faerie-stories

So what happens if two people who have promised their firstborn to separate witches have a child together? Do they both just pop up in the nursery and have a custody battle?

I need a book about a little girl whose parents had promised their firstborn to different witches and the only way that both ends of the deal were fulfilled was for them to have joint custody of the child.

Lullaby to the Changeling Child

The day may come some day, my love
That finds you far from home
Recall your mother’s words, my love
To protect you as you roam

Eat nothing offered you, my love
In lands of summer fair
Though hunger gnaws your bones, my love
Their food will trap you there

Beautiful are they, my love
The fair and fickle folk
Hungry too are they, my love
And would eat you in a gulp

No lies may cross their lips, my love
Though truth is e’er their bane
But trust nothing that they say, my love
Trickery runs in their veins

So where you go, keep safe, my love
For dangers lie ahead
But now, this night, you’re here, my love
Safe in your own little bed

Faerie Food

Stories speak of faerie food and delights that are undeniably delectable, but bring strong consequences to humans. Faerie food is said to taste like Wheaten-bread, mixed with wine and honey.

Some (supposed) examples of faerie food include:

  • Flower petals.
  • Dogwood fruit.
  • (Fae) cheese.
  • Small cakes and other pastries. 

If one is in the realm of the faeries and is offered food and drink - it would be wise to kindly decline. Tales tell of numerous outcomes that can occur: 

  • Trapped - The person who eats or drinks something will be either trapped in the faerie world forever, or temporarily. If one is trapped temporarily, when they come back to the human world, time may have fast forwarded quickly (it could be a few hours, days, or centuries).
  • Appetite corruption - Faerie food is more appealing than human food, and thus whenever the person tries human food again, it will taste like dust or otherwise unsavoury. It is also said that the human will be forever hungry and never satisfied after meals.
  • Control - Eating the food could allow an entity (reputed to be a ruler of some sort), to take control of the human. This could be dangerous if the entity is tyrannical or malevolent. 
  • Shapeshifting - Eating the food could result in a permanent change of form (animals, humanoids, etc) or an uncontrollable state of continuous shapeshifting over time.

When faeries eat their food, they do not do so physically. Rather, they consume the toradh (spiritual essence of the food). However, it is said that when they eat physical food, it may include:

  • Barley meal.
  • Poisonous mushrooms.
  • Goat milk.
  • Silver weed roots.
  • Heather stalks.
  • Toadstools.
3

These sketches went a long with that big comic idea I had that I ended up scrapping. I decided I might as well show you guys for you own enjoyment. Maybe I’ll sketch a few more of the ideas i had.

Basically it went that Bog was summoned to the Boggart court, held once a year during all hallows eve when the veil is lifted. Every “Bog King” must attend. However, our Bog has refused to go for years because of some bad blood with the Cheif Goblin, Owd Hob. AKA Bog’s father. Marianne wants to meet him but Owd Hob hates fairies. So she must go in secret as Bog’s fake Goblin fiance. Shenanigans ensue. 

Glaistig

The Glaistig is a type of ghost in Scottish mythology, as well as a type of fuath (malevolent water spirit). Her Gaelic name translates to “water imp”.

Description

She may appear either as a beautiful woman or a monstrous mien. She is often depicted as a half-woman half-goat (similar to a Satyr). The lower goat half of her hybrid form is usually disguised by a long, flowing green robe or dress, and the woman often appears grey with long golden hair.

She is said to frequent lochs and rivers in the Highlands of Scotland.

There are variations surrounding whether or not Glaistig is benevolent or malevolent.

Some stories have her luring men to her lair with her enchanting song or dance, where she would then drink their blood. Other such tales have her casting stones in the path of travellers or throwing them off course.

However, in other sources she is said to be a type of tutelary deity and protector of cattle and herders, and in at least one legend in Scotland, the town of Ach-na-Creige had such a spirit protecting the cattle herds. The townsfolk, in gratitude, poured milk from the cows into a hollowed-out stone for her to drink. According to the same legend, her protection was revoked after one local youth poured boiling milk into the stone, burning her. She has also been described in some folklore as watching over children while their mothers milked the cows and fathers watched over the herds.

The Green Lady

Another rendition of the Glaistig legend is that she was once a mortal noblewoman, to whom a “faerie” nature had been given or who was cursed with the goat’s legs and immortality, and since has been known as “The Green Lady”. She might either be benign, watching over houses and looking after the weak mind, cause poltergeist activity, or appear as a vengeful ghost

In some tales, she was the daughter of a lord who was murdered in a green dress, and then stuffed unceremoniously up the chimney by a servant. It is said that her footsteps can still be heard as she walks the castle in sadness.

However there is another variation on the Green Lady legend. It tells of a mortal woman who lived on an island near the Firth of Clyde and who was smitten by the faeries and was granted her unspoken wish to become one of them. Afterwards, she dedicated herself to watching over the cattle of the island until a farmer offended her greatly through rude treatment and she left, making her way to the mainland by leaping to nearby islets before snagging her hoof in the rigging of a passing ship. She, according to this tale, fell into the ocean and presumably drowned, or at any rate was never seen again.

This girl shivers and crawls under the covers with all her clothes on and falls into an overdue library book, a faerie story with rats and marrow and burning curses. The sentences build a fence around her, a Times Roman 10-point barricade, to keep the thorny voices in her head from getting too close.
—  Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls
I once had a best friend who believed in fairies.
‘It’s faerie,’ she corrected me as we wandered through the forest at dusk. 'They’re watching us.’ When my fingers brushed the rough skin of the trees, I felt something powerful, running through the veins of every branch.
'Aren’t you a little old to believe in faeries?’ I asked, because we were sophomores and no one believed in that kind of stuff anymore. Mom took me to Church, but I was sure we were too old to believe in God too.
 'I’ll never be too old to believe in magic.' 
She sounded so convinced, I moved my hand away from the beating heart of the wary tree, it was just my imagination anyway.
I once had a best friend who believed in killing herself.
'There’s nothing else to it,’ she shrugged. We were lying on the couch on a Friday afternoon, it was too hot to go outside. 'It’ll fix everything.’ We were juniors now, and she had gotten too old to believe in faeries.
'I have somewhere to take you,’ I whispered to her, offering her my hand. Her blue eyes sparkled gold and she intertwined her fingers with my own.
I took her to that forest, the one where I had mocked her, where I told her that faeries didn’t exist, not anymore. I had told her that maybe they used to exist, but we had killed them all. That’s what we do. We kill things.
But she couldn’t kill herself. I saw it now.
'Put your hand on the tree,’ I told her, watching her every move. With her frail arm, she moved towards the wary branches.
She became one with nature, with the faeries. With a single touch, I could see her wings, her crown, her true form.
'What about the faeries? What about the magic?’
—  You are never too old for fairy tales
Faerie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold; The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords.
—  J.R.R. Tolkien
The Supernatural Nature of Samhainn

“There is a supernatural, otherworldly element to all of the Cross Quarter Days, since it was a common belief that the Otherworld was temporarily upset at these times as one quarter transitioned into another. In effect, the eve of the Cross Quarter Days acted as a sort of liminal zone (threshold/ambiguous time or space) between one quarter and the next, where the gates between this world and the Otherworld were open and inhabitants from both worlds could freely interact. At Samhainn, however, this ‘upset’ was more like a complete upheaval. Chaos and confusion reigned, and the inhabitants of the Otherworld were believed to roam around in the physical world freely. Danger from these otherworldly denizens was an ever present element to anyone who ventured outside on the eve of Samhainn.

 

Faeries were said to roam around on this eve, as they also did on Friday nights and at Hogmanay. They were said to pass from one fairy-mound to another, accompanied by the sound of bells and elf-horns. Anyone unlucky enough to meet them as they carried out their procession might be snatched away to fairy, and it was believed that these unlucky mortals could only be rescued after a year and a day when charms were considered to be potent enough to overcome the fairies.6

 

In Ireland, these processions were also said to have taken place, and as early as the fourteenth century records show that Brugh na Boinne was thought to be the site of games and feasts of nuts by the Sidhe on this day, perhaps an echo of the many examples of feasts and games that are said to have taken place at this time in Irish myths, and which also took place in many towns and villages at this time of year. In other parts, it was believed that Hallowe'en was the time when the fairy hosts engaged in battles with each other, and it was said that the red lichen found on rocks was the blood that had been spilled during the battle.7

 

Also in Ireland, it was said that those who had been abducted by fairies could often be seen by friends as the host passed them by. In order to force the fairies to return any human abductees, it was said that the dust from under your feet should be thrown at them, but should any unlucky traveller themselves be abducted by the host, it was said that turning one’s coat inside-out would be enough to act as a disguise and turn the attention of the fairies elsewhere.8

 

While the general view was that it was safest to stay inside on the eve of Samhainn, anyone who had to go out could take extra precautions against attracting unwanted attention from the fairies and other denizens of the Otherworld who happened to be out and about that night. In Scotland, a twig of rowan and red wool carried in the pocket was believed to be good protection.9 In Ireland, carrying a black handled knife or a steel needle stuck in the sleeve or coat collar was considered a good precaution.10 Keeping clear of churchyards was a must, unless the person wanted to meet the dead – or worse – and it was also imperative for the traveller to never look behind them if footsteps were heard, because it was said to be the dead that were following them.11 If all else failed, travellers could always fall back on safety in numbers, and a good dose of faith and hope.

 

Given the time of year, when winter was beginning to set in, trees were now bare and the land was barren, it is perhaps inevitable that the festival also came to be associated with the dead. Thus the dead were believed to walk freely at this time, and on the eve of All Souls (November 1), it was believed that they would visit their old homes. It was customary to leave food and drink out for them, and all the doors of the house unlocked so that they could enter easily, usually for after the household had gone to bed:

 

“It’s the nicht atween the Sancts and Souls
When the bodiless gang aboot,
An’ it’s open hoose we keep the nicht
For ony that may be oot.”12

 

In Ireland, candles were often lit for each dead member of the family, as prayers were said for them. In Limerick, places were laid for them at the dinner table as well, and a poker and tongs were placed in the hearth, in the shape of a cross. In County Tyrone, we are told: “After the floor has been swept and a good fire put down on the hearth, the family retires early, leaving the door unlatched and a bowl of spring water on the table, so that any relative who had died may find a place prepared for him at his own fireside.”13

 

In addition to the fairy hosts and souls of the dead, witches and warlocks would be out and about, believed in Scotland to be flying on their broomsticks, floating in egg shells, or galloping on black-steeds that were actually tabby cats that had been transformed for the night. They would ride to meet and celebrate their diabolical festival, and as protection against their mischief and malevolence, in both Scotland and Ireland, peats, wood and any other type of kindling were collected from households in order to build a bonfire to 'burn the witches’.14

 

Other supernatural beings were also said to be a threat to people who ventured abroad on the eve of Samhainn in Scotland:

 

“At the mouth of the night, between daylight and dark, came abroad ill things to meet, from out the earth, from out the air, from out the water and the Underworld…The mouth of the night is the choice hour of the Sluath, the Host of the Dead, whose feet never touch the earth as they go drifting on the wind…of the Fuath, the Spirit of Terror, that frightens folk out of the husk of their hearts; of the Washer, who sits herself in the twilight; of the slim, green-coated ones, the Water-Horse, and what not. The light that is shadowless, colourless, softer than moonlight, is ever the light of their liking. At the mouth of the night, along the water-courses by ways that at the hour of dusk and of lateness you had best be shunning, you are like to meet them; to west of houses they pass – what to do, who shall say? Their ways being nowise human…”15

 

In Ireland, one of the most fearsome creatures said to be abroad was the púca, commonly thought to be some form of demonic dog or horse that was usually described as being black with red eyes, or else it was a black fellow riding a dark horse. Any crops that had not yet been harvested, or fruits that were still on trees and bushes were said to be pissed or spat on by the púca in order to spoil them, and they were therefore considered 'contaminated’ and unfit for human consumption. On a practical level, any fruits still left on the trees and bushes by this time were probably well past their prime and were likely to make anyone ill, so the idea of the produce having been contaminated by the púca would be a suitably terrifying prospect to any child tempted to try them. Any fruits would be left to ripen and rot, and any remaining crops would be destroyed.16

 

There was the belief in Ireland that faeries controlled the ripening of the crops in the fields, and when yields were low it was said to be a reflection of disturbance in the fairy world. Speaking of the great potato famine of 1846-7, John Glynn, the town clerk of Tuam, said:

 

“Old Thady Steed once told me about the conditions then prevailing, 'Sure, we couldn’t be any other way; and I saw the good people and hundreds beside me saw them fighting in the sky over Knock Ma and on towards Galway.’ And I heard others say they saw fighting also.”17

 

In some parts, households and farmsteads might deliberately leave a portion of the potato or corn crop in the ground, or outside their houses, as a gift to the fairies to ensure their benevolence for the year to come and ensure a good crop in the coming year.18 Any food or drink left out to the good folk at night was not allowed to be eaten by any person or animal - “not even a pig” - for it was believed that while the food itself might be left, the 'substance’ or 'spiritual essence’ of it would be taken by the fairies, thus “leaving behind the grosser elements.”19 Perhaps the offerings were also intended to distract the fairies and encourage them to leave the household alone for the evening.

 

According to Alexander Carmichael, the first Monday of each quarter held similar dangers to the Quarter Day itself. This was said to be a prime time for the evil eye to be aimed at other people, and for witches to steal milk away from cows. Traditionally, people did not lend anything to anyone, lest the luck of the household left with the item being lent, as illustrated by the following poem:

 

“The first Monday of the quarter,
Take care that luck leave not thy dwelling.
The first Monday of the spring quarter,
Leave not thy kine neglected.”20

 

Extra precautions were therefore taken against such things as the evil eye, and each member of the household was blessed “with water got from a wisewoman, or with water got from a woman who had the bridle of the water-horse.”

Tairis