The PHYNODDERREE Chapter V

KITTY KERRUISH was true to her appointment at the blue rowan tree, and had been waiting some few minutes when Uddereek arrived. After returning his fond embrace, she began to upbraid her elfin lover for his late arrival, jestingly twitting him with his inability to tear himself away from the fair demoiselles of the fairy court; when, as he was stopping her upbraidings by tender kisses, expostulating with her for one instant doubting the sincerity of his love, a rustling was heard among the long grass and the ferns, and before escape could be even thought of they were surrounded instantly by a swarm of fairy guards.

 

The rejected and jealous Estella had but too surely followed him to the trysting-place, and there she saw enough to show her who and what her hated rival was. With all her despised and rejected love turned into the bitterest hate, and urged on by her deeply wounded pride, she determined on prompt action and most terrible revenge. Swift as the meteor’s flight did she return to the elfin revels, bounding o’er mountains, from peak to peak of North Barrule, Snaefell, Pennyphot, and Grebah, away to South Barrule, and thence down the valley to Glen Rushen, where she laid before the king and his astonished court the news that Uddereek–the noble and modest Uddereek forsooth–the pattern-good-young-man of the elfin race, had dared to love a mortal, and now, even now, at that very moment, instead of attending on his royal master at the RE-HOLLYS-VOOAR-YN-ONYR, as was his bounden duty, he was seated in her lap beneath the blue rowan tree in the Magher-Glass of Glen Aldyn, pouring fourth his forbidden vows of love.

 

Such news caused the greatest consternation and surprise. The announcement to a conclave of tonsured monks, that one of their number had been “asked in church,” could not have been received with more astonishment. Uddereek was so well known, so beloved by all, and stood so high in his sovereign’s favour, that the intelligence of his defection came like a thunderbolt among them.

 

All dancing ceased. The very minstrels suddenly hushed their strains, and the ball abruptly ended. The king and the whole court were struck dumb with horror and amazement at such an unheard-of breach of fairy etiquette, such a flagrant departure from the rules of all elfin decorum.

 

The outraged monarch gave command for the immediate pursuit, and, putting himself at the head of his fairy guards, started off on the pinions of the evening breeze to seize the culprit who had dared to so transgress the elfin laws.

 

Estella, whose jealousy was now about to have its sweet reward, and all whose “rejected addresses” were to be so amply revenged, was but too good a guide in pointing out the exact spot where to find the guilty pair.

 

Uddereek was instantly torn from the embrace of the frightened Kitty, and ruthlessly hurried off to trial.

 

The king and all his court, a least all the male portion of the retinue, could not help paying a gallant and flattering tribute to the surpassing beauty of the mortal maid who had enslaved their truant comrade, and openly expressed their admiration of the sweet Kitty Kerruish. Their openly expressed encomiums of the fair maiden were not altogether approved or endorsed by the little lady fairies; and the queen herself was seen to change colour and fan herself with more than usual vigour as she noticed how her royal spouse stood gazing all too admiringly upon poor Uddereek’s lovely enslaver.

 

As for Estella, all this undisguised admiration of her hated rival only increased her rage beyond all bounds, and she passionately entreated the fairy monarch to visit the poor girl with the most instant and horrible vengeance in the elfin power to inflict. That, however, he resolutely and gallantly refused to do; but turning from the furious fairy to the trembling mortal, he thus addressed her: “Most fair but erring mortal, my heart is too chivalrous to punish you as requested by this furious and jealous fairy. Indeed, I can quite excuse, and almost pardon, the rash Uddereek the error he has been guilty of; for never did I behold a mortal maiden so beautiful before. I wish it was within the limits of my mystic power to transform thee into a fairy maid, for I would do so.”

 

On hearing this the queen looked anything than either pleased or flattered, and her verbena-leaf fan went faster than ever, while she and also most of the ladies and beauties of the court felt very well pleased and contented that their monarch’s powers were so limited, and that they were safe from the advent amongst their ranks of so dangerous a rival.

 

“You must, however,” continued the king to Kitty, and unheeding the disapproval of his remarks expressed so plainly by his royal consort’s looks and undisguised annoyance–“you must depart from Ellan Vannin and leave the island forever, never to return, for if you are found upon its shores at the rising of the next new moon you will be at this lady’s mercy,” pointing to the fuming Estella, “and I cannot aid or protect you from her vengeful power. So farewell, and take heed; fly from her machinations and depart from hence.”

 

In a moment Kitty was alone. King, court, fairy guards, and Uddereek had all vanished. The last to disappear was the rejected but now triumphant Estella, who lingered to cast upon her fair mortal rival a look in which was concentrated the most exulting revenge and the intensest hatred.

 

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Kitty Kerruish could not forget her elfin love, though she tried to think all a dream. She came night after night, heedless of the elfin king’s warning, to sit under the blue rowan tree in the Magher-Glass of Glen Aldyn, there to sit in hopes of Uddereek’s return.

 

The rising of the next new moon found her still true to her love at the old trysting-place, but, alas for the last time. Her spiteful elfin rival was there too; and now having poor Kitty in her power she proceeded to execute her vengeance in a most sure and subtle way. She caused noxious mist to rise from the damp ground of the Glen–a mist loaded with the vapours of nightshade, henbane, and every deadly and poisonous plant she could collect. The mist, unnoticed by poor Kitty, spread round her, and every sigh for her lost fairy lover was but the means of taking a fresh draught of the insidious poison, till, feeling chilled by what she innocently thought the evening air, she reluctantly left the Glen and slowly turned her footsteps home.

 

The fated vapour had too surely done its work. Estella was avenged. From that night the health of the tailor’s daughter was gone–her very life was sapped. Slowly she pined away till the evening of the next new moon, when poor old Billy Nell sat beside the couch of his darling child as her sweet spirit calmly took its flight.

 

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From THE PHYNODDERREE and Other Tales from the Isle of Man

ISBN: 978-1-907256-77-6

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_tp.html

 

The PHYNODDERREE

 

 

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