Rattling to Ramsey: Isle of Man Short Stories

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At first she thought she must be seated beside a fool, one of those unimpressionable dolts too frequently met with in all societies, even of the best, who have no soul, no appreciation for anything. A second glance convinced her of the folly of such a thought. Besides, was not the elfin next to her, Uddereek, the wittiest, the most accomplished, and most gallant little gentleman in the elfin court?

Estella looked jealously around to see if there was any other fairy maid at whom she could detect him gazing. She sought in vain for any one there, she would condescend to admit for one moment to herself, could possibly be regarded as a rival. Still she was far — very far — from being satisfied, and felt confident that no heart not already bestowed upon another could resist such charms and withstand such advances as hers.


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Her pride was piqued, her vanity deeply wounded, her curiosity excited, and she determined to fathom the mystery. The feast over, the ball began. They one and all stood up. The king and queen led off the lively reel. Uddereek handed the fair Estella through the mazes of the dance, during which, far from desisting, she renewed with, if possible, redoubled energy her attacks, tried afresh all her arts to bring him to her feet, took skilful advantage of every little incident of the dance to bewitch him, but all in vain.

The dance ended — even a country dance, a true Roger de Coverley, must, some time or other, come to a finish — he led her to a seat upon a moss-grown bank, shadowed over with ferns of the daintiest kind, and making some excuse, slipped hurriedly away from the glen, to meet his Kitty at the blue rowan tree, where he knew so well she would be waiting his arrival.

Uddereek, hoping he had left the elfin throng unnoticed and unmissed, hied him quick as the lightning flash, upon the swift wings of hot young love, from Rushen Glen to Aldyn. She was deeply hurt and thirsted for revenge. That there was a mystery somewhere she was certain, and that a rival who had already full possession of his heart existed, she was fully convinced, or he never could have so withstood such sweet sorcery as she had tried upon him.

To discover that rival was now the work before her. She watched his every movement, and his departure, stealthy though it was, did not escape her eye. Prompted by her natural womanly curiosity, and instigated by all the jealous feelings of a revengeful heart, she swiftly followed on his trail.

After returning his fond embrace, she began to upbraid her elfin lover for his late arrival, jestingly twitting him with his inability to tear himself away from the fair demoiselles of the fairy court; when, as he was stopping her upbraidings by tender kisses, expostulating with her for one instant doubting the sincerity of his love, a rustling was heard among the long grass and the ferns, and before escape could be even thought of they were surrounded instantly by a swarm of fairy guards.

The rejected and jealous Estella had but too surely followed him to the trysting-place, and there she saw enough to show her who and what her hated rival was. With all her despised and rejected love turned into the bitterest hate, and urged on by her deeply wounded pride, she determined on prompt action and most terrible revenge. Such news caused the greatest consternation and surprise. All dancing ceased. The very minstrels suddenly hushed their strains, and the ball abruptly ended. The king and the whole court were struck dumb with horror and amazement at such an unheard-of breach of fairy etiquette, such a flagrant departure from the rules of all elfin decorum.

The outraged monarch gave command for the immediate pursuit, and, putting himself at the head of his fairy guards, started off on the pinions of the evening breeze to seize the culprit who had dared to so transgress the elfin laws. Uddereek was instantly torn from the embrace of the frightened Kitty, and ruthlessly hurried off to trial. The king and all his court, at least all the male portion of the retinue, could not help paying a gallant and flattering tribute to the surpassing beauty of the mortal maid who had enslaved their truant comrade, and openly expressed their admiration of the sweet Kitty Kerruish.

As for Estella, all this undisguised admiration of her hated rival only increased her rage beyond all bounds, and she passionately entreated the fairy monarch to visit the poor girl with the most instant and horrible vengeance in the elfin power to inflict. Indeed, I can quite excuse, and almost pardon, the rash Uddereek the error he has been guilty of; for never did I behold a mortal maiden so beautiful before. I wish it was within the limits of my mystic power to transform thee into a fairy maid, for I would do so.

So farewell, and take heed; fly from her machinations and depart from hence. In a moment Kitty was alone. King, court, fairy guards, and Uddereek had all vanished. The last to disappear was the rejected but now triumphant Estella, who lingered to cast upon her fair mortal rival a look in which was concentrated the most exulting revenge and the intensest hatred. Kitty Kerruish could not forget her elfin love, though she tried to think it all a dream. The rising of the next new moon found her still true to her love at the old trysting-place, but, alas!

Her spiteful elfin rival was there too; and now having poor Kitty in her power she proceeded to execute her vengeance in a most sure and subtle way. She caused a noxious mist to rise from the damp ground of the Glen — a mist loaded with the vapours of nightshade, henbane, and every deadly and poisonous plant she could collect. The mist, unnoticed by poor Kitty, spread round her, and every sigh for her lost fairy lover was but the means of taking a fresh draught of the insidious poison, till, feeling chilled by what she innocently thought the evening air, she reluctantly left the Glen and slowly turned her footsteps home.

The fated vapour had too surely done its work. Estella was avenged. Slowly she pined away till the evening of the next new moon, when poor old Billy Nell sat beside the couch of his darling child as her sweet spirit calmly took its flight. For Uddereek a different and even worse fate was in store. He was formally tried by his peers and condemned to banishment from the fairy community, to remain a lonely wanderer in Ellan Vannin till the crack of doom. He has remained in the Isle of Man ever since — at least until a very recent date; but after the introduction of railways into the island neither Phynodderree nor fairy of any kind has ever been met with by any sober man.

For one he would reap his crops in a single night; or if he wanted to build a wall or a cow-shed, would convey stone enough between sunset and sunrise to the required spot to enable him to complete his work. For a favoured fisherman he would repair his nets or boat whilst the owner slept. One man, desirous of showing his gratitude to the good-natured little creature for his work of conveying stones from a quarry, with which to build a house, and remembering he was naked, thought some clothes would be acceptable, and so took a suit and laid them on a place where he was supposed to frequent.

Phynodderree on finding them took them up one by one, and throwing each garment away over his shoulder as he named it, gave vent to his feelings in his native Manx, exclaimed —. Agh my she Chiat ooily, shoh cha nee Chiat Glen reagh Rushen. Coat for the back, alas, poor back! Breeches for the breech, alas, poor breech! Any man who through industry and attention to his business made good progress in the world and thrived, was said by the Manx country folk to have been favoured and helped by Phynodderree.

When badly treated or provoked, Phynodderree could be spiteful, and an instance is recorded of his having shown this side of his character to a farmer whose field he had mown for him. The ungrateful man grumbled and found fault with the way it was done, saying he could have done it better himself. This enraged Phynodderree, who waited till next year, and when the farmer set to work to mow it he came with a scythe in his hand and chased him off the field.

For many years after this the grass remained uncut, every one being afraid to attempt to mow it. During the Civil War, when the island was occupied by the Parliamentary army, a trooper, having heard the reason of the grass being left uncut, volunteered to mow it himself. He proceeded to the middle of the field and commenced mowing all round him in a circle.

Phynodderree set to work as well, and with such vigour that the soldier had great difficulty to prevent him cutting his legs off. He persevered, however, keeping a sharp look out on his elfin fellow workman, till at last it was completed. In conclusion, I will quote the words of a well-known poet in describing him and his charitable work:. Again, in allusion to the sad fate of his mortal love, and the long, long lament of his true heart for poor Kitty Kerruish, the same delightful writer says:.

On the opposite side of the stream to the village are the venerable ruins of what was, many years ago, the proud and stately Rushen Abbey, the wealthiest monastic establishment in the Isle of Man; and between whose cloistered vaults and the dark dungeons of Castle Rushen, tradition says there once existed a secret subterranean passage, whose walls, had they tongues as well as the ears attributed to mural constructions, could doubtless tell many a dismal tale of persecution and wrong. In a cottage in the outskirts of Ballasalla, and removed but a few paces from the Douglas road, dwelt, many years ago, one Tom Kewley with his wife and one child.

Tom was an honest fellow, and as industrious as most of his neighbours, cultivating a patch of land, hardly of extent sufficient to be called a farm, and occasionally, especially in the herring season, taking a turn as one of the crew of a Peel or Port-le-Mary fishing lugger.

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Kewley might have been a more thriving man than he was but for the failing he shared with so many of his neighbours — a liking for jovial company, and not knowing when he had had enough of strong drink. The consequence was that many a groat and many an hour were wasted with boon companions that might have been employed otherwise, to the great advantage of himself and family.

One evening in the early autumn Tom was trudging towards his home after visiting his fields, whither he had been to see how soon his crops would be ready for the sickle, when, casting his eye over his shoulder to watch some clouds gathering upon the mountain top, which, he feared, portended a storm not very favourable to his little expected harvest, his attention was arrested by seeing a cloud of white mist apparently roll from under a dark, threatening cloud hanging on the mountain side. This mist had an appearance different to anything he had ever noticed before, and while gazing at it he thought he perceived the figure of a man emerge from it, waving his arms in a frantic manner, and running with all speed down the hillside towards the village.

He stood and watched attentively what, at first, he thought must be some supernatural being; but as the man drew nearer, hurrying on and scrambling over every obstacle in his way, Tom thought he recognized the figure, and, mounting to the top of a stone wall to get a better view, he himself became visible to the running man, who altered his course and hastened on towards him with increased speed, shouting at the top of his voice. As the fugitive — for there could be no doubt he was one, and flying for his life — approached nearer, Kewley recognized him as Philip Caine, a pedlar, who travelled the island over, from end to end and from one side to the other, with his pack of useful and tempting articles; and who was always a welcome guest, go where he would, for he ever had a budget full of news as well as wares.

Speak, man. The flying pedlar could give no reply. Come in the house and rest awhile. Peggy Kewley was not a little surprised on seeing the scared pedlar enter the cottage door with her husband, and it was not until Phil Caine had rested some time and partaken of supper that he could give any collected account of what had befallen him. He had set out in the early morning from Peel with the intention of working his way to Castletown, calling at the different villages and farms on his way to dispose of his wares.

His route lay over South Barrule, and after visiting St. On and on, ever upward, Philip Caine wended his way, bending beneath the burden of his pack as he trod the steep ascent. Presently, after leaving the last house on the northern side of the mountain, and nearing the highest part of the tract, that here served the purposes of roadway, he became suddenly enveloped in a dense cloud; but this was no unusual occurrence on such high ground, and Caine thought nothing of it, and knowing by the peculiar fineness of the grass that he must be very near the summit, he continued his journey without fear.

The clouds getting denser, he stopped for a while to rest and take breath for further progress, and then discovered he had wandered from the roadway. The short soft grass being pleasanter to walk upon than the stony road, he had chosen it, and had not noticed the fact of his having strayed from the road till he discovered he had actually lost his way. He waited patiently for some time resting, and thinking that ere long the clouds would disperse; but, to his surprise and dismay, they grew denser and denser, till at last, although he knew it still wanted several hours of sundown, it became as dark as night, and he could not distinguish any object twenty yards away.

While conjecturing what he could do, and fearing every instant the bursting of a violent storm, he watched eagerly all round for any indications of a break in the darkness, some ray of light. Presently the cloud gradually began to break and pass away. Slowly did the darkness dissipate and the light return, revealing as it did so to his astonished gaze a mighty castle, with tower above tower, battlemented walls, and all the splendour of a royal residence, in comparison with which Castle Rushen was a mere hovel.

Never had he beheld so vast, so magnificent a building, but what it was, and how it came there, he could not at all imagine. He knew full well no such castle had ever been there before, and he had travelled the same road scores of times. On looking to see if he could discover any entrance or signs of life, he saw a large open courtyard, flanked on either side with extensive corridors and piazzas. At the further side was an open door, but no signs of life except a few tame-pigeons that took no notice of him as they flew about, and occasionally alighted on the ground in search of food.

The door was wide open, but he dare not enter it. All was quiet and death-like. Not a sound was heard. The very pigeons flew noiselessly, the flutter of their wings being like everything around them, silent. He feared to enter, lest he should be turned out neck and crop, or perhaps seized and charged with doing so for some unlawful purpose. After waiting some time, and no one appearing, he sat himself down in full view of the door, so as to see any one who might come out.

Feeling hungry as well as tired, he opened a small wallet, and taking out some bread, meat, and a little pinch of salt screwed up in paper, he proceeded to make himself comfortable and enjoy his meal. Scarcely had he commenced when he heard the strains of soft music within the castle; and after listening for some moments, the sounds of clattering footsteps were heard approaching down the hall towards the door. Before he could clear up the remnants of his repast and repack his wallet, which he proceeded in all haste to do, a weird and ghastly figure appeared, revealing as it emerged from the door and turned its head towards the horrified Philip Caine, a fleshless skeleton with its empty eye-sockets and dreadful grinning jaws.

The poor pedlar at once discovered he was on enchanted ground. The figure at the door beckoned with its fearful bony hand, and silently invited him to enter. Phil felt that if he did not instantly make his escape he would be lost for ever. He jumped up from his seat in a great hurry, and in doing so upset everything that was upon his lap — bread, meat, and with them the remains of the little pinch of SALT.

No sooner did the salt touch the ground than the ghastly figure gave an unearthly yell and fell, with a noise like rattling hail, a heap of bones. The mighty fabric of the castle, after rocking and tottering to and fro, fell to the ground with a crash that stunned the affrighted pedlar; the air was full of cries and rushing sounds; and a dense cloud of dust rising from the ruins hid everything from his view. He took to his heels and ran for his bare life with all his might, leaving pack, wallet, and everything behind, and, scampering straight on as fast as his legs could carry him at last emerged from the mist scared out of his wits, more dead than alive, and continued running down the mountain side till he reached the spot where Tom Kewley was standing.

The pedlar was housed for the night, and every one in Ballasalla took especial care in placing the usual crock of cold water at each of their cottage doors before retiring to rest, for the fairies to drink, for fear any of the wee folk or bugganes belonging to the Enchanted Castle should be passing that way in the night, and, not finding the customary offering provided for them, wreak their vengeance on the unlucky defaulters.

A settlement between the crew of a herring-boat that he had been working with during the past season and the purchasers of their fish was to take place, and the profits of their labour divided, when the parties interested — boat-owner, master, crew, and fish-salesman — all met, and each one was paid the share due to him.

This was much too serious a matter to be lightly set aside, so, spite of the entreaties of his wife and neighbours, who were sadly afraid of his falling into the hands of bugganes, or other evil-disposed fairyfolk, he made an early start to walk to Douglas. Just as he was passing the last houses of the town, and about to cross the old bridge at the head of the harbour, he heard his name called, and, turning round, saw Matthew Mylechreest, an old friend and shipmate, standing at the door of a house of public entertainment beckoning to him.

By the time he parted with Mylechreest it was getting late. Despairing after some time of being able to come to a satisfactory solution of his little sum, and having reached the top of what is now known as Richmond Hill, he turned round and beheld Douglas town at his feet, with the lovely bay beyond.

The harvest moon was brightly shining, like a ball of burnished silver, in the heavens, shedding her soft yet brilliant light upon the dancing waves, which as they rose and fell, each one sparkling like a mass of diamonds, seemed to be clutching at the beauteous rays of the queen of night, and carrying them down into the green sea depths, far down below where corals grow and lustrous pearls lie hid. The lovely light of the moon was well set off by the deep shadows of the rocks and hills.

On the right was the highland of Douglas Head casting a still denser gloom on the restless sea; while in front was the town with its many glimmering lights, contrasting curiously with the effulgent beams of the harvest moon. Although Kewley had many a time before seen the same enchanting scene, he stood some moments gazing on the beautiful panorama displayed before him, and looking first at the dancing lights upon the waves and then the cosy, comfortable — lights in the houses lights that told of many a snug fireside and jovial party assembled there.

He thought he saw them all dance — lights, waves, and moonbeams — in and out, up and down, in one continuous whirl. He could not make it out; he knew well enough it could not be that the lights actually danced, such an idea was ridiculous, so he came to the conclusion that something had disagreed with him, something indigestible, most probably it was the tanrogans — better known to Englishmen as scollops; so in order, as he thought, to correct this and set himself to rights for his journey, he hastened on to the public-house on the hill-top, and, calling for a noggin of brandy, swallowed it down, and once more set his face towards Ballasalla.

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Walking briskly down the other side of the hill he resumed his whistling and singing, each in turn, till he reached nearly to the bottom of the glen over against Mount Murray, when, during a pause in his own music, he fancied he heard another voice in the distance, singing also. He stopped, the better to listen, and far away down in the glen he heard the sounds of low, plaintive music. He proceeded on in silence, having stopped his own song, listening attentively to the other, and trying to catch the air in spite of the gentle rustling of the trees overhead.

As he neared the bridge at Ballalona the sounds became louder and more distinct, and more than one voice was clearly distinguishable. He had never heard anything so charming in his life. He advanced slowly and softly, expecting every moment to come upon the serenaders and not wishing to disturb them.

As he stepped upon the bridge it ceased suddenly, and then he heard at some little distance a hearty peal of laughter from many voices, mingled with sounds like the clinking of glasses and the rapping of tables. What could it be? He was quite sure no house was near. Taking a few steps, further on he stumbled over something in his path, and ere he could quite recover himself and see what it was, a voice at his feet saluted him. Looking down to whence the voice proceeded, he beheld a wee fairy-man standing before him.

The little fellow had the most laughing eyes and rougish-looking mouth imaginable, was a compact and perfect figure, dressed in the very gayest colours, and was altogether a most gallant and pleasing, though diminutive, cavalier. I hope I have not interrupted you. I was listening so attentively I did not heed what was before me, and ask your pardon most humbly for stumbling over you.

So follow me. Proceeding on and talking all the while, the little elfin led Tom through a wood and over a curragh, the sounds of revelry and music becoming louder and louder at every step. Presently they emerged into an open space in front of an old ruined house, when a number of little elves, like his guide, surrounded Tom, and after playing all manner of pranks with him, pulling his coat-tails, sticking thorns into the calves of his legs, and almost tripping him up by running in front of him and between his legs, they led him down what appeared a long-standing passage into a capacious apartment with a low-groined roof like a church vault, all hung with festoons of cobwebs, upon which some of the little people were swinging.

A long and very curious shaped table was in the centre of the room, cunningly constructed of plaited fern-leaves and bullrushes, supported on innumerable mushrooms, around which were seated a large company of little ladies and gentlemen, all most gaily dressed in every conceivable variety of costume.

The table was loaded with bottles, flagons, goblets, cups, and glasses of as many different shapes, sizes, and materials as the dresses of the company, and good things of all sorts were in abundance. The whole scene was one of the gayest description. Such a rollicking, merry party Tom Kewley had never seen before.

As he entered, a little lady, in a very grotesque costume, had just concluded a song, and the company were shouting their applause most vociferously and beating the table with their drinking-cups and glasses. On looking around, as he was ushered up to the further end of the room, he felt considerable surprise in recognizing in several of the little faces the features of persons he had an indistinct recollection of having seen somewhere else before, and more than one seemed to be quite familiar to him. Feeling his coat-tail pulled and his sleeve plucked, he turned round, and seeing a little man beckoning to him to stoop down, he did so, and listened as the mannikin whispered into his ear —.

Let nothing tempt you. Before Tom could ask for any explanation the little elf hurried away to his seat at the lower end of the table. Kewley was now conducted to the presence of the fairy king, who had commanded that he should be introduced to him. This was done with much ceremony, and the little monarch received him most graciously, presenting Tom to the lovely fairy queen who sat at his left hand.

Never before had the bewildered Kewley seen anything so splendid and so beautiful as the royal pair, whose dresses were composed of the most exquisite materials, of various brilliant colours, and covered all over with bright, sparkling jewels. The queen was reserved and dignified, his small majesty was most affable and familiar, but with the air of a polished gentleman, and evidently was well used to command the respect and obedience of his rollicking and somewhat boisterous subjects. Sit down, my good man, and join our elfin feast, for again I say you are right welcome.

Let those near our mortal guest, Tom Kewley, see that he is hospitably entertained, as so worthy a guest should be, and the master of the revels can proceed to call on the next in turn for their song. A horse we catch, of rare good stock — No common hack will suit our taste — A score or more will mount his back, And round and round the fields we haste. On, on we ride, nor slack the speed Till the grey east light gives warning; Back to his home to guide our steed, And hide ourselves snug ere morning. The farmer to his farmyard hies, Bent on good care and feeding; His pet nag meets his bewildered eyes All foam-bedecked and bleeding.

The farmer then, without delay, Nails on a lock to his stable door; Makes all secure by night and day, Resolved we fays shall ride no more. But we manage still to find some sport Where stable locks are still unknown; And we train the pick of all the lot After a fashion quite our own. Kewley made no reply, but eyed the singer with no friendly gaze as he remembered only too sadly how sometimes his own horses had been used by the elves in much the same way. At the bidding of the master of the revels, a very lovely little fair-haired lady now stood up, and, in the sweetest and clearest voice Tom had ever heard warbled forth the following song:.

Who would not be An airy sprite, And lead a life of frolic gay? From dawn till eve, From eve till light, We laugh the hours away. The pale moon wanes, The morn is cold, Each fairy elf and fay, Snug in a flower, Enwraps herself, To wait the broad, bright day. The evening comes. On the little Prima Donna resuming her seat she became the centre of a small select circle of admirers, all eager to lay the incense of their compliments and praises at her feet; while the uproarious applause of the rest of the rollicking assemblage made the room ring again.

In the midst of the noise and confusion a party of bugganes and elves entered, tumbling over each other with most extraordinary capers and tricks, which only ceased on their being summoned into the immediate presence of the king, and ordered to give an account of their doings and the reason of their late arrival. A new-born mortal child has been changed by us to-night, and a long-standing score of vengeance paid off on that old miser Bobby Cottier, of Ballagaraghan.

We commenced by drawing lots who should be the one to be left in the cradle and be nursed by the mother as her own child. On arriving at Ballabeg we divided into two parties. I, with RUSTIN-WEE and six others, hid beneath the grass and between the stones near the door; while the others scampered off to the stable and cow-house, setting all the horses and cattle loose. They then began driving them about and making a terrible noise, for the animals were all mad with fright, that, one after the other, every one came running out of the house to see what was the matter and all the disturbance about — Paul Quiggin, his brother Joe, several others, and among them the woman who was nursing Mrs.

Quiggin and the bairn. No sooner had they all come out, leaving Betty Quiggin and the child alone in the house, than in we rushed, and in the twinkling of an eye had the little one out of the cradle and RUSTIN-WEE snugly wrapped up in his place. Off we started, and before poor Paul and the others had got the horses and cattle into their stalls again, we were miles away, with the bantling, who is now safe in fairy keeping — where, you all very well know.

As for Tom Kewley, he was frightened out of his wits at hearing of what had happened to the Quiggins, and wished himself safe back at Ballasalla, though he almost despaired of ever reaching there again. He had most rigidly heeded the warning given to him on first entering, and had not tasted either meat or drink, though strongly pressed by his neighbours. Hitherto he had managed to evade their importunities; but could he do so much longer was very doubtful. Nothing could be too bad for such a miserly old curmudgeon; and he so seldom gives any of us a chance.

The roof of his hen-roost is old; and the stingy old beggar, grudging the cost of a little new thatch, the winds have made free with it, so that we very easily got in, sucked all the fresh eggs, and pricked all those under the setting hens. We then got through into the cow-house by shifting a loose board, which old Robby would not afford a nail on. Then we hied us off to the pigs, and turning the great fierce boar into the same stye with a sow and her litter of a dozen young pigs, he savagely set to and began to worry the lot; when, the sow turning on him to defend her children, a regular scrimmage ensued.

The whole company instantly rose to their feet with brimming goblets in their hands, prepared to do full honours to the toast. Poor Tom Kewley knew that now was the critical moment of his adventure. He feared it was all up with his ever returning to his wife and child, and was beginning to speculate in his mind how it would be possible to avoid drinking, when his eye caught sight of the same little man from whom he had received his friendly warning on entering.

The little fellow was seated on the opposite side of the table some little distance off, and was gesticulating most anxiously to draw his attention and renew the caution. If he drank, he was doomed to remain with the fairies for ever; if he refused, what vengeance would they not wreak upon him for so great an insult to their king?

He clenched his teeth in desperation, and stood up with the rest, cup in hand, and, hoping his actions would escape notice, he raised his hand and cup to his lips, and, watching his opportunity, when he thought all were too intent upon their own drinking to pay any heed to him, and had their eyes hidden in their own cups, he tilted his own over and poured the contents upon the ground.

A most terrific peal of thunder, with a flash of lightning that seemed to burn up everything around him! Fairies, elves, feast, and bugganes, everything vanished, and he had an indistinct feeling of being suddenly lifted up as high as the top of Snaefell, and as suddenly let fall upon the ground. IT was some considerable time ere anything like consciousness returned to Tom Kewley, and his first supposition was that every bone in his body was not merely broken, but smashed into little bits, and the top of his crown utterly crushed in by his fall.

He lay on the ground for some considerable time after consciousness did return, not daring to open his eyes or get up, for fear the fairies would do him further injury or kill him outright. Hearing nothing, he ventured to open first one eye and then the other, and raising his head a little, looked cautiously round. He was all alone; not a creature near him but a mountain sheep quietly grazing a few yards off. Where were all his enemies the fairies?

Had they all gone? Where was he? Was the whole thing a dream? Looking further about him he saw several familiar sights, and after a while discovered he was in the middle of a curragh, about two miles from his own home at Ballasalla. He had not been robbed, at any rate. It must be a dream, then, after all. But what is this in his right hand? The possession of the goblet proved, beyond all doubt, it was a reality, and that he actually had been a guest at the fairy banquet.

Tom Kewley having now proved he really was alive, not much injured, and in actual possession of a substantial proof of his adventure, in the silver goblet, he lost no time in making the best of his way to Ballasalla, where he found his wife and neighbours all in the greatest grief at his non-appearance, and making sure he had fallen a victim to the Goblin of the Enchanted Castle that the pedlar Philip Caine had escaped from. After receiving the warmest of welcomes, he related to his wondering wife and friends all the particulars of his adventure, and when he produced his silver goblet every one was lost in astonishment.

A consultation was held as to what was best to be done with the goblet. Some doubted whether it was silver — real silver — but the majority were in favour of its being the true metal, and the majority was right. To keep it in the house both he and his wife were afraid, for fear the fairies should visit them for the purpose of reclaiming it. Several things were suggested, and amongst the rest that the safest plan would be to take it back to the place where Tom recovered his senses after his exit from the Fairy Hall, and leave it there for the little people to take it away when it suited them.

This was about to be carried out, when who should pass by but Parson Gill, of Kirk Malew. He was at once asked in and appealed to on the subject. The parson eyed it and weighed it well in his hand, examined it minutely, and then, addressing his parishioners, said:. Fairies are but imps of the devil in another shape, and when once we can get any good out of him it is folly to let him have it back again. This cup, no doubt, is sterling right good metal, and is certainly of supernatural, and indeed I may venture to say diabolical, construction, and therefore very unfit either to be kept or used by ordinary mortal man for ordinary purposes, or even coined into current money, for it would carry a curse to every one who ever touched it.

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There is, however, one use, and one only, my friends, to which it can be safely, and I may venture to say appropriately, applied, and that is the services of the Church. Once safe upon the communion table, or even in the vestry cupboard, of Kirk Malew, no fairy elf or buggane in the island will ever dare attempt to remove it, or even injure or annoy the person who presented so valuable a gift to his parish church. No tradition to the contrary having been ever heard, it is supposed that Tom Kewley and his family were never more molested by his elfin hosts, and that the parson was right in saying they would respect the donor of such a gift to his parish church.

IN the latter part of the eleventh and the early part of the twelfth centuries, the Isle of Man was the home of the boldest race of rovers that scoured the seas; and one of the Manx monarchs, Hacon, was reckoned the mightiest sea-king of his day, and was appointed by Edgar, king of England, to the chief command of the allied English and Manx fleets; and with three thousand six hundred vessels sailed round the British Isles and swept the seas, driving all other rovers and pirates from the face of the ocean.

It is of a descendant of Hacon, King Olave the Second, called Olave Goddardson, the son of Goddard Crovan, by whom the royal sceptre of Man was for a time very worthily swayed: and the possessor of the great sword Macabuin, made by Loan Maclibhuin, the dark smith of Drontheim, our present story has to tell. The Island of Man had some time previous been subjugated by the Norsemen, and partitioned among their several leaders or jarls, who were vassals to the king, holding their lands and possessions from him under feudal tenure; he in his turn doing homage and paying tribute to his suzerain, the king of Norway.

One of the most powerful of the many earls or jarls of Man was a stalwart and marauding baron named Kitter, who, when not roving the seas in quest of booty, in company with other piratical Vikings, resided in an extensive but rude-built castle near the summit of South Barrule, the loftiest mountain in the southern part of the island. In those days the inhabitants of Man were more addicted to warlike than to peaceful pursuits. Piracy was more to their taste than husbandry, and the land was wild and but poorly cultivated.

The forests and moors afforded an almost undisturbed shelter for hordes of wild animals. The bison, elk, and red deer roamed over the country with other noble game, to meet with which in these days the sportsman must cross not only the broad Atlantic, but travel far into the western wilds of America, to the slopes of the Rocky Mountains. The chase has ever been a favourite pursuit with man in all ages, and has furnished relaxation and amusement to the greatest heroes of antiquity. Jarl Kitter, when not engaged in piratical forays on the coasts of England, Scotland, or Ireland, gave himself up to the pleasures of the chase.

He was indeed a very Nimrod.


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Consideration for those who were peaceably inclined and cultivated the soil has never been a characteristic of mighty hunters; and in like manner to the great Norman William, king of England, and his son Rufus, who drove hundreds of poor Saxon peasants from their homes to create the great hunting-ground of the new forest in Hampshire, did this Manx jarl seek to rid the country around his domain of its human inhabitants in order the better to preserve the game. The natural consequence was that he was both feared and hated far and wide by the peasantry. His dogs worried their cattle and flocks, while his lawless and insolent retainers damaged or destroyed their scanty crops.

Many there were who only wanted the opportunity to revenge their wrongs upon the tyrant, some of whom did not hesitate to invoke the aid of witchcraft. He assembled all his foresters and serving-men, huntsmen and dogs to take part in the chase, leaving only his cook at home to mind the castle and prepare the feast that all would require upon their return, and set out for the Calf of Man.

Eaoch, or Loud Tongue, for so this chef de cuisine was named, was possessed, among other qualifications, of so surprisingly loud a voice that his shout could be heard for miles, such was the extraordinary power of his lungs. He perfectly out-Stentored Stentor. Not only warm, but dry, so much so that Eaoch was compelled to pay frequent visits to the cellar to quench his thirst, and so much wine did he take that his culinary exertions and his potations combined, quite overpowered him, and he fell fast asleep in front of his kitchen fire.

Oda, a celebrated witch, who resided in a cavern on the coast near Port Erin, had been specially retained and feed very liberally by the suffering country people to help them in wreaking vengeance upon their common enemy, the Jarl, so soon as an opportunity should present itself. Oda had kept a careful watch; and directly Kitter and his retainers set forth upon their expedition, the witch took up her quarters near at hand ready to avail herself of any chance that offered itself for carrying out her purpose.

Eaoch, the cook, not only slumbered but snored; and he did so almost as loud as he shouted. Before he had snored many minutes Oda was by his side and saw how matters stood; she caused a large cauldron of fat to boil over into the fire. An instant blaze was the result, setting the whole place in flames, and some of the hot grease splashing out of the pot on to the face of Enoch, he awoke in great fright and pain.

Scalded and singed, out he rushed from the burning castle and began to roar so lustily that he gave the alarm to Jarl Kitter and his hunters on the Calf, a distance of ten miles away. Hearing the well-known voice of his cook, the attention of Kitter was directed towards his castle, and looking in the direction of Barrule, he and his companions beheld the flames pouring forth from every door and window of the castle, and ascending with dense volumes of smoke high into the air.

The chase was instantly abandoned, and he with those of his followers who were nearest to hand, hurried down to the shore, and jumping into the first Currach they could reach, started to cross the narrow but rapid channel that separates the Calf from the mainland. All was hurry and confusion; the currach itself was only a rude boat constructed of wicker-work covered with hides, and far too frail to combat with the surging, boisterous waters of the Sound, as the channel is called, which were rushing through the narrow space between the two islands like a mill race.

Using her powers of witchcraft, she speedily caused a storm to arise. The boat was overcrowded and unsteady. The rapid current and the wind together drove the fragile and over-burdened vessel violently upon a rocky islet lying midway between the two shores. She at once swamped and capsized, leaving every one of its living freight struggling in the raging sea. It was in vain to cling to the rocks and call for help. The waters overwhelmed them all, and washed them one by one into the surging stream. All perished, not a soul was saved. THE other jarls of Man, hearing of the fate of their friend and neighbour Kitter, and fearing a general rising of the Manx peasantry against them, assembled together to take counsel for their united defence.

He had been arrested almost immediately, and was accused before King Olave Goddardson, who, being a just man, ordered him to be brought face to face with his accusers. Great preparations were made for the trial the king, commanded should be held. The jarls took good care that the jury should consist exclusively of their own order, and though King Olave did all in his power to secure him a fair hearing, Eaoch met with but scant justice. A speedy conviction resulted, and sentence of death was pronounced. The cook heard his sentence with perfect composure, and so soon as it was pronounced he claimed the privilege then allowed by both Norwegian and Manx law to all native born subjects condemned to death, of choosing the place and manner of his own execution.

It would sever anything and everything its edge was brought in contact with, even solid iron or granite rock, and when once it began to cut, there was no knowing where it would stop. When he first received this wonderful sword King Olave was bade to try its powers, and being at the time encamped between Douglas and Laxey he struck two huge stones one after the other and clave them in twain.

There the stones stand to this day, where they may be seen near the roadside, and are pointed out to the visitors when going from Douglas to see the great wheel of Laxey Mines. It is said of these stones that whenever they hear the cock crow at sunrise they clap together with a great noise. There was no compromise possible in the matter. Either the king must run this terrible risk of having his leg cut off, or the condemned man be liberated. Olave Goddardson was a true knight, and his word once given nothing could induce him to forfeit it.

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In spite of bishops and priests offering him indulgence and absolution, he insisted on keeping his plighted word to the condemned varlet, Eaoch, and no inducement could prevail upon him to do aught derogatory to his fair fame as a man and a king. With a view if possible of overcoming the terrible cutting properties of the great sword all the witches in the island were consulted, and they held a midnight meeting at the full of the moon on the summit of Snaefell, the highest mountain in the island.

After much discussion among the ancient wise ladies, and consulting of many mystic records, together with the working of several incantations, a charm was at last decided upon and prepared, to be placed on the Royal Leg, prior to the condemned cook laying his head upon this extraordinary block of his own selection. It was only at the urgent solicitations and prayers of his subjects that the king consented to allow the charm to be used.

Each to the number of nine times nine were skilfully amalgamated together, and cunningly formed into a pad or cushion of seven times seven layers. The assembled people looked on in eager suspense, and the deepest anxiety was depicted on every face. The culprit having been previously shriven, was led forth to his doom. His appearance was the signal for a perfect storm of yells and execrations from the crowd. He was seized by two stalwart Norsemen, and after being blindfolded, was led up to the royal chair, where he was bid to kneel and lay his head upon what he had himself so cunningly elected as the block — the leg of King Olave.

On drawing it forth from its sheath, its bright and polished blade reflected back the brilliant rays of the midday sun, glittering and flashing like a sword of fire, dazzling the eyes of all beholders.


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Lifting up the sword with the greatest caution, and bracing every nerve of his powerful and brawny arms, in order to keep its destructive powers well in check, he laid its edge gently upon the neck of Eaoch. The sword Macabuin made but short work of the neck of Eaoch, severing it clean from his body, without a single hitch or hesitation on passing through the bone.

The spell was broken, and the magic power of the great sword Macabuin was at an end. The executioner once again had a perfect control over the weapon, and lifting it up from the royal leg, which had not received the slightest injury, he waved the blood-stained blade triumphantly around his head. Olave jumped up directly the executioner had lifted up the sword from his leg, and kicked the ghastly bleeding head on one side. He then proceeded in solemn procession, attended by all his court and thousands of his assembled people, to Peel, and entering the cathedral of St.

The rowan is the ash tree. The Tynwald Hill is a mound of earth composed of ground brought from every parish in the island, and is situated on the roadside at St. It has been used for these purposes from time immemorial, and gives its name to the highest court of law in the island, the Court of Tynwald, which is presided over by the Lieutenant-Governor in person.

In time the news reached the shores of Norway and the city of Drontheim, where it came at last to the ears of Loan Maclibhuin, the swarthy smith of that ilk. Hiallus-nan-urd had only one leg, having lost the other in the service of his master while assisting that wonderful smith in the manufacture of the great sword Macabuin. The hammerman started off, and in due time reached Peel Castle, where he demanded to be admitted to an audience with his Majesty of Man.

On being ushered into the royal presence, he then and there taunted the king with unknightly conduct in having offered insult to his own good sword — the great sword Macabuin, which had been made expressly for and presented to him by the dark smith, Loan Maclibhuin of Drontheim, and he concluded with challenging the king to walk with him from Peel Castle to the smithy at Drontheim.

Such a challenge, publicly given before his whole court, coupled with so grave an accusation, could not be refused without ineffable disgrace and a total loss of caste. Login Username: Password: Lost Password? Remember me. Thread Modes. Malcolm Administrator. MANX jobs and ferry passengers services could be in jeopardy following the loss of major freight customers, the boss of the the Steam Packet has warned.

We have to fight this. This is about the survival of a company that has served the Isle of Man well for years. You reap what you sow, springs to mind on this one. Direct copy from the IOMonline website. Be right back. I am going to go find myself, and if I leave before I get back, make sure to tell me!! NO is everyone now enjoying cheaper phone calls? YES I say bring it on!! We will try to keep up service says SPC.

This post was last modified: , PM by Malcolm. I remember Duke Line, that was supposed to provide competition to the Stem Racket's high monopoly fares but it was hit by all sorts of suspicious mechanical disasters and eventually folded. Since then the Irish Sea has been one of the world's most expensive stretches of water to cross and Manx people have been forced to pay higher prices in the shops just to fill the pockets of the shipper. The chickens are indeed coming home to roost. The Steam Racket's loss will be the Island's gain as supermarket prices fall and the extra money left in shoppers' pockets can be spent on other things, expanding the Island's economy.

I havent heard many Manx or scouse accents in steam packet uniforms for a long time. I'm just pleased the Manx government appear to have stood up to them for the first time in a long time, the job loss blackmail obviously hasnt worked so I wonder what the next stunt will be?? Union big gun steps in to fight for the Steam Packet. Is this the alternative for people getting to TT ! Steam Packet freight row: government keep out. I fully support Mr Gawne's comments above, why should the government use tax payers money to bail out a private company.

If the steam packet hadnt been so greedy in the first place there wouldnt have been any trade for Mezeron to pick up, but steam packet's overinflated freight costs made it viable for another operator to come in and do the same job for a lower cost and still make a profit. Just what a union official thinks he will achieve by barking at the government over the steam packet's grievance is questionable?

A solution to Steam Packet problem? No need for Steam Packet committee, says minister. View a Printable Version Subscribe to this thread. TT Website Return to Top. Linear Mode. Threaded Mode. Lost Password? Thread Modes Steam Packet "Rattled". Website Find. But we are pointing out that Manx jobs could go and sailings reduced. THE user agreement was supposed to protect consumers, passengers, the government and the Steam Packet. But the launch of ferry freight competition has exposed the short-comings of a deal to which the island is tied until the year First signed back in , against a history of failed Manxline competition, service disruptions and seafarer strikes, the agreement was intended to secure sea services and provide a frequency and stability of vital lifeline routes.

Providing exclusive use of the roll-on, roll-off linkspans at Douglas harbour, the deal effectively protected the Steam Packet from competition in a market which it insists is a natural monopoly. But in return, the Steam Packet has to guarantee minimum frequency and capacity on services, many of which they say are uneconomic. Under its terms the Steam Packet also has to provide a minimum of return sailings a year to the North West ports in the UK and 63 round-trips to Ireland.

During the summer, there has to be a daily service to Liverpool. Inbound, the deal outlines a specific number of lane metres per week of freight. It also stipulates that the overall basket of fares offered can only be increased by a maximum of Manx inflation less one half of one per cent. From next year that changes to a maximum of Manx inflation.