Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/85

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Collectanea. 63

Miscellaneous Notes from Monmouthshire. ^

Mrs. Pryce says there was a little old fairy woman who used to go with a basket and buy things at Monmouth market. No one could make out where she came from or where she went to, though they watched her closely. She had white hair, done in an old-fashioned way, and white eyes.

Two men were going once past a meadow called (I think) Pontcwm, where there was a big oak-tree, round which was a circle danced bare by the fairies. About twelve o'clock they passed this tree, and sure enough there were the fairies dancing away, so these young men they went and danced too. Presently one of them looked round for his friend, and lo ! he had vanished, " clean and clever," so had all the fairies. He went home alone; but he was taken up next day on the charge of having made away with his friend. So that night he went back to the tree, and there was his friend waltzing round and round with a fairy. He said he had had a splendid time, that he was well off, and meant to stop. However he was persuaded to go back for a day and explain himself; but then he returned to the fairies for good and all.

In old days the fairies used often to steal children. Mrs. Pryce says, " They liked the babies of we country folk, as being fine and solid-like, and they used to rear them up with their own." She thinks there was no way of keeping the fairies out except by strong bolts and bars, they would creep in at any hole, and the child, once taken, could not be recovered. She says the fairies "live fine," although underground. Sometimes they steal a sheep, and cut it up and drag it down. She describes them as being about the size of a six-year-old child, with beautiful white skins, dressed in a short white garment, no shoes or stockings, and having white eyes and white hair.

I asked her if she thought I could ever see one, but she thought not, there are none about now. Alas !

Mrs. Perrett or Bevati lives at Tregagle ; she has very bad

^See vol. XV., p. 75 {Wizardry on the Welsh Border), for the various persons mentioned in these Notes.