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Of the Island's individual fairies the best known-unless we call the Fenoderee a fairy-is the Lhiannan-shee. She is, in the literal meaning of her name, a fairy follower or sweetheart, but she stands apart from the main body of the fairy inhabitants and is capable of a more purely psychological explanation. No superstitious conception, however, is wholly unmixed with another, and more than a single quality is covered by this name. On one side of her traditional character she is the " succuba " to whom so much attention was paid in medieval times, and thereby she belongs to the subject of demoniality ; she is the modern form of the classical lamiae and of the ancient Gaulish bandusiae, and Merlin's Nimiie or Vivien was one of her manifestations. Thus she is for the Manxman, In the opposite extreme, she has in some parts of Ireland added to her nature the compensating qualities of a guardian spirit and inspiring genius of poets and musicians ; this is also the motive of the Italian legend concerning Giotto and his fairy lamb, previously cited. Though called a fairy she comes, in her character of lamia, from the land of the dead ; hence in the main she is a vampirish kind of creature who attaches herself to a man, in the form of a woman invisible to all save himself, whom eventually, if he yields to her seductions, she ruins, body and soul. Among the Manx people, in whose ethos the artistic impulse is weak, this is her normal character. Dr. Kelly in his Dictionary compiled about the junction of the 18th and 19th centuries, translates " Lhiannan-shee " as " a genius, a sprite or spirit, a familiar spirit, a guardian angel " ; but he adds significantly, " I have seen this word used for nightmare."15 It is still occasionally used as an affectionate reproof to a small child which clings to its mother's skirt and demands an undue share of attention ; just as an urchin who is restless or mischievous out of the ordinary is " a little ferrish."

The Lhiannan-shee often haunt the vicinity of wells and pools, whence they attach themselves temporarily or permanently to the men of their choice. There was one at the Chibber Roon in Marown, another at the Fairy Well near Tholt y Holt in Lonan, and something of the kind at some roadside water near Glen May. Of the male of the species we hear very little, doubtless because he does not take up his residence with his human bride but carries her away privately to his own country. His presence, however, may be detected in a beautified tale related by Train 16 which pretends to be an explanation of the Fenoderee: a fairy-man woos a Glen Aldyn girl under the Blue Tree there.

Roeder has a story about a Lhiannan-shee that a man picked up at a dance at Ballahick, Malew, and could never shake off,17 and half a dozen other tales of the same kind, all belonging to the South..18 One I heard last year needs a good deal of filling in to make it satisfying. A former tenant of a Port St. Mary farm -remotely former, be it understood, though the narrator's tone, as is often the case, was that of a man going back a dozen years or so-was haunted by one of these instruments of darkness. " The people could hear it noising when all was quiet." The man thought it might be one of the women he employed on the farm, and he dismissed one after another in the hope of getting rid of the culprit, but this did him no good, she kept on bothering him. Some men from another part of the Island stopped in the house and watched for her, but they could do no good for him either. He died in the end.18

The man's suspicion of his female servants belongs to the belief that strong passions focussed by a strong will can send out an influence in a more or less material form on an errand of hatred, envy, or love. An account of such a sending at Dalby has been given in the previous volume ; another, having a different motive, will be found herein on page 99.

In a Manx legend which has already seen publicity the Lhiannan-shee has developed from a personal familiar into a family guardian. She has, in fact, come to resemble the fairy being of the Highlands called a Glaistig, who " was held to have been a woman of honourable position, a former mistress of the household, the interests of the tenants of which she now attended to."19 With her in the Manx instance was associated a glass tumbler with flutings resembling fingers and a scroll-work ornamentation, called the Fairy Cup of Ballafletcher because it pertained to the old manor-house of that name. In honour of the good fairy it was ceremonially drained at Christmas (and Easter ?) by the head of the Fletcher family. It was a fetish or palladium ; whoever should break it would be haunted by the Lhiannan who was hidden in it or to whom it belonged, and the family fortunes would be similarly shattered.

Of the two themes here interwoven, the fairy and the drinking-glass, the former is the more promising from a folk-lore point of view. The original cup was probably brought into the Island by the branch of the Lancashire Fletchers who took possession of Kirby and renamed it Ballafletcher at some date previous to 1580. By what whim or accident it became associated with a fairy can now only be guessed at ; Manx legends of cups won from the fairies, and English traditions such as that of the Luck of Edenhall, were perhaps jointly responsible. But it may be remarked that the house occupied by the Fletchers adjoined the great boulders of the prehistoric " fort " on the river-bank, and stood within a stone's-throw of the old Kirk Braddan graveyard and the Chibber Niglus.20 Wherever the Fletchers' invisible châtelaine came from, she had so far departed from her presumable native character of lamia or seductive vampire that Dr. Oswald, whose account of the matter is much the earliest, calls her " the Lhiannan-shee of the hearth and domain."21

Perhaps it would be juster to her memory to think of her as a family banshee ; if so, she was the only Manx one I have heard of. The Fletchers died out a hundred and fifty years ago, and the house she presided over, having been superseded by one built by Colonel Wilkes in another part of the estate in 1820, has long been merely a site ; so the influence of this particular Lhiannan-shee and the virtue of her cup may be deemed to have perished equally.

To sum up the several accounts of the vessel's wanderings: after leaving its home at Ballafletcher it passed from the Fletchers to the Caesars, from them to the Bacons, from them to Colonel Wilkes, from him to Lady Buchan, and from her to the Bacons again.22 Reasons other than superstitious ones can doubtless be found to explain the dying out of the three Manx families which in turn held the cup. When in recent years the Bacons became extinct in the male line it passed into other hands. Whether what is now called the Fairy Cup of Ballafletcher is the original one or one substituted at a date unknown is open to doubt.23