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´╗┐Title: Manx Fairy Tales
Author: Morrison, Sophia
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Manx Fairy Tales" ***

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                            MANX FAIRY TALES


                            SOPHIA MORRISON

                      DAVID NUTT, 57-59 LONG ACRE


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--Ellan Vannin, the Isle of Mann. But I have used a word which
should not be mentioned here--they are never called Fairies by the
Manx, but Themselves, or the Little People, or the Little Fellows,
or the Little Ones, or sometimes even the Lil' 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 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,
so if a farmer wants work done by him, he must take 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 watch them until they are larger than elephants, when perhaps
they turn into the shape of men or disappear into nothing; as horned
monsters or anything they choose. Each 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 help and valuable assistance in many ways.


    Peel, Isle of Mann,
    October 1911.


    Themselves                                                 1
    The Buggane of Glen Meay Waterfall                         8
    How the Manx Cat lost her Tail                            14
    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
    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
    Kitterland                                               105
    Teeval, Princess of the Ocean                            110
    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




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:

'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 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'll 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!'


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 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 Lil' 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:

'"What's mother doin' now at all?"

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

'And both of us got frightened, and 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 anybody say what they like,
that's a thing I've seen and heard for myself."'


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


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 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'll 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 yet set when he came 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 wes'.'

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 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'll 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'll tell thee no lies. But it's
the big, black, hairy fellow that lies under the Spooyt Vooar that
I'm meanin'.'

'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 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 SOMETHING 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 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 filled 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. And before he knew where he was
the Buggane, with the speed he had on him, pitched forward head first
down the rushing 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!


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:

'Who'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, 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'll go to Mann
            And get copper nails,
            And mend it.


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 eastwards 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 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, 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 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. They
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
disappear. Later the island was known as Ellan 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.


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.'

After that he heard the bleat of a goat:

'Beware, beware, beware!'

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.'

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!'

'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 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 shining 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.

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
mainsail 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.


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, trying 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 Brac 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 was 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 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
backbone 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 remembered, 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.


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:

'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 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 you 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 Themselves 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 Themselves. 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 these sounds, keeping 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-ta-ra-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 ball, that grand--he had never looked
on the like. Among them were 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 Hom Mooar--that was the name of
the fiddler--and when 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 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:

'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 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 London. It is said that after
this the farmer would not go out of his house of an evening after dark.


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 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 Cleary's,
Glen Rushen, and others, ten in all. Then it began to be said that
something 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.

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 lhiannoo beg
dyn ennym mee!' That is, 'I am a little child without a name!'

'Pull nearer to the lan',' 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 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 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 Chalse Ballawhane. Long enough they were
waiting for him, and, as luck happened, he caught Chalse at home.

Now Chalse 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 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'll be,' the tailor said.

'Aw, boy, boy,' answered Chalse, looking 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'll get nothin' done here,
maybe thou would like to go? It's apiece to go, but thou'll be right
enough with me. But there's one promise I'll be wantin' from thee--no
matter, no matter what thou'll see, nor what thou'll hear, nor who'll
spake to thee, thou mustn't spake back or it'll be all over with thee.'

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

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

'I'll be back for thee just now; side thee things a bit while thou
're waitin'.'

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
'll 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:

'Come on, boy. I'll 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 way, 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!'


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'll put the augh-augh
on him!'

Before long they caught sight of the 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. 'It's me that'll 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'll put my fut inside and wait till
he comes back,' says he.

'Plaze yourself,' says she, 'an' you'll plaze me; but I must get on
with my bakin'.'

'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. 'An' the child is favourin'
the father.'

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 'atin' 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'll have the chile's teeth broke in 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 Kitterland, and the other in the Little
Sound, an' so he made the narrow Channel between Kitterland and the
islan'. The Buggane was standin' at Port Iern--that's what made the
fine big openin' at Port Iern. 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' get
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:

'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 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.


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
blacksmith 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 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!
            Ny smoo ta mee cur ayn,
            Ny smoo ta goll ass.'

            Sieve, sieve, dash!
            The more I put in,
            The more there'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 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'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 was wearing no clothes, but it is said that 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 were 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 Cleary'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
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 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.


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 lowlands, 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 the 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 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.


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 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'll 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 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.

'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 password: it is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,
Friday, Saturday.'

'I'll do that with a heart and a half,' said Tom.

At daybreak the fiddlers took up their 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 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, Friday, Saturday, 'and
Sunday,' says Billy Beg, 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.


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 liggey my hraa, 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.'

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 and 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?'

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

Then the play began! Up she went on 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 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'll spin the wool for thee,' says the Giant, 'if thou'll tell me
my name when thou come for the balls a week from this day. Are thou

'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 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!'

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, lhiams y snaie,
    S'beg fys t'ec 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 evening he was late, and his wife said
to him:

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

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, lhiams y snaie,
    S'beg fys t'ec 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, and to keep up her heart she sang to herself:

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

'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.

'I'll warrant your name is Mollychreest?' says she.

'You are wrong, though,' says he.

'Are you going by the name of Mollyvoirrey?' 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.'

'I am not a Mollycharaine,' 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.

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.'

'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.


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 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.'

And he said:

'Take some apples with you the next time you go up that way, an'
we'll 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 forgetful be
    Of bringing some sweet lan' 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 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 many a long year the
apple tree bore fruit and marked the little creek where the Mermaid
used to live.


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

'Tell me quick,' said Ballaleece.

'We'll be riding through Ballaleece barn at midnight on Friday,'
said she. 'We'll be going in on one door and out on another. I'll
be riding behind one of the men on horseback. You'll 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 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!'

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.


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:

'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?'

'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.'

'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 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?'

'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 goat.

'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.'

'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 all went together until they met a horse.

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

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

'Who said that to you, goat?'

'The bull said it to me.'

'Who said that to you, bull?'

'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.'

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

'Calk! Calk! If I come down 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.


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:

'Kebeg! Kebeg! Kebeg!' so loud that you could hear her at Chibber
Pherick, Patrick's Well. The people 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

'Kebeg's here! Kebeg's here!'

And she cried:

'I'm comin'! I'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.


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 water. 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 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 whining 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 Hom Beg Bridson, the tailor, was in the house
sewing. Hom is dead now, but there's many alive that remember him
yet. He was wise tremendous, 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 shaking his head, and saying
'What a lad I am!'

That day the woman wanted to go to the shop to sell some eggs that
she had, and says she to the tailor: 'Hom, 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.

'Drop that, Hom 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, Hom 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.

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

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

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

'I would,' said the tailor.

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

'Aw, I'll do that for thee, an' welcome,' said the tailor.

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

'Hom,' 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'll 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, Hom--face your partner--heel an' toe does it. Well done,
Hom--more power to your elba, man.'

Hom plays faster and faster, till my lad was jumping as high as the
table. With a 'Chu!' up goes his foot on top of the dresser, and
'Chu!' 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 Hom's head to be
looking at him. Then he was whirling everything round for a clear
space, even Hom 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' 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 Herself comin'.'

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

'Go on with thy sewing, Hom; don't say a word,' said the little fella,
covering himself 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, Hom 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:

'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'll have the house put on fire for me, Hom,' said Herself.

'No fear, but I'll 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'll 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 me fut to you!' 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 hullabaloo 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
Hom 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.


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

'Hraaghyn boght as earish broigh, skeddan 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 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 the 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!


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 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 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.


When I was a little boy, we lived over by Sloc. 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 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 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 Castletown. 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 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.


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.


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 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 they 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.

Then he said:

'I 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' 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.

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.


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 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

Early one brave morning in May when 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, which were blue as the sea,
and when she saw that she was bound, she cried out with terror,
'Loose me, man, loose me!'

Conchubar did not answer, so she said again, 'Loose me, I beg thee!' in
a voice as sweet as the music of Hom 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 who is making thy shield, and tell him
that Teeval, Princess of the Ocean, 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 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 Mermaid.


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 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 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, going 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 Hom, the dwarf man tha's missin', only it'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'll 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, 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 disappearance
of the Wizard.


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 Ellan Vannin. The hills of the enchanted isle 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.



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

'Is there nothing new at you?'

'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:

'Bare bones, bare bones!'


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:

'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 Blackbirds!' Robin said.


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 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; 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.

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 thoughtful, and said: 'I
never saw anything yet worth flying for.' But the birds said: ''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 instantly 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:

'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,

    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.


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
soldiers 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, sometimes in another, a big Black Dog with rough curly hair. He
did not belong to any person there, and nobody knew anything 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 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, laughing; 'I'll 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 fire and followed him.

There was a dead silence in the guard-room--no sound was heard but
the dashing 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 afterwards. 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 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.


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
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 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 you 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 many a flower,
to the blue sea.

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 beginning 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 'Tehi Tegi! Tehi Tegi!'


John-y-Chiarn took the biggest journey in his life without meaning
to do it at all.

One night he was going towards Ballaquirk, 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'll 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:

'We'll take him with us; he'll 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 coming 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.

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 themselves in rows on the walls of the bridge, just under the big
cherry trees, holding their coloured lanthorns 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 gill and all of a sudden the whole crowd, 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 binjean, and then handing round the oatbread and cheese, and the
tramman wine. Then the little fiddlers and fluters and reed-fellows
and the drummers 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 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 better go back to your own people.'

'How'll 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.


    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.


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 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:

'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

So hoisting sails they left the port and 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 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 the 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 sometime, 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 nets on board and
gained the harbour. And it was given for law ever after that no crew
was 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.


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
young servant-girl, lil Margad, and said:

'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 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.

'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'll 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 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.'


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
mountain. The Buggane was mighty angry, and he said to himself:

'I'll 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 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 mischief. 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 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 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 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?' 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.

'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 continuing 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 fingers, my hard fists, my----?'

Before he could utter another syllable, or pull the other foot out
of the ground, 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 nimbly than he ever did
before. Hearing the Buggane's fiendish guffaws 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 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 ruins are to be found now.


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 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:

'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 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 160 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:

'I will never sleep under a sooty rafter nor drink in the chimney

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

When the Irish heard this they were furiously 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 peninsula of Cantyre
because Magnus, sitting at the helm, caused his great warship to 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 approaching, 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,
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 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 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.

    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, 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 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 Manannan 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, 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 Manannan, and this thousand years our
fishermen 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.


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 quantity 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 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 completed 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.


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. 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 carrying 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 mountain 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, '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 henceforth the widows in the south of the island should get
half of their husband's estate; 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

To a Peel man he foretold:

'There will be a battle between the Irish and the Manx at Creg
Malin.' And the old fishermen say that that battle took place two
hundred years ago. It was 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 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.


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--'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
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 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 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.


    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
                            LONDON AND ETON

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