Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/212

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176 Folk- Lore of the Wye Valley.

to go and brew at a big house which stood where the Grammar School stands now, by the Wye Bridge. She had to go in the middle of the night, so as not to use the copper when the cook wanted it. She was crossing Wye Bridge shortly after midnight when a coach and four dashed past her, coachman and horses alike without heads, and rushed straight into the river. She went on as well as she could, her knees shaking with terror, and went to the front door, the way she always had to get in at night. A clergyman came and opened it, in a bath of perspiration, and said to her in furious tones, " What do you want here . " then, " Come in, for Heaven's sake, quick ! " As she passed towards the back of the house she saw a lot of gentlemen standing in a circle in one of the sitting-rooms. "An' when she came to think of it, she saw as how they must have been laying the ghost she had met." It takes twelve clergymen to lay one ghost.

Belief in the fairies has not yet quite died out, though it is fast disappearing. Still, fairy-tales are yet to be heard, even if rarely, on either side of the Wye, and in Gloucester- shire standards are still left at intervals in the hedges " for the fairies to hide in." (A " standard " is a single stem, which is left uncut at the first trimming of a hedge, and which remains, rising like a little tree above the rest.)

About forty years ago there was a girl at Penallt who used to go out every night by her bedroom window to dance with the fairies, always at a certain time, and was back by a certain time. She always left a pail of water by a well-swept hearth for the fairies to boil their kettle, and a loaf on the table. Over "to" Trelleck, a girl told me that the fairies came out from under the toadstools, and danced at the Parkhurst rocks, which shows their good taste, for it is a lovely place. It was also their custom to dance round the Virtuous Wells, notably on