Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Fairy Folk of Donegal, Part I

Fairy Junction

"The Fairies"
by William Allingham (1824-1889)

Up the airy mountain
    Down the rushy glen,
We dare n't go a-hunting,
    For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
    Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
    And white owl's feather.
Down along the rocky shore
    Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
    Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
    Of the black mountain-lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
    All night awake.

High on the hill-top
    The old King sits;
He is now so old and gray
    He's nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist
    Columbkill he crosses,
On his stately journeys
    From Slieveleague to Rosses;
Or going up with music,
    On cold starry nights,
To sup with the Queen,
    Of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget
    For seven years long;
When she came down again
    Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back
    Between the night and morrow;
They thought she was fast asleep,
    But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since
    Deep within the lake,
On a bed of flag leaves,
    Watching till she wake.

By the craggy hill-side,
    Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn trees
    For pleasure here and there.
Is any man so daring
    As dig them up in spite?
He shall find the thornies set
    In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain
    Down the rushy glen,
We dare n't go a-hunting,
    For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
    Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
    And white owl's feather. 

It’s only dawned on me that I’ve never actually posted that poem before, which is mad considering it’s probably one of the most famous fairy poems ever and it’s by a Donegal man about Donegal fairies!  Granted, Mr Allingham was from the other end of the county but that’s still just down the road really. And sure don’t I know the area well. I even spent a lovely long summer as a teenager down with the fairy king in verse two there. I can tell you, ‘tis an otherworldly place indeed.

Anyhow,  this isn’t actually the post on Donegal fairies I’d intended on.  I still have those folk tales for my friend Laura I said I’d post over a week ago. I did consider tacking them on at the end here but that’d make the post just far too long. Plus I’m lazy. So I’m sorry missus, but I hope it’s ok if I put them off just once more. Tomorrow, I promise! 


Laura said...

Ah but sure isn't it a lovely wee poem... got about half way through that and realised I knew the rest of the words. Isn't it strange how you forget that you know something until you remember it again?!?
Anywho... I'll be keeping an eye on here then for the next instalment!

Laura said...

and really like the picture too, by the way :)

Róisín said...

I know exactly what you mean! The bit about the fairy trees gives me flash backs to primary school :) Glad you liked it missus. Oh, and as for the picture, that's a wee clue to where the next stories are from! I know you're tecnically not a Clonmany woman but you're close enough. I actually meant to post them a few days ago but I kept forgetting. I promise to remember this time! Hope you're well my dear x

Kathy said...

There's thunder and lightening outside my window. This was the perfect post to read. Love that photo and somehow I must've read this poem somewhere ages ago. I'm like Laura it started to become familiar to me and I knew some of the words.
odd. Loved it! - Kathy

mirsini's creations said...

Τhis poem is wonderful!!! I love it!! and the photo too!!!! Roisin! I have something for you in my blog!!
Kisses to you!

Such a Wondrous Place this Faery Space said...

Hello my darling, friend! I love this with all my heart! This is a favorite, of course. I am blessed to know your light. Take care of yourself and faery wishes to you.

JJ Beazley said...

'Queen of the gay Northern Lights' sounds a fishy to me. Bit too Allan Bennet.

Anonymous said...

Oh how I LOVE this, Róisín!!! Anyone who lives on crispy pancakes sounds like just the kind of folk I'd love to hang out with.

The pink fairy slipper orchids are blooming in the forest right now, and I cannot visit them without checking around to see if I'm being watched. :)

Wishing you a happy day,
~ Zuzu

Romantic Heroine said...

it's a beautiful poem and a reason to invited you to a fairy party on June 24th. Have a look on my blog, there you find a link to the person who created this event.

Jorgelina said...

I am organizing a virtual party my blog, I invite you to participate if you like it.
The theme of the party are the fairies.
On 24 June, "World Day of the fairies".
You can wear a button to your blog.
In my blog I have a translator.

eimear brennan said...

wonderful stuff roisin! love that poem. where is that photograph taken? it's incredible

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