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tions applied to witches. It is used by an Alchemist (we cannot tell with what success) who wanted the fairy to assist him in the grand scheme of transmuting metals.

An excellent waie to gett a Fayrie :

First, gett a broad square christall, or Venice glasse, in length and breadth three inches. Then lay that glasse or christall in the bloude of a white henne, three Wednesdayes or three Fridayes. Then take it out, and wash it with holie aq. : and fumigate it. Then take three hazel stickes, or wandes, of a yeare groth : pill them faire and white; and make (them) so longe, as you write the spiritt's or fairie's name, which

you call three times, on every sticke, being made flat on one side. Then burye them under some hill,' whereas you suppose fairies haunt, the Wednesdaye before you call her. And the Fridaye following take them uppe, and call her at eight, or ten, or three of the clocke, which be good planetts and houres for that turne; but when you call, be cleane in life, and turne thy face towards the

and when you have her (sc. the fairy) bind her to that stone or glasse."


We have already observed, that the origin of fairies among the Saxons is involved in obscurity. Bourne, however, supposes the superstition to have been handed down by tradition from the Lamiæ of antiquity, who were esteemed so mischievous and cruel as to steal young children and devour them : these, he says, together with the fauns, seem to have formed the notion of fairies. Others reduce them from the Lares and Larvæ of the Romans; and others, again, conjecture that these diminutive aërial people were imported into Europe by the Crusaders from the East, as in some respects they resemble the Oriental Genii. The Arabs and Persians, indeed, whose religion and history abound with relations concerning them, have assigned to them a peculiar country, and called it fairy-land.* But these hypotheses are unsupported by any conclusive evidence, and are merely, as all such speculations necessarily must be,—the vague conjectures of a fanciful imagination.

But although we cannot, with any degree of accuracy, trace the origin of fairies, among the Saxons, to any precise period, we may be more fortunate with regard to the Britons, among whom they were certainly indigenous, and of a very ancient standing. Their existence is alluded to by the oldest of the British Bards; and Taliessin and Merddin make frequent mention of the two species we have noticed; the one fixing their

* Brand's Popular Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 327.

Fourth Edition,

abodes in glades and green meadows; the other frequenting mountains and deep woods. That their origin can be deduced from the Druids is, we conceive, more than probable. The fairy customs are so systematic and general, that they evidently indicate the operations of a body of people, existing in the kingdom, distinct from its own inhabitants, acting in concert, and compelled to live mysteriously.*

All their actions are those of a consistent and regular policy, instituted to prevent discovery, as well as to inspire fear of their power, and a high opinion of their beneficence. Accordingly, tradition notes, that to attempt to discover them, was to incur certain destruction. “ They are fairies,” says the gallant Falstaff; " he that works on them shall die.” They were not to be impeded in ingress or egress; a bowl of milk was to be placed for them at night on the hearth; and, in return, they left a small present in money, if the house was kept clean; if not, they inflicted some punishment on the negligent, which, as it was death to look upon them, the offenders were obliged to endure, and no doubt many mischievous tricks were played upon these occasious. Their general dress was green, that they might be the better concealed ;

and as their children might have betrayed their haunts, they were permitted to go out only in the night time, and to entertain themselves by dancing in the moon-light. These dances, like those about the May-pole, were performed round a tree, and on an elevated spot, beneath which was probably their habitation, or its entrance. The older persons mixed as much as they dared with the world ; and if they happened to be at any time recognised, the certainty of their vengeance was their preservation.

A particular spot on the summit of the celebrated Merionethshire mountain, Cader Idris, is believed to have been, in times of yore, the scene of many a fairy revel. It is marked by an irregular inclosure of stone, the remains, as it would seem, of some ancient tumulus, or carnedd; and tradition has fondly bestowed upon it the appellation of Bedd Idris, or the grave

of Idris. Since the death of the princely guardian of this rocky fortress, this lonely spot has become doubly hal

* Dr. Owen Pughe, whose extensive knowledge of the ancient literature of Wales entitles his opinion to particular notice, observes, that this imaginary race were anciently supposed to be the manes of those Druids,

who were neither of sufficient purity for a celestial abode, por of sufficient depravity for the society of infernals, on which account they remained on earth until the day of final retribution, when they were to be transferred to a superior state of existence. Cambro Briton, vol. i. p. 348. Note.

are now.

lowed in the estimation of the neighbouring rustics, by being frequented by the Tylwyth Têg, whose nocturnal gambols have been witnessed by more than one individual, and were formerly believed to have been far more common than they

There is, certainly, something exceedingly impressive in this rude and desolate inclosure, situated, as it is, on the lofty summit of this magnificent mountain; and it has a virtue attached to it, the efficacy of which, we have ere now tried, although we cannot say with what

It is said, and well believed, that whoever reposes within its hallowed circle, will awake either bereft of his reason, or gifted with all the sublimities of poesy ;-aut insanit homo, aut versus facit.


And some, who staid the night out on the hill,

Have said they heard,--unless it was their dream,
Or the mere murmur of the babbling rill,

Just as the morn-star shot its first slant beam,

A sound of music, such as they might deem
The song of spirits,--that would sometimes sail

Close to their ear, a deep, delicious stream;
Then sweep away, and die with a low wail ;
Then come again, and thus, till Lucifer was pale.”

We have, in vain, endeavoured to discover the origin of this strange credulity; a credulity, by the way, which exists in a similar way, with regard to Snowdon: but such is the fact; and there are few natives who have not tried the charm, to the manifest refutation, however, of the alleged efficacy of the virtue; for we will take upon ourselves to say, that the only madman in the neighbourhood of Cader Idris has never made a trial of the spell; and, as to its alternative, there is but one poet within fifty miles, and his effusions, beautiful as they are, have been entirely confined to his native language. So much for a question, which we have heard argued with all the violence of political controversy, and which remains to this day undecided.

With regard to the rites of the fairies,-particularly that of dancing round a tree, as well as their character for truth, probity, and above all, virtue,—they may be referred to a Druidic origin ; and as the Druidical was one of the most ancient religions, so it must have been one of the first that was persecuted ; and we can readily conceive how necessary it must have been for its disciples to ensure their safety, by adopting a secure, as well as an extraordinary, mode of concealment. These suggestions, which we have borrowed, in great measure, from the Popular Antiquities of Wales, we submit to the consideration of our readers, being perfectly satisfied ourselves with their probability. All speculative deductions must be necessarily imperfect; but as far as analogical reasoning can go, the origin of fairies in Britain can be fairly deduced from the subversion of that religion, which preserved such a mingled character of barbarous bigotry on the one hand, and of elevated morality on the other.

Nearly allied to the fairies, is another species of aërial beings, called KNOCKERS. These, the Welsh miners solemnly affirm, are heard under ground, in or near mines; and, by their knocking, generally point out to the workmen, a rich vein of ore. In the third volume of Selections from the Gentleman's Magazine, there are two letters on the subject of knockers, written by Mr. Lewis Morris, a gentleman esteemed no less for his learning and benevolence, than for his good sense and integrity. People,” he says,

or who know very little of arts or sciences, or the powers of nature, will laugh at us Cardiganshire miners, who maintain the existence of knockers, in mines; a kind of good-natured impalpable people, not to be seen but heard, and who seem to us to work in the mines; that is to say, they are the types, or forerunners, of working in mines, as dreams are of some accidents which happen to us. Before the discovery of Esgair y Mwyn mine, these little people worked hard there, day and night; and there are abundance of honest, sober people, who have heard them : but after the discovery of the great mine, they were heard no more. When I: began to work at Llwyn Llwyd, they worked so fresh there for a considerable time, that they frightened away some young workmen. This was when we were driving levels, and before we had got any ore; but when we came to the ore, they then gave over, and I heard no more of them. These are odd assertions, but they are certainly facts, although we cannot, and do not, pretend to account for them. We have now (October, 1754) very good ore at Llwyn Llwyd, where the knockers were heard to work; but they have now yielded up the place, and are heard no more. Let who will laugh; we have the greatest reason to rejoice, and thank the knockers, or rather God, who sends us these notices."

The most remarkable, but not the most peculiar, superstition, which we have next to notice, is that concerning what were called holy wells. Of these, Wales could boast several ; four of which, namely, St Winefred's, St. Tegla's, St. Elian's, and St. Dwynwen's, had attained a decided pre-eminence over the others; and of these four, that of St. Winefred's, at Holywell, in Flintshire, was by far the most estimable.



Winefreda, a devout and beautiful virgin, of noble descent, was beloved by a profligate prince, named Caradoc; who, finding her inexorable to the more gentle pleadings of a lover, added force to his entreaties. But the fair Winefreda fled from him towards a neighbouring church, whither the other members of her family had retired to pray. Before she reached the sanctuary, Caradoc overtook her, and struck off her head. This, like an elastic ball, bounced into the church,* and proceeded up one of the aisles, to the altar, where her wondering friends were assembled at their devotions. St. Bouno, who was fortunately in the church, and who was, as the legend expresses it, an especial favourite of the Almighty, snatched up the head, and joining it to the body, it became, to the utmost surprise and delight of all present, instantly re-united, the place of its separation being only marked by a milk white line encircling the virgin's neck.

Caradoc dropped down lifeless on the spot where he had perpetrated the atrocious deed; and, says the legend, it was not rightly known, whether the earth opened to receive his impious carcase; or whether his master, the devil, carried it off. Away, however, it went, and was seen no more. Winefreda survived her decapitation about fifteen years; and having, towards the latter end of that time, received the veil from St. Elerius, at Gwytherin, in Denbighshire, she died abbess of that monastery, bequeathing to posterity a well, which sprang up on the very spot where her head fell, and which still exhibits, through the beautiful transparency of its pellucid waters, the pure blood of the sinless virgin, in dark spots, on the stony floor of the fountain.+

After the death of Winefred, the waters of the well became celebrated for their miraculous virtues : they were almost

* A bell, belonging to this church, was christened, with the usual formality, in honour of Winefreda. “Icannot learn the name of the good gossips," says Mr. Pennant,“who, as usual, were doubtless rich persons. On the ceremony, they all laid hold of the rope. --bestowed a name on the bell,—and the priests, sprinkling it with holy water, baptized it in the name of the Father, &c. &c. He then clothed it with a fine garment; after which, the gossips gave a grand feast, and made great presents, which the priest received, in behalf of the bell. Thus blessed, it was endowed with great powers ;-allayed (on being rung) all storms, diverted the thunder-bolt, and drove away the devil!"

† The following monkish memorial of this event has been preserved by Gale:

Ad Basingwerk fons oritur
Qui satis vulgo dicitur,

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