Gnomes and gardens

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‘Midsummer tomte’ from The Midsummer Tomte & the Little Rabbits by Ulf Stark & Eva Eriksson

Introduction

I’m going to start controversially.  The theme of this post is gnomes, but the fact is that gnomes don’t exist.  The word ‘gnome’ was made up by the sixteenth century German physician Paracelsus to describe a concept of his own invention, an earth dwelling nature spirit.  It wasn’t quite like the dwarves or kobolds of his native Germanic folklore and it isn’t really related to anything in the folklore of the British Isles either. A substitute term from English might be ‘goblin’ or (even better) the word ‘mannikin’ which was adopted by Geoffrey Hodson in the 1920s.

Who’s a gnome?

Arguments about terminology aside, its very clear that people see gnome-like beings all the time and that they are closely tied to nature.  The book Seeing Fairies by Marjorie Johnson and the Fairy Census 2017 are both full of sightings which give us a very good idea of their appearance and habits.

I should start with a word of warning.  Some of the modern accounts give rise to a suspicion that preconceptions about the appearance and conduct of gnomes, derived from literature and popular art, have shaped people’s perception of what they witnessed.  For example, a mother’s toddler saw a “funny little man” in their Nottinghamshire garden; she questioned him as to what exactly he had seen and he gave “a fair description with what she associated with a dwarf or gnome.”  What the very young infant experienced is channelled through an adult’s interpretation, therefore (Johnson p.17).  The mother, and possibly the child too, will have had their vision pre-formed by Enid Blyton, Walt Disney and other such powerful influences.  In another instance, the figures seen wore “the recognised garb of gnomes”- as if there is some sort of supernatural uniform (Johnson p.185).

At the same time, though, many people struggle to label what they have witnessed, so that I have sorted out the accounts on the basis of my own prejudices applied to their descriptions and perhaps included some examples that were not gnomic.  Some of the beings sighted were called ‘gnomes,’ in one case the witness wasn’t sure whether to best call them gnomes or brownies and a few people resorted to Hodson’s term ‘mannikin’ (Johnson pp.45, 169 & 177).

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Brian Froud, a gnome

What’s a gnome?

Whilst we may have doubts about classification, we can be rather more definite in describing the ‘typical’ gnome.  They are likely to be seen wearing jackets and trousers, very often hats and boots.  The clothes are predominantly green, though often brown.  Red is sometimes seen and a variety of other colours have been reported from time to time: grey, blue, yellow and even mauve.  As we might anticipate, gnomes’ hats are very frequently pointed and most commonly red.  Green brown, yellow and blue headgear have also been seen and hats may also resemble mushrooms and acorns or be broad brimmed or peaked.

Gnomes don’t tend to be tall.  About half of those sighted were under twelve inches in height; roughly equal numbers measured between twelve and eighteen inches high, between eighteen and twenty-four inches and taller than that, up to about five feet high in just two examples.  Beards were quite frequently reported; white hair or aged features were not uncommon.

Given the total number of cases recorded in the Census, Seeing fairies and a few other sources I used, gnomes don’t seem to constitute a large part of the fairy population.  They represent about 13% of the total sightings.

To summarise this information so far: gnomes look like gnomes.  They tend to be small, bearded, in tall pointy caps.  One witness in Liverpool saw a little being “of the tubby sort;” two others described what they saw as being like ‘traditional gnomes.’  I assume once again that they are comparing the creatures seen to an image of an ‘archetypal gnome’ that they held in their imaginations (Johnson pp.323, 172 & 261).

Given their habitual association with gardens and greenery, we have to add that gnomes may well smell distinctively of loam and damp vegetation.  Witnesses in Marjorie Johnson’s Seeing fairies report gnomes with “an odour like fungus” or a “strange earthy smell;” there seems to be a particular association with mushrooms and fungus.  (Johnson pp.33, 36 & 186)

Garden gnomes

Where were gnomes seen?  This analysis is actually far more interesting than the information on appearance, which in the main is quite stereotypical.  Surprisingly, 37% of the beings labelled as gnomes by those who saw them were seen inside houses.  That means that the majority, 67%, were seen outside (as we might expect), but the locations varied.  Not quite half the gnomes were seen in gardens, but they were also spotted in woods (some even apparently living in trees), in open grassy areas and, in three cases, walking along a road.

Gnomish deeds

What were these gnomes up to?  Many did fit with our conventional view of gnomes as gardeners and cultivators.  They have been seen busily engaged in a range of garden tasks, including working with green beans in a vegetable patch, tending fruit and flowers- both outside and in greenhouses and the like- sawing and chopping wood, moving plants around and carrying horticultural implements like wheelbarrows, baskets, buckets, brooms, forks, rakes and spades.  For example, in 1940 a Mrs Small living in Nottingham had accidentally pruned away the main shoots of some tomatoes.  She saw some gnomes, who were about twelve inches high, looking very concerned about the condition of the plants.  A little later they came to her carrying a basket filled with green tomatoes and conveyed to her (without words) that she should put them to ripen in a dark place.  The same witness also saw a gnome in her garden looking very cross about a piece of rope tied around a tree: it seems that gnomes may be quite possessive about the places they live, or at least have very clear ideas about good and bad horticulture.

The gnomes don’t always need tools to do their work of cultivation and propagation.  In one instance that took place at Stapleford in Nottinghamshire, a woman was struggling to weed and hoe a very parched patch of earth.  She spotted a gnome watching her with amusement and, when she challenged him for laughing at her instead of lending a hand, he dived beneath the ground surface and very quickly turned over the soil.  Gnomes have also been seen in gardens acting as general ‘protectors’ to the plants, for example guiding people towards the best times to pick plants.

Other gnomes are just as busy, but with more general tasks.  A couple were seen carrying a heavy bundle; in another encounter, that took place in a snowy Devon lane, a car driver saw six little figures, about eight inches high, transporting a ladder along the road.  His appearance led to a hurried scramble to haul the ladder through the hedge and out of sight.  Cobbler gnomes in leather aprons and carrying their tools and materials were met by one person.  Some gnomes are seen just taking their leisure: in one instance they were dancing, in another doing gymnastics; in a third sighting about a dozen were witnessed racing tiny ponies and traps around a field in rural Derbyshire.

Homely gnomes

The domestic gnomes are possibly the most surprising: they are quite at home in human houses (and flats)- sitting on the stove, for example, and they seem particularly fascinated by machinery such as sewing machines.  One gnome encountered by Geoffrey Hodson quite reasonably spent the summer in his garden in Letchworth, but moved inside the house as winter came on.

Conclusions

We end with a conundrum, then.  Our ancestors would not have seen gnomes, because they had never heard of them.  They might very well have seen goblins, imps, and even dwarves (duergars) in the North-East of England and the Scottish Borders; they might very well have seen fairies and elves hard at work in their vegetable patches, but it seems to have been a far more recent development that these sightings came to be labelled using Paracelsus’ invented term.  This received widespread diffusion through the Theosophists and related groups from the late nineteenth century onwards and the word has become embedded in our language- very possibly because it met a need and provided a convenient term to describe a class of supernatural beings.

jultomte-JN2

In search of Orkney trows

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The Stones of Stenness

I recently visited the Orkney islands, a long planned holiday to see the many megalithic monuments there- the standing stones, burial chambers and cairns.  The Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brodgar and Maeshowe were all well worth the trip, but it was good too to experience the scene of so much folklore that I’ve read.

The islands are quite bleak and treeless and are covered in lochs (mostly fresh water but a few salt water).  The grey, cold water under grey cold skies (the weather wasn’t brilliant) made it very easy to imagine kelpies and tangies (the Gaelic speaking Highlanders’ each uisge or water horse) emerging from the waters and roaming the land in search of prey.

One day we crossed from the mainland to the island of Rousay, using the ferry Eynhallow from Tingwall jetty.  Eynhallow (the first syllable is pronounced like ‘eye’) is one of the two islands inhabited by the fin folk, or selkies.  Formerly it was called Hildaland, and was often hidden from human eyes whilst the fin-folk lived there during the summer months.

A man called Thorodale, who lived in Evie on the mainland, just across the sound from Eynhallow, lost his wife one day when she was abducted by a fin-man.  He planned revenge and sought the advice of a wise ‘spae-woman’ on the island of Hoy.  She told him how to see the hidden island of Hildaland.  For nine moons, at midnight when the moon was full, Thorodale went nine times on his bare knees around the great Odin Stone of Stenness (this was a huge holed stone that no longer exists).  For the duration of nine moons, he looked through the hole in the stone and wished for the power of seeing Hildaland. After repeating this for nine months one beautiful summer morning, just after sunrise, Thorodale looked out on the sea and saw that, in the middle of Eynhallow Sound, there lay a pretty little island, where no land had ever been seen before.  Armed with salt and crosses to dispel the faery glamour, Thorodale rowed across to the revealed isle.  He fought off the fin-men, rescued his wife and then sowed salt around the whole island, banishing the fin-folk forever and claiming it for men.  Eynhallow is deserted today, but it is still protected- by a fearful tidal race of white crested standing waves.

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I also visited Hoy, not to meet the spae-wife but to visit the stunning Dwarfie Stane, a burial chamber hollowed out of a massive boulder.  It lies on a bleak hillside, just near the end of the Trowie Glen (the fairy valley).  That anything like this was carved with stone tools alone is deeply impressive.  The sound effects achieved by a single voice inside are also remarkable.

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The last notable fae site was a burial chamber on Cuween Hill on the mainland, called the Tomb of the Beagles because of the dog bones found inside, but also known locally as the Fairy Knowe.  It was a steep climb up to the site and a tight crawl along the entrance passage to get in, but it was very still and mysterious within.  Outside the wind was blowing; inside there was thick silence and a sense of contact, not just with the Neolithic farmers who had been buried there but with the faes whose dwelling it subsequently became.

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Lastly (on one of the coldest and wettest days of our trip!) we visited the farm museums at Kirbuster and Corrigall.  These were especially interesting as they preserved traditional Orkney farm houses and it was fascinating to see the open peat fires in the centre of the main rooms, with the smoke curling up through the hole in the roof, and to imagine those many stories I’d read in which a changeling child was placed in a basket in the smoke from the hot peat flames and driven to fly up through the ‘lum’ (the smoke hole), forcing the trows into returning the stolen human infant.

 

The fairies’ whirl

Arthur John Black, Fairies' whirl

Arthur John Black, The fairies’ whirl

As I’ve described before, fairies traditionally travel in whirlwinds.  This mode of travel can act partly as a cover for human abductions and partly as a form of concealment.  It appears to have been considered essentially faery, so much so that the magic necessary to achieve it might even be imparted to whoever or whatever is carried along in the fairy eddy: for example, a farmer living on the island of Tiree saw one of his sheep being whirled up into the sky by a gust of wind.  He was so certain that the fairies had done this that, when the sheep came to be slaughtered, he refused to eat any of its meat- plainly because he considered it tainted in some manner.

We know, too, that one of the fairies’ favourite and most distinctive pastimes is their circle dancing.  It follows, therefore, that there are some grounds for arguing that a spinning motion may be inherent in fairy movement.  There is more explicit evidence that this may be the case.

Some older evidence

My earliest example is from mid-Wales in 1862.  Two carters, David Evans and Evan Lewis, were travelling from Brecon to New Quay in Ceredigion with wagon-loads of timber.  At Maestwynog, one August afternoon, they saw some small people climbing to the top of a distant hill.  There they danced in a circle for a while, but then began to spiral into the centre, “like a gimblet screw.”  Then, successively, the figures disappeared into the ground.  The dancing beforehand reinforces the sense that circular motion may be especially fay, but this sighting takes the matter further.

A changeling child who had been exposed at Sorbie in Galloway was put in a basket over the cottage fire to drive it away and retrieve the human baby that the fairies had taken.  The changeling shrieked and cursed and spat- and then spiralled up through the smoke hole in the roof “like a corkscrew.”

In Victorian times, two men were out walking one night on the Isle of Man when they saw the figure of a woman dressed all in white standing in the angle of the wall just opposite a church gate. When one of the two man went across to speak to her she took him by the arm and spun him round and round till he was dizzy, and then let go of him so suddenly that he nearly fell down on the road. The marks of her fingers remained on his arm up to the day of his death as dark imprints on the biceps.  In another Manx example, a very troublesome buggane was described as “whirling like a spinning wheel” on top of a mountain.  He then came to meet an old woman who had expressed the opinion that he ought to be chastened for his many pranks “whirring like a spinning wheel.” [‘Old Nance and the Buggane’- see http://www.feegan.com]

Modern examples

Much more recent sightings suggest that this corkscrew motion was not unusual.  A woman from Monmouthshire twice saw fairies- in 1945 and 1949- and each time they appeared to her as a whirling shape before the individual fairy was visible.  The fays have also been seen to “spin round and round at a tremendous speed, and then vanish at the peak.”  Some others did the same “spiralling upwards with a sound like the soughing of the wind.”  The spinning motion can be imparted to objects they’re standing on too (such as a bowl of tulips).  [Marjorie Johnson, Seeing Fairies, pp.47, 106, 155, 212 & 297]

The more traditional whirlwinds are still seen too, out on country roads but also in modern urban environments. An art school student from North Carolina saw a figure inside a tiny vortex only one foot high and a factory security guard saw them in dust devils as a child. [Seeing fairies, p. 229 and Fairy Census numbers 346 & 419]

Summary

In previous posts I’ve addressed the question of how fairies move about: do they rely upon magic, for instance, or do they use their own forms of transport?  The few cases discussed here open up some intriguing new avenues for investigation.  Other examples of spinning motion have probably been recorded; perhaps readers know of others?

Grace Jones, fairy dance c.1920

Grace Jones, The fairy dance, c.1920

 

How heavy are fairies?

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Ida Rentoul Outhwaite- Bubble fairy with tulip

There has been a long running debate about the physicality and corporeality of the faes. Some see the faes as being as solid and tangible as us; others conceive the fairies as verging on the weightless.  One witness from Newcastle upon Tyne has felt fairies dancing on her hair and clothing.  A Manx woman felt them walk on her, “as light as cats.”  It is well known that one Scottish word for the faes is the ‘sluagh’- the airborne host- one version of which is sluagh eutram- the light folk.

Others have taken this notion further, shrinking the fairies and reducing their weight correspondingly.  Staying in the Highlands, an alternative euphemism for the faes might be daoine beaga- the little people.  Another Manx witness confirmed that they were, indeed, “very little and very light.” A Hampshire woman described the flower fairies in her garden as:

“so tiny and so luminous that the very air seems lighter as I sense them.  They seem to me to have slight little bodies with gossamer wings.”

Famed Scottish painter of mythical and faery themes, John Duncan, met the faes repeatedly on the island of Iona.  During one encounter he noted that:

“Their feet did not bend the thick heather over which they walked and they made no sound as they passed close…”

John Rhys has published a very similar account from Wales, describing the tylwyth teg dancing on the tips of rushes (Celtic Folklore, p.83).

Fairies may be very small, but are they insubstantial? Can we put our hands through them? Can they pass through solid obstacles?  Some sightings suggest just this- that they can vanish into walls and banks and that we could never catch them because our bodies pass right through theirs. Evans Wentz relates the story of an Anglesey woman who walked with a fairy lady one night; she tried to touch her but her hand went right through (Fairy faith, p.141).

Definitely in the ‘aery nothings’ camp was Yorkshire writer Durant Hotham.  In chapter two of his Life of Jacob Behmen (1654) he observed that:

“nor is the Aery region disfurnisht of its Inhabitant Spirits; [which include] that far more numerous Progeny of Aerial Spirits, lodg’d in Vehicles of a thinner spun thread than is (otherwise than by condensation) visible to our dim sight.”

The Reverend Robert Kirk maintained much the same a few years later.  He said that fairies had “light changable Bodies (lyke those called Astral) somewhat of the nature of a condensed Cloud.”  It is because these bodies of ‘congealed air’ are so pliable and subtle that the fairies can appear or disappear at pleasure (Secret commonwealth c.1).

fair seesaw

See-saw by Dorothy Wheeler- empirical proof that children weigh more than fairies…

Sightings

These general statements are complemented by the testimony of actual witnesses.  Fairies seen in dancing in the moonlight near Stowmarket in Suffolk during the 19th century were described as being “light and shadowy, not like solid bodies.”  The Reverend Edmund Jones, describing eighteenth century Gwent, told the story of a girl who used to dance in a barn with some of the tylwyth teg on her way to and from school.  She took off her shoes to do so, because otherwise she made a noise which seemed displeasing to them and because she never heard their feet when they were dancing.  These faes appear to be very light, therefore.  The same seems to be the case in our last example.  Two boys from the Isle of Man met a fairy man on the road once; he was only 5-6 inches tall and, when they tried to catch him, he flew off, leaving no footprints in the dust.  A Manx witness even went so far as to allege that the island fairies have “no body and no bones.”

Other witnesses attest on the contrary to the tangible solidity of fairies.  A girl from Kent met a fairy man leading a horse in her garden.  He put his hand on her wrist “and his touch was cool, not cold like a fish or a lizard but much cooler than a human touch.”  In a second incident told to Marjorie Johnson, a young woman walking her dogs near Minehead in Somerset surprised two pixies in an oak wood.  They ran away from her into a hollow in an oak tree and, in their haste to dart inside, they forgot to duck their heads.  Both knocked off their hats, which Miss Voss-Bark picked up and took home; they were tiny cones made of wood and permanent proof of her encounter.

Especially convincing is another account from the Isle of Man.  A woman from Ballasalla told George Waldron how her ten-year-old daughter had met a large crowd of little people up on the mountains.  Some had tried to abduct her, but others in the group had objected to this and had tried to protect her and the two sides had fallen to fighting.  Some of the other fairies then spanked her for causing dissension.  When she got home, she had distinct prints of tiny hands on her buttocks, visible proof of the veracity of her unhappy experience.

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Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, Daisies

Implications

The answer to the debate over the solidity or insubstantiality of fairies will resolve many other puzzles over their nature.

Those who have claimed to have had sexual relationships with faes must, almost inevitably, be proponents of the ‘solid and fleshly’ view of fairy nature.  Likewise, I think, must be the case those who have acted as midwives or nurse maids to fairy infants- and the same for those children who were abducted as their playmates or the adults who were taken to act as cooks and suchlike domestic skivvies in fairyland.

Other such questions over physicality can have two resolutions.   For example, if we wonder what food they might eat, we can either accept that their diet is the same as ours- or instead we can tend to the view that they extract the substance (the foyson or toradh) without taking the foodstuff itself.

We are very familiar with the thought of fairies flying, but there are also reports of them gliding or floating, too; something which is strongly suggestive of lightness or even weightlessness.  For instance, in 1922 seven year old Penny Storey was living in Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire.  As she lay in bed one summer evening, a female being between twelve and thirteen inches high suddenly appeared and glided past her window.

“Her arms were outstretched sideways, and her feet gracefully together… No wings were visible… She simply floated, quite slowly, vertically downwards through the air.”

Jennifer George, from Cornwall, saw something comparable in her bedroom as a girl.  A bubble of steady yellow-white light floated about four feet above the floor before gliding out of the window and disappearing.

Some of these figures lack wings but still move effortlessly in the air: “They had no wings but still seemed to dive through the air at a good speed.”  Others possess them but do not need to employ them: ballet dancer Betty Lambert, as an adult and with an adult companion, saw a fairy in a bedroom “whose outstretched wings seemed motionless as it floated out into the night…”

Fairies don’t just drift about weightlessly, though.  A Mrs Shirley Eshelby of Carbis Bay in Cornwall witnessed a fay dancing in her bedroom early one morning: “although she appeared to me to be dancing in space, she was evidently stepping on something that was solid to her feet, because she never danced below a certain level.  When departing she skipped away, touching the invisible line with her tiny, naked feet.”  Other fairies, seen in the Home Counties in 1970, “ran on air as if on the ground…”  These examples are perhaps more indicative of the fays inhabiting a separate dimension than being incorporeal, but they do imply that, in this world, they do not experience gravity in the same way as we do.  (Johnson, Seeing fairies, pp.46, 94, 167, 171, 182, 186 & 304)

The evidence is just as ambivalent when it comes to determining how fairies can vanish from our sight- as they do extremely frequently.  Is this is a process of physical dissolution- or is it just the application of glamour- or magical deception?  Have they gone, or have they simply rendered themselves invisible but are still there?

Contemporary accounts in Marjorie Johnson’s Seeing fairies provide support for both schools of thought.  There are numerous mentions of faes simply disappearing.  However, in some cases they seem to melt away before witnesses’ eyes.  Those who saw fairies often said that they ‘faded away,’ a process suggestive of a less fleshly nature than our own.  One fay “dissolved into a sunbeam, slowly;” another “quivered away.”  It can be a gradual process: one man watched a group of fairies “grow lighter, insubstantial, and more like a cinema film” and it can involve the fay appearing and disappearing piece by piece. In one Manx account a crowd of fairies met on the road by three people in a horse-drawn cart simply “melted away” as the travellers got nearer.  (Johnson pp.173, 240, 299, 305 & 309; Evans Wentz p.126)

By contrast, there are also plenty of incidents reported to Johnson in which the fairy neither vanished nor dissolved.  Rather, in order to get away, they had to run.  We’ve already seen the incident with the pixies’ lost hats; fleeing into bushes, behind trees and through hedges are all mentioned.  Beings who need to make a dash for cover quite obviously are as solid and real as we are- and don’t have extensive magical abilities either.

Further reading

As well as my previous postings on fairy bodies and solidity, see too chapter 1 of my British fairies.  I also discuss fairy physiology in detail in my forthcoming book, Faery (Llewellyn Worldwide, early 2020).

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Fairy sports

Molly BRETT - FAIRY Pixie Playthings Spinning Top

Pixie playthings, Molly Brett

We are familiar with the idea of fairies feasting and dancing, but they have other pastimes too which can make them seem very human indeed.

Hurling

In both Cornwall and (most frequently) in Ireland, huge hurling matches have been sighted, with hosts of players on either side. Coastal locations seem to be especially favoured for these: the earliest account of pixies seen in Cornwall dates from August 1657 and is a description of a fairy hurling match held in a field of corn at Boscastle.  A large number of white figures were seen taking part and the game surged back and forth until apparently disappearing over a cliff.  The crop was left completely unmarked.  In an Irish story a man called Patch Gallagher is recruited to join one team in a vast sidhe hurling match which ranges over a full sixty miles of Connaught coastline.  Evans Wentz also notes two Irish sightings of hurling matches (Fairy faith pp.41 & 51 and see Marjorie Johnson, Seeing fairies, p.76).

fairy games molly brett

Football

There’s a story from the south of Northamptonshire of a man who joined a fairy game of football. He was, perhaps, a little over-enthusiastic, as he kicked their ball so hard it burst.  He fainted and the fays vanished, but when he recovered, he found that the deflated ball had been left behind and was full of gold coins.  Evans Wentz has an Irish sighting of a football game (p.76) as has Marjorie Johnson- an experience dating to the 1890s (p.86).

Curling & other ball games

It is reported that, during freezing weather in Scotland, the fairies may be heard at night curling on every sizeable sheet of ice.

The medieval Welsh tale of the boy Elidyr and his visit to a subterranean fairyland confirms that the faerie folk enjoyed ball games: Elidyr used to play with the king’s son before he made the dreadful mistake of trying to steal the golden ball they used.  One of Marjorie Johnson’s correspondents described seeing scores of tiny fairies playing ball in a ring under an oak tree, somewhere in mid-Wales (p.232).

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Hunting

The fairies love hunting with hounds, most particularly on the Isle of Man, where they are regularly heard at night coursing across the island. They are often dressed in green with red caps, in great numbers and accompanied by the loud sound of cracking whips.

Horse racing

Horses are often taken from stables and ridden at night until they are exhausted and foamed with sweat. It’s very likely that the fairies are racing against each other as well as enjoying the sheer exhilaration over steeple-chasing over fields and hedges.

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Rough and tumble play

Even if no competitive game is involved, it’s clear that the fays love to indulge in energetic and noisy play. Quite often, this is combined with mischief, disturbing human households with the noise they make.  Poet Thomas Heywood referred to them “keeping Christmas gambols all night long,” creating a racket that sounded as if furniture and pots were “about the Kitchen tost and cast/ Yet in the morning nothing found misplaced.”

This sort of revelry is not just seasonal, though: Drayton recorded in The Muse’s Elysium how the fairies would scramble around rooms, overturning stools and tables.  A Manx witness described how he saw fairies playing on beached fishing boats, clambering about in the rigging with great laughter.  George Waldron recounts another encounter on the island in which a man saw some boys playing in a field at about three or four o-clock in the afternoon when they should have been at school.  He went to tell them off but they disappeared as he approached them across the open land.  Much more recent witnesses have seen the fairies engaged in games of leapfrog, chase and playing ring o’ roses (Johnson pp.91, 161, 170, 192 & 258).  This last game, of course, starts to shade into the fairy habit of dancing in rings.

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