For Uddereek a different and even worse fate was in store. He was formally tried by his peers and condemned to banishment from the fairy community, to remain a lonely wanderer in Ellan Vannin till the crack of doom. His sentence was no sooner pronounced by the king than Uddereek was instantly changed from his beautiful elfin form into a figure resembling a satyr, half boy half billy-goat, from whence he derives his present name of PHYNODDERREE, or HAIRY ONE.

The PHYNODDERREE - ContemplationHe has remained in the Isle of Man ever since–at least until a very recent date; but after the introduction of railways into the island neither Phynodderree nor fairy of any kind has ever been met with by any sober man. It is currently supposed by the Manx people that the shrill, discordant blast of the railway whistle has been more than the delicate aural organs of so sensitive a race as the fairies could stand, and that, disgusted with the inventions of men and the introduction of board schools and other so-called improvements, they have taken their departure from the shores of Mona’s Isle forever, flying to some land where civilization is not so far advanced, and where life is not conducted upon such high-pressure principles as it now is in the British Isles.

The Phynodderree, before his flight from the island, delighted in good-naturedly assisting those whom he befriended, and many are the tales told of the little fellow’s beneficence.

To help an industrious farmer or fisherman was Phynodderree’s greatest pleasure. For one he would reap his crops in a single night; or if he wanted to build a wall or a cow-shed, would convey stone enough between sunset and sunrise to the required spot to enable him to complete his work. For a favoured fisherman he would repair his nets or boat whilst the owner slept.

One man, desirous of showing his gratitude to the good-natured little creature for his work of conveying stones from a quarry, with which to build a house, and remembering he was naked, thought some clothes would be acceptable, and so took a suit and laid them on a place where he was supposed to frequent. Phynodderree on finding them took them up one by one, and throwing each garment away over his shoulder as he named it, gave vent to his feelings in his native Manx, exclaimed–

Bayrn da’n choine, dy doogh da’n choine!
Cooat d’an dreeyn, dy, doogh d’an dreeyn!
Breechyn d’an toyn, dy, doogh da’n toyn!
Agh my she Chiat ooily, shoh cha nee Chiat Glen reagh Rushen
.”

The literal English translation of which is–

“Cap for the head, alas, poor head!
Coat for the back, alas, poor back!
Breeches for the breech, alas, poor breech!
If all these be thine, thine then cannot be the merry Glen of Rushen;”

and away he went with a melancholy cry that was heard far away over the glens and valleys, leaving all the fine clothes behind him.

Any man who through industry and attention to his business made good progress in the world and thrived, was said by the Manx country folk to have been favoured and helped by Phynodderree.

When badly treated or provoked, Phynodderree could be spiteful, and an instance is recorded of his having shown this side of his character to a farmer whose field he had mown for him. The ungrateful man grumbled and found fault with the way it was done, saying he could have done it better himself. This enraged Phynodderree, who waited till next year, and when the farmer set to work to mow it he came with a scythe in his hand and chased him off the field. For many years after this the grass remained uncut, every one being afraid to attempt to mow it.

During the Civil War, when the island was occupied by the Parliamentary army, a trooper, having heard the reason of the grass being left uncut, volunteered to mow it himself. He proceeded to the middle of the field and commenced mowing all round him in a circle. Phynodderree set to work as well, and with such vigour that the soldier had great difficulty to prevent him cutting his legs off. He persevered, however, keeping a sharp look out on his elfin fellow workman, till at last it was completed.

The Manx Phynodderree was evidently much the same kind of being as the Lubber Fiend mentioned by Milton in his “L’Allegro,” and also the Scottish Brownie and the Swart-Alfar of Edda in the German.

In conclusion, I will quote the words of a well-known poet in describing him and his charitable work:

“Ah, Phynodderree!
His was the wizard hand that toiled
At midnight witching hour,
That gathered the sheep from the coming storm,
Ere the shepherd saw it lour;
Yet asked no fee, save a scattered sheaf
From the peasant’s garnered hoard,
Or a cream bowl, pressed by virgin lip,
To be left on the household board.”

Again, in allusion to the sad fate of his mortal love, and the long, long lament of his true heart for poor Kitty Kerruish, the same delightful writer says:

“You may hear his voice on the desert hill,
Where the mountain winds have power
’Tis a wild lament for his buried love,
And his long-lost fairy bower.”

————————-

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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