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Many legends of good and evil Fairies are still related by the country people of Mona's Isle; and those who care to inquire into the habits and customs of the Manx cottagers will see and hear much that will reward their curiosity. It is not the mere excursionist, visiting the Island for a summer holiday and keeping on the beaten track of sightseers, who will ever learn or see anything of these customs, but he who branches off the high road into the recesses of the mountain districts.
When gathering materials for the tale of the Communion Cup of Kirk Malew, I visited the Vicarage to ascertain, if possible, the date of the disappearance of the Fairy Silver Goblet, which Waldron in his "History" speaks of as being then in existence and in safe keeping in the Church. In the course of conversation on the lingering belief in Fairies, the Vicar
informed me that one of his own parishioners--a regular attendant at Church, and a well-to-do farmer--had lately expressed his implicit conviction that such people as fairies did frequent the Glen in which he lived; and in reply to the Parsons question, "Have you ever, in your life, seen a fairy?" he replied, "No! I can't exactly say I ever saw one; but I've smelt them often enough."
Sir Walter Scott, in his "Peveril of the Peak," gives an outline of the legend of the "Mough-dy-Dhoo," the Phantom Black Dog of Peel Castle; and in his notes he refers to others. Waldron, in his quaint "History of the Isle of Man," alludes to several legends, and relates a good deal that is interesting on the superstitions of the Manx people and their belief in Elves and Fairies.
To rescue from oblivion some of the legends that delighted my early years, and present them in an entertaining shape before the reader, has long been my wish; and if, by reading them, an interest in, and a desire to visit, the beautiful Isle of Man is created in any who now only know of its existence as an island somewhere in the Irish Sea, I shall not have written in vain.
I am indebted to the late JAMES BURMAN, Esq., F.R.A.S., Secretary to the Lieut.-Governor and the Council of the Island, to the late PAUL BRIDSON, Esq., Honorary Secretary to the Manx Society, and others, for many of the materials of these tales.
In the event of these tales being favourably received I shall be encouraged to repeat this experiment, as there are many more Legends of the Isle of Man that I am inclined to hope will be found both interesting and entertaining.
HIGHGATE, July, 1882.