folklorelei: (the siren)
[personal profile] folklorelei
One of my favorite books on fairy lore is Meeting the Other Crowd: The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland by Eddie Lenihan and Carolyn Eve Green. It's a marvelous book, full of stories, and the lyrical voice of Ireland. Eddie Lenihan is one of the few seanchai, the old time Gaelic storytellers, left, and he's been collecting tales from other seanchai and common folk for decades. Like this little bit from Croom, October 12, 2001:

"I know that the whitethorn is always associated with the sioga.* That's why 'tis called the fairy tree. But 'tis the lone whitethorn in the middle of a field that's the dangerous one. There was a reason why that was left there, you see. No one but a fool would interfere with that.

And this from Drumline, September 19, 2001:

"I s'pose, if a fairy is molested, if you go tampering or meddling with 'em, well, they'll retaliate. 'Tis only kind o' natural, retaliation when you're interfered with. Nearly everyone in Ireland is aware that it isn't the done thing. Was never the done thing. The most ignorant people in Ireland, people that were illiterate, wouldn't bring a thorn out o' them forts."**

And as Mr. Lenihan puts it:

"Country people...would laugh....' 'Tis only children believe in them old stories, that old kind o' nonsense.'

"And yet, later that same night, in the pub, when all the laughing and mocking is done, the serious talk will begin, hesitant at first, then more freely, until at last, many pints of Guinness later, even those who mocked earlier in the night will finally—and not for the first or last time—admit that, yes, 'There's something there, all right. Petey (or Johnny, or Paddy or whoever) is not liar, whatever else he is.'

"And in such unpromising companies, by not retreating from impending scorn, ridicule, I have very often come away with a completely different knowledge of people I thought I knew before.

"And such confrontations have, I think, brought to the surface for some of those mockers, too, something deep, something that may have been forgotten in our hurly-burly world of 'acquire, have, experience, spend'...a lifting of a corner of that veil that separates us from a world that is right beside us, but for most of us as far away as Heaven...or Hell! "

*The fairies.
**Hill forts, of fairy forts, patches of land long associated with fairy activity.

Date: 2015-07-16 04:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

On a train once to the highlands of Scotland, I told the woman I was traveling with that I was interested in fairy lore, and she said she knew places where people had seen them.

Date: 2015-07-16 04:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I bet you're right about the pints of Guinness. That's cool about his wife and her family (though scary).

"Because I have heard that for those who enter Fairy Land there is no going back. They must go on, and go through it." —R. Macdonald Robertson, Selected Highland Tales