Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fairy Hills

Fairy Glen by Conner

More than one fairyhill of the present day, not yet explored, has a small hole on its summit, and when a stone is dropped therein, it is heard to rumble and fall into some unknown cavern below. And the existence of such “craters " was well known (we are told by Scott, in his Introduction to the Talc of Tamlane) to the people of Scotland. " Wells, or pits, on the top of hills were supposed to lead to the subterranean habitations of the Fairies." Legendary stories in connection with these there are many—of men descending such “pits," sometimes well knowing what to expect, and of having hand-to-hand fights with the natives of these abodes. At other times the attack was made by those "hillmen " themselves ; who seem to have emerged by this entrance as often as by the other. " A savage issuing from a mount" was once a well-known bearing in Scottish heraldry. Mr. J. F. Campbell records a Rossshire tradition of a dwarf who inhabited Tombuidhe Ghearrloch, “The Tawny Hillock of Gairloch," and who was the terror of the neighbourhood (whose chief inhabitants, in his day, belonged to another race). Before he was himself slain, this formidable dwarf had killed many of the latter race; none of whom (with one exception) dared to venture near his “hillock" after dusk. He was at length killed by a local champion, still remembered as "Big Hugh " (Uistean Mor, MacGhille Phadrig) who was celebrated as a slayer of dwarfs ; and who appears to have devoted himself to their extermination in that particular district. And in the story of the killing of this noted dwarf, it is stated that Uistean climbed to the top of the hillock (Tom-buidhe] and attacked its inhabitant, who emerged from the foot of its “crater" or "pit "; in other words, from the roof of his dwelling.

-- David MacRitchie: The Testimony of Tradition, London, 1890.

No comments:

Post a Comment