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Like him, the Sprite,
We have already contributed, in the form of tales * and notes, to the Irish Fairy Legends almost every thing we know respecting the Fairy lore of this country.
As we will suppose our readers familiar with that work, we shall here confine ourselves to a few observations, and a few additional traits of Irish Fairies.
* The Young Piper, Seeing is Believing, the Harvest Dinner, &c. In real worth, as a display of character and modes of thinking, there is, in our opinion, nothing in the Fairy Legends to equal “ The Confessions of Tom Bourke." They who sneer at popular legends, and those who present them to the public, would perhaps abate their censure if they were acquainted with the cultivated and philosophical mind of the amiable writer of that tale, and knew the rapid progress he is making towards eminence in an arduous and honourable profession. His Macarthy Banshee and Crookened Back are also both admirable. The latter, in the manner in which character, incident, and scenery are blended, quite comes up to our ideal of legendary writing.
The Fairies * of green Erin present few points of dissimilarity to those of England and Scotland. They are of diminutive stature, but do not appear to have any fixed standard of height; perhaps eighteen inches might with tolerable safety be assigned as their average altitude. A woman from the county of Kerry lately told us that she saw the Fairies when she was a little girl. She said she and some other children were one day returning from school, and they saw the Fairies scudding like the wind over a big field on the road-side, and tumbling head over heels into a hollow at the end of it, where they disappeared. Some of them were as high as castles, others were little dony things, not half so big as the children themselves.
In the north of Ireland the proportions of the Fairies are very minute, approaching to those of Titania's “small elves," as will appear from the following established mode of the Fairies of that part of Ireland, making their stolen entrance into the houses of mortals. A Fairy, the Diavolo Antonio we may suppose of the party, is selected, who contrives to ascend to the keyhole of the door,
The Irish name for Fairy is Sia (Sheea), and Siabhra (Sheefra). We know not the original meaning of Sia. Sigh (Shee) is also given by O'Reilly, and as it signifiez Spirit, and, adjectively, Spiritual, it is probably the true word.
carrying with him a piece of thread or twine. With this he descends on the inside, where he fastens it firmly to the floor, or some part of the furniture. Those without then “haul taught and belay," and when it is fast they prepare to march along this their perilous Al-Sirat, leading to the paradise of pantry or parlour, in this order. The Fairy-piper first steps up, and in measured pace pursues his adventurous route, playing might and main an invigorating elfin-march, or other spiritstirring air; then one by one the rest of the train mount the cord and follow his steps. Like the old Romans, in their triumphal processions, they pass beneath the lofty arch of the keyhole, and move down along the other side. Lightly, one by one, they then jump down on the floor, to hold their revels or accomplish their thefts.
The Pooka we have already observed to be the English Pouke; and the Banshee, as being regarded in most countries as the spirit of some injured mortal, does not properly come under our definition of Fairies. As far as we have heard, no Brownie haunts the Irish house, no Kelpie seeks to drown the night-faring Hibernian.
The Cluricaune, called in Leinster Leprechaun, in Ulster Logheriman, seems a being peculiar to Ireland. There is a curious anomaly in his character, His habits and occupation are what we