of them had to take 
a gun to keep something in the pot. Then 
the bigger ones took to the herrings. One, 
Evan, however, had to stay about to keep 
things going, and it happened that one day, 
after he had the creels set, just at Bulgham, 
that he pulled the boat in and went up the 
brow after eggs. On coming back to the 
boat he heard some one calling to him, 
and, looking round, he saw a fine-looking 
woman sitting on the edge of a rock. 

' And how 's your father ? ' said she. 
' It's seldom he 's coming this way now.' 

Young Sayle was a bit frightened at 
first, but seeing a pleasant look on her face, 
he took courage and told her how things 
were at home. Then, saying she hoped to 
see him again, she slipped into the water 
and disappeared. 

On getting home he told what had taken 
place, and the father, his face lighting up, 
declared : 

.' There will be luck on the house yet/ 



THE MERMAID OF GOB NY OOYL 73 

And he said : 

' Take some apples with you the next 
time you go up that way, an' we 'II see.' 

The very next time the young chap 
went, he took some apples with him, and 
when he got to the place where he had seen 
the beautiful woman, he went, as usual, on 
the hunt among the rocks. Then he heard 
sweet singing, and when he turned round 
what should he see but the Mermaid leaning 
over the boat and smiling pleasantly. 
She took an apple and began to eat and 
chant : 

The luck o' the sea be with you, but don't forget- 
ful be 

Of bringing some sweet Ian' eggs for the children of 
the sea. 

From that time he was nearly living on 
the water until, at last, he was taken to 
task for being idle. Then he made up his 
mind to go sailing in foreign parts. The 
Mermaid was in great distress, so to please 
her, he went and planted an apple tree on 
the brow above her haunt, telling her 
that when he would be far away this tree 



74 MANX FAIRY TALES 

would grow land-eggs which, when they 
would be sweet and ready for eating, would 
come of themselves to the water for her. 
And, sure enough, the luck of the family 
remained, though the boy was gone. 

She seemed to bear up well for a long 
time and would often be seen sitting on the 
rocks in the evening, singing sad songs, and 
casting longing glances up to the apple 
tree above. She kept very shy of everyone 
coming her way, and at last, finding the 
apples slow in coming, made up her mind 
to go in search of young Sayle, hoping the 
apples would be ready for taking when 
they would come back. 

But neither of them ever came back, 
though for man}^ a long year the apple 
tree bore fruit and marked the little creek 
where the Mermaid used to live. 



THE LOST WIFE OF BALLA- 
LEECE 

ONE time the Farmer of Ballaleece married 
a beautiful young wife and they were 
thinking the world of one another. But 
before long she disappeared. Some per- 
sons said that she was dead and others 
that she was taken by the Little People. 
Ballaleece mourned for her with a heavy 
heart and looked for her from Point of Ayr 
to the Calf ; but in the end, not finding her, 
he married another wife. This one was not 
beautiful, but there was some money at 
her. 

Soon after the marriage his first wife 
appeared to Ballaleece one night, and said 
to him : 

' My man, my man, I was taken away 
by the Little People, and I live with them 

75 



76 MANX FAIRY TALES 

near to you. I can be set free if you will 
but do what I tell you/ 

' Tell me quick/ said Ballaleece. 

' We '11 be riding through Ballaleece 
barn at midnight on Friday/ said she. 
' We '11 be going in on one door and out 
on another. I '11 be riding behind one of 

v^- 

the men on horseback. You '11 sweep the 
barn clean, and mind there is not one straw 
left on the floor. Catch hold of my bridle 
rein, hold it fast, and I shall be free/ 

When the night came Ballaleece took 
a besom and swept the barn floor so clean 
that not one speck was left on it. Then he 
waited in the dark. 

At midnight the barn doors opened wide, 
sweet music was heard, and in through the 
open door came a fine company of Little 
People, in green jackets and red caps, 
riding fine horses. On the last horse, 
sitting behind a Little Fellow, Ballaleece 
saw his first wife as pretty as a picture, and 
as young as when she left him. He seized 
hold of her bridle rein, but he was shaken 
from side to side like a leaf on a tree, and 



THE LOST WIFE OF BALLALEECE 77 

he was not able to hold her. As she went 
out through the door she stretched out her 
right hand and pointed to a bushel in the 
corner of the barn, and called out in a sad 
voice : 

There 's been a straw put under the 
bushel for that reason you couldn't hold 
me, and you Ve done with me for ever ! 3 

The second wife had heard what had 
passed and had hidden the straw, and 
turned the bushel upside down so that it 
would not be seen. 

The young wife was never heard of any 
more. 



SMEREREE 

THE speckled hen and the little chicken 
were scratching under an apple tree in the 
garden, and an apple fell off the tree and it 
hit the little chicken on the head. And 
says he to the speckled hen : 

1 Let us go to Rome, for the world has 
fallen.' 

' Who said that to you, little chicken ? : 
said the speckled hen. 

' It fell on my head, Smereree ! ' 

Then the speckled hen and the little 
chicken went their ways until they met the 
cock. 

' Where are you going, speckled hen ? ' 
said the cock. 

' Going to Rome, for the world has 
fallen/ said the speckled hen. 

' Who said that to you, speckled hen ? ' 

78 



SMEREREE 79 

' The little chicken said it to me.' 

' Who said that to you, little chicken ? ' 

' It fell on my head, Smereree ! : 

So they went their ways together until 

they met a gander. 

' Where are you going, cock ? ' said the 

gander. 

' Going to Rome, for the world has 

fallen/ 

' Who said that to you, cock ? ' said 

the gander. 

' The speckled hen said it to me.' 

1 Who said that to you, speckled hen ? ' 

' The little chicken said it to me.' 

1 Who said that to you, little chicken ? ' 

1 It fell on my head, Smereree ! 3 

So they went all together until they met 

a bull. 

' Where are you going, gander ? : said 

the bull. 

' Going to Rome, for the world has 

fallen.' 

' Who said that to you, gander ? : 

' The cock said it to me/ 

' Who said that to you, cock ? ' 



8o MANX FAIRY TALES 

' The speckled hen said it to me.' 

* Who said that to you, speckled 

hen?' 

' The little chicken said it to me/ 

' Who said that to you, little chicken ? ' 

' It fell on my head, Smereree ! ! 

So they went all together until they met 

a goat. 

' Where are you going, bull ? ' said the 

goat. 

' Going to Rome, for the world has 

fallen/ said the bull. 

' Who said that to you, bull ? ' said the 
oat. 

1 The gander said it to me/ 

' Who said that to you, gander ? ' 

' The cock said it to me/ 

' Who said that to you, cock ? ; 

' The speckled hen said it to me/ 

' Wlio said that to you, speckled hen ? ] 

' The little chicken said it to me/ 

' Who said that to you, little chicken ? J 

' It fell on rny head, Smereree ! ' 

So they all went together until they met 

a horse. 



SMEREREE 81 

Where are you going, goat ? 3 said the 
horse. 

' Going to Rome, for the world has 
fallen.' 

Who said that to you, goat ? 3 
' The bull said it to me/ 
' Who said that to you, bull ? ] 

The gander said it to me.' 
1 Who said that to you, gander ? ' 
' The cock said it to me/ 
' Who said that to you, cock ? ' 
' The speckled hen said it to me/ 
' Who said that to you, speckled 
hen?' 

' The little chicken said it to me/ 
' Who said that to you, lit tie chicken ? ' 
' It fell on my head, Smereree ! J 
So they all went travelling together 
until they came to the house of the giant ; 
they went in the house and the giant was 
from home. So the horse went under the big 
table, and the bull went under the dresser, 
and the goat went on the stairs, and all the 
rest in the corners. 

When the giant came home, they all 



82 MANX FAIRY TALES 

went at him at once, and there was heavy 
war between them. 

' Calk ! Calk ! If I come dowai to you/ 
said the cock. 

He came down at last and picked the 
giant's eyes out, and they killed him, and 
they all lived in his house together. 

And if they are not dead, they are living 
there yet. 



KEBEG 

THERE is a deep dub, or pool, on Ballacoan 
stream, which the children of Laxey call 
Nikkesen's. It is the home of Nyker, the 
Water Goblin. It has no bottom ; and 
brambles and ferns are growing round it, 
and fir trees and hazels are hiding it from 
sight. No child, no grown-up person even, 
will go near it after dark. 

A great many years ago a beautiful girl 
living at Ballaquine was sent to look for 
the calves, which had gone astray. She had 
got as far as Nikkesen's, when she took a 
notion that she heard the calves over the 
river in Johnny Baldoon's nuts. At once 
she began to call to them : 

1 Kebeg ! Kebeg ! Kebeg ! ' 
so loud that you could hear her at Chib- 
ber Pherick, Patrick's Well. The people 

8 3 



'84 MANX FAIRY TALES 

could hear her calling quite plainly, but, 
behold, a great mist came and rolled down 
the valley, and shut it from sight. The 
people on one side of the valley could hear 
her voice yet calling through the mist : 

'Kebeg! Kebeg ! Kebeg ! ' 

Then came a little sweet voice through 
the mist and the trees in answer : 

' Kebeg 's here ! Kebeg J s here ! : 

And she cried : 

' I 'm comin' ! 1 5 m comin' ! ; 

And that was all. 

The Fairies who live in Nikkesen's had 
pulled her in, and carried her to their own. 
home. 

She was never heard of again. 



THE FAIRY CHILD OF CLOSE 
NY LHEIY 

ONE time there was a woman named 
Colloo, in Close ny Lheiy, near Glen Meay, 
and she had a child that had fallen sick in 
a strange way. Nothing seemed wrong 
with him, yet crosser and crosser he grew, 
nying nyanging night and day. The woman 
was in great distress. Charms had failed, 
and she didn't know rightly what to do. 

It seems that when about a fortnight 
old, the child, as fine a child for his age as 
you would see in a day's walk, was left 
asleep while the mother went to the well for 
v/ater. Now Herself forgot to put the tongs 
on the cradle, and when she came back the 
child was crying pitifully, and there was no 
quieting for him. And from that very hour 

the flesh seemed to melt off his bones till he 

85 



' 86 MANX FAIRY TALES 

became as ugly and as wizened a child as 
you would see between the Point of Ayr 
and the Calf. He was that way, his 
w r hining howl filling the house, for four years, 
lying in his cradle without a motion on him 
to put his feet under him. Not a day's 
rest nor a night's sleep had the woman 
these four years with him. She was fairly 
scourged until there came a fine day in 
the spring, while Horn Beg Bridson, the 
tailor, was in the house sewing. Horn is 
dead now, but there 's many alive that 
remember him yet. He was wise tre- 
mendous, for he was going from house to 
house sewing, and gathering wisdom as he 
was going. 

Well, before that day the tailor was 
seeing lots of wickedness in the child. 
When the woman would be out feeding the 
cows and pigs, he would be hoisting his head 
up out of the cradle and making faces at 
the tailor, winking and slicking, and shak- 
ing his head, and saying ' What a lad I 
am ! J 

That day the woman wanted to go to 



FAIRY CHILD OF CLOSE NY LHEIY 87 

the shop to sell some eggs that she had, and 
says she to the tailor : ' Horn, man, keep your 
eye on the chile that the bogh won't fall out 
of the criddle an' hurt himself, while I slip 
down to the shop/ 

When she was gone the tailor began to 
whistle, low and slow, to himself, as he 
stitched, the tune of a little hymn. 

f Drop that, Horn Beg,' said a little 
harsh voice. 

The tailor, scandalised, looked round to 
see if it was the child that had spoken, and 
it was. 

Whush, whush, now; lie quate,' said 
the tailor, rocking the cradle with his foot, 
and as he rocked he whistled the hymn tune 
louder. 

' Drop that, Horn Beg, I tell ye, an' give 
us something light an' handy/ said the little 
fella back to him, middling sharp. 

' Aw, anything at all to plaze thee/ 
said the tailor, whistling a jig. 

' Horn,' said my lad, ' can thou dance 
anything to that ? '' 

' I can,' said the tailor. ' Can thou ? J 



MANX FAIRY TALES 

' I can that/ said my lad. ' Would 
thou like to see me dance ? : 

' I would/ said the tailor. 

' Take that oul' fiddle down, then, Horn, 
man/ he said; 'an' put "The tune of the 
Big Wheel " on it.' 

' Aw, I '11 do that for thee, an' wel- 
come/ said the tailor. 

The fiddle quits its hook on the wall, 
and the tailor tunes up. 

' Horn/ said the little fella, ' before 

thou begin to play, clear the kitchen for 

me cheers an' stools, everything away 

-make a place for me to step out to the 

music, man.' 

' Aw, I '11 do that for thee, too/ said the 
tailor. He cleared the kitchen floor, and 
then he struck up ' Tune y wheeyl vooar.' 

In a crack the little fella bounced from 
his cradle on to the floor with a ' Chu ! ' 
and began flying round the kitchen. 

' Go it, Horn face your partnerheel 
an' toe does it. Well done, Horn more 
power to your elba, man.' 

Horn plays faster and faster, till my lad 



FAIRY CHILD OF CLOSE NY LHEIY 89 

was jumping as high as the table. With 
a ' Chu ! ' up goes his foot on top of the 
dresser, and ' Chu ! 3 then on top of the 
chimney piece, and ' Chu ! ' bang against the 
partition; then he was half flying, half 
footing it round the kitchen, turning and 
going that quick that it put a reel in Horn's 
head to be looking at him. Then he was 
whirling everything round for a clear space, 
even Horn himself, who by degrees gets up 
on the table in the corner, and plays wilder 
and faster, as the whirling jig grows madder 
and swifter. 

' M 'Yee ! ' said the tailor, throwing 
down the fiddle. ' I mus' run, thou 're not 
the chile that was in the criddle ! Are 
thou ? ' 

' Houl 1 man ! thou 're right enough/ 
said the little fella. ' Strike up for me 
make has'e, make has'e, man keep joggin' 
your elba.' 

' Whush ! ' said the tailor, ' here 's Her- 
self cominY 

The dance suddenly ceased. The child 
gave a hop, skip, and jump into the cradle. 



go MANX FAIRY TALES 

' Go on with thy sewing, Horn ; don't say 
a word/ said the little fella, covering him- 
self up in the clothes till nothing was left 
of him to be seen except his eyes, which 
keeked out like a ferret's. 

When Herself came in the house, the 
tailor, all of a tremble, was sitting cross- 
legged on the round table and his spec's 
on his nose and letting on that he was 
busy sewing ; the child in the cradle was 
grinning and crying as usual. 

'What in all the earthly worl' -! 
But it's the quare stitching, altogether, 
there 's been goin' on here, an' me out. 
An' how thou can see the needle in that 
dark corner, Horn Bridson, let alone sew, 
it bates me,' said she, siding the place. 
' Well, well then, well, well on the boghee 
millish. What is it at all, at all, that 's 
doin' on the veen ? Did he think Mammy 
had gone an' left him then, the chree ? 
Mammy is goin' to feed him, though.' 

The tailor had been thinking mighty 
with himself what he ought to do, so he 
said : 



FAIRY CHILD OF CLOSE NY LHEIY 91 

1 Look here, woman, give him nothing 
at all, but go out an' get a creelful of good 
turf an' a whisp of feern.' 

She brought the turf, and throws a 
bundle of fern on it. 

The tailor gave a leap off the table 
down to the floor, and it wasn't long till he 
had the fine fire. 

Thou '11 have the house put on fire for 
me, Horn/ said Herself. 

' No fear, but I '11 fire some of them,' 
said the tailor. The child, with his :two 
eyes going out of his head watching to see 
what the tailor was going to do, was slowly 
turning his whining howl into a kind of 
call to his own sort to come and fetch him, 
it's like. 

' I '11 send thee home,' said the tailor, 
drawing near the cradle, and he stretches 
out his two hands to take the child and put 
him on the big, red turf fire. 

Before he was able to lay a hand on him, 
the little fella leaped out of the cradle and 
took for the door. 

' The back of me han' an' the sole of 



92 MANX FAIRY TALES 

me fut to you ! 3 said he, ' if I would only 
a-had another night I could have showed 
thee a trick or two more than that yet.' 

Then the door flew open with a bang, as 
though some one had thrown it open, and he 
took off with himself like a shot. A hulla- 
baloo of laughing and making fun was 
heard outside, and the noise of many 
running little feet. Out of the door of the 
house goes Herself, and Horn after her; 
they see no one, but they caught sight of 
a flock of low-lying clouds shaped like gulls 
chasing each other away up Glen Rushen, 
and then came to their ears, as if afar off 
from the clouds, sharp whistles and wicked 
little laughs as if making mock of them. 
Then as they were turning round to come 
back, she suddenly sees right before her, her 
own sweet, rosy, smiling child, with thumb 
in mouth, lying on a mossy bank. And she 
took all the joy in the world of the child 
that he was back again safe and sound. 



THE LITTLE FOOTPRINTS 

CLOSE to the Niarbyl, the great tail of rock 
that stretches into the sea at Dalby, is a 
little house on the strand. It is sheltered 
behind by the high rock which rises above 
its thatched roof. Before it lies Bay 
Mooar, the great bay, held by a chain of 
mountains purple with ling. Standing be- 
fore its door and looking to the west, 
you may see the sun set behind the distant 
Mourne Mountains. At dawn you may 
see him rise over Cronk-yn-Irree-Laa, the 
Hill of the Rising Day. Here lived Juan, 
the fisherman. 

He knew, as well as any person, that 
the Little People were all around. When 
he was a boy he had many a time looked 
out of the door on moonlight nights to try 
if he could put sight on them dancing 



93 



94 MANX FAIRY TALES 

on the lonely shore. He had not seen them 
-they make themselves invisible when 
they know that mortal eyes are on them. 
But he had seen the tiny riding lights of 
their herring fleet in the bay, and had 
helped his father to draw in the nets 
full of good fish, which were sure to be 
caught the night after. Many a time he 
had wakened from his sleep in the dark, and, 
in the pauses of the wind and the lull of the 
great breakers, he had heard the sound of 
hammering. He knew it was the Little 
People hammering at their herring barrels 
in Ooig-ny-Seyir, the Coopers' Cave, under 
the hills, and that as the chips flew out on 
to the waves they became ships. 

He had heard the story of the fisherman, 
a friend of his father's, who was fishing one 
night at Lag-ny-Keilley, when a dense grey 
mist rolled in. He thought he had best 
make for home while the footpath above 
the rocks was visible. When he was getting 
his things together he heard what sounded 
like a lot of children coming out of school. 
He lifted his head, and, behold, there was a 



THE LITTLE FOOTPRINTS 9 5 

fleet of fairy boats each side of the rock, 
their riding lights shining like little stars on 
a frosty night. The crews seemed busy pre- 
paring to come on shore, and he heard one 
little fellow shout : 

' Hraaghyn boght as earish broigh, sked- 
dan dy liooar ec yn mooinjer seihll shoh, 
cha nel veg ain ! ' 

Poor times and dirty weather, herring 
enough at the people of this world, nothing 
at us ! 

' Then/ said the fisherman, ' they 
dropped off and went agate o' the flitters/ 

When Juan was a big boy he himself 
saw a thing which he never forgot. One 
day he left a boat over at the farther side 
of Bay Mooar, and at night he had to go over 
to fetch it. It was a moonlight night and 
the bay was as smooth as glass as he rowed 
across. There was no sound but the lapping 
of the little waves on the shore, and now 
and again the cry of a gannet. Juan 
found his boat on the strand where he had 
left her and was setting to work to launch 
her, when he thought he saw a glimmering 



g6 MANX FAIRY TALES 

light, which was not the light of the moon, 
in one of the caves near him. He stood 
where he was, and listened, and he heard 
the sound of faint music. Then he went 
as silently as he was able to the cave, and 
looked in. No light was there but the 
dim light of the moon. The shadows in die 
corners of the cave were as black as pitch. 

Juan was trembling all over, and at first 
he was blinking his eyes and could see 
nothing. But after some minutes he saw 
a great stone in the midst of the cave and 
the floor of fine white sand. And on the 
sand around that stone there were little 
footprints marks of tiny clogs they were, 
no bigger than his thumb ! 



THE TALL MAN OF BALLACURRY 

TOM CRAINE was going home at midnight 
from Bradda mine to his home at Colby. 
The road was lonely and he met no person, 
but the full moon was shining and it was 
as light as day. As he began to pass under 
the trees that grow round the house at 
Ballacurry, a little dog appeared suddenly 
from the black shadow at the roadside and 
followed at his heels. He whistled to it, but 
as he turned his head to look at it, it ran 
on in front of him, and for a minute he did 
not see it. When he came in sight of it 
again, he was terrified to see that it had 
grown larger as big as a goat and it 
grew bigger and bigger till it was the size 
of a donkey ! It galloped before him and 
disappeared round the bend of the road 
where the gate of Ballacurry is. When 

9? H 



98 MANX FAIRY TALES 

Tom came to the gate he saw a very tall, 
thin man leaning on it, with his arms folded 
on the top of it. The beast was not there. 
As Tom reached the gate the tall thin man 
turned and walked up the long path that 
leads to the house. When he got to the 
door he turned again and walked back 
down the path towards Tom. By the 
bright moonlight Tom saw the lace ruffle 
round his neck, the satin of his knee 
breeches, the silk of his stockings, and the 
shining buckles on his shoes the dress of 
bygone days. His face was white and 
dreadful. As Tom looked he was all at 
once taken with terror, and ran off as hard 
as he could go down the road to Colby. 

He had not gone far when he met two 
of his friends, Ben Mylechreest and Bill 
Teare. He told them what he had seen, 
and they made fun of him and would not 
believe that he had seen any such thing. 
They said they would go back with him 
to the gate, so they all three turned back. 
When they got to the gate they saw the big 
man, as tall as two men, walking up the 



THE TALL MAN OF BALLACURRY 99 

path with his back towards them. As 
before, when he reached the door, he turned 
WHAT they saw they never told any 
man ! 

They took to their heels, all three; and 
ran till they could run no longer. They 
were trembling from head to foot and the 
sweat pouring from them. They were too 
terrified to go home, so they turned in with 
Tom and they slept, all three, in one bed. 




H 2 



NED QUAYLE'S STORY OF THE 

FAIRY PIG 

WHEN I was a little boy, we lived over by 
Sloe. One day, when I was six years 
old, my mother and my grandmother went 
up the mountain to make hay and I was 
left by myself. It was getting rather late, 
and they had not come back, so I was 
frightened, and started off up the mountain 
to try and find them. I had not gone 
far when I saw running before me a little 
snow-white pig. At first I thought it was 
some neighbour's pig and I tried to catch 
it, but it ran from me and I ran after it. 
As it went I saw that it was not like an 
ordinary pig its tail was feathery and 
spread out like a fan, and it had long 
lapping ears that swept the ling. Now 
and again it turned its head and looked 



100 



NED QUAYLE'S STORY 101 

at me, and its eyes were burning like fire. 
We went higher and higher up the mountain, 
and all of a sudden I found myself at the 
edge of a steep brow and was all but over. 
I turned just in time, and ran as hard as 
I could go down the mountain and the 
pig after me. When I looked back over 
my shoulder, I saw that it was jumping 
over the big stones and rocks on the 
mountain side as if they had been butts of 
ling. I thought it would catch me; it 
was close behind me when I ran in at our 
garden gate, but I was just in time, and 
I slammed the door upon it. 

I told my mother and my grandmother 
what had happened, and my grandmother 
said it was a Fairy Pig. I was not like 
myself that night ; I could not eat any 
supper, and I went soon to my bed ; I 
could not sleep, but lay tossing about ; and 
was burning hot. After a time my mother 
opened the door to see if I was asleep, and 
when she looked at me, HER EYES WERE LIKE 
THE PIG'S EYES. I felt a sharp pain go 
through my right leg like a stab. After 



102 MANX FAIRY TALES 

that the pain never left me ; it was so bad 
that I could not bear to be touched, and 
I could eat nothing. I grew worse and 
worse, and after some days my father said 
he would take me to a Charmer at Castle- 
town. They lifted me in the sheet, four 
men taking the four corners, and carried 
me to a cart. Never will I forget the 
shaking and jolting I had in that cart. 
When we got to Castletown I was more dead 
than alive. 

The Charmer lived in Arbory Street and 
they took me to his house. When he saw 
me he said that they must all go away and 
leave me alone with him, so my father and 
my mother went to wait for me at The 
George. The Charmer carried me to a 
room upstairs and sent his wife away, and 
laid me on the floor and locked the door. 
Then he took down a big book and placed 
it on the floor beside me. He opened it at 
the picture of a little plant I can see the 
plant to this day and he pointed with 
his left hand to the picture, and with his 
right hand he made the sign of the cross 



NED QUAYLE'S STORY 103 

on my leg, where the stab went through 
me, and said : 

' Ta mee skeaylley yn guin shoh ayns 
ennym yn Ayr, as y Vac, as y Spyrryd Noo, 
Ned Quayle. My she guin, ayns ennym 
y Chiarn, ta mee skealley eh ass yn eill, ass 
ny fehyn, as ass ny craueyn/ which means 
in English I spread this fairy shot in the 
name of the Father, and of the Son, and 
of the Holy Ghost, Ned Quayle. If it is a 
fairy shot, in the name of the Lord, I spread 
it out of the flesh, out of the sinews, and 
out of the bones. That minute the pain left 
me. I felt very hungry, and the Charmer's 
wife set me at a table and gave me dinner. 
The Charmer went to fetch my father and 
my mother, and when they came in I was 
eating like two. 

The Charmer told my mother I must 
not go on the mountain alone between the 
lights again. The pain never came back. 
I have been sound from that day to this, 
but I have the mark on my leg where the 
stab went through as clear as glass to the 
bone. 



SCENE : A VILLAGE 

Blackbird sings to Innkeeper's pretty 

daughter. 

Kione jiarg, kione jiarg, 
Apyrn doo, Apyrn doo, 
Vel oo cheet ? Vel oo cheet ? 
Skee fieau, skee fieau, 
Lhondoo, Lhondoo. 

Red head, red head, 

Black apron, black apron, 

Are you coming ? Are you coming ? 

Tired waiting, tired waiting, 

Blackbird, Blackbird. 



104 



KITTERLAND 

IT was more than eight hundred years ago, 
in the days of Olaf Goddardson, that Baron 
Kitter, the Norwegian, lived in Mann. He 
had his castle on the top of Barrule, and he 
spent all his time in hunting the bisons 
and elks that were on the island then, until 
he had killed them all. Then the people 
began to be afraid that he would chase their 
cattle and the purrs of the mountains, and 
leave them no beasts at all, so they went to 
the wisest witches of the island, to see 
what they could do. 

One day Baron Kitter had gone over 
to the Calf to hunt the red deer there, 
leaving his cook, Eaoch of the Loud Voice, 
in the castle to cook his dinner. Eaoch 
set the pot on the fire and then fell asleep 

over his work. While he was sleeping the 

105 



io6 MANX FAIRY TALES 

witch-wife Ada put a spell on the pot, and 
the fat boiled over into the fire. Soon the 
house was in flames. Eaoch woke and 
shouted for help at the top of his voice, 
and his cries were so loud that thev reached 

%/ 

the ears of Kitter and his fellow-huntsmen, 
ten miles away on the Calf. 

When Kitter heard the cries and saw 
the flames on the top of Barrule, he made 
for the beach as hard as he could, and put 
out in a small currach for the island, with 
most of his friends. When they were in 
the strong current about half way across 
the channel, the boat struck on a rock and 
they were all drowned, and the rock has 
ever since been called Kitterland. The 
rest of Kitter 's friends, who had stayed on 
the Calf and so saved their lives, believed 
that Eaoch, the cook, had made a plot with 
the witches of the island to do away with 
all the Norwegians in Mann, so they brought 
him before King Olaf to be judged, and he 
was condemned to death. But according 
to the custom of Norway, he was allowed 
to choose how he would die. 



KITTERLAND 107 

Then he said : 

1 1 wish my head to be laid across one 
of your Majesty's legs, and there cut off 
by your Majesty's sword Macabuin, which 
was made by Loan Maclibuin, the Dark 
Smith of Drontheim ! ' 

It was known to every person there 
that the king's sword could cut the hardest 
granite, only by touching it with its 
edge, and they all begged Olaf not to do 
as crafty Eaoch asked. But the king 
would not break his word and gave orders 
that all should be done as the cook had 
said. 

But the witch Ada was there and she 
told them to take toads' skins, twigs of 
the cuirn tree, and adders' eggs, nine times 
nine of each, and put them between the 
king's leg and the cook's head. They did 
this, and then the great sword Macabuin, 
made by Loan Maclibuin, was lifted with the 
greatest care by one of the king's faithful 
servants and laid gently on the cook's neck, 
but before it could be stopped Eaoch's 
head was cut from his body and the adders' 



io8 MANX FAIRY TALES 

eggs and the cuirn twigs were also cut 
through only the toads' skins saved the 
king's leg. 

When the Dark Smith heard how the 
power of the great sword Macabuin had 
been stayed by witchcraft, he was very 
angry, and called for his Hammer-man, 
Hiallus-nan-urd, who had lost one leg 
when he was helping to make the sword. 
He sent him off at once to Peel Castle to 
challenge King Olaf, or any of his men, to 
a walking race from Peel to Drontheim. 
King Olaf himself took up the challenge, 
and off they set. Over mountains and 
through gills they walked, as fast as they 
could go, and the one-legged man as fast 
as the king. When they had crossed the 
island they each put out to sea in a sailing 
boat, and each came in sight of Drontheim 
at the same moment. When they drew 
near to the smithy, the Hammer-man, 
who was ahead, called out to Loan to open 
the door, and Olaf called to him to shut it, 
and then, pushing past Hiallus, got into the 
smithy first. 



KITTERLAND 109 

To show that he was not at all weary 
after his walk Olaf took up the great hammer 
of the forge and struck the anvil such a 
mighty blow that he split it through, and 
the block beneath it, too. When Emergaid, 
the daughter of Loan, saw the strength and 
power of Olaf, she loved him; and while 
her father was putting back the block and 
anvil, she whispered to the king : 

' My Father is doing that, so that he 
may finish the sword he is making. It has 
been foretold that the first blood it shall 
shed shall be royal blood, and he has sworn 
that that blood shall be yours/ 

' But is not your father the seventh 
son of Old Windy Cap, King of Norway ? ' 
cried Olaf. 

' He is/ said Emergaid. 

' Then the prophecy shall be fulfilled/ 
said Olaf, and he thrust the sword into the 
heart of Loan, and afterwards slew with 
it the Hammer-man also. 

He made Emergaid his queen and they 
ruled together, and from them came a long 
line of Kings of Mann. 



TEEVAL, PRINCESS OF THE OCEAN 

IN the old days Culain, the smith of the 
gods, was living in the Isle of Mann. It 
was the time when Conchubar was at the 
court of the King of Ulster, and had nothing 
but the sword in his hand. He was a fine 
handsome young man, and he had made 
up his mind to make himself a king. So 
he went one day to the Druid of Clogher 
to ask him what he had best do. 

' Go thy way/ said the Druid, ' to 
the Isle of Mann. There thou wilt find 
the great smith Culain. Get him to make 
thee a sword and a spear and a shield, and 
with these thou shalt win the kingdom of 
Ulster/ 

Conchubar went away, and hired a boat 
and put out to sea. He landed in Mann 
and made straight for Culain' s smithy. It 



TEEVAL, PRINCESS OF THE OCEAN in 

was night when he got there, and the red 
glow of the furnace shone out into the dark. 
He could hear from inside the smithy the 
roar of the bellows and the clanging of the 
hammer on the anvil. When he came 
near, a great dog, as large as a calf, began 
to bay and to growl like thunder, and 
brought his master out. 

' Who art thou, young man ? ' said 
he. 

' Oh Culain ! ' cried Conchubar, ' it is 
from the Druid of Clogher that I come, and 
he bade me ask thee to make me a sword 
and a spear and a shield, for only with 
weapons of thy making can I win the 
Kingdom of Ulster/ 

Culain' s face grew black at first, but 
after he had gazed for a while at Conchubar, 
he saw that he had the look about him of 
one who would go far, and he said : 

' It shall be done for thee, but thou 
must wait, for the work is long.' 

So Culain began to make the weapons, 
and Conchubar waited in the island. 

Early one brave morning in May when 



H2 MANX FAIRY TALES 

the sun had just risen over Cronk-yn- 
Irree-Laa, he was walking on the strand, 
wondering to himself how much longer 
Culain would be making his weapons and 
thinking it was full time for him to return. 
The tide was going out, and the sun was 
shining on the wet sand. Suddenly he saw- 
something flashing at the edge of the waves 
a few paces from him. He ran up to it and, 
behold, it was the most beautiful woman he 
had ever put sight on, fast asleep. Her 
hair was golden, like the gorse in bloom ; 
her skin whiter than the foam of the sea, 
her lips red as the coral, and her cheeks rosy 
like the little clouds that were flying before 
the face of the rising sun. The fringe of her 
dress of many coloured seaweeds rose and 
fell with the ebb and flow of the waves. 
Pearls gleamed on her neck and arms. 
Conchubar stood and looked on her. He 
knew that she was a Mermaid and that as 
soon as she awoke she would slip back into 
the ocean and be lost to him. So he bound 
her fast with his girdle. 

Then she awoke and opened her eyes, 



TEEVAL, PRINCESS OF THE OCEAN 113 

which were blue as the sea, and when she 
saw that she was bound, she cried out with 
terror, ' Loose me, man, loose me ! J 

Conchubar did not answer, so she said 
again, ' Loose me, I beg thee ! ' in a voice as 
sw r eet as the music of Horn Mooar, the 
Fairy Fiddler. 

By this time Conchubar was feeling 
that he would give all he had to keep her. 
He answered, trembling, Woman, my 
heart, who art thou ? : 

' I am Teeval, Princess of the Ocean/ 
said she. ' Set me free, I pray thee/ 

' But if I set thee free/ said Conchubar, 
' thou wilt leave me/ 

' I cannot stay with thee, Conchubar/ 
she cried ; ' set me free, and I will give thee 
a precious gift/ 

' I will loose thee/ answered Conchubar. 
' It is not for the gift, but because I cannot 
resist thee/ 

He unfastened the girdle from her and 
she said, ' My gift to thee is this : Go now 
to Culain w r ho is making thy shield, and 
tell him that Teeval, Princess of the Ocean, 



ii4 MANX FAIRY TALES 

bids him to put her figure on the shield and 
round it to grave her name. Then thou 
shalt wear it always in battle, and when 
thou shalt look on my face and call my 
name, thy enemies' strength shall go from 
them and shall come into thee and thy 
men.' When she had said this, she waved 
her white arm to Conchubar and plunged 
into the waves. He looked sadly for a long 
time at the spot where she had disappeared, 
and then walked slowly to the forge of 
Culain, and gave him the message. 

Culain finished the mighty shield as the 
Princess had said, and forged also for 
Conchubar a golden-hilted magic sword, 
and a spear set with precious stones. Then 
Conchubar, in his crimson mantle and white 
gold-embroidered tunic, and armed with his 
great shield and his mighty weapons, went 
back to Ireland. 

All that the Princess of the Ocean had 
said came true. When he went into battle 
he looked at the beautiful face in his shield 
and cried ' Help, Teeval.' 

Then he felt strength come into him 



TEEVAL, PRINCESS OF THE OCEAN 115 

like the strength of a giant, and he cut his 
enemies down like grass. Before long he 
was famous all over Ireland for his great 
deeds, and in the end he became King of 
Ulster. Then he invited Culain to come and 
live in his kingdom, and gave him the plain 
of Murthemny to dwell in. 

But he never again saw the lovely Mer- 
maid. 



THE WIZARD'S PALACE 

LONG hundreds of years ago there was a 
fine palace on a mountain sloping up from 
the sea. It was like a palace in a dream, 
built of shining marble of all colours and 
having great doors covered with gold. 

In it there lived the mighty Wizard who 
had made it for himself by his spells. But 
his hatred of other people was as great as 
his power, and he would not allow any 
person to come near him except his own 
servants, and they were evil spirits. If 
any man dared to go to see the palace, to 
ask for work or to beg for charity, he 
would never be heard of again. His friends 
might search for him, but they would never 
find him. Soon people began to whisper 
that some of the blocks of granite near the 
palace were like the men who had gone up 

116 



THE WIZARD'S PALACE 117 

the mountain and never came back. They 
began to believe that the Wizard had caught 
them and frozen them into grey stone. At 
length the Wizard became the terror of the 
whole island, so that no person would pass 
within several miles of his palace. The 
people of that side of the island fled from 
their homes, and the place was lonely and 
desolate. 

So things went on for three years, until 
one day a poor man going on the houses 
happened to travel on that side of the 
island, not knowing anything of this Wizard. 
His road took him over the mountain, 
where the Wizard lived, and as he came 
near it, he was astonished to see the place 
so silent and desolate. He had been 
looking forward to the usual food and 
shelter, with the friendly welcome, but he 
found the houses empty ruins and the 
kindly country people gone. And where 
was the straw and hay which made such a 
snug bed in the barn ? Weeds and stones 
were lying thick in the fields. Night came 
on him, and he walked and walked ; but 



u8 MANX FAIRY TALES 

never a bit of shelter could he find, and he 
did not know where to go to get a bed. 
' It 's a middlin' dark night/ he thought ; 
' but it 's better to go on than back a road 
a body is used on is no throuble to them, 
let it be night or not.' He was travelling 
on the old road over the mountain, go- 
ing ahead singing ' Colcheragh Raby ' for 
company to himself, and after a long while 
he saw a light in the distance. The light 
got brighter and brighter until he came 
to a grand palace with every window 
lit up. The singing was all knocked out 
of him. 

' In the name of Fortune where am I at 
all ? This is a dreadful big house/ he said 
to himself ; ' where did it come from, for all ? 
Nobody never seen the like of it on this bare 
breas' before else where am I at all, at 
all?' 

He was hard set to get to the door with 
the blocks of stone lying about like frozen 
men, 

' I 'd swear/ he said to himself as he 
stumbled over one, ' that this was lil' Neddy 



THE WIZARD'S PALACE 119 

Horn, the dwarf man tha 's missin', only 
it J s stone/ 

When he came to the big door it was 
locked. Through one of the windows he 
saw a table, and supper ready on it, but 
he saw no person. He was very tired and 
hungry, but he was afraid to knock at the 
door of such a fine place. 

' Aw, that place is too gran' for the likes 
of me ! ' said he. 

He sat down on one of the marble seats 
outside, saying : 

' I '11 stretch meself here till mornin', 
it 's a middlin' sort of a night/ 

That day meat and bread had been 
given to him at the last town he had passed 
through. He was hungry and he thought 
he would eat, so he opened his wallet and 
took out a piece of bread and meat, then he 
put his hand into his pocket and drew out 
a pinch of salt in a screw of paper. As he 
opened the paper some grains of salt fell 
out, on to the ground. No sooner had this 
happened than up from the ground beneath 
came the sound of most terrible groans, 



120 MANX FAIRY TALES 

high winds blew from every airt out of the 
heavens, lightnings flashed in the air, 
dreadful thunder crashed overhead, and the 
ground heaved beneath his feet ; and he 
knew that there was plenty of company 
round him, though no man was to be seen. 
In less than a moment the grand palace 
burst into a hundred thousand bits, and 
vanished into the air. He found himself 
on a wide, lonely mountain, and in the grey 
light of dawn no trace of the palace was 
to be seen. 

He went down on his knees and put up 
a prayer of thanksgiving for his escape, and 
then ran on to the next village, where he 
told the people all that he had seen, and 
glad they were to hear of the disappear- 
ance of the Wizard. 



THE ENCHANTED ISLE 

OUT under the Irish Sea, fifteen or sixteen 
miles south-west of the Calf, there is an 
enchanted isle. Long, long ago it was on 
the surface of the water that was in the 
days when Manannan ruled in Mann but 
when Saint Patrick drove Manannan and his 
men from the island in the form of three- 
legged creatures, they came upon this isle. 
Manannan dropped it to the bottom of the 
sea, and they were seen no more. 

Now it is the home of Manannan Mac y 
Leirr, Son of the Sea, and he rules it as he 
used to rule Mann. But once in seven years, 
when Old May Day is on a Sunday, the 
isle may be seen. It rises up from the sea 
just before sunrise, like a beautiful vision, 
and Manannan looks once more at Elian 
Vannin. The hills of the enchanted isle 

121 



122 MANX FAIRY TALES 

are green, white foam rings it round, and if 
you are near enough you may see the tossing 
arms and golden hair of the Mermaids by 
the water's edge washing their glittering 
jewels, and hear the singing of birds, and 
smell the fragrant scent of flowers. But as 
the first rays of the sun rest upon its highest 
hills, it sinks into the deep, deep sea. 



STORIES ABOUT BIRDS 

I. THE RAVENS 

Two Ravens met once, arid one asked the 
other in Bird language : 

' Is there nothing new at you ? 3 

' The white Horse is dead/ said he. 

' Is he fat ? Is he fat ? ' said the other. 

' Delicious, delicious/ said he. 

Then he repented that he had told him 
that, and called out : 

1 Bare bones, bare bones ! ' 

II. BLACKBIRD'S MORNING SONG 

OLD Robin Quirk one fine morning was 
sitting sunning himself before his cottage 
door, when the Blackbird, living in the 
Tramman Tree in his garden, flew down, 
settled near Robin, and began to talk to him 

in Manx : 

123 



124 MANX FAIRY TALES 

' Irree, Robin, as gow smook/ ' Rise, 
Robin, and take a smoke.' 

' Cha nel thombaga aym/ ' I have no 
tobacco/ said Robin. 

' Kionn eh, kionn eh/ ' Buy it, buy 
it/ cried Blackbird. 

' Cha nel ping aym/ ' I have not a 
penny/ poor Robin said. 

' Gow er dayl, gow er dayl/ ' Credit it, 
credit it/ was Blackbird's bad advice, 

' Cha der ad dayl dou, boy/ ' They 
won't give me credit, boy.' 

' Quit eh, eisht, quit eh/ ' Quit it, then, 
quit it/ whistled Blackbird, flying home 
and closing the discussion. 

' The imperence of sin is in them Black- 
birds ! ' Robin said. 

III. How THE WREN BECAME KING 
OF THE BIRDS 

A LONG, long time ago, before you and I were 
born, the birds of the air gathered at 
Tynwald from all airts of the wind. The 
meeting was to settle once and for all the 



STORIES ABOUT BIRDS 125 

squabbling and fighting among them as to 
which of them was the cleverest, and it was 
agreed that the cleverest bird should be 
king. The sky was black with them, big and 
little, and soon all had gathered together. 
Everywhere groups of birds sat-a-row, 
cooishing, scolding, or sleeping. Some 
were in fine, black Sunday coats like old 
Parson Gull, some clad only in work-a-day 
brown like Poor Brownie, the Hedge 
Sparrow ; but most wore leggings of red or 
yellow, while the Chough had a new pair of 
bright red ones. Yellow Tommy, the dandy, 
was preening himself, swinging on the top 
of a gorse bush. Old Greyback, the Crow, 
perched on a rock above him, silent but 
observant, was eating flitters ; and over all, 
the blue arch of the sky, in which hung 
motionless a broad-winged eagle. 

The Corncrake officially announced, 
' Raip, raip' (ready, ready). Then each 
one got up in his turn to tell of all the great 
things he could do. The Falcon boasted 
that he and his mate were worth the 
kingdom of Mann with all its rights ; 



126 MANX FAIRY TALES 

Lhondoo, the Thrush, sang her best to them 
it was a pleasure to listen to her, and for 
a moment she thought that she would be 
elected ; Flame of the Wood, the Goldfinch, 
spread her bright plumage ; Fork of the 
Wind, the Swallow, told of her swiftness 
and travels to warm countries in the 
south ; the Curlew, of her riches ' Let the 
curlew be poor or fat, she carries a groat 
upon her back/ said she, showing the mark 
of 4 which she bears. When the Cuckoo 
got up, the Meadow Pipit darted out from 
a group and danced round, calling out his 
name to draw attention to himself, the 
little fool, and saying, ' Let every bird hatch 
her own eggs/ so poor Cuckoo wasn't heard. 
There was a loud-voiced dispute between 
the Magpie and the Jackdaw as to which 
was the best thief. At last little Jinny 
Wren got up to have her say, after all the 
grand ones had done. ' Ha, ha, ha/ laughed 
the Snipe, and all the birds chuckled ; but 
Jinny Wren got the better of them for all 
that. Says she : 

Small though I am and slender my leg, 
Twelve chicks I can bring out of the egg. 



STORIES ABOUT BIRDS 127 

And the birds agreed that Jinny was as 
clever again as the best of them. But the 
eagle didn't like it that a little bit of a bird 
like Jinny Wren should be over him. So he 
considered for a minute, and says he, 
middling vexed : ' Birds, it 's only right that 
the best bird on the wing should be king ; 
let 's try a heat to see which of us can go the 
highest/ Hullad, the Owl, looked thought- 
ful, and said : ' I never saw anything yet 
worth flying for/ But the birds said: 
1 'Deed, it wouldn't be a bad idea at all.' 
No sooner said than done. Jinny Diver, the 
Cormorant, gave the whistle to fly, and in- 
stantly off they started. Speeding on great 
strong wings, the eagle led the way, the 
little ones following, Pompee-ny-Hoarn, Fat 
bird of the barley, straggling far in the rear. 
But the Seven Sleepers, the Bat, the Stone- 
chat, Cooag the Cuckoo, and the others, 
didn't stir the sleep had fallen on them. 
The Eagle flew up and up and away, away 
to the sun, till he couldn't lift a feather 
an inch higher. Then he peered down into 
the blue to the birds far, far below, and he 
let a scream out of him : 



128 MANX FAIRY TALES 

' Ta mish Ree ny Ein, Ree ny Ein/ 

' I am King of the Birds, King of the 
Birds/ 

But little Jinny Wren was one too many 
for him there again. She had taken tight 
hold of him by a feather under his great, 
broad wing and hidden herself. And as he 
cried ' Ta mish Ree ny Ein/ she flew on top 
of his head and called out, ' Cha nel, cha 
nel, ta mish er-y-skyn/ 

' Not so, not so, I 'm above him, I 'm 
above him/ 

Down dropped the Eagle, and down 
dropped the Wren, breathless, but King of 
the Birds. 

And that's why the boys go round on 
St. Stephen's Day to this day, singing : 

The Wren, the Wren, the King of all Birds, 

We 've caught St. Stephen's Day in the gorse, 

Though he 's small his family is many ; 

We pray you, good woman, give us a drop to drink. 



THE MODDEY DOO OR THE BLACK 
DOG OF PEEL CASTLE 

IN the days when Charles II was king 
in England and Charles, Earl of Derby, 
king in Mann, Peel Castle was always 
garrisoned by soldiers. The guard-room 
was just inside the great entrance gate 
of the castle and a passage used to lead 
from it, through one of the old churches, 
to the Captain of the Guard's room. 
At the end of the day one of the sol- 
diers locked the castle gates and carried 
the keys through the dark passage 
to the captain. They would take it in 
turns. 

About this time one and another began 
to notice, sometimes in one room, some- 
times in another, a big Black Dog with 

129 K 



MANX FAIRY TALES 

rough curly hair. He did not belong to 
any person there, and nobody knew any- 
thing about him. But every night when 
the candles were lighted in the guard- 
room and the fire was burning bright, he 
would come from the dark passage and 
lay himself down by the hearth. He 
made no sound, but lay there till the break 
of day, and then he would get up and 
disappear into the passage. The soldiers 
were terrified of him at first, but after a 
time they were used to the sight of him 
and lost some of their fear, though they 
still looked on him as something more 
than mortal. While he was in the room 
the men were quiet and sober, and no 
bad words were spoken. When the hour 
came to carry the keys to the captain, 
two of them would always go together 
no man would face the dark passage 
alone. 

One night, however, one foolish fellow 
had drunk more than was good for him, 
and he began to brag and boast that he 
was not afraid of the dog. It was not his 



THE BLACK DOG OF PEEL CASTLE 131 

turn to take the keys, but to show how 
brave he was he said that he would take 
them alone. He dared the dog to follow 
him. 

' Let him come/ he shouted, laugh- 
ing ; ' I '11 see whether he be dog or 
devil ! ' 

His friends were terrified and tried to 
hold him back, but he snatched up the 
keys and went out into the passage. 

The Black Dog slowly got up from 
before the lire and followed him. 

There was a dead silence in the guard- 
room no sound was heard but the dash- 
ing of the waves on the steep rocks of 
the Castle Islet. 

After a few minutes, there came from 
the dark passage the most awful and 
unearthly screams and howls, but not a 
soldier dared to move to see what was 
going on. They looked at each other in 
horror. Presently they heard steps, and 
the rash fellow came back into the room. 
His face was ghastly pale and twisted with 
fear. He spoke not a word, then or after- 



K 2 



132 MANX FAIRY TALES 

wards. In three days he was dead and 
nobody ever knew what had happened to 
him that fearful night. 

The Black Dog has never been seen 
again. 



LITTLE RED BIRD 

Little red bird of the black turf ground, 
Where did you sleep last night ? 
I slept last night on the top of the briar, 
And oh ! what a wretched sleep ! 

Little red bird of the black turf ground, 
Where did you sleep last night ? 
I slept last night on the top of the bush, 
And oh ! what a wretched sleep ! 

Little red bird of the black turf ground, 
Where did you sleep last night ? 
I slept last night on the ridge of the roof, 
And oh ! what a wretched sleep ! 

Little red bird of the black turf ground, 

Where did you sleep last night ? 

I slept last night between two leaves 

As a babe 'twixt two blankets quite at ease, 

And oh ! what a peaceful sleep ! 

An old Manx Lullaby. 
133 



TEHI TEGI 

LONG hundreds of years ago there was a 
witch in the island who made herself the 
finest and cleverest-looking young woman 
in it. Her like for beauty was never before 
seen in this mortal world. When she went 
out walking or riding the very birds of 
the air would forget to sing for looking 
at her, and her sweet voice would tempt 
them off the trees to listen to her. Even 
the animals would stand still till she went 
by, for her beauty cast a spell on them. And 
as for the men, the poor creatures, they 
flocked from all sides of the island to woo 
her, and when they had once looked on 
her face they never wanted to leave her. 
They forgot everything else in the world 
all sorrow and care, home and country, 

till at last everything in the island came 

134 



TEHI TEGI 135 

to a standstill because the men followed 
wherever this young witch chose to lead 
them. Their haggards were empty, for 
they neither ploughed nor sowed, and their 
houses tholthans, for they neither built 
nor mended. They cut no turf and pulled 
no ling for fires. Their fields were covered 
with stones, so that the cattle died for want 
of pasture, and their gardens were full 
of weeds. There was a strange stillness 
throughout the island no children's voices 
were to be heard anywhere. The witch 
only laughed to see what her beauty had 
done, and she kept all the men near her 
by making each think that himself might 
be the chosen one. If one asked her to 
marry him she would answer, ' An' maybe 
I will,' and then she would say the same 
to the next. So they spent their days in 
pleasuring themselves. When she had 
made slaves of the men of the island in 
this way, she said one day : 

' Saddle me my horse, for I Ve a mind 
to ride.' 

So they brought her milk-white horse 



136 MANX FAIRY TALES 

shod with shoes of gold, with bit of gold 
and bridle set with jewels, with saddle of 
mother-of-pearl and saddle-cloth of blue. 
Tehi Tegi mounted, and the waves of her 
golden hair flowed down over her dress 
of shining white. 

' I 'm going/ said she, ' to the country 
for the day, and you can follow me on foot 
if vou like/ 

*/ 

She rode and took her way under shady 
trees and through grassy lanes, where blue- 
bells and primroses grew as thick as the 
grass, and the hedges were yellow with gorse. 
She went on by fields, covered with stones, 
which were once fine corn land ; and on 
she went at the head of them by lonely 
little tholthans whose roofs had sunk in 
on the hearth, and then by spots where 
houses once had been, now marked by 
jenny nettles and an old tramman tree. 
Her way mounted upwards among hills 
shining in the May sunlight, and through 
gills where little streams ran down between 

banks covered with fern and briar and 

. i 

many a flower, to the blue sea. 



TEHI TEGI 137 

At last they found themselves at the 
side of a bright swift river, and she put 
a spell on it and made it seem shallow 
and as smooth and clear as glass, so that 
the little stones at the bottom were barely 
covered. Then, when they were all be- 
ginning to wade through it, she took off 
the spell and the water rushed over their 
heads and swallowed up the six hundred 
poor lovers. With that she made a bat of 
herself and rose up in the air and flew out 
of sight. Her milk-white horse turned 
into a perkin, plunged to the bottom of 
the stream, and swam away out to sea 
and was never more seen. 

From that time the wise men of the 
island made their women go on foot and 
follow their husbands wherever they should 
lead, so that no such accident should 
happen again. If by chance a woman 
went first, anyone who saw her cried out 
1 Tehi Tegi ! Tehi Tegi ! ' 



JOHN-Y-CHIARN'S JOURNEY 

JOHN-Y-CHIARN took the biggest journey in 
his life without meaning to do it at all. 

One night he was going towards Balla- 
quirk, taking his time and thinking of his 
younger days, when all of a sudden he 
heard a great murmur of people coming 
up behind him, and, before he had time to 
look round him, he felt himself getting 
jostled and a voice asked him middling 
sharp, too : 

' What business have you here in our 
way at this hour of the night ? ' 

' I am sorry to give anyone trouble/ 
said John ; ' I '11 get over the hedge out 
of the road.' 

Then the leader came and touched him 
with the little stick he was carrying, and 

said to the others : 

138 



JOHN-Y-CHIARN'S JOURNEY 139 

' We '11 take him with us ; he '11 be 
useful enough among the rest/ 

At that there was a big titter and John 
felt himself all altered like, and a thing 
like a load came on to his back. Then 
they all went on together, Themselves 
talking and laughing away. As soon as 
they came near the Ballaragh Chapel 
though, all was as silent as the grave. 
The houses were dark and the only thing 
they saw stirring was Quilleash's dog, 
and as soon as he smelt Themselves he 
took to his heels with his tail between his 
legs. 

It was a fine easy night with just a 
touch of soft fog on, and a little air com- 
ing down from the mountain as we got 
to Dreem-y-Cuschaage. There the leader 
sounded his big ram's horn, and as they 
went galloping down to the Dhoon, out 
came some more of the Lil Fellas from 
the gill and joined them, and more talking 
and laughing went on. He blew another 
blast at Ballellin, for there they could see 
the fog rolling down from Creg-ny-Molt. 



140 MANX FAIRY TALES 

Again he blew at Ballagorry and they 
slacked down a bit, and you would have 
thought the whole glen would have 
wakened up with the echoes. Down at 
the bridge they could see the lights going 
about like will-o'-the-wisps. Then the 
leader shouted : 

' Get into your lines there, my boys/ 
and the Maughold Lil Fellas put them- 
selves in rows on the walls of the bridge, 
just under the big cherry trees, holding 
their coloured Ian thorns on the points 
of their sticks to give light round that 
dirty turn ; then when all had passed, 
they joined in and followed behind. Away 
they all went, down Slieu Lewaige, fit 
to break their necks. They slackened off 
a bit as they got to Folieu and then took 
their time as far as Ballure's Bridge, where 
there was a big lanthorn hanging up in a 
tree over the old mill. As soon as they 
saw this, two of Themselves blew horns and 
then a host of riders came out of the mill, 
blowing horns too. They turned up the 

i 

gill and all of a sudden the whole crowd, 



JOHN-Y-CHTARN'S JOURNEY 141 

with John among them, were right in the 
middle of a big camp of the Lil People. 
There were lights hanging all about in the 
trees, and fires blazing under the cowree 
pots, and musicians playing fine music. 
Oh, the taking joy there was ! Some 
were going round, giving horn-spoons for 
the cowree and bin jean, and then handing 
round the oatbread and cheese, and the 
tramman wine. Then the little fiddlers 
and fluters and reed-fellows and the drum- 
mers got upon the top of a big rock, 
and the Lil Fellas began to dance, till 
John's head took the reel watching them. 
It was a grand sight to see the nice little 
girls in their red petticoats, and white 
stockings and shoes with silver buckles on, 
and little bells all tinkling in their hair ; 
and the Lil Men in their white knee 
breeches, loghtan stockings and spotted 
carranes. In the middle of it all, up came 
the Lil Captain and- 

' John,' says he. ' What do you think 
of this sight, boy ? : 

' It's mortal grand,' says John. ' Far 



142 MANX FAIRY TALES 

before any of the carnivals I Ve seen before ; 
an' how long will it last ? ' 

' Maybe a fortnight/ said he, laughing 
heartily. ' And maybe more, so you would 

* w ' *,' 

better go back to your own people.' 

' How '11 I get back at all, at all, an' 

in the dark, too ? ' says John. 

Tchut, man/ he said, tipping John 

on the head with his little stick again. 

John didn't remember any more till he 

wakened at the break of day close to his 

own house, and little the worse for his long 

journey. 



A BAD WISH 

May the chimney-hook and the pot-hooks 
Against thee rise in cruel war ; 

The ladle, the dishes, and the pot-stick, 
For the dread attack prepare. 

May the pot-stick and the round tables, 
Cresset, noggin, and hardware store, 

All help to tear, and flay, and skin thee 
When fell'd beneath them on the floor. 

What if the spotted water-bull, 

And the Glashtan would thee take, for all 
And the Fynoderee of the glen, waddling, 

To make of thee a bolster against the wall 

The Fairy of the Glen and the Buggane, 
Finn MacCool and all his company ; 

May they gather together about thy bed, 
And in a straw-rope creel run off with thee. 

From an old Manx Ballad. 
143 



THE WITCH OF SLIEU WHALLIAN 

IT was Midsummer Day, and the Peel 
Herring Fleet, with sails half set, was 
ready for sea. The men had their barley 
sown, and their potatoes down, and now 
their boats were rigged and nets stowed on 
board and they were ready for the harvest 
of the sea. It was a fine day, the sky was 
clear and the wind was in the right airt, 
being from the north. But, as they say, 
' If custom will not get custom, custom 
will weep/ A basinful of water was brought 
from the Holy Well and given to the Wise 
Woman that sold fair winds, as she stood 
on the harbour-side with the women and 
children to watch the boats off. They 
told her to look and tell of the luck of the 
Herring Fleet. She bent over the water 

and, as she looked, her face grew pale with 

i 44 



THE WITCH OF SLIEU WHALLIAN 145 

fear, and she gasped : ' Hurroose, hurroose ! 
An* do ye know what I 'm seeing ? ' 
' Let us hear/ said they. 

I 'm seeing the wild waves lashed to foam away by 

great Bradda Head, 
I 'm seeing the surge round the Chicken's Rock an' 

the breaker's lip is red ; 
I 'm seeing where corpses toss in the Sound, with nets 

an' gear an' spars, 
An' never a one of the Fishing Fleet is riding under 

the stars. 

There was a dead hush, and the men 
gathered close together, muttering, till 
Gorry, the Admiral of the Fishing Fleet, 
stepped forward, caught the basin out of 
her hands and flung it out to sea, growling : 

1 Sure as I 'm alive, sure as I 'm alive, 
woman, I 've more than half a mind to 
heave you in after it. If I had my way, 
the like of you an' your crew would be 
run into the sea. Boys, are we goin' to 
lose a shot for that bleb? Come on, let's 
go an' chonce it with the help of God.' 

' Aye, no herring, no wedding. Let 's 
go an' chonce it/ said young Cashen. 

So hoisting sails they left the port and 



146 MANX FAIRY TALES 

when the land was fairly opened out, so that 
they could see the Calf, they headed for the 
south and stood out for the Shoulder. 
Soon a fine breeze put them in the fishing- 
ground, and every man was looking out 
for signs of herring perkins, gannets, fish 
playing on the surface, oily water, and such 
like. When the sun was set and the 
evening was too dark to see the Admiral's 
Flag, the skipper of each lugger held his 
arm out at full length, and when he could 
no longer see the black in his thumb-nail he 
ordered the men to shoot their nets. And 
as they lay to their trains it all fell out as 
the witch had said. Soon the sea put on 
another face, the wind from westward blew 
a sudden gale and swelled up the waves 
with foam. The boats were driven hither 
and thither, and the anchors dragged quickly 
behind them. Then the men hoisted sail 
before the wind and struggled to get back 
to land, and the lightning was all the light 
they had. It was so black dark that they 
could see no hill, and above the uproar 
of the sea they could hear the surges 



THE WITCH OF SLIEU WHALLIAN 147 

pounding on the rocky coast. The waves 
were rising like mountains, breaking over 
the boats and harrying them from stem to 
stern. They were dashed to pieces on the 
rocks of vhe Calf, and only two men escaped 
with their lives. 

But there was one boat that had got 
safe back to port before the storm, and that 
was the boat of the Seven Boys. She 
was a Dalby boat and belonged to seven 
young men who were all unmarried. They 
were always good to the Dooinney Marrey, 
the Merman, and when they were hauling 
their nets they would throw him a dishful 
of herring, and in return they had always 
good luck with their fishing. This night, 
after the Fleet had shot their nets some- 
time, the night being still fine and calm, 
the Seven Boys heard the voice of the 
Merman hailing them and saying : 

' It is calm and fine now ; there will be 
storm enough soon ! ; 

When the Skipper heard this he said : 
' Every herring must hang by its own 
gills/ and he and his crew at once put their 



L 2 



148 MANX FAIRY TALES 

nets on board and gained the harbour. 
And it was given for law ever after that 
no crew w r as to be made up of single men 
only ; there was to be at least one married 
man on board and no man was bound by his 
hiring to fish in this same south sea, which 
was called ' The Sea of Blood ' from that 
day. 

As for the witch, they said she had 
raised the storm by her spells and they 
took her to the top of the great mountain 
Slieu Whallian, put her into a spiked 
barrel and rolled her from the top to the 
bottom, where the barrel sank into the 
bog. For many and many a long year 
there was a bare track down the steep 
mountain-side, where grass would never 
grow, nor ling, nor gorse. They called it 
' The Witch's Way/ and they say that her 
screams are heard in the air every year 
on the day she was put to death. 



THE OLD CHRISTMAS 

IN the days of our grandmothers, Old 
Christmas Day, the fifth of January, was 
believed to be the true Christmas. On 
Black Thomas's Eve, which was the first 
day of the Christmas holidays, the spinning 
wheels all had to be put away, the making 
of nets ceased, and no work of any kind 
must be done until after Twelfth. Day. 

But there was once an old woman 
named Peggy Shimmin, at Ballacooil, and 
she was bent on finishing some spinning 
that she had begun, so on Old Christmas 
Eve she said to herself : 

' The New Christmas is pas' an' surely 
it's no wrong to do a bit o' spinning to-night/ 
though she doubted in her heart if she were 
not sinning. So when Himself and the 
rest were in bed, she called her 3'oung 

servant-girl, lil Margad, and said : 

149 



150 MANX FAIRY TALES 

' Margad, me an' you will finish the 
spinning to-night/ Margad was frightened, 
terrible, but she got out her wheel and sat 
beside her mistress. The two began to 
spin, and they were spinning and spinning 
till near midnight, and behold ye, just 
before midnight old Peggy saw the flax 
she was drawing from the distaff grow 7 
blacker and blacker till it was as black 
as tar. But Margad' s flax did not change 
colour because she had only done what 
her mistress bade her. Peggy dropped 
the flax quick, put away her wheel, and 
crept in fear to bed. She knew now 
which was the true Christmas Day and 
never more did she spin on Old Christmas 
Eve. 

Margad was left alone in the kitchen 
when her mistress had gone to bed, and at 
first she was trembling with fright ; but 
she was a middling brave girl, and she 
took a notion, as there was no person to 
stop her, to see if all the things were true 
that she had heard about Old Christmas 
Eve. 



THE OLD CHRISTMAS 151 

' They 're saying/ she thought, ' that 
the bees are coming out, an' the three- 
year-old bullocks going down on their 
knees, an' the myrrh coming up in bloom.' 
Then she says to herself : 

' I 'm thinking I '11 go out an' watch 
the myrrh.' So she put a cloak round 
her and crept out at the door into the cold 
frosty moonlit night, and midnight had just 
struck as she put her foot outside. She 
stooped to look on the spot where the myrrh 
root was buried, and as she was looking, 
the earth began to stir and to crack, and 
soon two little green shoots pushed up to 
the air. She bent closer to see what 
would happen, and to her great wonder 
the leaves and stalks grew big and strong 
before her eyes, and then the buds began to 
show, and in a few minutes the lovely white 
flowers were in bloom and the garden was 
sweet with their fragrance. Margad could 
do nothing but stare at them at first, but 
at last she dared to gather one small piece of 
the blossom, and she kept it for luck all 
her life. Then she went to the cowhouse 



152 MANX FAIRY TALES 

and peeped through the door. She heard a 
groaning sound and there were the young 
bullocks on their knees, moaning, and 
the sweat was dropping from them. 
Margad knelt down, too, and put up a bit of 
a prayer to the Holy Child that was born 
in a stall. But the wonders were not over 
yet, for as she went silently back to the 
house she noticed that the bees were singing 
and flying round the hive they were 
inside again, when she shut the door of the 
house behind her. 

Always after that, when the neighbours 
would ask her if she believed in the wonders 
of the Old Christmas Eve, she would say : 

' I know it 's true, for I Ve seen it 
myself.' 



THE BUGGANE OF ST. TRINIAN'S 

A LONG time ago there came some monks 
to the broad, rough meadow which is 
between dark Greeba Mountain and the 
high road, and they chose a nice place and 
set up a church to St. Trinian on it. But 
they reckoned without the power of the 
Buggane, who had his haunt in the moun- 
tain. The Buggane was mighty angry, and 
he said to himself : 

' I '11 have no peace night or day with 
their jingling bells if I let them finish 
the building.' And, as he had nothing 
else to do, he took it into his head to 
amuse himself by tossing off the roof. 

So when the roof of the church was 
first put on, there was heard that very 

night a dreadful sound in it, and when the 

153 



154 MANX FAIRY TALES 

people of Greeba got up early next morning 
they found their church roofless, and 
planks and broken beams all around the 
place. After a time, and with great effort, 
the roof was put on again. But when it 
was on, a great storm arose in the night 
and it was blown down from the walls, 
exactly as had happened before. This 
fall put fear in the people, for they were 
sure now that it was the evil, destructive 
Buggane himself that was doing the mis- 
chief. But, though they were terrified, 
they resolved to make one more attempt ; 
and the third roof was nearly finished. 

Now there was a brave little tailor living 
about a mile from Greeba, and because 
he had not too much worldly gear, he made 
a wager that when the new roof was on, 
he would not only spend the first night 
in the church, but also make a pair of 
breeches there. The wager was taken up 
eagerly, as they hoped that if the roof was 
one night up, it would be left on. 

So Timothy that was the name of the 
little tailor went to the church on the 



THE BUGGANE OF ST. TRINIAN'S 155 

very first evening after the new roof had 
been put on. He started just when the 
shadow was beginning to get grey by the 
hedges. He took with him cloth, needle 
and thread, thimble and scissors. He 
entered the church boldly, lit a couple of 
big candles, and looked all over the building 
to see that everything was right. Then 
he locked the door so that there was no 
way to get in. He cut out the cloth, 
and, seating himself cross-legged in the 
chancel, he put on his thimble and set to 
work at the breeches. He paid no heed 
to the darkness of the lonely church at 
dead of night, but with long thread and 
needle he bent low over his work, his 
fingers, moving backwards and forwards 
rapidly, casting strange, beckoning shadows 
on the walls. The breeches had got to be 
finished, or he would lose his wager, so 
he stitched away as fast as he could, 
thinking about the good money the people 
would have to give him. 

The wind was beginning to rise, and 
trees scutched their arms against the 



156 MANX FAIRY TALES 

windows. The tailor looked cautiously up 
and down and round about. Nothing 
strange came in sight and he took courage. 
Then he threaded his needle and began his 
work again. He gave another sharp glance 
around, but saw nothing at all except 
the glimmer of the place near the candles, 
and empty, deep darkness away beyond 
them. So his courage rose high, and he 
said to himself : 

' It 's all foolishness that 's at the 
people about the Buggane, for, after all, 
the like isn't in/ 

But at that very minute the ground 
heaved under him and rumbling sounds 
came up from below. The sounds grew 
louder underneath, and Timothy glanced 
quickly up. All of a sudden a great big 
head broke a hole through the pavement 
just before him, and came slowly rising 
up through the hole. It was covered with 
a mane of coarse, black hair ; it had eyes 
like torches, and glittering sharp tusks. 
And when the head had risen above the 
pavement, the fiery eyes glared fiercely 



THE BUGGANE OF ST. TRINIAN'S 157 

at Tim ; the big, ugly, red mouth opened 
wide, and a dreadful voice said : 

Thou rascal, what business hast thou 
here ? ' 

Tim paid no heed, but worked harder 
still, for he knew he had no time to lose. 

' Dost thou see this big head of mine ? ' 
yelled the Buggane. 

' I see, I see ! ' replied Tim, mockingly. 

Up came a big broad pair of shoulders, 
then a thick arm shot out and a great 
fist shook in the Tailor's face. 

' Dost thou see my long arms ? ' roared 
the voice. 

' I see, I see ! answered Tim, boldly, 
and he stopped his tailoring to snuff one 
of the guttering candles, and he threw the 
burning snuff in the scowling face before 
him. Then he went on with his tailoring. 

The Buggane kept rising and rising 
up through the hole until the horrible 
form, black as ebony, and covered with 
wrinkles like the leather of a blacksmith's 
bellows, had risen quite out of the ground. 

' Dost thou see this big body of mine ? ' 



158 MANX FAIRY TALES 

roared the Buggane, angry that Tim showed 
no fear of him. 

' I see, I see ! ' replied the Tailor, at 
the same time stitching with all his might 
at the breeches. 

1 Dost thou see my sharp claws ? ' 
roared the Buggane in a more angry 
voice than before. 

' I see, I see ! :> answered again the little 
Tailor, without raising his eyes, and con- 
tinuing to pull out with all his might. 

' Dost thou see my cloven foot ? ' 
thundered the Buggane, drawing up one 
big foot and planking it down on the 
pavement with a thud that made the 
walls shake. 

' I see, I see ! ' replied the little Tailor, 
as before, stitching hard at the breeches 
and taking long stitches. 

Lifting up his other foot, the Buggane, in 
a furious rage, yelled : 

' Dost thou see my rough arms, my 
bony ringers, my hard fists, my ? ' 

Before he could utter another syllable, 
or pull the other foot out of the ground, 



THE BUGGANE OF ST. TRINIAN'S 159 

the little Tailor quickly jumped up, and 
made two stitches together. The breeches 
were at last finished, then with one spring 
he made a leap through the nearest window. 
But scarcely was he outside the walls 
when down fell the new roof with a terrible 
crash, that made Tim jump a great deal 
more nimblv 7 than he ever did before. 

j 

Hearing the Buggane's fiendish guifaws 
of laughter behind him, he took to his 
heels and sped hot-foot along the Douglas 
road, the breeches under his arms and the 
furious Buggane in full chase. The Tailor 
made for Marown Church, only a little 
distance away, and knew he would be safe 
if he could only reach the churchyard. 
He ran faster still, he reached the wall, 
he leaped over it like a hunted hare, and 
fell weary and spent upon the grass, under 
the shadow of the church, where the 
Buggane had not power to follow. 

So furious was the monster at this that 
he seized his own head with his two hands, 
tore it off his body and sent it flying over 
the wall after the Tailor. It burst at his 



160 MANX FAIRY TALES 

feet with a terrific explosion, and with 
that the Buggane vanished, and was never 
seen or heard of afterwards. Wonderful 
to relate, the Tailor was not hurt, and he 
won the wager, for no person grumbled 
at the few long stitches put into the 
breeches. 

And as for St. Trinian's Church, there 
is no name on it from that day till this 
but Keeill Vrisht Broken Church for 
its roof was never replaced. There it 
stands in the green meadow under the 
shadow of rocky Greeba Mountain, and 
there its grey roofless ruki^ are to be 
found now. 



KING MAGNUS BAREFOOT 

MAGNUS, great nephew of Olaf the Saint, 
was King of Norway in the days when the 
Norwegian Kings were Lords over Mann, 
and he was called by the name of Barefoot 
because he wore kilts. He was the bravest 
and most beautiful young king of his time 
-tall and strong and brilliant as a meteor. 
He wore a helmet on his head and carried 
a red shield with a golden lion upon it ; 
he had in his belt a sword of exceeding 
sharpness with an ivory hilt inlaid with 
gold, and a keen javelin in his hand. Over 
his coat of mail was a tunic of ruby-red 
embroidered with a golden lion. He was 
a fine and valiant figure. It was he who 
brought King Olaf's Cup of Peace to our 
island, and this is the way it happened. 
Magnus was sitting at supper one day 



161 



162 MANX FAIRY TALES 

with his chief men, and their talk ran on 
the beautiful shrine of Olaf the Saint, which 
was the wonder of its age. They spake to 
one another of how it was said that Olaf s 
body would never be destroyed by death, 
but would remain as in life and would heal 
those who prayed at the shrine of any 
sickness. Magnus laughed the story to 
scorn and said boldly : 

1 Seeing is believing ; let the shrine be 
opened that we may see for ourselves if 
the story be true/ 

Then the bishop and clergy were 
horrified, and begged the king : ' Oh king, 
let not the thing be done, it will surely 
bring evil on thee/ 

But Magnus commanded : 

' Let the shrine be opened at once. I 
fear no man alive or dead/ 

So his will was done and when the 
jewelled shrine was opened, all saw the 
body of holy Olaf lying incorrupt and fair 
as if alive. Magnus touched it with his 
hands, but was suddenly seized with a 
great fear. He went away in haste, but 



KING MAGNUS BAREFOOT 163 

took with him the lovely crystal cup that 
lay beside the Saint. 

The next night in his sleep he had a 
vision of King Olaf, majestic and stern, 
who said to him : 

' Choose, I tell you, one of two things, 
either to lose your kingdom and life within 
thirty days, or to leave Norway and never 
see it again/ 

Magnus awoke and called his chiefs 
and great men to tell them of his vision. 

' Oh king/ they cried in fear. ' Leave 
Norway with all speed, and keep thy life 
and kingship/ 

So Magnus, who was the last of our 
great Sea Kings, got together a fleet of 
1 60 long ships, each with twenty or thirty 
rowers' benches, and with bows carved in 
the shape of dragons. He loved the sea, 
and, like a true Viking, he used to say : 

f I will never sleep under a sooty rafter 
nor drink in the chimney corner/ 

Away he sailed to the Orkneys; he 
conquered them and all the Western Islands, 
and came to Mann. He put in at Saint 



M 2 



164 MANX FAIRY TALES 

Patrick's Isle and went to see the site of 
the Battle of Santwat near Peel, which 
had been fought three days before between 
the Manx of north and south. The beauty 
of our island pleased his eyes and he chose 
it for his dwelling-place. He made the men 
of Galloway cut timber and bring it over to 
make three forts for him. In one of them, 
near Douglas, he placed the Cup of Peace, 
which he knew would be well guarded by 
the Lhiannan Shee, the Peace Fairy who 
never left it. 

Then he sailed to Anglesey and made 
himself lord over it, but he soon came back 
to the Isle of Mann, for it pleased him best. 
On his return he sent his dirty shoes over 
to Morrough, King of Ireland, with this 
message : 

' Magnus Barefoot, King of Norway and 
the Isles, bids thee carry his dirty shoes 
on thy shoulders through thy house on 
Christmas Day in thy royal state, and own 
that thou hast thy kingdom and power from 
the Lord of Norway and the Isles. And 
this thou must do in sight of his envoys/ 



KING MAGNUS BAREFOOT 165 

When the Irish heard this they were furi- 
ously angry and indignant, but wise King 
Morrough said : 

' I will not only carry the shoes, but 
eat them, rather than that Magnus should 
ruin a single province in Ireland/ 

Then he carried the shoes on Christmas 
Day as Magnus bade, treated the messengers 
with honour and sent them back to Mann 
with many fine gifts for their king, with 
whom he made a treaty of peace. But 
the envoys told their master of the richness 
of the Irish lands and the pleasantness of 
the air, and Magnus kept it in his mind. 

After this the King of Scotland sent 
a message to him, saying : 

' Cease to make war against me and I 
will yield thee those of the Western Isles 
that thou canst from the mainland go 
round in a vessel with a paddle-rudder.' 

Magnus made peace on those terms and 
so the Norse Kings gained the Southern 
Isles, among which they counted the penin- 
sula of Cantyre because Magnus, sitting 
at the helm, caused his great warship to 



166 MANX FAIRY TALES 

be dragged across the neck of land which 
joins it to the mainland. His vikings 
shouted with triumph as they pulled the 
ship along, with their young king in his red 
and gold laughing at the stern. 

But all this time, in his heart, Magnus 
could think of nothing but the conquest of 
Ireland. He sailed to the coast of Down, 
where he began to invade and pillage. It 
was on Saint Bartholomew's Day, 1103, that 
his last battle was fought. The Irish had 
promised to bring him cattle for his troops 
the day before, but as they had not come 
he landed his men and marched them to the 
top of a little hill on the plain of Coba. 
From this place he could see all the country 
round, and presently there appeared a 
great cloud of dust in the distance. Some 
of his men said that it was an army ap- 
proaching, others that it was the herd of 
cattle. The last were right, and when 
the cattle had been handed over, Magnus 
and his men returned towards his ships. 
It was now the noon of a calm and sunny 
day. When^. they reached the marshes, 



KING MAGNUS BAREFOOT 167 

suddenly a band of Irish rushed out from 
their ambush in a wood close by, and 
attacked them fiercely. 

Magnus ordered his chief, Eyvinder, to 
sound the trumpet and summon his men 
around the royal standard. He ordered 
them to close ranks with overlapping 
shields, until they got to the dry ground 
where they would be safe. They made 
their way as far as an old fort, but the 
Irish pressed them and slew many of them. 
Then the king called to a chief named 
Thorgrim : 

' Do you, with your cohort, cross the 
rampart and occupy the hill opposite with 
your archers till we join you/ 

Thorgrim and his men did as they were 
told and crossed over, but when they were 
across they put their shields on their backs 
and fled to the ships. When Magnus saw 
them he shouted : 

' Is it thus you run, you coward ? I 
was a fool to send you instead of Sigurd, 
who would not thus desert me/ 

Magnus fought like a lion, but soon he 



168 MANX FAIRY TALES 

was pierced through the thigh by a spear. 
He pulled it out and snapped it beneath 
his feet, crying : 

* Thus we, young warriors, break these 
twigs. Fight on bravely, my men, and fear 
no danger for me/ 

His men prayed him to try to spare 
himself, but he said : 

' Better for a people to have a brave 
king than an old king ! ' 

And so saying, foremost in the battle, 
he met his death. 



MANANNAN MAC Y LEIRR 

Manannan Beg was son of Leirr, 
He was the first that e'er had Mann; 
But as it seemeth unto me, 
He himself was but a heathen. 

Twas not with his sword he kept her, 
Nor with his arrows, nor his bow ; 
But when he would see ships sailing, 
He hid her right round with a fog. 

He 'd set a man upon a brow, 
You 'd think there were a hundred there; 
And thus did wild Manannan guard 
That island with all its booty. 

The rent each paid out of the land 
Was a bundle of green rushes ; 
And that was on them for a tax 

Throughout the country each John's Eve. 

169 



170 MANX FAIRY TALES 

Some went up with the rushes to 
The great mountain up at Barrule ; 
Others would leave the grass below, 
With Manannan above Keamool. 

In this way, then, they lived, I think 
Myself their tribute very small, 
Without care or anxiety, 
Or labour to cause weariness. 

Old Ballad. 



MANANNAN MAC Y LEIRR 

MANANNAN MAC Y LEIRR, the Son of the 
Sea, was the first Ruler of Mann. He was 
a great Wizard, and he was so powerful 
that afterwards he was looked on as a god. 
He had a great stone fort on Peel Island, and 
he could make one man, standing on its 
battlements, seem to be a hundred. When 
he saw his enemies' ships sailing, he would 
cover the island round with a silver mist 
so that it could not be seen ; and if, in spite 
of the mist, his enemies came near, he 
would throw chips into the water and change 
them into ships. He was out walking one 
day on Barrule, when he saw the warships of 
the Northmen were in the bay of Peel. And 
with that he made himself into the shape of 
three legs and rolled like a wheel down from 

the mountain top as fast as the wind. It 

171 



172 MANX FAIRY TALES 

was about low tide in the harbour, and there 
ran a stream of sparkling water out to sea. 
Now the banks of the stream were marshy, 
and by the river-side grew a quantity of 
sedge with broad, green leaves. So Man- 
annan made little boats of the sedge, a 
good number of them, and sailed his boats 
in the stream. And when the little fleet 
floated out of the harbour, he caused them 
to look like great ships of war, well manned 
with fighting men. Then terror seized 
on the Northmen when they saw the Manx 
fleet, and they cut their cables, hoisted 
sails, and cleared away as fast as they 
could, and Manannan and his island were 
left in peace. Thus did he keep Mann, and 
not with his sword, or his bow and arrows. 
In his fort he had a great banqueting- 
hall, where handsome boys made sweet 
music, and others played games and did 
great feats of strength. He had a horse 
called Enbarr of the Flowing Mane, who 
could travel like the wind over sea as well 
as land, swift hounds that could catch any 
wild beast, and a sword called The Answerer, 



MANANNAN MAC Y LEIRR 173 

whose wound was always fatal, besides 
his Magic Branch and his wonderful boat, 
Wave Sweeper. 

He governed Mann well for long, long 
years. Manx people had the best of good 
treatment from him, and all the rent he 
wanted was that each one was to bring a 
bundle of green rushes to him on the 
Mountain of South Barrule on Midsummer 
Eve. The island was a happy place, full 
of sunshine and all pleasant things, and no 
person there was old or tired or sad. 

Manx men have never forgotten Man- 
annan, and this thousand years our fisher- 
men have prayed to him the following 
prayer, as they have put out to sea. Even 
up to the days of our fathers it has been 
used : 

Manannan Beg Mac y Leirr 

Little Manannan Son of the Sea, 

Who blessed our island, 

Bless us and our boat, going out well. 

Coming in better, with living and dead in our boat. 



THE CORMORANT AND THE BAT 

THERE was a time in the olden days when 
the cormorant and the bat took counsel 
together to do something for the poor, as 
they had compassion on them, and they 
went into the glens gathering wool to make 
clothing for them. When they had a quan- 
tity gathered they took a boat and put out 
to sea. It happened as they were sailing 
that a storm came on, and the waves were 
breaking over the vessel, insomuch that the 
poor bat had to leap from place to place to 
escape the water, and in the darkness he was 
cast out of the boat clinging to an oar. At 
daybreak he was near the shore and flew 
unto dry land. A seagull, standing near by, 
inquired : 

' Och, lil bat vogh, what 's there doin 

on thee that thou are all of a thriddle 

174 



THE CORMORANT AND THE BAT 175 

of thrimblin like this ? ; When he heard 
the bat's story, he said : 

' As sure as can be, if he will happen 
.on thee, he will take thy life.' They had 
given each other a promise that one would 
not leave the other until they had com- 
pleted their task. 

The bat was so frightened that he hid 
himself in an old ruin until the darkness 
came on ; and from that time until now 
he will only venture out under covering of 
the night. 

The cormorant held on to the boat until 
she filled with water and sank to the bottom 
of the sea. At last he flew to a rock, and 
there sat for hours together, day after day, 
looking out for the bat. At other times he 
would go for a season into the glens ; and 
in this way they continue from that storm 
to the present time the one hides himself, 
and the other seeks him. 



CAILLAGH-NY-FAASHAGH, OR THE 
PROPHET WIZARD 

IN the old days when there were wizards 
and witches in the Isle of Mann, the greatest 
Wizard of all was Caillagh-ny-Faashagh. 
He did not live above ground, but in a 
quarry, in a hole under the rock on the 
lonely mountain side, and that is why the 
people called him the Prophet Wizard of the 
Wilderness. At dark he would roam over 
the mountains, and people walking there, 
when night was drawing on, would hear 
him crying ' Hoa, hoa, hoa ! ' like the 
bellow of a goat, in a voice so terrible 
and strong that the earth, and all who 
heard it, trembled with fear. He could 
change himself into any shape he liked ; 
sometimes he would be a goat with big, 

fiery eyes ; at other times a tall, tall man. 

176 



CAILLAGH-NY-FAASHAGH 177 

Once, when he was a goat, he followed a 
man that was walking along the mountain 
road, and that time he had eyes in him 
as big as two dishes. The man was carry- 
ing a lantern, and as he shifted it from one 
hand to the other the goat followed it from 
side to side. The man was terrified and 
began to run. As soon as he left the moun- 
tain road the beast roared after him : 
' Hoa, hoa, hoa ! ' 

Another time, in the shape of a tall, tall 
man, as tall as two men, he followed a 
woman who struck across the mountain at 
Garey mooar, and he had great, big, burning 
eyes, as big as two plates, in his head. The 
woman ran with all her might, for life or 
death, and he ran roaring after her : ' Hoa, 
hoa, hoa ! ' But when she turned down 
from the mountain he came no further. 

He was a great soothsayer, but he would 
not foretell what was to happen unless 
some person asked him. It seems that he 
must have lived for hundreds of years, for 
he foretold a battle that was fought in 
1098. This was the Battle of Santwat, 



N 



MANX FAIRY TALES 

' Sand Ford/ between the north and south 
Manx. He said : 

The river Neb shall run red from Glen Crew to the 

sea, 
And gulls shall sip their full of the blood of 

Manninee. 

It all came true. The north men sailed 
into Peel and ran their flat-bottomed boats 
up to Glenfaba Ford, where the south men 
met them to keep them from landing. They 
fought up the stream to Glen Crew where 
there was a great slaughter, and the bodies 
of the slain dammed the stream and turned 
the little glen into a pool. The waters of 
the Neb were reddened by Manx blood 
when they ran into Peel Bay. The south 
side women had followed the men and were 
watching the battle from a little distance, but 
when they saw that the north people were 
winning they rushed down, and into the 
heart of the fight, with bratfuls of stones 
and with hacks, and won the day for the 
south. And a law was made that hence- 
forth the widows in the south of the island 
should get half of their husband's estate ; 



CAILLAGH-NY-FAASHAGH 179 

but the north side women, who stayed at 
home, were to get only one- third. 

The Prophet Wizard foretold, too, the 
finding of Foxdale lead mines. A man 
came to him and asked : 

' How will I get rich, O Caillagh-ny- 
Faashagh ? ' 

And the Wizard answered : 

There's a butt in Ballafesson worth the whole of 

Balladoole. 
But the riches of the Isle of Mann lie hid behind 

Barrule. 

He also gave this prophecy to old Juan 
the weaver, who asked him for one : 

At the foot of Barrule there will be a market 

town, 
Mullin-y-Cleigh with blood for twenty-four hours 

will turn roun'. 

Now the village of Foxdale stands at the 
foot of Barrule, and it is said that in the old 
times a great battle between the Manx and 
the Irish was fought by the stream above 
Mullin-y-Cleigh, the Mill-by-the-Hedge. 

To a Peel man he foretold : 

' There will be a battle between the 
Irish and the Manx at Creg Malin.' And 



N 2 



i8o MANX FAIRY TALES 

the old fishermen say that that battle 
took place two hundred years ago. Itjwas 
a Sunday when the Irishmen came in the 
bay, and they found no place to beach 
their boats, so they turned the Manx boats 
adrift, and thought they had the place for 
themselves. But they soon found their 
masters. The Manx men came after their 
boats, and there was the battle red blood 
running like water! And the battle was 
not over that day, but they fought round 
into Douglas, and finished at last in Derby 
Haven, so the old fishermen say. 

Then there was an old maid that had a 
cressad (a melting pot) , and she went from 
house to house making lead spoons. She 
was a bit queer ; she would not smoke a 
mould on a sunny day, nor a misty day, nor 
a wet day, nor a windy day ; she must have 
a day to fit herself. She met the Caillagh 
when he was in the shape of a goat, and she 
asked him to foretell when would be the 
end of the world. He said that before 
the last : 

' The Mountains of Mann will be cut 



CAILLAGH-NY-FAASHAGH 181 

over with roads, and iron horses will gallop 
over them, and there will be an inn on the 
top of Snaefell/ 

That has all come true ; trains rush 
over the island and, for sure, there is the 
inn on the top of our highest mountain. 
He said, too : 

' Mann and Scotland will come so close 
that two women, one standing in Mann 
and another in Scotland, will be able to 
wring a blanket between them/ But that 
has not come true yet, though the sandy 
Point of Ayre is stretching further and 
further towards the Mull of Galloway. 

And another of his prophecies has not 
come to pass yet : 

' The Chief Rulers of Mann will be 
compelled to flee.' 

But it will all be before the end. 



THE CITY UNDER SEA 

Now where Langness runs its long nose 
into the sea, and on a place now always 
covered by the waves, there was once a 
fine city with many towers and gilded 
domes. Great ships went sailing from its 
port to all parts of the world, and round 
it were well-grassed lands with cattle and 
sheep. Even now sailors sometimes see 
it through the clear, deep waters, and hear 
dimly the bleating of sheep, the barking 
of dogs, and the muffled chiming of bells- 
f Nane, jees, three, kiare, queig.' But no 
man can walk its streets. 

For once upon a time, in the days when 
there were giants in the Isle of Mann, 
Finn Mac Cool had his home near this city. 
He lived at the Sound to keep his eye on 

Erinn, and to watch the sea. But he was 

182 



THE CITY UNDER SEA 183 

very seldom in Mann, and wherever he 
was he was always doing some mischief, 
so that his enemies were many. One day 
he was in such a hurry to reach his home 
that he jumped from Erinn and landed 
in the island on the rocks above the Sound. 
He came down with such force that he 
left his footmarks in the hard stone, and 
the place has been called ever since, Slieu 
ynnyd ny Cassyn, or the Mountain of the 
place of the Feet. His first act when he 
reached home was to get in a red rage with 
the people of the city close by ; his next 
act was to turn them all into blocks of 
granite. In his passion he struck the 
ground so hard with his club that he made 
a great dent in it the waves rushed into 
the deep hollow and the roaring sea drowned 
the din of the city. Its towers and domes 
were covered by the green water ; its 
streets and market-place, its harbour and 
its crowded quays, disappeared from sight. 
And there it lies to this day. 

But there is a strange story told of a 
man that went down to it more than two 



184 MANX FAIRY TALES 

hundred years ago. A ship was searching 
for sunken treasure in those parts and this 
man was let down to the bottom of the 
sea in a kind of ancient diving bell. He was 
to pull the rope when he wished to be let 
down further. He pulled and pulled till 
the men on the ship knew that he was as 
deep down in the sea as the moon is high 
up in the sky ; then there was no more 
rope and they had to draw him up again. 
When he was on deck he told them that 
if he could have gone further he would 
have made the most wonderful discoveries. 
They begged him to tell them what he had 
seen, and when he had drunk a cup of wine 
he told his story. 

First he had passed through the waters 
in which the fishes live ; then he came 
into the clear and peaceful region where 
storms never come, and saw the bottom of 
the World-under-Sea shining with coral 
and bright pebbles. When the diving- 
bell rested on the ground he looked through 
its little windows and saw great streets 
decorated with pillars of crystal glittering 



THE CITY UNDER SEA 185 

like diamonds, and beautiful buildings 
made of mother-of-pearl, with shells of every 
colour set in it. He longed to go into one 
of these fine houses, but he could not leave 
his diving bell, or he would have been 
drowned. He managed to move it close 
to the entrance of a great hall, with a 
floor of pearls and rubies and all sorts of 
precious stones, and with a table and chair 
of amber. The walls were of jasper, and 
strings of lovely jewels were hanging on 
them. The man wished to carry some 
away with him, but he could not reach 
them the rope was at an end. As he 
rose up again towards the air he met many 
handsome Mermen and beautiful Mermaids, 
but they were afraid of him, and swam 
away as fast as they could. 

That was the end of the man's story. 
After that he grew so sad with longing to 
go back to the World-under-Sea and stay 
there for ever, that he cared for nothing on 
earth, and soon died of grief. 



AN ANCIENT CHARM AGAINST 
THE FAIRIES 

Peace of God and peace of man, 
Peace of God on Columb-Killey, 
On each window and each door, 
On every hole admitting moonlight, 
On the four corners of the house, 
On the place of my rest, 
And peace of God on myself. 



THE END 







PRINTED BY 

SPOTTISWOODE AND CO. LTD., COLCHESTER 
LONDON AND ETON 



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