and the Fairies
A long time ago – so the
legend goes – a blacksmith lived high on the Rhinns of Islay, with fine
views across Loch Indaal to Bowmore.
His one son laboured
hard with him in his forge.
Suddenly, the son
fell ill. He lay on his bed, getting thinner, but eating more and more. No
one knew what was wrong. One day, an old man famous for his wisdom walked
into the forge, and over a dram of old Bowmore whisky, the smith told him
about his son.
‘It is not your son you
have got!’ the old man cried immediately. ‘Evil fairies have taken him to
the fairy hill, leaving a changeling - a fairy impostor - in his place!
But fear not, I’ll help you
On the next full moon, he
said, the fairy hill would be open. He told the smith to approach on that
night, armed with a dagger and a cockerel that would crow loudly and
readily. The smith did so, and drew near the fairy hill in the moonlight.
He approached the entrance, and following the old man’s instructions,
thrust the dagger into it, to stop it closing on him. The fairies shrieked
when he entered, furious he had dared enter their realm. But he saw his
son labouring at the fairy forge and cried
‘I want my son and I will
not go without him!’
The fairies cackled loudly
at this, maddening the cockerel. It flapped its wings wildly and crowed
loud and long – incensing the fairies further. They seized the smith and
his son, threw them out of the hill and flung the dagger after them. The
hillside closed over. And from that day on, the smith and his son laboured
at their forge, creating wonderful weapons, the like of which had never
been seen beyond the fairy realm.
Legend Tin Box -
This Limited Edition Tin illustrates
an artist's interpretation of the Legend of the Blacksmith and the
Fairies, based on a story from Iain Og Ile, JF Campbell of Islay's
‘Popular Tales of the West
Highlands, Vol 1’.
From this design no
Italian version has been produced.