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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.”

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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

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.

 

*         *         *         *         *         *

 

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

 

 

The Phynodderree Chapter IV

GREAT were the preparations the next evening among the Elfin community for the coming feast and dance in the Magher-Glass of Glen Rushen.

 

Fairies from all parts of the island assembled to do honour to their Elfin monarch and his beauteous queen. Even the arch and naughty bugganes had to be upon their good behaviour, and for the time leave off their mischief and their pranks.

 

The feast, which was of the most récherché description, did credit to the fairy Gunters, whose successful endeavours elicited the praise of every elfin bon vivant. Unfortunately, the menu was transcribed with humming-bird quill upon a rose-leaf, which withered and curled up before the next day’s sun had reached its meridian, so that no permanent record was left of the various plats and entrées placed before the guests; but we may be sure that on so auspicious an occasion, like a Mansion House or Guildhall banquet, “every delicacy in season” was provided, together with wines of the “rarest vintages.”

 

The sparkling wine-cup passed busily and merrily round the board, well attended by jest and song. Many were the tales told that night of tricks and exploits, played by mischief-loving sprites and bugganes on such sinning mortals as had offended them, either by coming unbidden across their path, or neglecting one of the many customs and offerings which old usage had sanctified, and the wee folk considered to be their due, and in consequence had drawn down the fairy wrath upon their unlucky heads.

 

When the elfin party had done full justice to all the good things before them, and before adjourning for the festive dance, the royal healths were proposed and drank with all the honours, and the old Glen of Rushen rang again as the little voices shouted forth their homage to the toast. Seated next to Uddereek was a beauteous being who would, if seen by mortal man, have captivated him at once and completely turned his brain. Could any modern photographer but have obtained a negative of her fairy form and figure, the market for professional beauties’ cartes de visites would have simply declined to far below zero, and the happy man would have realized a fortune.

 

This fairy beauty flirted–oh, flirting is but too mild a term to apply to her attacks upon our little Uddereek. In spite, however, of her blandishments most lavishly bestowed, and the many little wilful, winning ways, so well–ah too well–known to all the sex who are on conquest bent, whether they be fairies or no, denizens in Ellan Vannin or Belgravia–Uddereek was true to his mortal love of Glen Aldyn, and remained proof against them all, confining himself only to such attentions as no gentleman, elfin or mortal, could refuse to a lady seated beside him, and especially so fair as she.

 

Had the lovely Estella been born in Mayfair she could not have displayed more perfect ton, and no young lady in her second season, placed by a judicious and worldly-wise mamma beside the most eligible parti in the room, could have been more scientific in her attacks upon him. Her most bewitching smiles, her most love-inspiring glances, darted adroitly over the rim of her fan, composed of a single leaf from a magnificent dark purple pansy, and all the arts of the most accomplished coquetry were launched forth with a ravishing abandon, but all in vain. The heart of the elfin Uddereek was true as steel.

 

The powerful battery of her expressive eyes seemed utterly to fail in obtaining the proper range and elevation. Every shot, every dart, well directed as it was, fell short of its mark, and Uddereek was unscathed. He was cool, composed, gentlemanly, and aggravatingly polite.

Uddereek and Estella

Knowing full well her own powers, she felt stung to the quick at such a failure as she had never experienced before. She was simply astonished, almost stupefied, at such a result. At first she thought she must be seated beside a fool, one of those unimpressionable dolts too frequently met with in all societies, even of the best, who have no soul, no appreciation for anything. A second glance convinced her of the folly of such a thought.

 

Besides, was not the elfin next to her, Uddereek, the wittiest, the most accomplished, and most gallant little gentleman in the elfin court?

 

Estella looked jealously around to see if there was any other fairy maid at whom she could detect him gazing. She sought in vain for any one there, she would condescend to admit for one moment to herself, could possibly be regarded as a rival. She knew full well her own transcendent beauty, and that all acknowledged her the belle of the fête. Still she was far–very far–from being satisfied, and felt confident that no heart not already bestowed upon another could resist such charms and withstand such advances as hers. Her pride was piqued, her vanity deeply wounded, her curiosity excited, and she determined to fathom the mystery.

 

The feast over, the ball began. They one and all stood up. The king and queen led off the lively reel. Uddereek handed the fair Estella through the mazes of the dance, during which, far from desisting, she renewed with, if possible, redoubled energy her attacks, tried afresh all her arts to bring him to her feet, took skilful advantage of every little incident of the dance to bewitch him, but all in vain.

 

The dance ended–even a country dance, a true Roger de Coverley, must, some time or other, come to a finish–he led her to a seat upon a moss-grown bank, shadowed over with ferns of the daintiest kind, and making some excuse, slipped hurriedly away from the glen, to meet his Kitty at the blue rowan tree, where he knew so well she would be waiting his arrival. Uddereek, hoping he had left the elfin throng unnoticed and unmissed, hied him quick as the lightning flash, upon the swift wings of hot young love, from Rushen Glen to Aldyn.

 

Estella felt mortified by her failure, and insulted by the nonchalant behaviour and indifference of Uddereek to her charms and beauty, which even her attentions to him had not prevented her from seeing had been admiringly gazed upon by many another elfin swain who had envied Uddereek his great good fortune in sitting next to her, and would have given anything, even the tips of their tiny moustaches, to have had half the sweet blandishments bestowed upon them that had been thrown away upon his unsympathizing heart. She was deeply hurt and thirsted for revenge. That there was a mystery somewhere she was certain, and that a rival who had already full possession of his heart existed, she was fully convinced, or he never could have so withstood such sweet sorcery as she had tried upon him. To discover that rival was now the work before her. She watched his every movement, and his departure, stealthy though it was, did not escape her eye. Prompted by her natural womanly curiosity, and instigated by all the jealous feelings of a revengeful heart, she swiftly followed on his trail.

 

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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

 

 

Phynodderree - chapter 3

 

EVERY evening, punctually as the twilight hour approached, did Kitty Kerruish feel an irresistible fascination steal over her that drew her to the trysting-place under the blue rowan tree in the Magher-Glass of Glen Aldyn to meet her elfin lover; and there she would sit, listening with rapture to the passionate and extatic avowals of his love, mingled with the most eloquent praises of her beauty, which the mannikin gently whispered into her intoxicated ear, as he lay like some fair child upon her lap, with his arms encircled round her neck.

 

One evening, to tease her lover–for Kitty, like all her sex, dearly loved to tease–she told him she did not half believe his protestations of affection, and that he would not be willing to make any great sacrifice to prove them.

 

Uddereek vowed she wronged him, and called upon her to name any test, any sacrifice she wanted him to make. At that moment she either could not or would not think of any; but presently he mentioned that the following night the fairy king and queen would hold a grand court and feast in Glen Rushen, in the southern part of the island, near Ballasalla, in honour of RE-HOLLYS-VOOAR-YN-ONYR, the royal festival of the harvest moon, and that every elfin in Ellan Vannin would have to attend. He described to her wondering and delighted ear how the dancing would be kept up till the moon ceased to shine, and sank behind the head of South Barrule, and the ruddy rays of the coming sun began to show signs of rising from the eastern sea.

 

“Ah, Uddereek!” said Kitty, teasingly, “you will enjoy all that, and soon forget, for the time at any rate, all about me, or that you ever saw or thought of poor Kitty.”

 

“No, Cushla,” the little man replied. “I shall be alone amid the elfin throng, and in spite of all the feasting and the music, all the dancing in the ring, all the revels in the ferns and sweet wild flowers, I shall wish myself far away from it all, and long to be with thee, dear Kitty.”

The Magher-Glass of Glen Rushen

The Magher-Glass of Glen Rushen

“I just don’t believe one word about it,” she said, laughingly, and still intent on plaguing her little elfin lover. “Some fairy maid, whose beauty far surpasses mine, will captivate your heart, and you will soon forget your mortal love.”

 

“Never! never!” he hastily interrupted. “I swear, my darling, never! And to prove to you how false and how unjust are your suspicions, I will leave the elfin gambols, and immediately the king and queen have risen from the feast and the revels have fairly commenced,, will slip away, and meet you here, dearest Kitty, three hours after the sun has set.”

 

No woman but would have been pleased and satisfied at such a proof of her power and attractions, and Kitty Kerruish felt gratified and delighted as she laughingly replied–

 

“I will be here to meet you; and mind, sir, I shall expect you.”

 

Little did she dream, poor lass! of the dire consequences that would result from his temerity and her exactitude, or at how dear a cost to both of them this proof of his love would be obtained.

 

 

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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