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When from their hilly dens, at midnight hour,
THE Scottish Fairies scarcely differ in any essential point from those of England. Like them they are divided into the rural and the domestic. Their attire is green, their residence the interior of the hills. They appear more attached than their neighbours to the monarchical form of government, for the Fairy king and queen, who seem in England to have been known only by the poets, were recognized by law in Caledonia, and have at all times held a place in the popular creed. They would appear also to be more mischievously inclined than the Southrons, and less addicted to the practice of dancing. They have, however, had the advantage of not being treated with contempt and neglect by their human countrymen, and may well be proud of the attention shown them by the
brightest genius their country boasts of. There has too been long due from them an acknowledgment of the distinction conferred on them by the editor of Nithsdale and Galloway Song, for the very fanciful manner in which he has described their attributes and acts.
The Scottish Fairies have never been taken by the poets for their heroes or machinery, a circumstance probably to be attributed to the stern character of Scottish religion. We cannot, therefore, as in England, make a distinction between popular and poetic Fairies.
The earliest notice we have met of them is in Montgomery's "Flyting against Polwart," where
In the hinder end of harvest, at All-hallowe'en,
When our good neighbours dois ride, if I read right,
Some hobland on a hempstalk hovand to the sight;
Elf-land was the name of the realm ruled by the king of Phairie. King James * speaks of him and his queen, and "of sic a jolie court and traine as they had; how thay had a teind and a dewtie,
* Daemonologie, B. III
as it were, of all guidis; how they naturally raid and yeid, eat and drank, and did all other actions lyke natural men and women. I think," concludes the monarch," it is lyker Virgilis Campi Elysii nor any thing that ought to be believed by Christianis." And one of the interlocutors in his dialogue asks how it was that witches have gone to death confessing that they had been " transported with the Phairie to such and such a hill, which, opening, they went in, and there saw a faire queene, who, being now lighter, gave them a stone which had sundry virtues."
According to Mr. Cromek, who, however, rather sedulously keeps their darker attributes out of view, and paints every thing relating to them couleur de rose, the Lowland Fairies are of small stature, but finely proportioned; of a fair complexion, with long yellow hair hanging over their shoulders, and gathered above their brows with combs of gold. They wear a mantle of green cloth, inlaid with wild-flowers; green pantaloons, buttoned with bobs of silk; and silver shoon. They carry quivers of " adder-slough," and bows made of the ribs of a man bur three lairds' lands reed, tipped of hem
their arrows they shoot the cattle of those who offend them; the wound is imperceptible to common eyes, but there are gifted personages who can discern and cure it.
In their intercourse with mankind they are frequently kind and generous. A young man of Nithsdale, when out on a love affair, heard most delicious music, far surpassing the utterance of 66 any mortal mixture of earth's mould." Courageously advancing to the spot whence the sound appeared to proceed, he suddenly found himself the spectator of a Fairy-banquet. A green table, with feet of gold, was laid across a small rivulet, and supplied with the finest of bread and the richest of wines. The music proceeded from instruments formed of reeds and stalks of corn. He was invited to partake in the dance, and presented with a cup of wine. He was allowed to depart in safety, and ever after possessed the gift of second sight. He said he saw there several of his former acquaintances, who were become members of the Fairy society.
We give the following legend on account of its great similarity to a Swiss tradition already quoted.
Two lads were ploughing up a field, in the middle of which was an old thorn-tree, a trystingplace of the Fairy-folk. One of them described a
circle round the thorn, within which the plough should not go. They were surprised, on ending the furrow, to behold a green table placed there, heaped up with excellent bread and cheese, and even wine. The lad who had drawn the circle sat down without hesitation, ate and drank heartily, saying, "Fair fd the hands whilk gie." His companion whipped on the horses, refusing to partake of the Fairy-food. The other, said Mr. Cromek's informant "thrave like a breckan," and was a proverb for wisdom, and an oracle for country knowledge ever after.
The Fairies lend and borrow, and it is counted uncanny to refuse them. A young woman was one day sifting meal warm from the mill, when a nicely dressed beautiful little woman came to her with a bowl of antique form, and requested the loan of as much meal as would fill it. Her request was complied with, and in a week she returned to make repayment. She set down the bowl and breathed over it, saying, "Be never toom." The woman lived to a great age, but never saw the bottom of
ing late one night