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Main > Scotland folktales > Fairy tale "The Fairies of Merlin's Craig"

The Fairies of Merlin's Craig

A door opened to receive them, and he continued a prisoner until the evening on which he returned, when the same woman who had first appeared to him when casting divots came and told him that the grass was again green on the roof of her house, which he had tirred, and if he would swear an oath, which she dictated, never to discover what he had seen in fairyland, he should be at liberty to return to his family. John took the oath, and observed it most religiously, although sadly teased and questioned by his helpmate, particularly about the “bonnie lassie” with whom he danced on the night of his departure. He was also observed to walk a mile out of his way rather than pass Merlin’s Craig when the sun was below the horizon.

On a subsequent occasion the tiny inhabitants of Merlin’s Craig surprised a shepherd when watching his fold at night; he was asleep, and his bonnet had fallen off and rolled to some little distance. He was awakened by the fairies dancing round him in a circle, and was induced to join them; but recollecting the fate of John Smith, he would not allow his female companion to take hold of his hands. In the midst of their gambols they came close to the hillock where the shepherd’s bonnet lay,—he affected to stumble, fell upon his bonnet, which he immediately seized, clapping it on his head, when the whole troop instantly vanished. This exorcism was produced by the talismanic power of a Catechism containing the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed, which the shepherd most fortunately recollected was deposited in the crown of his bonnet.

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