"Hilton Hall, in the vale of the Wear, was in former times
the resort of a Brownie or House-spirit called The Cauld Lad. Every night the servants who slept in the
great hall heard him at work in the kitchen, knocking the things about if they had been set in order,
arranging them if otherwise, which was more frequently the case. They were resolved to banish him if
they could, and the spirit, who seemed to have an inkling of their design, was often heard singing in a
Was 'a me! was 's me!
The acorn is not yet
Fallen from the tree,
That's to grow the wood,
That's to make the cradle,
That's to rock the bairn,
That's to grow to a man,
That's to lay me.
The servants, however, resorted to the usual mode of banishing a Brownie: they left a green
cloke and hood for him by the kitchen fire, and remained on the watch. They saw him come in, gaze at the
new clothes, try them on, and, apparently in great delight, go jumping and frisking about the kitchen.
But at the first crow of the cock he vanished, crying--
Hero 'a a cloak, and here's a hood!
The Cauld Lad of Hilton will do no more good;
and he never again returned to the kitchen; yet it was said that he might still be heard at
midnight singing those lines in a tone of melancholy.
There was a room in the castle long called the Cauld Lad's Room, which was never occupied
unless the castle was full of company, and within the last century many persons of credit had heard of
the midnight wailing of the Cauld Lad, who some maintained was the spirit of a servant whom one of the
barons of Hilton had killed unintentionally in a fit of passion."1
In the beginning of the last century Bourne thus gives the popular belief on this subject:
"Another part of this (winter's evening) conversation generally
turns upon Fairies. These, they tell you, have frequently been seen
and heard; nay, that there are some still living who were stolen
away by them, and confined seven years. According to the description
they give of them, who pretend to have seen them, they are in the
shape of men exceeding little: they are always clad in green, and
frequent the woods and fields. When they make cakes (which is a work
they have been often heard at), they are very noisy; and when they
have done, they are full of mirth and pastime. But generally they
dance in moonlight, when mortals are asleep, and not capable of
seeing them; as may be observed on the following morning, their
dancing places being very distinguishable: for as they dance hand in
hand, and so make a circle in their dance, so next day there will be
seen rings and circles on the grass."2
The author of "Round about our Coalflre" says3:
"My grandmother has often told me of Fairies dancing upon our green,
and they were little little creatures, clothed in green.
"The moment any one saw them, and took notice of them, they were
struck blind of an eye. They lived under ground, and generally came
out of a mole-hill.
"They had fine music always among themselves, and danced in a
moonshiny night around, or in a ring, as one may see at this day
upon every common in England, where mushrooms grow.
"When the master and mistress were laid on their pillows, the men
and maids, if they had a game at romp, and blundered upstairs, or
jumbled a chair, the next morning every one would swear it was the
fairies, and that they heard them stamping up and down stairs all
night, crying 'Water 's locked! Water 's locked!' when there was not
water in every pail in the kitchen."
To come to the present times. There is no stronger proof of the neglect of what Mr Thoms has
very happily designated "Folk-lore" in this country, than the fact of there having been no
account given anywhere of the Pixies or Pisgies4 of Devonshire and Cornwall, till within these
last few years. In the year 1836, Mrs. Bray, a lady well known as the author of several novels, and wife
of a clergyman at Tavistock, published, in a series of letters to Robert Southey, interesting descriptions
of the part of Devonshire bordering on the Tamar and the Tavy. In this work there is given an account of
the Pixies, from which we derive the following information:
According to the Devon peasant, the Pixies are the souls of infants who died before they
were baptised. They are of small dimensions, generally handsome in their form. Their attire is always
green. Dancing is their chief amusement, which they perform to the music of the cricket, the grasshopper,
and the frog,--always at night; and thus they form the fairy-rings. The Pixy-house is usually in a rock.
By moon-light, on the moor, or under the dark shade of rocks, the Pixy-monarch, Mrs. Bray says, holds his
court, where, like Titania, he gives his subjects their several charges. Some are sent to the mines,
where they will kindly lead the miner to the richest lode, or maliciously, by noises imitating the stroke
of the hammer, and by false fires, draw him on to where the worst ore in the mine lies, and then laugh
at his disappointment. Others are sent
To make the maids their sluttery rue,
By pinching them both black and blue.
On this account, says Mrs. Bray, "the good dames in this part of the world are very
particular in sweeping their houses before they go to bed; and they will frequently place a basin of
water beside the chimney-nook, to accommodate the Pixies, who are great lovers of water; and sometimes
they requite the good deed by dropping a piece of money into the basin. A young woman of our town, who
declared she had received the reward of sixpence for a like service, told the circumstance to her
gossips; but no six-pence ever came again, and it was generally believed that the Pixies had taken
offence by her chattering, as they do not like to have their deeds, good or evil, talked over by mortal
The office of some is to steal children; of others, to lead travellers astray, as
Will-o'-the-wisps, or to Pizxy-lead them, as it is termed. Some will make confusion in a house
by blowing out the candle, or kissing the maids "with a smack, as they 'shriek Who 'a this?' as the
old poet writes, till their grandams come in and lecture them for allowing unseemly freedoms with their
bachelors." Others will make noises in walls, to frighten people. In short, everything that is done
elsewhere by fairies, boggarts, or other like beings, is done in Devon by the Pixies.
It is said that they will sometimes aid their favourites in spinning their flax. "I
have heard a story about an old woman in this town," says Mrs. Bray, "who suspected she
received assistance of the above nature; and one evening, coming suddenly into the room, she spied a
ragged little creature, who jumped out of the door. She thought she would try still further to win the
services of her elfin friend, and so bought some smart new clothes, as big as those made for a doll.
These pretty things she placed by the side of her wheel. The Pixy returned, and put them on; when,
clapping her tiny hands, she was heard to exclaim--
Pixy fine, Pixy gay,
Pixy now will run away;
and off she went. But the ungrateful little creature never spun for the poor old woman
Mrs. Bray has been assured that mothers used frequently to pin their children to their sides,
to prevent their being stolen by the Pixies; and she heard of a woman in Tavistock who avowed that her
mother had a child which was stolen by them, as she was engaged banging out clothes to dry in her garden.
She almost broke her heart when she discovered it; but she took great care of the changeling, which so
pleased the Pixy, that she soon after gave the woman back her child, who proved eminently lucky in after
The being Pixy-led is a thing very apt to befall worthy yeomen returning at night
from fair or market, especially if they sat long at the market-table; and then, says our authority,
"he will declare, and offer to take his Bible-oath upon it, that, as sure as ever he 'a alive to
tell it, whilst his head was running round like a mill-wheel, be heard with his own ears they bits of
Pisgies a-laughing and a-tacking their hands, all to see he led astray, and never able to find the right
road, though he had travelled it scores of times long agone, by night or by day, as a body might
tell" Mr. Thoms, too, was told by a Devon girl, who had often beard of the Pixies, though she had
never seen any, that "she once knew a man who, one night, could not find his way out of his own
fields, all he could do, until he recollected to turn his coat; and, the moment he did so, he
heard the Pixies all fly away, up into the trees, and there they sat and laughed. Oh! how they did laugh!
But the man then soon found his way out of the field."
This turning of the coat, or some other article of dress, is found to be the surest remedy
against Pixy-illusion. Mrs. Bray says that the old folk in Tavistock have recourse to it as a preventive
against being Pixy-led, if they have occasion to go out after sun-down. It appears to have been
formerly in use in other parts of England also; for Bishop Corbet thus notices it in his "Iter
A mean for our deliverance, Turne your cloakes Quoth hee, for Puoke is busy in these oakes;
If ever wee at Bosworth will be found
Then turne your cloake, for this is fairy ground.
In Scandinavia, also, we learn the remedy against being led astray by the
Lygtemand, Lyktgubhe, or Will-o'-the-Wisp, is to turn one's cap inside out.
Mrs. Bray gives, in addition, the following-legends, which we have taken the liberty of
abridging a little.
One night, about twelve o'clock in the morning, as the good folks
say, who tell this good tale, Dame--the sage femme of Tavistock, had just got comfortably into
bed, when rap, rap, rap, came on her cottage door, with such bold and continued noise, that there was a
sound of authority in every individual knock. Startled and alarmed by the call, she arose from her bed,
and soon learnt that the summons was a hasty one to bid her attend on a patient who needed her help. She
opened her door, when the summoner appeared to be a strange, squint-eyed, little, ugly old fellow, who
had a look, as she said, very like a certain dark personage, who ought not at all times to be called by
his proper name. Not at all prepossessed in favour of the errand by the visage of the messenger, she
nevertheless could not, or dared not, resist the command to follow him straight, and attend on "his
"Thy wife!" thought the good dame; "Heaven forgive me, but as sure as I live
I be going to the birth of a little divil." A large coal-black horse, with eyes like balls of fire,
stood at the door. The ill-looking old fellow, without more ado, whisked her up on a high pillion in a
minute, seated himself before her, and away went horse and riders as if sailing through the air rather
than trotting on the ground. How she got to the place of her destination she could not tell; but it was
a great relief to her fears when she found herself set down at the door of a neat cottage, saw a couple
of tidy children, and remarked her patient to be a decent looking woman, having all things about her
fitting the time and occasion. A fine bouncing babe soon made its appearance, who seemed very bold on
its entry into life, for it gave the good dame a box on the ear, as, with the coaxing and cajolery of
all good old nurses, she declared the "sweet little thing to be very like its father." The
mother said nothing to this, but gave nurse a certain ointment, with directions that she should
strike (i.e. rub) the child's eyes with it. The nurse performed her task, considering
what it could be for. She thought that, as no doubt it was a good thing, she might just as well try it
upon her own eyes as well as those of the baby; so she made free to strike one of them by way of
trial, when, O ye powers of fairy land! what a change was there!
The neat, but homely cottage, and all who were in it, seemed all on a sudden to undergo a
mighty transformation; some for the better, some for the worse. The new-made mother appeared as a
beautiful lady attired in white; the babe was seen wrapped in swaddling clothes of a silvery gauze. It
looked much prettier than before, but still maintained the elfish cast of the eye, like his father,
whilst two or three children more had undergone a strange metamorphosis. For there sat on either side
the bed's head, a couple of little flat-nosed imps, who with "mops and mows,' and with many a
grimace and grin, were busied to no end in scratching their own polls, or in pulling the fairy lady's
ears with their long and hairy paws. The dame who beheld all this, fearing she knew not what, in the
house of enchantment, got away as fast as she could, without saying one word about striking her
own eye with the magic ointment and what she had seen. The sour-looking old fellow once more handed her
up on the coal-black-horse, and sent her home in a whip sissa1 much faster than she
On the next market-day, when she sallied forth to sell her eggs, she saw the same old fellow
busy pilfering sundry articles from stall to stall, and going up to him she enquired about his wife and
child. "What!" exclaimed he, "do you see me to-day?" "See you! to be sure I do,
as plain as I see the sun in the sky; and I see you are busy, too." "Do you?" says he,
"and pray with which eye do you see all this?" "With the right eye to be sure."
"The ointment! the ointment!" cried he. "Take that, for meddling with what
did not belong to you; you shall see me no more."
He struck her eye as he spoke, and from that hour till the day of her death she was blind
of that eye.
Two serving-girls in Tavistock said that the Pixies were very kind
to them, and used to drop silver for them into a bucket of fair water which they took care to place for
them in the chimney-nook every night. Once it was forgotten, and the Pixies forthwith came up to the
girls' room, and loudly complained of the neglect. One of them, who happened to be awake, jogged the
other, and proposed going down to rectify the omission, but she said, "for her part she would not
stir out of bed to please all the pixies in Devonshire." The other went down and filled the bucket,
in which, by the way, she found next morning a handfull of silver pennies. As she was returning, she
heard the Pixies debating about what they would do to punish the other. Various modes were proposed and
rejected; at last it was agreed to give her a lame leg for a term of seven years, then to be cured by an
herb growing on Dartmoor, whose name of seven syllables was pronounced in a clear and audible tone. This
the girl tried by every known means to fix in her memory. But when she awoke in the morning, it was gone,
and she could only tell that Molly was to be lame for seven years, and then be cured by an herb with a
strange name. As for Molly, she arose dead lame, and so she continued till the end of the period, when
one day, as she was picking up a mushroom, a strange-looking boy started up and insisted on
striking her leg with a plant which he held in his hand. He did so, and she was cured and became
the best dancer in the town.
An old woman who lived near Tavistock had in her garden a splendid
bed of tulips. To these the Pixies of the neighbourhood loved to resort, and often at midnight might they
be heard singing their babes to rest among them. By their magic power they made the tulips more beautiful
and more permanent than any other tulips, and. they caused them to emit a fragrance equal to that of the
rose. The old woman was so fond of her tulips that she would never let one of them be plucked, and thus
the Pixies were never deprived of their floral bowers.
But at length the old woman died; the tulips were taken up, and the place converted into a
parsley-bed. Again, however, the power of the Pixies was shown; the parsley withered, and nothing would
grow even in the other beds of the garden. On the other hand, they tended diligently the grave of the
old woman, around which they were heard lamenting and singing dirges. They suffered not a weed to grow
on it; they kept it always green, and evermore in sprng-time spangled with wild flowers.
Thus far for the Pixies of Devon; as for the adjoining Somerset, all we have to say is,
that a good woman from that county, with whom we were acquainted, used, when making a cake, always to
draw a cross upon it. This, she said, was in order to prevent the Vairies from dancing on it. She
described these Vairies as being very small people, who, with the vanity natural to little personages,
wear high-heeled shoes, and if a new-made cake be not duly crossed, they imprint on it in their capers
the marks of their heels. Of the actual existence of the Vairies, she did not seem to entertain the
shadow of a doubt.
In Dorset also, the Pixy-lore still lingers. The being is called Pexy and
Colepexy; the fossil belemnitos are named Colepexies'-fingers; and the fossil echini, Colepexies'-
heads. The children, when naughty, are also threatened with the Pexy, who is supposed to haunt woods
"In Hampshire," says Captain Grose, "they give the name of Colt-Pixy to a
supposed spirit or fairy, which in the shape of a horse wickers, i.e. neighs, and misleads horses into bogs, etc."
The following is a Hampshire legend:7
The Fairy Thieves
A farmer in Hampshire was sorely distressed by the unsettling of
his barn. However straightly over-night he laid his sheaves on the threshing-floor for the application
of the morning's flail, when morning came, all was topsy-turvy, higgledy-piggledy, though the door
remained locked, and there was no sign whatever of irregular entry. Resolved to find out who played him
these mischievous pranks, Hodge couched himself one night deeply among the sheaves, and watched for the
enemy. At length midnight arrived, the barn was illuminated as if by moonbeams of wonderful brightness,
and through the key-hole came thousands of elves, the most diminutive that could be imagined. The
immediately began their gambols among the straw, which was soon in a most admired disorder. Hodge
wondered, but interfered not; but at last the supernatural thieves began to busy themselves in a way
still less to his taste, for each elf set about conveying the crop away, a straw at a time, with
astonishing activity and perseverance. The key-hole was still their port of egress and regress, and it
resembled the aperture of a bee-hive, on a sunny day in June. The farmer was rather annoyed at seeing
his grain vanish in this fashion, when one of the fairies said to another in the tiniest voice that ever
was heard--" I weat, you weat? Hodge could contain himself no longer. He leaped out crying,
"The devil sweat ye. Let me get among ye!" when they all flew away so frightened that they
never disturbed the barn any more.
In Suffolk the fairies are called farisees. Not many years ago, a butcher near
Woodbridge went to a farmer's to buy a calf; and finding, as he expressed it, that "the cratur was
all o' a muck," he desired the farmer to hang a flint by a string in the crib, so as to be just
clear of the calf's head. "Becaze," said he, "the calf is rid every night by the
farisees, and the stone will brush them off"8
We once questioned a girl from Norfolk on the subject of Fairy-lore. She said she had often
heard of and even seen the Frairies. They were dressed in white, and lived under the ground, where
they constructed houses, bridges, and other edifices. It is not safe, she added, to go near them when
they appear above ground.
We now proceed to Yorkshire, where the Boggart and the Barguest used to appear in by-gone
days. The former, whose name we will presently explain, is the same as the Brownie or Kobold; the latter,
whose proper name perhaps is Barn-ghaist, or Barn-spirit, keeps without, and usually takes the form of
some domestic animal.
In the house of an honest farmer in Yorkshire, named George
Gilbertson, a Boggart had taken up his abode. He here caused a good deal of annoyance, especially by
tormenting the children in various ways. Sometimes their bread and butter would be snatched away, or
their porringers of bread and milk be capsized by an invisible hand; for the Boggart never let himself
be seen; at other times, the curtains of their beds would be shaken backwards and forwards, or a heavy
weight would press on and nearly suffocate them. The parents had often, on hearing their cries, to fly
to their aid. There was a kind, of closet, formed by a wooden partition on the kitchen-stairs, and a
large knot having been driven out of one of the deal-boards of which it was made, there remained a
hole.9 Into this one day the farmer's youngest boy stuck the shoe-horn with which he was
amusing himself when immediately it was thrown out again, and struck the boy on the head. The agent was
of course the Boggart, and it soon became their sport (which they called larking10 with
Boggart) to put the shoe-horn into the hole and have it shot back at them.
The Boggart at length proved such a torment that the farmer and his wife resolved to quit
the house and let him have it all to himself. This was put into execution, and the farmer and his family
were following the last loads of furniture, when a neighbour named John Marshall came up--"Well,
Georgey," said he, "and soa you 're leaving t'ould hoose at last? "--"Heigh, Johnny,
my lad, I 'm forced tull it; for that damned Boggart torments us soa, we can neither rest neet nor day
for't. It seems loike to have such a malice again t'poor bairns, it ommost kills my poor dame here at
thoughts on't, and soa, ye see, we're forced to flitt loike." He scarce had uttered the words when
a voice from a deep upright churn cried out, "Aye, aye, Georgey, we're flitting ye see."--
" Od damn thee," cried the poor farmer, "if I d known thou'd been there, I wadn't ha'
stirred a peg. Nay, nay, it 's no use, Mally," turning to his wife, "we may as weel turn back
again to t'ould hoose as be tormented in another that's not so convenient."11
Addlers And Menters
An old lady in Yorkshire related as follows:--My eldest daughter
Betsey was about four years old; I remember it was on a fine summer's afternoon, or rather evening, I
was seated in this chair which I now occupy. The child had been in the garden, she came into that entry
or passage from the kitchen (on the right side of the entry was the old parlour-door, on the left the
door of the common sitting-room; the mother of the child was in a line with both the doors); the child,
instead of turning towards the sitting-room made a pause at the parlour-door, which was open. She stood
several minutes quite still; at last I saw her draw her hand quickly towards her body; she set up a loud
shriek and ran, or rather flew, to me crying out "Oh! Mammy, green man will hab me! green man will
hab me!" It was a long time before I could pacify her; I then asked her why she was so frightened
"O Mammy," she said, "all t'parlour is full of addlers and menters."
Elves and fairies (spectres?) I suppose she meant. She said they were dancing, and a little man in a
green coat with a gold-laced cocked hat on his head, offered to take her hand as if he would have her
as his partner in the dance. The mother, upon hearing this, went and looked into the old parlour, but
the fairy vision had melted into thin air. "Such," adds the narrator, "is the account I
heard of this vision of fairies. The person is still alive who witnessed or supposed she saw it, and
though a well-informed person, still positively asserts the relation to be strictly true.12
Ritson, who was a native of the bishoprick of Durham, tells us13 that the fairies
frequented many parts of it; that they were described as being of the smallest size, and uniformly
habited in green. They could, however, change their size and appearance. "A woman," he says,
"who had been in their society challenged one of the guests whom she espied in the market selling
fairy-butter.14 This freedom was deeply resented, and cost her the eye she first saw him with.
Some one informed him that an acquaintance of his in Westmoreland, wishing to see a fairy, was told that
on such a day on the side of such a hill, he should be gratified. He went, and there, to use his own
words, "the hobgoblin stood before him in the likeness of a green-coat lad," but vanished
instantly. This, he said, the man told him. A female relation of his own told Mr. Ritson of Robin Goode
fellow's, it would seem, thrashing the corn, churning the butter, drinking the milk, etc., and when all
was done, lying before the fire " like a great rough hurgin (hugging?)
The Menyn Tylna Têg or Fairy-butter of Wales, we are told in the same place, is a substance
found at a great depth in cavities of limestone-rocks when sinking for lead-ore.
The Barguest used also to appear in the shape of a mastiff-dog and other animals, and
terrify people with his skrikes. (shrieks). There was a Barguest named the Pick-tree Brag, whose
usual form was that of a little galloway, "in which shape a farmer, still or lately living
thereabouts, reported that it had come to him one night as he was going home; that he got upon it and
rode very quietly till it came to a great pond, to which it ran and threw him in, and went laughing away.
In Northumberland the belief in the fairies is not yet extinct. The writer from whom we
derive the following legends tells us16 that he knew an old man whose dog had pointed
a troop of fairies,17 and though he could not see them he plainly heard their music sounding
like a fiddle and a very small pair of pipes. He also tells us, that many years ago a girl who
lived near Nether Witton, as she was returning from milking with her pail on her head, saw the fairies
playing in the fields, and though she pointed them out to her companions they could not see them. The
reason it seemed was her weise or pad for bearing the pail on her head was composed of four-leaved
clover, which gives the power of seeing fairies. Spots are pointed out in sequestered places as the
favourite haunts of the elves. A few miles from Alnwick is a fairy-ring, round which if people run more
than nine times, some evil will befall them. The children constantly run this number, but nothing will induce them to venture a tenth run.
The Fairy Nurseling
A cottager and his wife residing at Nether Witton were one day
visited by a fary and his spouse with their young child, which they wished to leave in their
charge. The cottager agreed to take care of the child for a certain period when it had to be taken
thence. The fary gave the man a box of ointment with which to anoint the child's eyes; but he had not
on any account to touch himself with it, or some misfortune would befal him. For a long time he and his
wife were 'very careful to avoid the dangerous unction; but one day when his wife was out curiosity
overcame his prudence, and he anointed his eyes without any noticeable effect; but after a while, when
walking through Long Horsley Fair, he met the male fary and accosted him. He started back in amazement
at the recognition; but instantly guessing the truth, blew on the eyes of the cottager, and instantly blinded him. The child was never more seen.
The Fairy Labour
Another tale relates that a messenger having visited a
country-midwife or howdie requested her professional assistance in a case where so much secrecy
was required that she must be conducted to and from the destined place blindfolded; she at first
hesitated, but her scruples were overcome by a handsome present, the promise of a future reward, and
assurance of perfect personal safety. She then submitted to the required condition, mounted behind the
messenger on a fleet charger, and was carried forward in an unaccountable manner. The journey was not of
long continuance, the steed halted, she dismounted, and was conducted into a cottage where the bandage
was removed from her eyes; everything appeared neat and comfortable. She was shown the woman "in
the straw," and performed her office; but when ready to dress the babe, an old woman, (who,
according to the narration, appears to have been the nurse,) put a box of ointment into her hand,
requiring her to anoint the child all over with it, but to be careful that it did not touch her own
person; she prudently complied, though wondering at the motive. Whilst this operation was going on, she
felt an itching in one of her eyes, and in an unguarded moment rubbed it with a finger which had touched
the mysterious ointment. And now a new scene forced itself upon her astonished vision, and she saw
everything in a different light; instead of the neat cottage, she perceived the large overhanging
branches of an ancient oak, whose hollow and moss-grown trunk she had before mistaken for the fire place,
glow-worms supplied the place of lamps, and, in short, she found herself in the abode of a family of
faries, with faries was she surrounded, and one of their number reposed on her lap. She however retained
her self-possession, finished her task, and was conducted homeward in the same manner as she was brought.
So far all went well, and the howdie might have carried the secret to her grave, but in after
time, on a market-day (in what town the legend saith not,) forgetful of her former caution, she saw the
old nurse among the countrywomen, gliding about from one basket to another, passing a little wooden
scraper along the rolls of butter, and carefully collecting the particles thus purloined into a vessel
hung 'by her side. After a mutual but silent recognition, the nurse addressed her thus, "Which eye
do you see me with?"' "With this," innocently answered the other. No sooner had she
spoken than a puff from the withering breath of her unearthly companion extinguished the ill-fated orb
for ever, and the hag instantly vanished.
Another version says the Doctor is presented with a box of eye-salve by his conductor; on
using it he sees a splendid portico in the side of a steep hill, through this he is shown into the
faries' hall in the interior of the mountain: he performs his office, and on coming out receives a
second box; he rubs one eye, and with it sees the hill in its natural shape; then thinking to cheat the
devil, feigns to rub the other, and gallops off. Afterwards he sees the fary's husband stealing corn in
the market, when similar consequences befal him as those which occurred unto the woman.
1. The Local Historian's Table-Book, by M. A. Richardson, iii. 239.
2. Bourne, Antiquitates Vulgares, 1725.
3. Quoted by Brand in his Popular Antiquities, an enlarged edition of Bourne's work.
4. This word Pixy, is evidently Pucksy, the endearing diminutive sy being added to Puck, like
Betsy, Nancy, Dixie. So Mrs. Trimmer in her Fabulous Histories--which we read with wonderful pleasure in
our childhood, and would recommend to our young readers--calls her hen-robins Pecksy and Flapsy. Pisgy is
only Pixy transposed. Mrs. Bray derives Pixy from Pygmy. At Truro, in Cornwall, as Mr. Thorns informs us,
the moths, which some regard as departed souls, others as fairies, are called Pisgies. He
observes the curious, but surely casual, resemblance between this and the Greek ψνχ
942;, which is both soul and moth. Grimm (p. 430) tells us from an old glossary, that the caterpillar
was named in Germany, Alba, i.e. Elbe, and that the Alp often takes the form of a
5. Whip says he, as Mrs. Bray conjectures.
6. Brand, Popular Antiquities, ii. 513. Bohn's edit.
7. Given in the Literary Gazette for 1825. No. 430.
8. Brand, Popular Antiquities, ii. 503. Bohn's edit.
9. The Elfbore of Scotland, where it is likewise ascribed to the fairies, Jamieson, sv.The same opinion prevails in Denmark, where it is said that any one who looks through it will
see things he would not otherwise have known: see Thiele, ii. 18.
10. from the Anglo-Saxon word to play.
11. We have abridged this legend from a well-written letter in the Literary Gazette, No. 430 (1825),
the writer of which says, he knew the house in which it was said to have occurred. He also says he
remembered an old tailor, who said the horn was often pitched at the head of himself and his apprentice,
when in the North-country fashion they went to work at the farm-house. its identity with other legends
will be at once perceived.
12. And true no doubt it is, i.e. the impression made on her imagination was as strong as if the
objects had been actually before her. The narrator is the same person who told the preceding Boggart
13. Fairy Tales, pp. 24, 56.
14. In Northumberland the common people call a certain fungous excrescence, sometimes found about the
roots of old trees, Fairy-butter. After great rains and in a certain degree of putrefaction, it is
reduced to a consistency, which, together with its colour, makes it not unlike butter, and hence the
name. Brand, Popular Antiquities, ii. 492, Bohn's edit.
15. Comp. Milton, L'Allegro, 105 seq.
16. Richardson, Table-book, iii. 45
17. This word, as we may sea, is spelt faries in the following legends; so we may suppose that
fairy is pronounced farry in the North, which has a curious coincidence with Peri.