The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns & Fairies: A Study in Folk-lore & Psychical Research

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D. Nutt, 1893 - Fiction - 92 pages

Mr. Lang’s book is the most curious imaginable. Written in 1691 by a Scotch divine, it is nothing less than a calm assumption of the existence at that time of a commonwealth of elves, fauns, and fairies, whose government, habits, etc., are minutely described upon the authority of "Men of Second Sight" (it is not clear whether the author himself was one of these by virtue of bis being a seventh son), the method of obtaining which gift is also carefully explained. These fairies are of a middle nature between man and angel; they inhabit subterranean abodes, which they change at each quarter of the year. "They are distributed in tribes and orders, and have children, nurses, marriages, deaths, and burials; their apparel and speech is like that of the people and country under which they live; they are said to have aristocratical rulers and laws, but no discernible religion, love, or devotion towards God," their weapons are most what solid earthly bodies, nothing of iron, but much of stone, like to yellow soft flint spa, shaped liked a barbed arrow-head, but flung like a dart, with great force." The moral character of these "subterraneans" is minutely described and the conclusion is, "But for swearing and intemperance, they are not observed so subject to those irregularities, as to envy, spite, hypocrisy, lying, and dissimulation." The author adds to the evidence given by his friends, etc., a letter from Lord Tarbott to the Hon. Robert Boyle, in which many additional instances of second sight are narrated.


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Page l - Robin Good-fellow. Are you not he That frights the maidens of the villagery, Skims milk, and sometimes labours in the quern...
Page 48 - ... troopers, with the help of other servants, carrying in one of their number, who had got a very mischievous fall, and had his arm broke; and falling frequently in...
Page 7 - ... creature, but is supposed to have other animals (greater or lesser) living in or upon it as inhabitants; and no such thing as a pure wilderness in the whole universe.
Page 87 - We plait the rope the wrong way, in the Devil's name, and we draw the tether between the cow's hind feet, and out betwixt her forward feet, in the Devil's name, and thereby take with us the cow's milk." I am not aware that this mode of treatment existed in the Western Islands. There the people, by means of herbs and appeals to the Trinity and the Church, hoped to ward off the powers of witchcraft. For this purpose a favourite plant was MOTHAN, OR MOAN. I do not find the name...
Page xliv - Man being divers times thus abused was forced to give over what he was about. On January 23 (in particular) the Man had an iron Pin twice thrown at him, and his Inkhorn was taken away from him while he was writing, and when by all his seeking it he could not find it, at last he saw it drop out of the Air, down by the fire: a piece of Leather was twice thrown at him; and a shoe was laid upon his shoulder, which he catching at, was suddenly rapt from him. An handful of Ashes was thrown at his face,...
Page 47 - But what is the likeness of the man ?" He said he was a tall man, with a long grey coat, booted, and one of his legs hanging over the...
Page 49 - At the same time the corpse of another gentleman was brought to be buried in the same very church. The friends on either side came to debate who should first enter the church, and, in a trice, from words they came to blows. One of the number (who was armed with bow and arrows) let one fly among them.
Page xiii - Say to Duchray, who is my cousin as well as your own, that 1 am not dead, but a captive in Fairyland ; and only one chance remains for my liberation. When the posthumous child, of which my wife has been delivered since my disappearance, shall be brought to baptism, I will appear in the room, when, if Duchray shall throw over my head the knife or dirk which he holds in his hand, I may be restored to society ; but if this is neglected, I am lost for ever'.
Page 1 - An Essay of the Nature and Actions of the Subterranean (and, for the most Part), Invisible People, heretofoir going under the Name of Elves, Faunes, and Fairies, or the lyke...
Page 55 - Grahame, some Time living in the Parock wherein now I am, who killed his own Cow after commending its Fatness, and shot a Hair with his Eyes, having praised its Swiftness (such was the Infection of ane Evill Eye) ; albeit this was unusual, yet he saw no Object but what was obvious to other Men as well as to himselfe.

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