‘If thou wouldst see faeries’
Take a pint of sallot oyle and put
It in a glasse, first washing it with rose water.
Then put thereto the budds of hollyhocke,
of marigolds, of young hazle and the tops of
wild thyme. Take the grasse of a faerie throne,
then all these put into the glasse....
Dissolve three days in the sunne, and
keep it for thy use.
The best time to see faeries is at dawn, dusk and midnight, but
beware the dawn as the crowing of a cock will drive them away.
Traditionally the best days to see the little folk are 31st Oct Halloween,
May Day, 24th June Midsummer Day, 25th March Lady Day and
Even if you cannot see them you may see unexplained movements of branches
or leaves, rippling of water when near a stream or lake. Small clouds of dust
near your feet and feelings of chill fingers on your skin. You may also see
sudden movements out of the corner of your eye, this can all mean that a
faerie is near.
The fae are drawn to music and dancing, and to people with a sunny disposition.
They cannot abide meanness, rudeness and selfishness and avoid gloomy people.
Leaving a small gift of food out for them will be appreciated, grain, barley, milk or
honey. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look as though the food has been touched as
faeries extract the essence without physically eating it. The ‘foyson’ as Kirk called
it or the ‘toradh’ in gaelic. They can take all the goodness out of cheese,
butter, bread and bannocks so that it floats in water like a cork!
Keep your house neat and clean if you wish to attract faerie visitors as they
hate mess. So sweep the hearth for them to dance on and remember to leave
out fresh water for the faerie mothers to wash their babies with. Forgetting
this often brings a punishment of some sort, as in the tale of the milkmaid who
forgot to do so be-fore she went to bed. She refused to get up when reminded
so her companion set the water out instead and was rewarded with a silver
sixpence but she was punished with seven years painful lameness.
One disadvantage of encouraging faeries into your home is their eagerness
for ‘borrowing’ from humans although it is fair to say they are usually generous
in repaying the favour.
Faeries hold to the saying:
All that is yours is mine,
All that is mine is my own.
They will take grain, borrow implements and they will make use of mills and
fires and the fae are always keen to share their faerie skills with a few chosen
few mortals that they take a shine to! Their skill in weaving and spinning is
legendary but in the Isle of Man the mortals looms and spinning wheels are
guarded from the fae at night as they are likely to tangle the skeins and spoil the webs.
On great gift given to a lucky few was that of music, one family, the MacCrimmons
a famous family of Scotch pipers, was given the gift of music.
But do not expect to be given anything in return for your welcome into your house
as you may get more than you bargain for! And it is best not to refer to them directly,
if you must about them call them the wee folk, good folk, or the gentry. They also
dislike being spied on, so watching any of their faerie revels or boasting of faerie
favours will not be appreciated and will often be punished.
Whatever you do, do not give them the gift of clothing, as they will be very offended
and disappear. This has been well documented over the years, for example a hob
who was attached to Sturfit Hall near Reeth in Yorkshire worked very hard
churning milk, making up fires and performing many chores until the mistress of
the hall took pity on his nakedness and laid out a gift of a cloak and hood.
On seeing this the hob exclaimed
‘Ha! A cloak and a hood
Hob’ll never do mair good’
And he vanished for ever.
So good luck, keep an open and welcoming heart and the faeries will come!