Monday, 16 May 2016

A Queer Place - more encounters with fairies

Remember a while back I wrote about people who go missing in the woods? I wrote about how easy it is to get lost or turned around and how often people have attributed this losing of one's bearings to the supernatural...particularly 'the fairies.'

I mentioned that I'd once spoken with a man I'd met on Signal Hill, Newfoundland, while he was picking berries. And he'd told me how he got lost on the Hill one day, even though he was very familiar with all its paths, etc. He explained it as having been "fairy led." He believed this happened because he'd been picking berries without having any bread (or stones) in his pockets as payment for the fairies.

Well, here is a fascinating exchange between two men in Ireland about something similar. It might be a little hard to follow because, as in some areas of Newfoundland, the accent and colloquialisms are thick and frequent. So, good thing there are subtitles!

In case you don't want to watch the whole thing here's the upshot. So, one day John took his rifle out to do a spot of shooting...get himself a wood pigeon. He saw a "quare lookin' bird" up in a tree and shot it. A colourful "foreign lad" that Ned thinks might have been a falcon from Greenland. Or...something else? Something supernatural? Because after shooting this bird (a transgression?) John crosses into a field, that Ned calls Hell's Kitchen, and after going round it "10 times" realizes he can't find his way out of it. Johns only finds his way out by going in the same direction as the cars that he sees in the distance. My man on Signal Hill found his way out by following the path of a power line he could see in the distance.

Later, Ned talks about someone else seeing fairies in a field (a different field?) playing hurley. Hurley is an ancient game (something between hockey and lacrosse) played with hooked sticks and a ball. The man who saw the fairies hurley game, or his grown son, (not clear on that) afterwards wouldn't walk past that 'ditch' alone.

By the way, there is a grave stone at Clonca in Innishowen, Ireland that's linked to one of my ancestors. It has a hurley stick on it -- see a pic here. There's also a 12th C High Cross at this same site where a 6th C monastery once stood.

The world is indeed full of 'quare' and wonderful places!