Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 13, 1902.djvu/202

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1 86 Collectanea.

III. In the Isle of Man.

I gathered the following folklore during a holiday in the Isle of Man in the summer of 1887. It has not, I believe, appeared in print before, except in a contribution of my own to the Brighton Herald^ 31st December, 1887.

One evening during the summer months of 1884, the driver of the mail-cart from one of the towns in the island started on his rounds to collect the mail-bags from the surrounding district in the usual manner. He was due at his destination about half-past one o'clock in the morning, but did not arrive until nearly half- past five, when he appeared dreadfully scared and agitated. Being asked to account for his delay, he solemnly related that when about six miles from home he was beset by a troop of fairies, all of whom were particularly well-dressed in red suits and provided with lanterns. They stopped his horse, threw the mail-bags into the road, and danced around them in the well-known manner usual with fairies. The poor postman 'struggled with them in vain. No sooner did he succeed in replacing a bag than it was again immediately thrown out. This continued until the appear- ance of daylight, when the fairies apparently thought it was time for them to take their departure, which they eventually did, leaving the postman in a highly nervous and exhausted state. After rest- ing a short time to collect his scattered wits, he succeeded in replacing the mails in his cart, and reached the end of his journey without further adventures. When I made acquaintance with him some little time afterwards, he did not strike me as a person likely to fall a victim to his own fertile imagination. As for doubts with respect to his condition at the time, it can only be said that he had left the post office that night in his usual condition of sobriety, and did not appear the worse for drink when he returned. Moreover, his character for sobriety and honesty was of many years' standing.

In another part of the island I was told the following story by an old inhabitant, who stated that he knew the parties to whom it occurred and that he received the account directly from their lips. Not far from Port Erin, a village on the south-west coast, a mountain called Cronk-ny-Irey-Lhaa, 1449 feet in height, slopes steeply to the sea. On the seaward side a chapel and cemetery are situated, both of which have now fallen into disuse. Some years back, as a fishing party were sailing one night near