Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/416

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fairies flew hawks superior in breed and training to the best that belonged to human beings. The furnishing of their abodes was of crystal, the precious metals, and brilliantly coloured gems. Their natural surroundings were chosen with care to procure a beautiful effect. The interior of gracefully shaped conical hills frequently contained their habitations. Only the loveliest and most romantic dells were inhabited by them. They emerged to the surface of the earth only on clear nights when the soft bright moon was shining. Whatever their amusements, whether they danced or hunted, their revelry was accompanied by the tinkling of silver bells and the harmonious strains of the sweetest music.

One of their favourite amusements was to come forth on a starry night to dance in the wavering moonlight. The places where they held these magic festivities were recognised in the daytime by the rings of grass of a brighter hue than the surrounding meadow, the marks left by their hallowed footsteps. Many interesting superstitions cling about these fairy rings; some of good, others of bad import. If one inadvertently stepped within the ring he immediately became liable to the fairy power. Maidens who gathered dew in the month of May, to be used as a face wash, scrupulously avoided that upon the fairy