The Phynnodderee is defined by Cregeen 1 as a "satyr," and he quotes the following text to show that his name is used in the Manx Bible in that sense:--Hig beishtyn oaldey yn aasagh dy cheilley marish beishtyn oaldey yn ellan, as nee yn phynnodderree gyllagh da e heshey: "The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow" (Isaiah 34, 14). The popular idea of the Phynnodderee is that he is a fallen Fairy, and that in appearance he is something between a man and a beast, being covered with black shaggy hair and having fiery eyes. Many stories are related by the Manx peasants of his prodigious strength. He may be compared with the Gruagach, a creature about whom Campbell writes as follows:--"The Gruagach was supposed to be a Druid or Magician who had fallen from his high estate, and had become a strange hairy creature." The following story is told about one of these:--"The small island of Inch, near Easdale, is inhabited by a brownie, which has followed the MacDougalls of Ardincaple for ages, and takes a great interest in them. He takes care of their cattle in that island night and day, unless the dairy-maid, when there in summer with the milk cattle, neglects to leave warm milk for him at night in a knocking- stone in the cave, where she and the herd live during their stay in the island. Should this perquisite be for a night forgot, they will be sure in the morning to find one of the cattle fallen over the rocks with which the place abounds. It is a question whether the brownie has not a friend with whom he shares the contents of the stone, which will, I daresay, hold from two to three Scotch pints."
The following account is given of the Phynnodderee in prose and verse by Mrs E. S. Craven Green:--"Once upon a day, an Elfin Knight fell in love with one of the daughters of Mann, as she sat in her bowery home beneath the blue tree of Glen Aldyn. Offering to abandon the Fairies for a domestic life with this sweet nymph, and absenting himself from Fairy-Court during the celebration of the 'Rehollys vooar yn ouyr,' or royal high harvest festival (kept by the Fairies with dancing in the merry Glen Rushen) he so offended the little people that the Elfin King expelled him from Fairy Hall, and cursed him with an undying existence on the Manx mountains in the form of a satyr,--thus metamorphosed he became a strange, sad, solitary wanderer, known as the Phynnodderee. We compassionate his misfortune, as it fell upon him in consequence of his true love for a Manx maiden."
The Glashtin or Glashan is defined by Cregeen 1 as "a goblin, a sprite." The popular idea of him is that he is a hairy goblin or sprite of somewhat similar characteristics to the Phynnodderee. He is said to frequent lonely spots, and is useful to man, or otherwise, as the caprice of the moment leads him. In addition to the above, we have Monsters called Tarroo-Ushtey, or "water-bull," and Cabbyl-Ushtey, or "water horse," sometimes called the Glashtin. These would seem to be analogous to the Irish Phooka, who is said to appear sometimes as a bull and sometimes as a horse, and to the Scandinavian Nykr, or Vatna-Hesir, "river-sprite" or "water horse." The Vatna-Hesir is supposed to live either in salt or fresh water, and to associate with ordinary cattle. In 1859 it was reported that an animal of this kind was to be seen in a field near Ballure Glen, and hundreds of people left Ramsey in order to catch a sight of it, but they were doomed to disappointment. The people about Glen Meay believed that the glen below the waterfall was haunted by the spirit of a man who one day met the Glashtin, or Cabbyl-Ushtey, and, thinking it was an ordinary horse, got upon its back, when it ran off and disappeared in the sea, and the rider was drowned.
Campbell says that in the Western Highlands and Islands, and the Isle of Man, there is a whole series of tales which relate to water-horses, and which show that people still firmly believe in their existence. He proceeds: "In Sutherland and elsewhere many believe that they have seen these fancied animals. I have been told of English sportsmen who went in pursuit of them, so circumstantial were the accounts of those who believed they had seen them. The witnesses are so numerous, and their testimony agrees so well that there must be some old deeply- rooted Celtic belief which clothes every dark object with the dreaded form of the each uisge. . . . The bay or grey horse grazes at the lake-side, and when he is mounted, rushes into the loch and devours his rider. His back lengthens to suit any number; men's hands stick to his skin; he is harnessed to a plough, and drags the team and the plough into the loch, and tears the horses to bits; he is killed and nothing remains but a
pool of water; he falls in love with a lady, and when he appears as a man and lays his head on her knee to be dressed, the frightened lady finds him out by the sand in his hair . . . and when he sleeps she makes her escape. He appears as an old woman, and is put to bed with a bevy of damsels in a mountain shealing, and he sucks the blood of all, save one, who escapes over a burn, which, water-horse as he is, he dare not cross.--These tales and beliefs have led me to think that the old Celts must have had a destroying water-god, to whom the horse was sacred, or who had the form of a horse." He also says that the water-bull is known all over the islands. "There are numerous lakes where the water-bulls are supposed to exist, and their progeny are supposed to be easily known by their short ears. When the water-bull appears in a story he is generally represented as friendly to man."
We have also Spirits or Fiends, who are for the most part of evil and malicious natures, such as the Buggane, the famous Moddey Dhoo, or black dog, the Cughtagh, who was a spirit whose abode was in caves by the sea, and whose voice was the soughing of the wavelets, and the Keimagh who haunted the church-yard stiles (Keim) and guarded the graves. Giants, who performed superhuman feats, abound, as in all Celtic lands. The Mermaid, too, was well-known. She had no special name in Manx, being called simply Ben-varry, or "Woman of the sea," and had the same form, half fish, half woman, as represented in the tales of other countries. She was generally of an affectionate and gentle disposition, though terrible when angered, and she was greatly given to falling in love with young men. Of her mate, the Merman, Dooiney-varrey, "Man of the sea," or Phollinagh, as he is variously called, less is known. Such are the names of the various dwellers in Fairy-land, most of whose characteristics will be illustrated by the following stories:--
A gentleman having resolved to build a large house and offices on his property, a little above the base of Snafield Mountain, at a place called Tholt-e-will, caused the requisite quantity of stones to be quarried on the beach, but one immense block of white stone, which he was very desirous to have for a particular part of the intended building, could not be moved from the spot, resisted the united strength of all the men in the parish. To the utter astonishment, however, of all, not only this rock, but likewise the whole of the quarried stones, consisting of more than an hundred cart-loads, were in one night
conveyed from the shore to the site of the intended onstead by the indefatigable Phynnodderee, and, in confirmation of this wonderful feat, the white stone is yet pointed out to the curious visitor.
The gentleman for whom this very acceptable piece of work was performed, wishing to remunerate the naked Phynnodderee, caused a few articles of clothing to be laid down for him in his usual haunt. The hairy one, on perceiving the habiliments, lifted them up one by one, thus expressing his feelings in Manx:
"Cap for the head, alas! poor head,
Coat for the back, alas! poor back,
Breeches for the breech, alas! poor breech,
If these be all thine, thine cannot he the merry Glen of Rushen."
[paragraph continues] Having repeated these words, he departed with a melancholy wail, and now
[paragraph continues] Many of the old people lament the disappearance of the Phynnodderee, for they say, "There has not been a merry world since he lost his ground."
The Phynnodderee also cut down and gathered meadow grass, which would have been injured if allowed to remain exposed to the coming storm. On one occasion a farmer having expressed his displeasure with the Phynnodderee for not having cut his grass close enough to the ground, the hairy one in the following year allowed the dissatisfied farmer to cut it down himself, but went after him stubbing up the roots so fast that it was with difficulty the farmer escaped having his legs cut off by the angry sprite. For several years afterwards no person could be found to mow the meadow, until a fearless soldier from one of the garrisons at length undertook the task. He commenced in the centre of the field, and by cutting round as if on the edge of a circle, keeping one eye on the progress of the yiarn foldyragh, or scythe, while the other
[paragraph continues] He succeeded in finishing his task unmolested. This field, situate in the parish of Marown, hard by the ruins of the old Church of Saint Trinian's, is, from the circumstance just related, still called yn lheeanee rhunt, or the Round Meadow.--Train.
He is said to have borrowed a sickle and to have cut down two fields of corn in the parish of Bride in the course of one night. Among the many stories of his having brought sheep home for his farmer friends, there is an often told one of his having, on one occasion, brought home a hare among the rest, and of his having explained that the loghtan beg, or "little native-sheep" (i.e., the hare) had given him more trouble than all the rest, as it made him run three times round Snaefell before he caught it.--Oral.
In the following curious old song the doings of the Phynnodderee are thus commemorated:--
(The same in Manx.)
Yn Phynnodderree hie dy’n lheeanee,
Dy hroggal druight y vadran glass,
Luss-y-voidyn as luss-yn-ollee
V’eh dy stampey fo e ghaa chass.
V’eh sheeney magh er laare yn lheeanee,
Cheaayn faiyr er y cheu chiare,
Hug y yindys orrin nuirree,
As t’eh ny bleeaney foddey share.
V’eh sheeney magh er laare yn lheeanee,
Ghiarey yn lussey ayns y vlaa,
Lubber-lub ayns y curragh shuinagh,
Myr v’eh goll va ooilley craa.
Yn yiarn va echey y ghiarey ooilley,
Scryssey yn lheeanee rise y foaidyn,
As, my va rybbag faagit shassoo,
V’eh cur stampey lesh e voydyn,
In the same song the vengeance of the water-bull and the Glashtin is invoked upon some person unknown
Cred dy jinnagh yn tarroo-ushtey spottagh,
As yn Ghlashtin oo y ghoaill,
As yn Phynnodderee ny glionney, sprangagh
Clooisagh y yannoo jeed noi’n voal.
As an instance of the strength of the Phynnodderee, it was stated he met a blacksmith one night as he was going from his shop, and on accosting him, and requesting to shake hands, the blacksmith gave him hold of the iron sock of a plough which he happened to have with him. and the strange visitor instantly squeezed it just as though it were a piece of clay.
With regard to this creature, Campbell relates the following, which was told him by a woman who lived near the Calf of Man, who said:--
"Well, you see, in the ould times they used to be keeping the sheep in the folds, and one night an ould man forgot to put them in, and he sent out his son, and he came back and said the sheep were all folded, but there was a year-old lamb, oasht, playing the mischief with them, and that was the Glashan. You see they were very strong, and when they wanted a stack threshed, though it was a whole stack, the Glashan would have it threshed for them in one night. And they were running after the women. There was one of them once caught a girl, and had a hould of her by the dress, and he sat down and he fell asleep, and then she cut away all the dress, you see, round about, this way, and left it in his fist, and ran away; and when he awoke, he threw what he had over his shoulder, this way, and he said something in Manx. Well, you see, one night the ould fellow sent all the women to bed, and he put on a cap and a woman's dress, and he sat down by the fire, and he began to spin; and the young Glashans they came in, and they began saying something in Manx that means 'Are you turning the wheel? are you trying the reel?' Well. the ould Glashan he was outside, and he knew better than the young ones; he knew it was the ould fellow himself, and he was telling them, but they did not mind him, and so the ould man threw a lot of hot turf, you see it was the turf they burned then, over them, and burned them; and the old one said (something in Manx). You'll not understand that now?" "Yes I do, pretty nearly." "Ah, well, and the Glashans went away, and never came back any more." "Have you many stories like that, guid wife?" "Ah!" said she, "there were plenty of people that could tell those stories once. When I was a little girl I used to hear them telling them in Manx over the fire at night; but people is so changed with pride now that they care for nothing."
In commenting on the Glashan story, he says "Now, here is a story which is all over the Highlands in various shapes. Sometimes it is a Brollichan, son of the Fuath, or a young water-horse transformed into the likeness of a man, which attacks a lonely woman and gets burned or scalded, and goes away to his friends outside. . . . The Glashan, as I found out afterwards, frequented neighbouring farms till within a very late period."
Among the prodigies of Nature, I know none which more justly may be called so, at least, of those which I am convinced of the truth of, than that of the Water Bull, an amphibious creature which takes its name from the so great resemblance it has of that beast, that many of the people, having seen him in a field, have not distinguished him from one of the more natural species. A neighbour of mine, who kept cattle, had his fields very much infested with this animal, by which he had lost several cows; he, therefore, placed a man continually to watch, who bringing him word that a strange bull was among the cows, he doubted not but it was the Water Bull; and having called a good number of lusty men to his assistance, who were all armed with great poles, pitch forks, and other weapons proper to defend themselves, and be the death of this dangerous enemy, they went to the place where they were told he was, and ran altogether at him; but he was too nimble for their pursuit; and after tiring them over mountains and rocks, and a great space of stony ground, he took a river, and avoided any further chase by diving down into it, though every now and then he would show his head above water, as if to mock their skill.--Waldron.
Another account of the Tarroo-Ushtey was obtained more than a hundred years later
A few years ago, the farmer of Slieu Mayll, in the Parish of Onchan, was, on a Sunday evening, returning home from a place of worship, when at the garee of Slegaby, a wild looking animal, with large eyes, sparkling like fire, crossed the road before him and went flapping away. This he knew to be a Tarroo-Ushtey, for his father had seen one at nearly the same place. Over the back of this animal he broke his walking stick-so lazy was it to get out of his way. This man's brother had also seen a Tarroo-Ushtey, at Lhanjaghyn, in the same neighbourhood. When proceeding to the field, very early one morning in the month of June, to let the cattle out to feed
before the heat of the day came on, he saw a Water Bull standing outside the fold. When the bull that was within with the cattle, perceived him, he instantly broke through the fence and ran at him, roaring and tearing up the ground with his feet; but the Tarroo-Ushtey scampered away, seeming quite unconcerned, and leaping over an adjoining precipice, plunged into deep water, and after swimming about a little, evidently amusing himself, he gave a loud bellow and disappeared .--Train.
This monster was also to be met with, according to Macculloch's Description of the Western Isles, in Loch Awe and Loch Rannoch. Campbell, in his tales of the West Highlands, says, "There are numerous lakes where Water Bulls are supposed to exist, and their progeny are supposed to be easily known by their short ears. He is generally represented as friendly to man. His name in Skye is tarbh eithre."
Was the most notorious of these fiends in Man. The following story is told of him:--This religious edifice (St. Trinian's) is said to have been erected in fulfilment of a vow made by a person when in a hurricane at sea, but, according to tradition, it was never finished. This was through the malice of a mischievous Buggane, or evil spirit, who, for want of better employment, amused himself with tossing the roof to the ground, as often as it was on the eve of being finished, accompanying his achievement with a loud fiendish laugh of satisfaction. The only attempt to counteract this singular propensity of the evil one, which tradition has conveyed to us, was made by Timothy, a tailor of great pretentions to sanctity of character. On the occasion alluded to, the roof of St. Trinian's Church was, as usual, nearly finished, when the valorous tailor undertook to make a pair of breeches under it, before the Buggane could commence his old trick. He accordingly seated himself in the chancel, and began to work in great haste; but ere he had completed his job, the head of the frightful Buggane rose out of the ground before him, and addressed him thus--"Do you see my great head, large eyes, and long teeth?" "Hee! Hee!" that is, "Yes! yes!" replied the tailor, at the same time stitching with all his might, and without raising his eyes from his work. The Buggane, still rising slowly out of the ground, cried in a more angry voice than before, "Do you see my great body, large hands, and long nails?" "Hee!, Hee!" rejoined Tim, as before, but continuing to pull out with all his strength. The Buggane having now risen wholly from the ground, inquired in a terrified voice, "Do you see my great limbs, large feet, and long ------?" but ere he could utter the last word, the tailor put
the finishing stitch into the breeches, and jumped out of the Church, just as the roof fell in with a crash. The fiendish laugh of the Buggane arose behind him, as he bounded off in a flight, to which terror lent its utmost speed. Looking behind, he saw the frightful spectacle close upon his heels, with extended jaws, as if to swallow him alive. To escape its fury Timothy leaped into consecrated ground, where, happily, the Buggane had not power to follow; but, as if determined to punish him for his temerity, the angry sprite lifted its great head from its body, and with great force pitched it to the feet of the tailor, where it exploded like a bomb shell. Wonderful to relate, the adventurous Timothy was unscathed; but the Church of St. Trinian remained without a roof.--Train.
Another Buggane is said to haunt the precipitous mountain of Slieauwhallian, whence his screams are sometimes heard; but a third fiend, of similar origin, who was formerly supposed to frequent the Gob-ny-scuit, "mouth of the spout," a small waterfall, in the Parish of Maughold, has disappeared. Terrible wailings were heard at times from this unfortunate spirit. Even the great fairy doctor of Ballawhane (Teare) had failed to lay it.
But about 50 years ago a Manxman of a scientific and inquiring mind noticed on examining the rock, over which the water fell, that these peculiar noises proceeded from it only when the wind was blowing from a certain point. Further examination showed a narrow cleft in the rock below the fall through which the wind blew and caused the sound. Thus was the Buggane disposed of!--Oral.
Whence! and what art thou?--Milton.
Through one of the old churches in Peel Castle, there was formerly a passage to the apartment belonging to the Captain of the Guard, but it is now closed up. An apparition, called in the Manx language, "The Mauthe Doo," in the shape of a large black spaniel with curled shaggy hair, was used to haunt Peel Castle; and has been frequently seen in every room, but particularly in the Guard Chamber, where, as soon as candles were lighted, it came and lay down before the fire in the presence of all the soldiers, who at length, by being so much accustomed to the sight of it, lost great part of the terror they were seized with at its first appearance. They still, however, retained a certain awe, as believing it was an evil spirit, which only waited permission to do them hurt, and for that reason forbore swearing and all profane discourse while in its company. But though they endured the shock of such a guest when altogether in a body, none cared to be left alone with it. It being the custom,
therefore, for one of the soldiers to lock the gates of the Castle at a certain hour, and carry the keys to the Captain, to whose apartment, as I said before, the way led through a church, they agreed among themselves, that whoever was to succeed the ensuing night, his fellow in this errand should accompany him that went first, and, by this means, no man would be exposed singly to the danger; for I forgot to mention that the Mauthe Doo was always seen to come from that passage at the close of day, and return to it again as soon as the morning dawned, which made them look on this place as its peculiar residence. One night, a fellow being drunk, and by the strength of his liquor rendered more daring than ordinary, laughed at the simplicity of his companions, and, although it was not his turn to go with the keys, would needs take this office upon himself to testify his courage. All the soldiers endeavoured to dissuade him, but the more they said, the more resolute he seemed, and swore that he desired nothing more than that Mauthe Doo would follow him, as it had done the others, for he would try if it were Dog or Devil. After having talked in a very reprobate manner for some time, he snatched up the keys and went out of the Guard-room. In some time after his departure, a great noise was heard, and no one had the boldness to see what had occasioned it, till the adventurer returning, they demanded the knowledge of him; but as loud and noisy as he had been at leaving them, he was now become sober and silent enough, for he was never heard to speak more; and though all the time he lived, which was three days, he was entreated by all who came near him, either to speak, or if he could not do that, to make some signs, by which they might understand what had happened to him, yet nothing intelligible could be got from him, only that, by the distortion of his limbs and features, it might be guessed that he died in agonies more than is common in a natural death. The Mauthe Doo was, however, never seen after in the Castle, nor would anyone attempt to go through that passage, for which reason it was closed up, and another way made.--This happened about 1666.--Waldron.
"Phantom dogs," says Campbell, "abound in Celtic stories." In many of them the hound or dog plays an important part. "Sometimes he befriends his master, at other times he appears to have something diabolical about him; it seems as if his real honest nature had overcome a deeply-rooted prejudice, for there is much which savours of detestation, as well as of strong affection. Dog, or son of the dog, is a term of abuse in Gaelic as elsewhere, though cuilein is a form of endearment, and the hound is figured beside his master or at his feet, on many a tombstone in the Western Isles. Hounds are mentioned in Gaelic poetry and Gaelic tales, and in the earliest accounts of the Western Isles."
These is an apartment in Castle Rushen "which has never been opened in the memory of man." The persons belonging to the Castle are very cautious in giving any reason for it; but the natives assign this, "that there is something of enchantment in it." They tell you that the Castle was at first inhabited by fairies, and afterwards by giants, who continued in possession of it till the days of Merlin, who, by force of magic, dislodged the greatest part of them, and bound the rest in spells, which they believe will be indissoluble to the end of the world. For proof of this, they tell you a very odd story. They say there are a great number of fine apartments underground, exceeding in magnificence any of the upper rooms. Several men of more than ordinary courage have, in former times, ventured down to explore the secrets of this subterraneous dwelling-place, but none of them ever returned to give an account of what they saw; it was, therefore, judged convenient that all the passes to it should be kept continually shut, that no more might suffer by their temerity.
About some fifty or fifty-five years since (1670), a person who had an uncommon boldness and resolution, never left soliciting permission of those who had the power to grant it, to visit these dark abodes. In fine, he obtained his request, went down, and returned by help of a clue of packthread, which he took with him, which no man before himself had ever done, and brought this amazing discovery. That, after having passed through a great number of vaults, he came into a long narrow place, which the further he penetrated, he perceived he went more and more on a descent, till having travelled, as near as he could guess, for the space of a mile, he began to see a little gleam of light, which, though it seemed to come from a vast distance, yet was the most delightful sight he had ever beheld in his life. Having at length come to the end of that lane of darkness, he perceived a very large and magnificent house, illuminated with a great many candles, whence proceeded the light just now mentioned. Having, before he began this expedition, well fortified himself with brandy, he had courage enough to knock at the door, which a servant, at the third knock, having opened, asked him what he wanted. "I would go as far as I can," replied our adventurer, "be so kind, therefore, to direct me how to accomplish my design, for I see no passage but that dark cavern through which I came." The servant told him he must go through that house, and accordingly led him through a long entry, and out at the back door. He then walked a considerable way, and at last he beheld another house, more magnificent than the first, and the windows being all open, discovered innumerable lamps burning in every
room. Here he designed also to knock, but had the curiosity to step on a little bank which commanded a low parlour; on looking in, he beheld a vast table in the middle of the room of black marble, and on it, extended at full length, a man, or rather, monster; for, by his account, he could not be less than fourteen feet long, and ten or eleven round the body. This prodigious fabrick lay as if sleeping, with his head on a book, and a sword by him, of a size answerable to the hand which it is supposed made use of it. This sight was more terrifying to the traveller than all the dark and dreary mansions he had passed through in his arrival to it. He resolved, therefore, not to attempt entrance into a place inhabited by persons of that unequal stature, and made the best of his way back to the other house, where the same servant re-conducted him, and informed him that if he had knocked at the second door, he would have seen company enough, but never could have returned, on which he desired to know what place it was, and by whom possessed; but the other replied that these things were not to be revealed. He then took his leave, and by the same dark passage got into the vaults, and soon after once more ascended to the light of the sun.--Waldron.
Castle Rushen has long been famous in the estimation of the natives for its subterraneous passages, and there are individuals amongst them who still believe that they lead to a beautiful country underground, inhabited by giants. Many attempts, they say, have been made to explore these passages, but they have been generally unsuccessful. Once, however, a number banded themselves together, and, having armed themselves and provided torches, they descended. After proceeding some way, they came across an old man of great size, with a long beard, and blind, sitting on a rock as if fixed there. He, hearing them approach, inquired of them as to the state of the Island, and at last asked one to put forth his hand, on which one of them presented him with a ploughshare, when the old giant squeezed the iron together with the greatest ease, exclaiming at the same time, "There are yet men in the Isle of Man."--W. Harrison.
Once upon a time there landed at The Lhane a number of Danes, who took possession of that part of the Island. Amongst them was a huge monster of a man with three heads, who officiated as their parson, and who was promptly appointed by them to the Rectory of Andreas, which chanced to be vacant at that time. He soon began to extort all he could from the people, making his bands for the tithe corn three times larger
than was customary, and taking the "double penny" for every thing. For a long time he went on in this fashion, till they got used to it, and, consequently, did not grumble so much as at first. Indeed, they rather began to like him, as he often gave them a hand at busy times, when the men were for the most part away at the fishing, and was always ready to do them a good turn. So things went on till his death, when, in accordance with his wish, he was carried to the top of Karrin, and buried there under a big cairn. A long time after this, a man who had heard about this three-headed creature from the old people, and who was consumed with a desire to see him, began to open his grave. He had not dug very far, however, when he was seized with a great pain in his back, which compelled him to leave off. He managed to get home, but in three days he was dead. Since then no one has ventured to disturb the giant's remains. They say that since the days of the giant the parson of Andreas has always had three times more pay than the rest.--Oral.
The title at least of the following is clearly derived from the well known English tale: There was once a poor woman who lived in a secluded glen on the eastern side of Slieau-ny-Farrane. Her husband was a fisherman, who was frequently absent from home for long periods. The wife had, consequently, not only to attend to domestic matters, but to see after the children as well, so you may he sure the boys were left to do much as they pleased. The eldest of them, Juan, was growing into a stout lad, who was always trying to do some great feat or other. Many were the battles that he and the old gander had, to see who should be the master. As he grew bigger he extended his attacks to the cattle, so that when they saw him coming they endeavoured to get out of the way of the big stick he always carried with him. In vain did his father scold him, when he came home from the fishing on a Saturday night, for he only became the more daring. At last he began to use his stick or. all, whether man or beast, that he met in those parts,. and he became such a terror that they gave him the name of Jack the Giant Killer. His great strength became so notorious that many came from Laxey side to try conclusions with him, but they were always worsted. He kept his old mother well supplied with purrs, as they called the wild swine that were formerly found in the mountains. Now, there was an old boar purr, called the Purr Mooar, that had long been a terror to the district, so much so that it was not considered safe for any one to go alone over the Rheast, and through Druidale. Even the
shepherds with their dogs were unwilling to face him. This purr Jack determined to kill, so he armed himself with his thickest stick, and set out in search of him. After travelling a considerable distance, he made his way down to a deep glen, through which time water was tumbling amongst the rocks below the Crammag, where he discovered the boar, it being a sultry day, luxuriating in the water. No sooner did he see Jack than he raised himself up, and, with a terrible roar, rushed out upon him. Jack, nothing daunted, received him with a severe blow upon the fore legs, which caused him to roll over. Getting up again, he rushed once more at Jack, who belaboured him with many a heavy blow, but unfortunately the boar managed to inflict a deep wound in Jack's thigh, which laid it open to the bone. Still the conflict went on till both were well-nigh exhausted and faint from loss of blood, till at last Jack with one terrible blow shattered the boar's head, and laid him dead at his feet. It was with great difficulty that he managed to crawl home, and it was long before his wounds, which were said to be of a poisonous nature, healed, and, even when they had healed, he was obliged to go about with a crutch for the rest of his life. Thus was the neighbourhood rid of two troubles--Jack and the Purr Mooar--for the one was now harmless and the other dead. This feat was commemorated in the saying, "Jack the Giant Killer, varr a vuc (i.e., killed a pig) in the river."--Oral.
There are many other tales about giants, the accuracy of which is proved to the satisfaction of the tellers by the existence of large stones, which are pointed out in various places as having been hurled by them. There is one in particular, near Jurby Church, which is said to have been thrown by a giant from one of the mountains after a companion who had insulted him, but who contrived to escape by swimming from Jurby to Scotland. The numerous detached rocks at the southern end of Greeba are satisfactorily accounted for as being the contents of a creel which a giant had upset there. There was another giant, said to have been contemporary with St. Patrick, who by his strength and ferocity became the terror of the whole Island. He used to transport himself with great ease across the gorge between Peel Castle and Contrary Head, which is now bridged by a breakwater. On one occasion, either for amusement or in a fit of rage, he lifted a large block of granite from the Castle rock, and, though several tons weight, tossed it with the greatest ease against the acclivity of the opposite hill, about half a mile distant, where it is to be seen to this day, with a print of his hand on it. In support of such legends as these the Manx peasantry formerly showed strangers
the giant's casting stones, which are two huge monoliths of clay-slate, each ten feet high, between Port St. Mary and Port Erin; the Fairy Hill; the giant's grave at the foot of South Barrule; and a green mound, thirty yards long, outside the walls of Peel Castle, having the same name.
Waldron was surprised to find that the Manx actually believed in mermaids, and he gave several stories that they told him about them, as follows:--"During the time that Oliver Cromwell usurped the Government of England, few ships resorted to this Island, and that uninterruption and solitude of the sea gave the mermen and mermaids (who are enemies to any company but those of their own species) frequent opportunities of visiting the shore, where, in moonlight nights, they have been seen. to sit, combing their heads and playing with each other; but as soon as they perceived anybody coming near them, jumped into the water, and were out of sight immediately. Some people, who lived near the coast, having observed their behaviour, spread large nets made of small but very strong cords upon the ground, and watched at a convenient distance for their approach. The night they had laid this snare but one happened to come, who was no sooner sat down than those who held the strings of the net drew them with a sudden jerk, and enclosed their prize beyond all possibility of escaping. On opening the net, and examining their captive, by the largeness of her breasts and the beauty of her complexion, it was found to be a female. Nothing could be more lovely, more exactly formed in all parts above the waist, resembling a complete young woman, but below that all fish with fins and a huge spreading tail. She was carried to a house, and used very tenderly, nothing but liberty being denied. But though they set before her the best provision the place afforded, she would not be prevailed on to eat or drink, neither could they get a word from her, tho’ they knew these creatures were not without the gift of speech, having heard them talk to each other, when sitting regaling themselves on the seaside. They kept her in this manner three days, but perceiving she began to look very ill with fasting, and fearing some calamity would befall the Island if they should keep her till she died, they agreed to let her return to the element she liked best, and the third night set open their door, which, as soon as she beheld, she raised herself from the place where she was then lying, and glided, with incredible swiftness, on her tail
to the seaside. They followed at a distance, and saw her plunge into the water, where she was met by a great number of her own species, one of whom asked what she had observed among the people of the earth,--"Nothing very wonderful," answered she, "but that they are so very ignorant as to throw away the water they have boiled eggs in."
A very beautiful mermaid became so much enamoured of a young man who used to tend his sheep upon the rocks, that she would frequently sit down by him, bring him pieces of coral, fine pearls, and what were yet greater curiosities, and of infinitely more value, had they fallen into the hands of a person who knew their worth, shells of various forms and figures, and so glorious in their colour and shine, that they even dazzled the eye that looked upon them. Her presents were accompanied with smiles, pattings of the cheek, and all the marks of a most sincere and tender passion. One day throwing her arms more than ordinarily eagerly about him, he began to be frightened that she had a design to draw him into the sea, and struggled till he disengaged himself, and then ran a good many paces from her; which behaviour she resented so highly, it seems, that she took up a stone, and after throwing it at him, glided into her more proper element, and was never seen on land again. But the poor youth, though but slightly hit with the stone, felt from that moment so excessive a pain in his bowels, that the cry was never out of his mouth for seven days, at the end of which he died.--Waldron.
There is a tradition that a mermaid becoming enamoured of a young man of extraordinary beauty, took an opportunity of meeting him one day as he walked on the shore, and opened her passion to him, but was received with coldness occasioned by his horror and surprise at her appearance. This, however, was so misconstrued by the sea lady, that, in revenge for his treatment of her, she punished the whole Island, by covering it with mist; so that all who attempted to carry on any commerce with it, either never arrived at it, but wandered up and down
the sea, or were on a sudden wrecked upon its cliffs, till the incantatory spell or pishag, as the Manks say, was broken by the fishermen stranded there, by whom notice was given to the people of their country, who sent ships in order to make a further discovery. On their landing, they had a fierce encounter with the little people, and having got the better of them, possessed themselves of Castle Rushen, and by degrees of the whole Island.--(Collins in a note to his "Ode to Liberty.")
Of the dwellings of these creatures under the sea, and of the treasure they have accumulated there, many tales are told. The notion of a land under the waves is very widely spread, and common to many nations. Manxmen formerly .asserted that a splendid city, with many towers and gilded minarets, once stood near Langness, on a spot now covered by the sea, which, in peculiar states of the atmosphere, might have been occasionally seen in all its former magnificence.
Waldron gives the following marvellous account of dwellings under the sea, stocked with treasure, which he was assured had been attested by a whole ship's crew, and happened in the memory of some then living, but at which, nevertheless, "he was exceedingly surprised":--
There was, about some forty or fifty years since (1676), a project set on foot for searching for treasures in the sea. Vessels were got ready, and machines made of glass, and cased with a thick, tough leather, to let the person down who was to dive for the wealth. One of these ships happening to sail near to the Isle of Man, and having heard that great persons had formerly taken refuge there, imagined there could not be a more likely part of the ocean to afford the gain they were in search of, than this. They, therefore, let down the machine, and in it the person who had undertaken to go on this expedition; they let him down by a vast length of rope, but he still plucking it, which was the sign for those above to increase the quantity, they continued to do so, till they knew he must be descended an infinite number of fathoms. In fine, he gave the signal so long, that at last they found themselves out of cord their whole stock being too little for his capacious inquisition. A very skilful mathematician being on board, said that he knew by the proportion of the line which was let down, he must have descended from the surface of the waters more than twice the number of leagues that the moon is computed to be distant from the earth. But having, as I said, no more cord, they were obliged to turn the wheel, which, by degrees, brought him up
again; at their opening the machine, and taking him out, he appeared very much troubled, that his journey had so soon been stopped, at a period, telling them, that could he have gone a little further he should have brought discoveries well worth the search. It is not to be supposed but everybody was impatient to be informed of what kind they were, and being all gathered about him on the main deck, as soon as he had recruited himself with a hearty swill of brandy, he began to relate in this manner:--After I had passed the region of fishes, I descended into a pure element-clear as the air in the serenest and most unclouded day, through which, as I passed, I saw the bottom of the watery world, paved with coral and a shining kind of pebbles, which glittered like the sunbeams reflected on a glass. I longed to tread the delightful paths, and never felt more exquisite delight, than when the machine I was enclosed in grazed upon it. On looking through the little windows of my prison, I saw large streets and squares on every side, ornamented with huge pyramids of crystal, not inferior in brightness to the finest diamonds; and the most beautiful buildings--not of stone, nor brick, but of mother of pearl, and embossed in various figures with shells of all colours. The passage which led to one of these magnificent apartments being open, I endeavoured with my whole strength to move my enclosure towards it, which I did, though with great difficulty, and very slowly. At last, however, I got entrance into a very spacious room, in the midst of which stood a large amber table, with several chairs round the same. The floor of it was composed of rough diamonds, topazes, emeralds, rubies, and pearls. Here I doubted not but to make my voyage as profitable as it was pleasant, for could I have brought with me but a few of these, they would have been of more value than all we could hope for in a thousand wrecks; but they were so closely wedged in, and so strongly cemented by time, that they were not to be unfastened. I saw several chains, carcanets, and rings, of all manner of precious stones, finely cut, and set after our manner, which, I suppose, had been the prize of the winds and waves. These were hanging loosely on the jasper walls, by strings made of rushes, which I might easily have taken down; but as I had edged myself within half a foot of them, I was unfortunately drawn back, through your want of line. In my return I met several comely mermen and beautiful mermaids, the inhabitants of this blissful realm, swiftly descending towards it, but they seemed frighted at my appearance, and glided at a distance from me, taking me, no doubt, for some monstrous and new created species.
Here he ended his account, but grew so melancholy, and so much enamoured of those regions he had visited, that he quite lost all relish for earthly pleasures, till continual pinings deprived him of his life; having no hope of ever descending there again, all design of prosecuting the diving project being soon after laid aside.
Stories of Apparitions and Spirits are common, as would naturally be expected, among such a imaginative people as the Manx. The following will suffice as specimens:--
Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn’d!--Shakspeare.
A mighty bustle they make of an apparition which, they say, haunts Castle Rushen, in the form of a woman, who was some years ago executed for the murder of her child. I have heard, not only persons who have been confined there for debt, but also the soldiers of the garrison, affirm they have seen it various times; but what I took most notice of, was the report of a gentleman, of whose good understanding, as well as veracity, I have a very great opinion. He told me, that happening to be abroad late one night, and caught in an excessive storm of wind and rain, he saw a woman stand before the Castle Gate, where being not the least shelter, it something surprised him, that any body, much less one of that sex, should not rather run to some little porch, or shed, of which there are several in Castletown, than choose to stand still exposed and alone, in such a dreadful tempest. His curiosity exciting him to draw nearer, that he might discover who it was that seemed so little to regard the fury of the elements, he perceived she retreated on his approach, and at last, he thought, went into the Castle, though the gates were shut; this obliging him to think he had seen a spirit, sent him home very much terrified; but the next day, relating his adventure to some people who lived in the Castle, and describing as near as he could the garb and stature of the apparition, they told him it was that of the woman above mentioned, who had been frequently seen, by the soldiers on guard, to pass in and out of the gates, as well as to walk through the rooms, though there was no visible means to enter. Though so familiar, to the eye, no person has yet, however, had the courage to speak to it, and as they say, a spirit has no power to reveal its mind without being conjured to do so in a proper manner, the reason of its being permitted to wander is unknown.--Waldron.
A clergyman, accustomed to pass some hours every evening in a field near his house, indulging in meditation and calling himself to an account for the transactions of the past day, was in this place one night, more than ordinarily wrapt in contemplation, he wandered, without thinking where he was, a considerable distance farther than it was usual for him to do and, as he told me, he knew not how far the deep musing he was in might have carried him, if it had not suddenly been interrupted by a noise, which, at first, he took to be the distant bellowing of a bull, but, as he listened more heedfully to it, found there was something more terrible in the sound than could proceed from that creature. He confessed to me that he was no less affrighted than surprised, especially when the noise coming still nearer, he imagined whatever it was that it proceeded from, it must pass him; he had, however, presence enough of mind, to place himself with his back to a hedge, where he fell on his knees, and began to pray to God, with all the vehemence so dreadful an occasion required. He had not been long in that position, before he beheld something in the form of a bull, but infinitely larger than ever he had seen in England, much less in Man, where time cattle are very small in general. The eyes, he said, seemed to shoot forth flames, and the running of it was with such force, that the ground shook under it, as in an earthquake. It made directly towards a little cottage, and there, after most horribly roaring, disappeared. The moon being then at the full, and shining in her utmost splendour, all these passages were perfectly visible to our amazed divine, who having finished his ejaculation, and given thanks to God for his preservation, went to the cottage, the owner of which, they told him, was that moment dead. The good old gentleman was loth to pass a censure which might be judged an uncharitable one; but the deceased having the character of a very ill liver, most people, who heard the story, were apt to imagine this terrible apparition came to attend his last moments.--Waldron.
Once upon a time there was a poor woman of very diminutive stature, who lived in the neighbourhood of Maughold Head. She earned her livelihood with her spinning wheel, "going upon the houses" to work with it. From her cheerful disposition and readiness to do a good turn at all times, she was always welcome. She received in payment her board and lodgings, and the "bit of pence." In this way she travelled and lived for a considerable length of time, and it became notorious that she had made "a purse." Whether it was on this account or not that she was
made away with, has never to this day been known; but certain it is she has been many times seen sitting on the side of Carraghan mountain with her wheel on her shoulder, and putting her head on her arm as if in great trouble. Well it is for those who have occasion to pass over this mountain that they do not come upon the apparition of this poor woman, for fear some dire calamity might befall them. A few years ago a person was returning to his home in the West Baldwin valley, about two o'clock in the afternoon, when he saw "the little woman" sitting on her favourite spot. As soon as he came in sight she rose and endeavoured to go away, but he, being determined to solve the mystery, started in pursuit with his dogs, and sent three other persons, one on each side, and one to the top of the mountain. The little woman, being thus surrounded, made many ineffectual attempts to escape, and at last came close to one of the men and the dogs. The latter could not be persuaded to touch her, but seemed in great trouble and shed tears. It had previously been noticed that, on reaching a small gill, she immediately vanished: and now, on reaching that spot, she disappeared, and has never been seen since. A man on the Northside afterwards affirmed that, on the same day, he had observed her hastening over North Barrule, in the direction of Maughold Head. The man who had been with the dogs and close to the woman, at once fell ill, and was not able to do any work for more than six months afterwards.--Jenkinson.
Not far from the Sound there is a sea cave, into which one may penetrate by boat when the weather is fine. It is called Ghaw kione doo, "Black Head Creek." It is remarkable from a weird story being attached to it, and also from the fact (?) of an inscription of some sort being sculptured above its entrance. My informant could not point out this inscription, but said he "had heard it was somewhere about." "Once upon a time" the cave was used by a pirate as a store-place for the spoils taken in his expeditions. When he last sailed away on an expedition, from which he never returned, he left one of his crew in charge of the cave and of the treasure therein. Whether he and his crew were overwhelmed by a storm, or were suspended from a gallows, the chronicler knew not; but he proceeded to relate that, after many years of waiting. the lonely guardian of the treasure cave disappeared also. "No doubt," continued my informant, "having been taken sick in the cave he died there." At any rate he was never seen again. "An old fisherman told me, said he, "that once while he was engaged in 'laying a bolk,' close to the cave, he was surprised to see a boat, manned
by six sailors in red caps, come towards land, and rowing to the mouth of the cave disappear therein. Curious to know what they were and from whence they came, he followed them into the cave, which has only one entrance, but found it quite empty."--F. Swinnerton.
A respectable landholder and his servant, in the neighbour hood of Spanish Head, were one day gathering their sheep, somewhere about forty years ago, when one of the best of them, to escape from a dog by which it was pursued, bounded into the mouth of that dark pit, he said, at the brink of which you were so lately standing with listless temerity. Being then young, and not easily daunted, I determined to descend for the purpose of recovering my loughtyn pet, notwithstanding the most urgent remonstrance on the part of my father, who was aware of many strange incidents that happened there to former adventurers. I caused myself to be let down, however, into the dark aperture in a basket attached to a rope, and every rope in the village was knotted, one to the end of another, and all used in lowering me into the pit, but just as I reached the bottom of it, I was mortified to hear the last bleat of my poor sheep, evidently struggling under the knife of the butcher. As I advanced through a spacious cavern, to a place whence the sound proceeded, I distinctly heard, in a neighbouring apartment, human voices in quick conversation, which, with the rattling of knives and forks, the drawing of corks, the decanting of liquor, and the uproarious noise which followed, tended to convince me that I was proceeding towards a company of bacchanalians, for whose gratification my poor sheep had probably been despatched. Lest, therefore, I should share the same fate, I made with all possible speed for the mouth of the cavern; but just as I had set my foot on the sward, as many angry sounds issued from the pit as if a pack of harriers had been uncoupled at my heels. My descent and retreat had evidently been discovered by the gentry below, but not till, thanks to Providence, I was out of their reach.--Train.
The disturbed spirit of a person shipwrecked on a rock adjacent to this coast, wanders about it still, and sometimes makes so terrible a yelling, that it is heard at an incredible
distance. They tell you that houses even shake with it; and that, not only mankind, but all the brute creation within hearing, tremble at the sound. But what serves very much to increase the shock is, that whenever it makes this extraordinary noise, it is a sure prediction of an approaching storm; nor does it ever happen, say they, but some ship or other splits, and its crew thrown up by the waves. At other times, the spirit cries out only, "Hoa! hoa! hoa!" with a voice little, if anything, louder than a human one.--Waldron.
52:1 Manx Dictionary.
54:1 Manx Dictionary.