For the first time on Storynory we bring you fairies – Real Ones! Yes, it’s true. A man who was working near Merlin’s Craig in Scotland saw one, and then another, and then another. Not before too long he was dancing with the fairies and they were dragging him underground into their house beneath the moor.
Proofread by Claire Deakin.
Read by Natasha. Duration 12 Minutes.
Version by Bertie (from original)Kesh Jig from audiosparx. Bagpipes etc mixed on Garageband.
There are certain places where the very earth itself is charged with that fiery, unpredictable energy, known as magic. One of those centres of enchantment is in Lanarkshire, Scotland. You have to tramp for miles and miles across a bleak, soggy moorland to reach it – but eventually you will see a mound of jagged rocks rising out of the peat bog. That will be Merlin’s Craig.
The folk who live thereabouts say that over a thousand years ago, the famous wizard, Merlin, lived and practiced his magic among those rocks. No doubt he made use of his spells of the black peat that was all around him. You see peat is like no other earth – for it burns, and gives warmth and life to the people who seek out a living on the moorlands.
A few hundred years ago, a poor but honest man worked on a farm near Merlin’s Craig. One day his master sent him to the Craig to dig up slabs of peat and fetch them back for fuel. The man did as he was told, and he had just begun to slice the ground with his shovel and lift up the peat when all at once the smallest wee woman that he had ever seen in his life appeared before him. She was certainly a dainty little creature – perhaps no more than two feet high. She was clad in a green gown and red stockings, and her long yellow hair tumbled down to her waist.
The man was dumbfounded. He stuck his spade into the ground and gaped at her. She wagged her finger at him and said angrily, “What do you mortals think you are doing when you dig up our roof? How would you like it if I came along with a giant spade and took the lid off your house?”
She stamped her wee foot and demanded, “You put that turf back at once, or you will rue the day that you ever lifted it!”
Now the poor man’s teeth began to chatter with fright, for he had heard stories of how when a mortal offends the fairy-folk, the fairies wreak a terrible revenge. He swiftly shovelled the peat back into its place, patted it down nicely, and returned to his master to tell him what had happened.
The master only jeered at him. “A fairy you say? Taking the roof off her house were you? Drinking whisky more like it… No, go back at once and fetch me some peat or there will be no wages for you this very week!”
The poor man had little choice but to do as he was told – for he had to feed his wife and two wee bairns – those were his children.
So he spent the next few days working hard, digging peat and fetching it back to the farm. During this time no fairies appeared to him – not a single one.
A year went by and the man still had not caught sight of another fairy – and he began to think that his master might have been right – perhaps he had only seen the fairy in a dream.
Autumn went by, and then winter and spring, until once again it was summer. It was the very same day that he had lifted the peat the year before. The man had been working hard on the farm, and his master was pleased with him and gave him a present of some milk to take home to his family. He set off on his journey home with a spring in his step, and was humming a happy tune. As it was such a nice evening, he went home the long way over the moor, by a path that led past Merlin’s Craig. When he reached the craig his legs felt strangely tired, and he sat down on the ground, and soon fell into a deep sleep.
It was near midnight when he was awoken by some strange but lively music. He rubbed his eyes and what a shock he had when he saw that a band of fairies were dancing around him, glowering at him, and pointing their wee fists in his face.
He got up and tried to start on his way, but wherever he went, the fairies danced in a ring around him. Then out of the ring stepped the bonniest wee lady and the other fairies laughed and called out, “Dance man, dance!”
When the lady reached up, she took him by the hands. Although he had never been much of a dancer in his youth, he found himself waltzing and reeling as if he had been a dancer all his life. His head felt happy and light and he forgot all about his home, his wife and his wee bairns. The whole night long they danced on until at last they heard the shrill sound of the farmyard cock greeting the morning with his loudest crowing.
All at once the merriment ceased. The fairies stampeded headlong towards the craig, and they dragged the man along with them. A door opened up in the rocks and in they all clattered. The door closed behind them and they led the man down below the ground into a dimly lit hall.
Here the fairies busied themselves with tasks: Some dipped quill pens in magic ink, and copied out spells and fairy laws on to scrolls of parchment. Others were making fairy honey out of flowers, and still others were distilling fairy whisky.
The man could do nothing but sit down and watch and be amazed. Towards evening time, the wee woman in red stockings whom he had first seen a year ago came before him and led him back up to the door by which they had entered. She said, “The turf which you took from the roof of our house has reformed, and there is grass growing over it once again. Now you may go home, but you must swear never to tell any mortal of our secrets.”
The man swore never to tell the fairy secrets to a living soul – for he had seen some things which I have not been able to tell you about, and the door opened and he went back out onto the moor.
When he reached home, his wife stared at him in amazement. She seemed somehow to have aged. Then his children came into the hall of the house – but they were no longer wee infants, but lads and lasses, and they did not know him.
“Where have you been for these long long years?” Demanded his wife. “How could you do such a thing as to run off and leave your wife and wee bairns to fend for ourselves?”
The man did not know what to say to this, but he soon learned that the one day he had spent underground had lasted seven years, while the turf grew back over their roof. From that day on, he never again dug peat from that part of the moor, or even dared to venture near to Merlin’s Craig.
you have really good stores but there to short you should have longer ones to
November 3, 2008
December 15, 2016
Hi Molina Long or short ? This debate always continues on Storynory. We do have long stories, The Snow Queen, Astropup, Beauty and the Beast, The Ugly Duckling, and Baba Yaga to name a few…. And we have short stories, like this one which packs a lot into in. bye for now !
thank you Natasha this a wonderful story, give us more. thanks
November 7, 2008
dear bertie,this was wonderful!my friend and I believed in faries but now she moved away. we used to make houses for them and the next day they would be gone! we would make the homes out of twigs,hollow out a flower and fill it with water to make bathtubs,while the leaves became rugs! thankou!
Hannah age 10 —
November 10, 2008
November 11, 2008
I don’t believe in fairies but i relly like thier stories ..
thank you Natasha you are great
I love the voice Natasha does for the fairy-it makes me laugh. This was a great story.
June 10, 2009
love you guys
October 29, 2009
I really enjoyed this story. There is not much info about fairies(or should i say to much unreliable info). This story contains a perfect moral message and show how rueful fairies can be. Although the fairies this man encountered were incredibly forgiving(in my own opinion). Other men have suffered worse. And trust me Pasha there are plenty of fey iron sidhe.
November 17, 2009
I know that fairies are real.But my brother does not.I wish he will some day.
October 18, 2010
this story is almost nice but they read it so slow
December 15, 2010
this story is about a fairy.What do you think is a fairy real doyah doyah doyah? well i do not think so
December 15, 2010
this story is wierd
December 15, 2010
i think my name is cool because it is jaskaran and my brothers name is Gurpreet Singh and he is cool also maybe this book
December 16, 2010
You know Bertie I do believe in fairies you want to know why ? Here’s a secret you can’t tell if you are a person again but you could share with barker and the pond life here’s the secret it’s because I was born to believe in the tooth fairy a tooth fairy is a fairy that never shows it’s self to a person and the tooth fairy that take a tooth when ever a child tooth falls out . Many people thinks it’s fake ,but I believe in fairyies if thare weren’t fairies thare wouldn’t be a tooth fairy .yes bertie and natashs I do believe in fairies but for-now-from-me your friend Tyler bye bye.
i liked it it was cool I also like the fairy girls voice : D
July 17, 2014
cool Bertie!! i beleve in fairys and are they REAL???? I THINK THEY ARE REAL,
BUT I DON’T KNOW IF IT’S TRUE. I LOVE IT STILL WITH ALL
MY HEART AND FOREVER!!!!THE FAIRY GIRL’S ARE SOOOOOO
THE SONGS YOU PLAY ON STORYNORY ARE SOOOO VINTAGE,
KEEP THAT UP,BECAUSE MY MOMMY LIKES IT.
THANK YOU NATASHA!
AND BERTIE,NEED SOME ADVISE WITH YOUR GIRLFRIEND?
IF SO, RIGHT ME BACK , PLEASE.
October 20, 2014
Dear Bertie, please do more stories with music in them like this one.
March 24, 2015
[…] you like this story, you might well enjoy The Fairies of Merlins Craig which comes from […]