Dedicated to the study of Fairy Tales and Fairies.

Fairy Tales Home

Norse-Franco-German Fairy Tales
Norse Franco German Fairies
Gernan Fairy Tales
Swedish Fairy Tales
Norwegian Fairy Tales

French Fairy Tales
& More tales

Celtic Fairy Tales
Celtic Fairies
Welsh Fairy Tales
Irish Fairy Tales
& More Tales

Fairy Blog
Fairy Songs
Origins of Europes Fairies
& More Fairy Articles

Finno-Baltic-Siberian Fairy Tales
Finno-Baltic-Siberian Fairies
Finnish Mythology
Estonian Mythology
Mari-el Fairy Tales
& More Tales

Greco-Roman Mythology
Greco-Roman Fairies
Greek Fairy Tales
Roman Mythology

Slavic Mythology
Slavic Fairies
Russian Fairy Tales
Polish Fairy Tales
& More Tales

Tales of Other Lands
Fairies of Other Lands
Japanese Fairy Tales
Chinese Folktales
& More Tales

Fairy Tales for Kids
Children's Dutch Fairy Tales
Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

Fairy Tale Stories      Children's Fairy Tales      Fairies       Faery Woodlands Magazine      Blog     About
Fairy List


He had already begun to fancy that he could distinguish in the soughing of the wind and the creaking of the boughs unearthly cries and fiendish shouts of glee; but as he approached the dreaded stream his courage almost entirely failed him, and it required a great effort to keep from turning his back to it, and running away in the direction of the little village at the foot of Parlick. It struck him, however, that he had come a long distance; that if he did go back to the Patten Arms the company would be dispersed, and the inmates asleep, and, what was more effective than all, that if he could only cross the bridge he would be safe, the Greenies, Boggarts, and Feorin not having power over any one who had passed over the water.


HERE are few views in the north of England more beautiful than that which is seen from Morecambe, as the spectator looks over the beautiful bay, with its crescent coast-line of nearly fifty miles in extent. At low water the dazzling sands, streaked by silvery deceptive channels, stretch to the distant glimmering sea, the music of whose heavings comes but faintly on the gentle breeze; but at tide-time a magnificent expanse of rolling waves sweeps away to Peel, and is dotted over with red-sailed fishing boats and coasters. Far to the north the huge heather-covered Furness Fells stand sentinel-like over the waters, and above them, dimly seen through the faint blue haze, tower the grand mountains of the magic lake country. The scene is full of a sweet dream-like beauty; but there are times when the beautiful is swallowed in the majestic, as the mists come creeping over the sea, obscuring the coasts, and hiding everything save the white caps of the waves gleaming in the darkness, through which the muttering diapasons of the wind, as though in deep distress, sound mysteriously; or when, in winter, the moon is hidden by scudding clouds, and the huge rollers, driven before the breeze, dash themselves to death, as upon the blast come the solemn boom of a signal gun, and the faint cries of those in danger on the deep.

Years ago, however, before the little village of Poulton changed its name, and began to dream of becoming a watering-place, with terraces and hotels, instead of the picturesque, tumble-down huts of the fishermen, against which, from time immemorial, the spray had been dashed by the salt breezes, the only people who gazed upon the lovely prospect were, with the exception of an occasional traveller, the families of the toilers of the sea, and the rough-looking men themselves. These hardy fellows, accustomed to a wild life, and whose days from childhood had been spent on or by the sea, loved the deep with as much tenderness as a strong man feels towards a weak and wayward maiden, for they were familiar with its every mood, with the soothing wash of its wavelets when the sunbeams kissed the foam-bells, as they died on the white sands, and with the noise of the thunder of the breakers chased up the beach by the roaring gales.

One evening a number of these men were seated in the cosy kitchen of the John-o'-Gaunt, listening to 'Owd England' as he narrated some of his strange experiences.

'I moind,' said he, 'when I was nobbut a bit of a lad, Tum Grisdale bein' dreawnt; an' now as we 're tawkin' abeaut th' dangers o' th' sonds, yo'll mebbi hearken to th' tale. Poor Tum was th' best cockler i' Hest Bank, an' as ust to th' sands as a choilt is to th' face o' its mother; but for o that he wir dreawnt on 'em after o. I can co to moind yet—for young as I wor I're owd enough to think a bit when owt quare happent, an' th' seet o' th' deead bodies th' next ebb wir wi' me day an' neet fur lung afterwart—th' day when Tum an' his missis an' th' two lasses seet eawt o' seein' some relations o' th' missis's soide, as livt i' th' Furness country yon, th' owd mon an' th' dowters i' th' shandray, an' th' missis ridin' upo' th' cowt at th' soide. It wir a gradely bonnie afternoon, at th' back eend o' th' year. Th' day as they should o come back wir varra misty; an' abaat th' edge o' dark, just as here an' theear a leet wir beginnin' to twinkle i' th' windows, an' th' stars to peep aat, th' noise ov a cart comin' crunchin' o'er th' beach tuk mi feyther to th' door. "Why, yon's owd Tum Grisdale cart back ageean," he cried eaut. An' he dartit eawt o' th' dur, an' me after, as fast as I could. A creawd o' folk an' childer soon gathert reawnt, wonderin' what wir up; but neawt could bi larnt, for though th' lasses as seet eawt, as breet an' bonnie as posies o gillivers, wir theear i' th' shandray, they wir too freetent an' dazed, an' too wake wi' th' weet an' cowd, to say a whord. One thing, however, wir sewer enough, th' owd folk hedn't come back; an' altho' th' toide then hed covert th' track, an' wir shinin' i' th' moonleet, wheear th' mist could bi sin through, just as if it hedn't mony a Hest Bank mon's life to answer for, a lot o' young cocklers wir for startin' off theear an' then i' search on 'em. Th' owder an' mooar expayrienced, heawiver, wodn't hear on it. Two lives i' one day wir quoite enough, they said; so they o waitit till th' ebb, an' then startit, me, loile as i'wir, among th' rest, for mi feyther wir too tekken up i' talking to send me whoam. It wir a sad outin', but it wir loively compaart wi' t' comin' back, for when we tornt toart Hest Bank, th' strungest o' th' lads carriet owd Tum an' his missis, for we hedn't getten far o'er th' sonds afooar we feawnt th' poor owd lass, an' not far off, i' th' deep channel, owd Tum hissel. They wir buriet i' th' owd church-yart, an' one o' th' lasses wir laid aside on 'em, th' freet hevin' bin too mich for her. When t' tother sister recovert a bit, an' could bide to talk abaat it, hoo said as they geet lost i' th' mist, an' th' owd mon left 'em i' th' shandray while he walkt a bit to foind th' channel. When he didn't come back they geet freetent, but t' owd woman wodn't stir fray th' spot till they heeart t' watters comin', an' then they went a bit fur, but could find nowt o' Tum, though they thowt neaw an' then they could heear him sheautin' to 'em. Th' sheawts, heawiver, geet fainter an' fainter, an' at last stopt o' together. Givin' thersels up for lost, they left th' reins to th' mare an' t' cowt. Th' poor owd lass wir quoite dāz't at th' absence o' Tum; an' as th' cowt wir swimmin' across th' channel hoo lost her howd, an' wir carriet away. Th' lasses knew neawt no mooar, th' wench olus said, till th' fowk run deawn to th' cart uppo' th' beach. Hor as wir left, hoo wir olus quare at after; an' hoo uset to walk alung t' bay at o heawers just at th' toide toime, yo' known, an' it wir pitiful t' heear her when th' woint wir a bit sriller nor usal, sayin' as hoo could heear her owd fayther's voice as he sheauted when hee'd wander't fray 'em an' couldn't foint way to 'em through t' mist. Hoo afterwarts went to sarvice at Lankister, to a place as th' paason fun' for her, i' th' idea o' th' change dooin' her good; but it worn't lung afooar th' news come as hoo wir i' th' 'sylum, an' I heeart as hoo deed theear some toime after.'

No sooner had the grey-headed old fisherman finished his story than one of the auditors said, 'Hoo met weel fancy hoo heeart th' voice ov her fayther, for monnie a neet, an' monnie another hev I heeart that cry mysen. Yo' may stare, bud theear's mooar saands to be heeard i' th' bay nor some o' yo' lads known on; an' I'm no choilt to be freetent o' bein' i' th' dark. Why nobbut th' neet afooar last I heeart a peal o' bells ringin' under th' watter.'12 There was a moment of surprise, for Roger Heathcote was not a likely man to be a victim to his own fancies, or to be influenced by the superstitions which clung to his fellows. Like the rest of his companions, he had spent the greatest portion of his life away from land; and either because he possessed keener powers of observation than they, or loved nature more, and therefore watched her more closely, he had gradually added to his store of knowledge, until he had become the recognised authority on all matters connected with the dangerous calling by which the men-folk of the little colony earned daily bread for their families. As he was by no means addicted to yarns, looks of wonder came over the faces of the listeners; and in deference to the wishes of Old England, who pressed him as to what he had heard and seen, Roger narrated the adventure embodied in this story.13

The fisherman's little boat was dancing lightly on the rippling waters of the bay.

The night was perfectly calm, the moon shining faintly through a thin mist which rested on the face of the deep. It was nearly midnight, and Roger was thinking of making for home, when he heard the sweet sounds of a peal of bells. Not without astonishment, he endeavoured to ascertain from what quarter the noises came, and, strange and unlikely as it seemed, it appeared that the chimes rang up through the water, upon which, with dreamy motion, his boat was gliding. Bending over the side of the skiff he again heard with singular distinctness the music of the bells pealing in weird beauty. For some time he remained in this attitude, intently listening to the magical music, and when he arose, the mist had cleared off, and the moon was throwing her lovely light upon the waters, and over the distant fells. Instead, however, of beholding a coast with every inch of which he was acquainted, Roger gazed upon a district of which he knew nothing. There were mountains, but they were not those whose rugged outlines were so vividly impressed upon his memory. There was a beach, but it was not the one where his little cottage stood with its light in the window and its background of wind-bent trees. The estuary into which his boat was gliding was not that of the Kent, with its ash and oak-covered crags. Everything seemed unreal, even the streaming moonlight having an unusual whiteness, and Roger rapidly hoisted his little sails, but they only flapped idly against the mast, as the boat, in obedience to an invisible and unknown agency, drifted along the mysterious looking river. As the fisherman gazed in helpless wonder, gradually the water narrowed, and in a short time a cove was gained, the boat grating upon the gleaming sand. Roger at once jumped upon the bank, and no sooner had he done so, than a number of little figures clad in green ran towards him from beneath a clump of trees, the foremost of them singing—

To the home of elf and fay,
To the land of nodding flowers,
To the land of Ever Day
Where all things own the Fay Queen's powers,
Mortal come away!
and the remainder dancing in circles on the grass, and joining in the refrain—

To the home of elf and fay,
To the land of Ever Day,
Mortal come away!
The song finished, the little fellow who had taken the solo, tripped daintily to Roger, and, with a mock bow, grasped one of the fingers of the fisherman's hand, and stepped away as though anxious to lead him from the water.

Assuming that he had come upon a colony of Greenies, and feeling assured that such tiny beings could not injure him, even if anxious to do so, Roger walked on with his conductor, the band dancing in a progressing circle in front of them, until a wood was reached, when the dancers broke up the ring and advanced in single file between the trees. The light grew more and more dim, and when the cavalcade reached the entrance to a cavern, Roger could hardly discern the Greenies. Clinging to the little hand of his guide, however, the undaunted fisherman entered the cave, and groped his way down a flight of mossy steps. Suddenly he found himself in a beautiful glade, in which hundreds of little figures closely resembling his escort, and wearing dainty red caps, were disporting themselves and singing—

Moonbeams kissing odorous bowers
Light our home amid the flowers;
While our beauteous King and Queen
Watch us dance on rings of green.
Rings of green, rings of green,
Dance, dance, dance, on rings of green.
No sooner had the fisherman entered the glade than the whole party crowded round him, but as they did so a strain of enchanting music was heard, and the little beings hopped away again, and whirled round in a fantastic waltz. Roger himself was so powerfully influenced by the melody that he flung himself into the midst of the dancers, who welcomed him with musical cries, and he capered about until sheer fatigue forced him to sink to rest upon a flowery bank. Here, after watching for a while the graceful gambols of the Greenies, and soothed by the weird music, the sensuous odours, and the dreamy light, he fell into a deep sleep. When he awoke from his slumber the fairies had vanished, and the fisherman felt very hungry. No sooner, however, had he wished for something to eat than on the ground before him there appeared a goodly array of delicacies, of which, without more ado, Roger partook.

'I'm in luck's way here,' he said to himself; 'It's not every day of the week I see a full table like this. I should like to know where I am, though.' As the wish passed his lips he saw before him a beautiful little being, who said in a sweet low voice—

In the land of nodding flowers,
Where all things own the Fay Queen's powers!

The fisherman no sooner saw the exquisite face of the dainty Greenie than he forgot altogether the rosy-cheeked wife at home, and fell hopelessly over head and ears in love with the sweet vision. Gazing into her beautiful eyes he blurted out, 'I don't care where it is if you are there.' With a smile the queen, for it was indeed the queen, seated herself at his side. 'Dost thou, Mortal, bow to my power?' asked she. 'Ay, indeed, do I to the forgetfulness of everything but thy bonny face,' answered Roger; upon which the queen burst into a hearty fit of laughter, so musical, however, that for the life of him the fisherman could not feel angry with her. 'If the king were to hear thee talking thus thou wouldst pay dearly for thy presumption,' said the Fay, as she rose and tripped away to the shadow of the trees. The enraptured Roger endeavoured to overtake her before she reached the oaks, but without success; and though he wandered through the wood for hours, he did not again catch a glimpse of her. He gained an appetite by the freak however, and no sooner had he wished for food again than dishes of rich viands appeared before him.

'I wish I could get money at this rate,' said the fisherman, and the words had hardly left his lips when piles of gold ranged themselves within his reach. Roger rapidly filled his pockets with the glittering coins, and even took the shoes from off his feet, and filled them also, and then slung them round his neck by the strings.

'Now, if I could but get to my boat,' thought he, 'my fortune would be made,' and accordingly he began to make his way in what he believed to be the direction of the river. He had not proceeded very far, however, when he emerged upon an open space surrounded by tall foxgloves,14 in all the beautiful bells of which dreamy-eyed little beings were swinging lazily as the quiet zephyr rocked their perfumed dwellings. Some of the Greenies were quite baby fairies not so large as Roger's hand, but none of them seemed alarmed at the presence of a mortal. A score of larger ones were hard at work upon the sward stitching together moth and butterfly wings for a cloak for their Queen, who, seated upon a mushroom, was smiling approvingly as she witnessed the industry of her subjects. Roger felt a sudden pang as he observed her, for although he was glad once more to behold the marvellous beauty of her face, he was jealous of a dainty dwarf in a burnished suit of beetles' wing cases and with a fantastic peaked cap in which a red feather was coquettishly stuck, for this personage he suspected was the King, and forgetting his desire to escape with the gold, and at once yielding to his feelings, he flung himself on the luxuriant grass near the little being whose weird loveliness had thrown so strange a glamour over him, and without any thought or fear as to the consequences he at once bent himself and kissed one of her dainty sandalled feet. No sooner had he performed this rash act of devotion than numberless blows fell upon him from all sides, but he was unable to see any of the beings by whom he was struck. Instinctively the fisherman flung his huge fists about wildly, but without hitting any of the invisible Greenies, whose tantalising blows continued to fall upon him. At length, however, wearying of the fruitless contest, he roared out, 'I wish I were safe in my boat in the bay,' and almost instantaneously he found himself in the little skiff, which was stranded high and dry upon the Poulton beach. The shoes which he had so recently filled with glittering pieces of gold and suspended round his neck were again upon his feet, his pockets were as empty as they were when he had put out to sea some hours before, and somewhat dubious and very disgusted, in a few minutes he had crept off to bed.

When the strange tale of the fisherman's wonderful adventure with the hill folk was ended, the unbelievers did not hesitate to insinuate that Roger had not been out in the bay at all, and that the land of nodding flowers might be found by anyone who stayed as long and chalked up as large a score at the John-o'-Gaunt as he had done on the night when he heard the submerged bells and had so unusual a catch.

Others, however, being less sceptical, many were the little boats that afterwards went on unsuccessful voyages in search of the mysterious estuary and the colony of Greenies, and a year afterwards, when a sudden gale swept over the restless face of the deep and cast Roger's boat bottom upwards upon the sandy beach, many believed that the fisherman had again found the land of Ever Day.