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folklore: The Sidhe

Sorcha 29 Apr 06 - 07:50 PM
GUEST 29 Apr 06 - 08:01 PM
Azizi 29 Apr 06 - 08:03 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 29 Apr 06 - 08:24 PM
Cllr 29 Apr 06 - 08:44 PM
Sorcha 29 Apr 06 - 08:44 PM
Rapparee 29 Apr 06 - 08:46 PM
Sorcha 29 Apr 06 - 08:46 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 29 Apr 06 - 09:08 PM
Rapparee 29 Apr 06 - 09:16 PM
mack/misophist 29 Apr 06 - 09:17 PM
Alice 29 Apr 06 - 10:00 PM
Alice 29 Apr 06 - 10:06 PM
michaelr 29 Apr 06 - 10:37 PM
Dave Hanson 30 Apr 06 - 12:43 AM
Bert 30 Apr 06 - 01:06 AM
GUEST,JTT 30 Apr 06 - 03:19 AM
GUEST,DB 30 Apr 06 - 12:40 PM
Megan L 30 Apr 06 - 03:56 PM
Sorcha 30 Apr 06 - 03:58 PM
Megan L 30 Apr 06 - 04:02 PM
Sorcha 30 Apr 06 - 04:05 PM
Sorcha 30 Apr 06 - 04:09 PM
Sorcha 30 Apr 06 - 04:33 PM
ard mhacha 30 Apr 06 - 04:57 PM
Sorcha 30 Apr 06 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,JTT 30 Apr 06 - 06:22 PM
michaelr 30 Apr 06 - 08:33 PM
Grab 01 May 06 - 08:14 AM
Rapparee 01 May 06 - 01:54 PM
beardedbruce 01 May 06 - 03:44 PM
Megan L 01 May 06 - 03:49 PM
Malcolm Douglas 01 May 06 - 05:26 PM
paddymac 01 May 06 - 08:40 PM
LadyJean 02 May 06 - 12:20 AM
GUEST,AR 02 May 06 - 01:17 AM
Mr Fox 02 May 06 - 06:53 PM
Sorcha 02 May 06 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 02 May 06 - 07:50 PM
Charmain 02 May 06 - 07:51 PM
GUEST,JTT 05 May 06 - 06:24 PM
Megan L 08 Jun 06 - 06:33 PM
Richard Bridge 08 Jun 06 - 07:44 PM
Bonecruncher 08 Jun 06 - 08:22 PM
Malcolm Douglas 08 Jun 06 - 08:30 PM
Bonecruncher 09 Jun 06 - 08:25 PM
LadyJean 10 Jun 06 - 01:02 AM
Fiolar 10 Jun 06 - 09:06 AM
keberoxu 17 Jan 16 - 04:55 PM
MrsDeadlyhen 19 Jan 16 - 07:51 AM
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Subject: The Sidhe
From: Sorcha
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 07:50 PM

Azizzi wants to know...post what you know...

Banshee (Bhan Shidhe)...dead woman of the clan who howls when a member is about to die, actually means, Woman of the Sidhe (fairy)

Leprachaun--One of the little people who is a cobbler, gaurds a pot of gold

NEVER call them by their real names

Wear red to keep them away.

Pooka--a 'fairy' who can change shape, most often into a horse, but other things too.

Put out a saucer of milk to keep them placated

If you are abucted into Fairy Land, do NOT eat or drink anything....a day there is a year here.

Next?


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Subject: RE: The Sidhe
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 08:01 PM

The Hosting Of The Sidhe :

by William Butler Yeats


The host is riding from Knocknarea
And over the grave of Clooth-na-Bare;
Caoilte tossing his burning hair,
And Niamh calling Away, come away:
Empty your heart of its mortal dream.
The winds awaken, the leaves whirl round,
Our cheeks are pale, our hair is unbound,
Our breasts are heaving our eyes are agleam,
Our arms are waving our lips are apart;
And if any gaze on our rushing band,
We come between him and the deed of his hand,
We come between him and the hope of his heart.
The host is rushing 'twixt night and day,
And where is there hope or deed as fair?
Caoilte tossing his burning hair,
And Niamh calling Away, come away.


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Subject: RE: The Sidhe
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 08:03 PM

Thanks, Sorcha!

I-and others I'm sure-will be reading this thread with great interest.


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Subject: RE: The Sidhe
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 08:24 PM

I was always told to carry a knife or piece of iron (nail) in a pocket to ward off fairys.


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Subject: RE: The Sidhe
From: Cllr
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 08:44 PM

ban means pale or white (also untilled land if the a has an accent over it)

side is the people of the (fairy) hills

bean is a woman

hence ban sidhe is white or pale fairy
bean sidhe can be a woman fairy


Mosr descriptions of the banshee are of a white or pale female fairy

there you have it in Dubh and Ban

cllr


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Subject: RE: The Sidhe
From: Sorcha
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 08:44 PM

Yes...they HATE iron....or 'star metal'

PS...this is 'Celtic'/Irish folklore....

You really should crush your eggshells to keep Them from building homes in them.


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Subject: RE: The Sidhe
From: Rapparee
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 08:46 PM

"Banshee" comes from "Bean Sidhe", and translates as "Woman Fairy." The banshee appears only to certain Celtic families, Irish, Scotch, and I believe Breton and Welsh -- I am unaware of any similar tradition among the Cornish and Manx. Death portents such as the banshee also appear in other cultures. Usually the banshee is an old woman, but can be a young woman of exceptional beauty. There's a very comprehensive book on the banshee (called, believe it or not, "The Banshee"); I'd give you the author but I can't put my hands on my copy right now.

The leprechaun has a cousin, the clurican and I find the clurican the more interesting. If you have liquor around and the clurican shows up, your liquor will disappear. Some have called the clurican a leperchaun on a spree.

The shape-changing pookah has corollaries in many other cultures, including the Native American. A pookah bodes no good for anybody it appears to. There is a legend of a jewel-encrusted pookah inhabiting one of the lakes on the Castlegregory side of the Conar Pass.

The sidhe is a topic of wide-ranging interest. Just remember that the sidhe were NOT cute little people, a la Darby O'Gill, but were just a tall and just as cunning and brave as you or me -- not at all like in the poem:

Up the airy mountain,        
Down the rushy glen        
We daren'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 that 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 their sharpest thorns        
In his bed at night.        

Up the airy mountain,        
Down the rushy glen,              
We daren'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.


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Subject: RE: The Sidhe
From: Sorcha
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 08:46 PM

LOL, Cllr!


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Subject: RE: The Sidhe
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 09:08 PM

THE FOXGLOVE (DIGITALIS PURPUREA)
The foxglove in Irish plant lore is intimately connected with the fairies under the appellation of Lusmore; the shefro wears the corolla of its flower on his head. The Welsh call it menyg ellyllon—elf s glove. bysedd ellyllon—fairy fingers. bysedd y cwn -dog's fingers. In Gaelic we have meuran sith—fairy thimble. meuran na daoine marbha—dead men's thimble. And in Irish meregan na mna sioh thimble of the fairywomen.


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Subject: RE: The Sidhe
From: Rapparee
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 09:16 PM

Here are some titles that might be helpful here.

The Banshee: the irish supernatural death messenger by Patricia Lysaght (I found it).

The Old Gods: the facts about the Irish fairies by Patrick Logan.

The Truth about the leprechaun by Bob Curran.

Celtic mythology by Ward Rutherford.

Celtic myth and legend by Charles Squire.

The Fairy faith in Celtic countries by Wyevans Wentz.

These a few of the titles that I have. There are many, many more available.


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Subject: RE: The Sidhe
From: mack/misophist
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 09:17 PM

According to my grandmother, the Ban Sidhe is associated with hawthorne trees.


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Subject: RE: The Sidhe
From: Alice
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 10:00 PM

From my website, some descriptions of Siabhra, and one of my illlustrations of a Ban Sidhe, Aoibheall, "wrapping the world in thrall", etc. Click here

Alice Flynn


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Subject: RE: The Sidhe
From: Alice
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 10:06 PM

In case you missed the link on my page, here is side [shee], i.e. the earth-gods, or fairies

Alice


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Subject: RE: The Sidhe
From: michaelr
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 10:37 PM

Then there is the leanan sidhe, mentioned in the song "My Lagan Love", reputed to be a female fairy who tries to woo mortal men (with bad consequences, of course).

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: The Sidhe
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 12:43 AM

From O'Carolan, ' Si Bheag Agus Si Mhor ' the Little Fairy Hill and The
Big Fairy Hill.

eric


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Subject: RE: The Sidhe
From: Bert
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 01:06 AM

On the real side of life, in England we used to 'Put out a saucer of milk' for the hegdgehogs.

But as the Wife of Bath Says. "There as wont to waulken was an elf, walketh now the Limitour himself"

In Cornwall they also have Piskies or Pixies. The most remembered of whom was Joan the Wad.

I used to have a Joan the Wad charm when I was a kid, but Mother took it from me, because she said that I would lose it. Of course SHE was the one who lost it.

Actually I think it was Joan herself who didn't like people keeping her charms and so she magic-ed them away. She also magic-ed away the spifire made from a penny at around the same time (again Mom had taken into safe keeping because "I" would lose it).

Joan Darlin' "YOU OWE ME" Big Time!!!


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Subject: RE: The Sidhe
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 03:19 AM

The Sidhe (God bless them) are supposed to be the remnants of the Tuatha De Danaan, a tall, fair-haired people talented in music, science, storytelling and general lifestyle skills, who were overcome by... not sure - maybe the Milesians - anyway an invading group coming into Ireland.

They retired to the hills and changed themselves into the mists that hang around there, and live in a world called Sidhe, whose entrances are permeable at certain times (Bealtaine, Samhain, for instance) and by certain people.

They have long associations with certain families, and in some cases a Bean Sidhe - woman of the Sidhe - comes to keen outside the house of such a family at or before the death of one of its members, or in some cases of the head of its household.

There are various stories about people going astray on the road and being pulled into hurling games, dances, etc and waking days or years later. In some cases the person will have been paid in gold which turns into leaves when s/he wakes; in others, the person is forever lucky after such a performance (or forever unlucky if s/he offends his or her hosts).

Some pieces of music are associated with such sessions - and often these pieces also have an unchancy reputation.

Various stories exist of people being stolen and sometimes later returned. Often the person in the story is replaced by a lookalike who doesn't thrive. One theory is that this was an explanation for such illnesses as autism - where a bonny, thriving, speaking child loses speech and meaning at the age of five or so.

James Stephens has a good description of the concept in his book Irish Fairy Tales (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0486291669/002-8187032-9732057?v=glance&n=283155 or http://tinyurl.com/ohszj) which starts: "There is a difference between this world and the world of Faery, but it is not immediately perceptible. Everything that is here is there, but the things that are there are better than those that are here. All things that are bright are there brighter...."

He also writes: "After this Eather there is the world of the Shí. Beyond it again lies the Many-Coloured Land. Next comes the Land of Wonder, and after that the Land of Promise awaits us. You will cross clay to get into the Shí; you will cross water to attain the Many-Coloured Land..."

Stephens also has a line - maybe in The Crock of Gold? - about one of those good people who - and this is from memory "started doing wrong as naturally and as happily as..." - this being her nature.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 12:40 PM

Has anyone read 'Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell' by Susanna Clarke?
It's a fantasy novel set in a sort of alternative Regency England. Mr Norrell is the last magician in England. As part of an elaborate strategy to keep all magical knowledge to himself he attempts to raise a woman from the dead. To do this he enlists the help of a sinister fairy called, 'The Gentleman with Thistledown Hair' - a capricious, malevolent entity who really should have been left uninvoked.
Jonathan Strange is Mr Norrell's apprentice who, ultimately, has to confront the fairy.
The scenes involving fairy enchantment are are very dark and scary indeed.
I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in fairylore.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Megan L
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 03:56 PM

Ah your journey in the land of the sidhe depends on whether you come before the seely court or the unseely.

in Orkney we have the hogboon and shetland has the droonie


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Sorcha
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 03:58 PM

You'd best explain...tell MORE!


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Megan L
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 04:02 PM

some of our wee things


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Sorcha
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 04:05 PM

And, don't forget the Selkie.....a seal/human.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Sorcha
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 04:09 PM

Megan just sent me this about the 2 Courts of the Sidhe.... Two Courts


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Sorcha
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 04:33 PM

And, the crows prophesied...the Bards could interpret them.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: ard mhacha
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 04:57 PM

In Ireland if workmen making a roadway or building houses came across a Hawthorn Tree which was creating an obstacle, it would have been the brave man that would have attempted to remove it.

Many is the tale that has been told of the person who met a cruel fate by destroying the Hawthorn, although I know of one man who put a claim in against his firm when he had his leg fractured playing football a few days after the Hawthorn was removed, blaming it on the wee folk didn`t help him when confronted by a unbelieving Judge.

Up to a few years ago there was a Hawthorn still standing in the centre of a completed country road.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Sorcha
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 06:20 PM

May 1 is Beltane...May Day....the Jack in the Green, spirit of the forest, arises anew, to be killed so that he can be born anew. Maidens wash their faces in the new morn dew to be fair.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 06:22 PM

Or at least fair to middling.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: michaelr
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 08:33 PM

To anyone interested in this topic and into fantasy literature I recommend the writer Tad Williams, who stands head and shoulders above the average of that category.

His trilogy "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn" deals with the struggle between humans and Sithi (pre- or super-human beings). It's a monumental work (as is his "Otherland" series, which puts the fantasy into virtual reality territory... brilliant stuff).

For those more inclined to read a one-volume novel, I recommend Tad Williams' "The War of the Flowers" which posits a Faerie land that eerily mirrors the real world. It's great writing and great reading.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Grab
Date: 01 May 06 - 08:14 AM

"War of the flowers" is more related to the topic. The land of Faerie is populated by, well, faeries - pookas, trolls, ogres, etc. But it's an industrialised Faerie-land, with guns, mobile phones, laptops, etc (although all driven by magic, and hence all rather different from our world). Good book.

"MS&T" is a great series (if you're a fast reader - it's BIG, and realistically it has long periods of not much happening punctuated by short periods of everyone getting killed) but it's not much related to the topic. The "Sithi" are just your basic elves under a different name.

I'm partway through "Jonathan Strange", but not got round to finishing it yet.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Rapparee
Date: 01 May 06 - 01:54 PM

The Host Of The Air
by William Butler Yeats

O'Driscoll drove with a song
The wild duck and the drake
From the tall and the tufted reeds
Of the drear Hart Lake.
And he saw how the reeds grew dark
At the coming of night-tide,
And dreamed of the long dim hair
Of Bridget, his bride.
And then he heard it
High up in the air,
A piper piping away,
And never was piping so sad,
And never was piping so gay.

And he saw young men and young girls
Danced on a level place,
And Bridget his bride among them,
With a sad and a gay face.
The dancers crowded about him
And many a sweet thing said,
And a young man brought him red wine
And a young girl white bread.
But Bridget drew him by the sleeve
Away from the merry bands,
To old men playing at cards
With a twinkling of ancient hands.

The bread and the wine had a doom,
For these were the host of the air;

He sat and played in a dream
And thought not of evil chance,
Until one bore Bridget his bride
Away from the merry dance.
He bore her away in his atms,
The handsomest young man there,
And his neck and his breast and his arms
Were drowned in her long dim hair.

O'Driscoll scattered the cards
And out of his dream awoke:
And old men and young men and young girls
Were gone like a drifting smoke;

But he heard high up in the air
A piper piping away,
And never was piping so sad,
And never was piping so gay.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: beardedbruce
Date: 01 May 06 - 03:44 PM

Sonnet 07/05/02         Bhan Sidhe                DCLXXXVIII

It was an odd noise that I heard, this night:
Not quite a scream, but far more than a gasp,
From moonless darkness, with no stars in sight.
What is this coldness, that my insides clasp?
Why do I weaken, hearing sound so far
Only the echo reaches ear, yet mind
Is twisted from intent? How can I bar
Gate of imagination to wyrd bind?
I fall, boneless with fright, and sweat breaks out;
Bowels turn to water with despair. I weep,
To lose all. I moan, but cannot give shout
To more than whimper, nor my reason keep.
She passes, and I live! Yet dare not rise
For fear of seeing Death within her eyes.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Megan L
Date: 01 May 06 - 03:49 PM

this site reminded me of many of the tales I was brought up with. being a lowlander we didn't use the gaeltach names but the muckle dug, the bloody washer wife and the quenchers (our family name for the vampire women) were all most common.

scottish folk of the ben sidhe


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 May 06 - 05:26 PM

The hidden people don't stick to political or linguistic boundaries, and you can find reports of them almost everywhere, though under a wide range of different names. See, for instance, Katherine Briggs, A Dictionary of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies and other Supernatural Creatures (Allen Lane, 1976 / Penguin, 1977 and subsequent reprints). The whole of the (geographic) British Isles is included.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: paddymac
Date: 01 May 06 - 08:40 PM

Thanks to Rapaire for including Yeats' "Host of the Air." I remined me of a thing I have experienced in Muscoge folk lore, known and loved by some as "those damnable dualities." In the realm of ritual, it's carried to the 4th power (2 to the 4th) which is itself another duality. I am personally inclined, beyond ritual applications, to see the value in dualities as carrying the cultural wisdom that there is always an "on the other hand." They are also useful heuristic and pnemonic (sp?) devices.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: LadyJean
Date: 02 May 06 - 12:20 AM

I'm about to plant daisies in my front yard, to discourage malevolent fairies.
There's also Will o' the Whisp, who misleads travellers. My father, who visited Ireland twice, and was a wonderful story teller used to tell us tales of Will O'The Whisp in Ireland.
I was quite young when mother read me James Stephens' "The Crock of Gold", where Pan comes to Ireland.
Ingenuos, I told the tale to a psychiatrist, leaving out an important detail, that it was a book.
The psychiatrist decided I was describing my homelife and was probably schizophrenic.
Ridiculous, of course! Dad was quite strict about allowing Leprechauns into the house, except to fix our shoes of course. While Pan did come for coffee now and then, he never danced.
The Leanan Sidhe is a sort of Irish Muse, she inspires poets while she drains the life out of them. Writing will do that to you.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: GUEST,AR
Date: 02 May 06 - 01:17 AM

'The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies' by Robert Kirk (Reverend of Aberfoyle, Scotland) has recently been republished. It describes fairy lore among Gaelic-speaking Scots in the 17th century.

Apparently they're made of 'congealed air'.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Mr Fox
Date: 02 May 06 - 06:53 PM

"War of the flowers" is more related to the topic. The land of Faerie is populated by, well, faeries - pookas, trolls, ogres, etc. But it's an industrialised Faerie-land, with guns, mobile phones, laptops, etc (although all driven by magic, and hence all rather different from our world). Good book."



For post-industrial fairies, I'd also recommend 'The Iron Dragon's Daughter' by Michael Swanwick.

Decadent elves, rock bands with names like 'The Horns of Elfland', exterminators spraying for brownies, the tithe to hell, dickensian dragon factories........

It's a WONDERFUL book.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Sorcha
Date: 02 May 06 - 07:09 PM

If you want the real thing, get Anne Ross' book, Pagan Celtic Britian


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 02 May 06 - 07:50 PM

: You really should crush your eggshells to
: keep Them from building homes in them.

They're really were-slugs?


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Charmain
Date: 02 May 06 - 07:51 PM

Ok so who was the little man dressed in green with ears like a Donkey that my exceptionally intelligent and down-to-earth sister still says she saw along a little lane in our village at the age of seven (now some fifteen years ago)? I was told by someone once that he would be called Jack-in-the-Green - any further offers?


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 05 May 06 - 06:24 PM

Of course in modern Ireland we don't have these separations; in fact our current Minister for Social and Family Affairs is a leprachaun. His picture is here:

http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/index.asp?locID=237&docID=-1

or if that doesn't work, here:

http://www.welfare.ie/about/minister.html


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Megan L
Date: 08 Jun 06 - 06:33 PM

This isn't exactly the tale as i learned it as a child but as i used it in a story i was writting, if you take out the two lordlings then it is pretty much her tale.


That night as they sat in the great hall with the fire blazing finely the began taking turns to entertain each other. There was a joyous mix of talent among them and the night passed quicker than they had thought. It was the early hours of the morning when Kate noticed the master giving a small nod to the holder of the chalice - for these were theatrical people not for them the question of who's next, they had come across an ornate golden chalice, filled it with wine and given it to the care of the youngest dancer, whoever she stopped at took a drink then entertained the crowd- The small form danced towards him and as he looked at her changed direction twirling to a graceful halt she dropped on one knee before Kate.

Kate settled herself cosily on her cushions at the masters feet and taking the chalice looked into it's depths and smiled, there was a single sip of wine left. She drained the cup and turned it upside down before placing it gently on the floor. The young dancer had slipped away to her place at the far side of the circle of faces, Kate gathered her thoughts and began.

"All tribal people have their story teller, where I come from it is the Seanachaidh, keeper of the past guide for the future, he keeps the law in his left hand and the dream in his right. Tonight I will be the Seanachaidh I will take you back to the time before time, I will tell you how one became three and how the three became one again to begin the circle." She let their gasp of understanding fade before she continued.

"In the day before time there was one king of the land he lived in a great castle but as is the way of things as men grew old and died each new generation knew less of him till the time came when they had forgotten his existence. The land was wasting away as men spent their time in fighting without cause. The old King looked at his land and wept, then he looked deep inside himself and knew what he must do. From the two ends of his being he created two Lords who would rule the land, but as he watched them he knew this would not work for the two men were the exact opposite each to the other. There could never be agreement between these two so he created from within his heart a third ruler for the land and divided his kingdom equally between them.

The land to the North he gave to the Lord of the high mountain as fair as the golden sun. The land to the South he gave to the Lord of the dark forest with hair as dark as a moon less night. Between them he placed the sea and the moor and these he gave to his third creation Mara Moor, the Maid of the moors. It is her story I will share with you tonight, for her tale is the story of all three.

Under the three rulers the land grew fair and rich, and order of it's kind was restored to the kingdom. Occasionally the two Lords would snarl at each other threateningly but as the Maid held the land between little came of their rumblings. There was however one thing they did share, each loved the Maid as though she were a missing part of their own being.

You ask about the Maid well what can I tell you The old king had created her from that part of his being that was neither of the two Lords indeed there was not a lot left so she was a small elfin creature. Her eyes were the blue of a cloudless summer sky and to her lips he placed the wild strawberry, her feet he fashioned from the down of the wild goose and in her hands he placed the softness of the fur of the mountain hair. All these things shone beautifully from her but she was not complete, he had to give her a heart and there lay his problem as king of all he was all things, therefore which heart should he give her if she was to be the balance to the two Lords. At last he decided and fashioned her heart from two creatures, the dove and the stoat so it would always depend how men looked at her which they saw, peace or bewitching death.

The Lord of the high mountain watched her dance in the warm light of morning, her feet hardly seeming to touch the ground, as swift and sure footed as the dear on his hill. The Lord of the dark forest watched her dance over the mist covered moors as graceful and shy as the wild cat that slipped through his woods. And in the village saw her as their hearts willed. Some said that she would dance through the fog covered moors, her lantern leading the unwary traveller to his death. Others remembered the young fisherman who had trapped her by the rocks along the shore and drunkenly kissed her pretty lips. They told of how she stood smiling on the high cliff as the storm raged and battered his boat and tossed his lifeless body on to the rocks.

But there was one cottage that lay apart from the others far along the shore, ask either of the two men who lived there and they would tell you a very different story. The son will tell you of the day he was gathering berries out on the moor, He rounded a low bush and there she was kneeling beside a trapped vixen, so intent was she in trying to free the poor animal that she had not heard his approach. As he knelt beside her she looked up at him in startled fear but he paid her no heed his strong hands opening the hateful trap to free the frightened animal. Gracefully she stood and beckoned him to follow, he gently lifted the injured vixen and went with her. He would tell you that she was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen, ask him if he kissed her and he would smile and shake his head for he had seen the innocence in her eyes and knew she was meant for another.

His aged father would tell you of the day his son set out for the fishing, of how a great storm arose and all the boats had fought their way home, all that was except his son who had sailed farther than the rest. Eventually tired of waiting the old man had gone to the high cliff hoping to see his sons boat come limping home. It was there he found her slumped exhausted and wet as the waves below, he had wrapped her in his cloak and carried her to his humble cottage where he place her on his own bed covered her with the great quilt and with fear set out for his own small boat. The storm had died away and he sailed for a long time till at last he thought he saw a small dark speck on the water. He had just turned the helm when a thick sea fog rolled over his boat he looked around and knew fear for no longer could he see the shore, defeated he dropped his small sail and sat with his head in his hands, what hope now for his son or him.

After a while thought he heard a soft voice beside him say 'Follow the light' He lifted his head and looked around but there was no one there. He must have been dreaming, he started to drop his head again then stopped staring at the faint glow of light ahead in the mist. He grabbed the oars dropping them between the posts and began to pull towards the light. Onward it danced on the waves always slightly ahead till at last it seemed to stop, hovering in the one place till he had almost reached it then disappeared, the old man pulled on for a few more strokes then felt his boat bump gently against something in the water. He shipped his oars and felt around till his hand came on solid wood, he pulled the two boats together and there in the bottom of the other boat lay the still form of his only son. With tears in his eyes he lashed the two boats together and pulled till he cradled the boy in his arms.

Gradually the young man returned to life as they sat in the enveloping blanket of fog and told his father of the wonderful dream he had . He had been far from a safe shore when the storm struck and so fierce was it that it broke his mast, he remembered seeing it fall towards him then the dream began. He was in the water struggling to reach the surface but the sea was so wild that he knew he must drown. He sank and felt like he would be going down forever when two strong arms gripped him and began to pull him back towards the surface soft lips covered his and he felt the warm rush of sweet summer wind enter his aching lungs The last of the dream he remembered was being hoisted into his battered boat where his father had found him.

His father told him of the soft voice and the lantern glow and as he spoke they looked ahead and there it was dancing quietly ahead. Together the two men pulled on the oars till their strength gave out and the light disappeared. They held each other in despair till at last a small sound reached their fog addled brains, surely that was waves lapping on the shore, they pulled on the oars and soon the boats scrapped on shingle. They jumped out and with the last of their strength pulled the boats up the beach and looked around in amazement for they had returned to their normal beaching place and exhausted headed for home. As they reached the cottage the old man stopped for there in the window flickering with it's last drops of oil burned a lantern, and of the Maid there was no sign."

Kate stopped for a few moments to sip the cocoa Ards had placed quietly by her side. She lay back, head resting against the masters knee, eyes closed she listened to the muted whispers. "So how did the three become one." "Was she a witch, the maid." Keeping her eyes closed she smiled quietly content, they were thinking, beginning to complete the story. The master brought his lips to her ear and murmured "Three into two, which one won her?" Her eyes fluttered open, so close were they that she could feel the soft warmth of his breath on her cheek. She smiled and glanced at Noll before continuing.

"As I have said both the young Lords watched the Maid each saw in her the missing part of themselves. It was the Lord of the dark forest who began the events that of the Summer of thunder. You see he knew that to force a kiss from the Maid was to court death, and to go into battle with her would be useless for each of the three had been given an army of equal size, strength and skill. Few ever saw the Maid's army for it was created from the souls of men who had kissed her strawberry lips. And so it was that he formed a plan to lure her from the protection of her army.

It was well known that the Maid was more of the world of the wild creatures than of man so the Lord of the dark forest sent his warriors to capture a young Fawn. He had the frightened creature tethered in a clearing deep within his woods and waited. It was not long that he had to wait for the Maid always knew when one of the wild things was in danger. She knew she dare not take her soldiers within the lands of the Lord of the dark forest, for that would surely be an act of war and that was something each of them had been careful to avoid. She slipped quietly through the woods, hoping to find the stricken creature and depart before any could notice her. At last she came to the clearing and began to run toward the fawn when she felt the presence of man she spun wildly fearful, looking for a way to escape as the young warriors emerged from the cover of the trees to surround her.

The Lord of the dark forest watched with a grim smile as she fought to escape his warriors but there were too many of them and eventually they caught hold of her an dragged her to their master. He signalled them to let her go and laughed as she stepped forward eyes blazing fiercely ready to attack. He placed his hand on her small head holding her away as she tried to attack him, he could afford to wait till she gave in.

Suddenly there came a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind, loud as the waterfall it thundered through the forest. The Maid ducked and wove under the arm of the Lord of the dark forest trying to reach him. Neither paid any heed to the approaching roar which had sent his warriors fleeing to the shelter of the trees. Twas a sound fearsome enough to bring mortal men to their knees in terror as it crashed towards the clearing. The Maid fought on , but the Lord of the dark forest stopped holding her at bay as the Lord of the high mountain marched into the clearing and at his back came two sets of warriors for he had brought the maids men along with his own.

The Lord of the dark forest cast the Maid from him and called his men to his side. The two men faced each other across the clearing then moving slowly forward they began to circle, each taking the measure of the other. As the battle commenced the villagers cowered on the shore so dark had the sky become, so fearful the noise and so strongly was the ground shaking all around them, that they thought the world was coming to an end.

The battle that day was long and hard and would probably have been being fought still had the Maid not cast her lot. The Lord of the high mountain looked down and there every inch a warrior queen stood the Maid at his side, together they fought on till the Lord of the dark forest stood alone. The maid with a signal to her men moved to the side of the clearing, this was a battle with no room now for other than the two at the centre of the clearing. Their swords clattered and clashed, sparks flying from them with each blow so desperately they fought neither willing to give way to the other. So long and fierce did the fight that eventually their swords clashing in a mighty blow shattered and fell to the ground.

They moved closer to finish the deadly battle with their bare hands if necessary. But as those hands locked together a great flash of forked lightening stabbed from the sky striking the young lords. They seemed to glow, so brightly did they shine that they disappeared in the light the warriors fled and only the Maid was left standing to watch. As the flame dimmed one man stepped from the light towards her, at first she thought it was the Lord of the high mountain who had won the great battle, then as she looked again it appeared it was the Lord of the dark forest who came towards her. He stopped when he stood before her and to her amazement the Maid realised that this man was neither of the two Lords, but both at the same time. Three had become two, there could now be no peace in the land. He reached out to touch her cheek and she flinched away, he smiled down at her and grazed her cheek slowly with his knuckles. "You can fight me but you will become mine. I will not force you, the day will come when you come to me on bended knee, till then fly little bird." He opened his hand as though releasing some small creature and watched as she fled to her own dominion.

Kate sank back against the master and her eyelids drooped, he reached down and tilted her chin. Noll shouted for brandy for this was no slumber. Ards brought the glass and the master dipped his finger in the golden liquid and traced her delicate lips before tilting the glass till a drop slipped between them and her eyelids fluttered open again.

She sat for a moment before continuing, her voice coming to them from some distant place. "As the Summer wore on the Maid ceased to dance across the moors, for whenever she did he would be there watching, waiting, an eagle hovering over her kingdom, it's shadow a constant threat to the small creature bellow. With the Autumn he was near as she gazed from the high cliff like the great whale surrounds it's prey with a net of bubbles so he was enclosing her, his net was no more substantial than the whale's yet like the startled fish she could not force herself past his dark eyes. Soon he would draw the net closed and they would begin the final conflict.

The leaves had turned flame red and fallen to carpet the chill ground, the small beasts had gathered their food and were sleeping and the moor lay under a white blanket when they two met. She had not moved from her castle for days so tightly had he wrapped his challenging eyes around her. She wandered around the walls a pale sprite for whom there was no rest, even here he had invaded her dreams. What good her warriors now! this battle she would have to fight alone.

She could delay no longer, if fight she must then let it be soon but who would carry her challenge to him. The old man and his son had never had any quarrel with any of the Lords of the land and had simple faith in each to provide for their people, for the village was the point shared by all. It was however to the Maid that they always brought a gift from each catch. They came to her now and the son worried by her pallor took hold of his courage and enquired of her the cause. She smiled sadly and told him how none would carry her message to the Lord of light and shade. The young man bowed low and promised that he would be her voice before her opposition.

And so it was that the next morning the young man set of for the castle on the high mountain. Upward he travelled till he reached the great gates of the castle and there asked to speak to the Lord of light and shade. The warriors fearing trickery surrounded him and kept close guard till word was sent to their Lord. In the great hall he sat on a large throne and waited as the young man was hustled into the room. At his command the warriors parted and the fisherman's son came and knelt at his feet 'My Lord I come this day from the Maid of the moors to bring you her message.' The Lord looked down and smiled for he could feel the young man was fearful yet determined fulfil his promise to his Lady. 'Say as she has bid and you will return to her with my answer.

The young fisherman took a deep breathe and began 'My Lord, My Lady the Maid of the moors bids me say this, If you will grant her three days she will meet with you on the plain at dawn on the fourth day and there if you are willing will fight you without warriors of either side.' He looked up at the great throne 'How say you my Lord? Give me your answer and I shall carry it to her as faithfully as I have brought her challenge to you.' The Lord looked on him quietly before answering. 'You show great courage son of the sea to come where her warriors dare not tread. Carry this answer back with you, at dawn on the fourth morning I shall come to the plain with my army as she shall with hers, they shall form a boundary to our battle and witness that all is as it should be. You also shall come to bear the news of what takes place to the people of the village.'

The fourth day dawned as bright and clear as only a crisp Winter's morn can. The two protagonists faced each other and the Lord of light and shade took his stance boldly in the middle of the cleared ground. The maid more circumspectly prowled restlessly around the edge. He stood perfectly still, only those dark eyes following her every movement and she knew that he was waiting for her to take the battle to him for he would make no unprovoked sally against her. Still she prowled like the wild cat stalking a bird, had talons as sharp as the cats claws and could if she was not careful tear her to pieces.

Suddenly she darted forward in attack, he matched her blow for blow, the skirmish was short for smiling gently he drove her back a little way then returned calmly to his original position. Again and again as she circled him she would attack hoping to catch him of guard, and each time he would match her movements then drive her back a little. The sun reached it's zenith and was fast slipping towards the sea, the maid stopped her prowling and stood quietly watching him as he watched her.

She knew the time had come, she could delay it no longer, this was to be the final battle. She drove forward with all the skill and courage she had and he responded. Never had the watchers seen two people fight with such ferocity. She fought well but gradually they saw that he was beginning to take command, increasing the pace and strength of attack till they seemed to fly over the ground and no one could see the blows that fell. Such a battle could not last for long and as the sun began to dip into the sea the fire from their clashing swords seemed to flicker like a flaming brand, Then without warning the Maid dropped her arm and waited for the killing blow, it could not be avoided at the pace they were fighting.

The watchers held their breath expecting to see her fall dead before him, but the blow never came. The tip of his sword seemed to fall gently on her heart and he let it rest there for a moment before withdrawing his arm and moved away from her and stood waiting. She knew what he was waiting for and slowly she went to him. She stood before him looking into his dark eyes willing him to give but his look of grim determination warned her that her surrender would have to be complete for he would accept nothing less. The battle of their eyes was almost as fierce as had been the battle of their swords but it could not last. The Maid dropped her eyes and sank to her knees before him, sword laid across her palms as she raised them in a sign of her surrender to him.

The Lord of light and shade stood as though carved in stone looking down in triumph at the small figure below him. Then as they watched he knelt down in wonderment his breathing still ragged from the excitement that coursed through his veins, slowly he raised her face to his and cupping it with his hands his thumbs caressing away her tears he bent his head and gently kissed her. As their lips touched the ground shook and lightening split the sky, for a moment the watchers could have sworn that three people stood joined in the circle of blinding light then it disappeared. There where the three had stood was one, the true king of all the land. And that my friends is how one became three and three became one in the first circle. I bid you all sweet dreams."

With that she flicked her hand forward, there was a puff of smoke, a flash of light and the large grandfather clock boomed a sonorous five booms, strangely they had not heard it all evening. The company began to wend it's weary way to where ever they had a bed. Ards was helping the housekeeper to tidy up, the master sat back his eyes gazing at the dying embers of the fire. Noll too had much to think on but he glanced down to where Kate had sat and reached over to touch his friends arm. The master followed his nod and smiled for there lay the diminutive storyteller curled on her cushions for all the world like the dormouse at some surreal madhatter's party aye thought the master perhaps we are all a little mad tonight.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Jun 06 - 07:44 PM

Should we ask why these tales are so enduring?

Should we also ask why a librarian and folklorist might write "Scotch" (which is a drink) when plainly "Scottish" or "Scots" is more appropriate?


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Bonecruncher
Date: 08 Jun 06 - 08:22 PM

Could Rapaire please give us the author of the poem in his/her post of 29 April 06, 8.46 PM ?
I remember reading this poem many years ago but would like the author, if possible.
Colyn.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 08 Jun 06 - 08:30 PM

Richard:

Because, as I've explained before, it is a perfectly correct term; though certainly old-fashioned and on its way out of general usage. Although it's best avoided nowadays (because it annoys people) it isn't "wrong".

"Bonecruncher":

William Allingham's poem has been posted here before; once, I suspect, by me. A mutilated version is in the DT under another (wrong) title. The onsite search engine (at the top of every page here) will find it for you if you ask it nicely.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Bonecruncher
Date: 09 Jun 06 - 08:25 PM

Many thanks for your help, Malcolm.
Colyn.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: LadyJean
Date: 10 Jun 06 - 01:02 AM

Just to give a good friend a plug, Sarah Zettel, who sometimes stops by Mudcat to do a little research has a new book out, "For Camelot's Honor", featuring a very well researched visit to the realm of Faerie.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: Fiolar
Date: 10 Jun 06 - 09:06 AM

Cllr: Referring to an earlier posting. The Irish word "Ban"(bawn) meaning "white" is never used in the context you mentioned. "Bean" (ban) and "Sidhe" (shee) always mean "fairy woman". In any case in the Irish language, the adjective almost always follows the noun.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: keberoxu
Date: 17 Jan 16 - 04:55 PM

Morgan Llywelyn, the Celtic author whose childhood was divided between the U.S. and Ireland, has written many books on Celtic folklore. I had never heard of her until you Mudcatters posted messages about her books.

Her latest book just came out, January 2016.
"Only The Stones Survive" focuses on the arrival of the continental Milesians, and their encounters with the Iverni, the Fir Bolg, and the Tuatha de Danaan. The decision is made, in the timeline of this book, by the De Danaan to become the Sidhe, and Llywelyn shows them making this decision during a council meeting before a battle with the Milesians.

The speculation that goes into this account will attract some readers and repel others. Llywelyn includes a bibliography at the end for her more speculative source material.

So this is Llywelyn's personal re-working of the material from the old legends preserved in Gaelic manuscripts. Some of this story she has touched on in previous books, especially "Bard" which has more about the sons of the Mil in continental Europe. There have been hints earlier still, in Llywelyn's books "Druids" and "The Greener Shore."

Ireland itself becomes a character in the story, which is typical of Llywelyn with her sense of atmosphere and detail. Some memorable moments feature the Hill of Tara and the Stone of Destiny.


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Subject: RE: folklore: The Sidhe
From: MrsDeadlyhen
Date: 19 Jan 16 - 07:51 AM

People reading this thread may well be interested in the 2012 publication "The Otherworld- Music & Song from Irish Tradition" compiled and edited by Rionach uí Ógáin and Tom Sherlock.

The book, with two accompanying compact discs of music, song and lore, examines aspects of the enduring belief and fascination which the Irish imagination has with supernatural beings, encounters and occurrences as represented in song and music. There are 92 black and while photographs and much of the material is drawn from the archives of the National Folklore Collection of Ireland. The book is published by Comhairle Bhéaloideas Éireann/The Folklore of Ireland Council and is available through Amazon or through http://www.comhairlebheal.ie/


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