BUT the Fairies of Scotland were not, even according to Mr. Cromek, uniformly benevolent. Woman and child abstraction was by no means uncommon with them, and the substitutes they provided were, in general, but little attractive.
A fine child at Caerlaveroc, in Nithsdale, was observed on the second day after its birth, and before it was baptised, to have become quite ill-favoured and deformed. Its yelling every night deprived the whole family of rest; it bit and tore its mother a breasts, and would lie still neither in the cradle nor the arms. The mother being one day obliged to go from home, left it in charge of the servant girl. The poor lass was sitting bemoaning herself--" Were it nae for thy girning face, I would knock the big, winnow the corn, and grun the meal."--" Lowse the cradle-band," said the child, "and tent the neighbours, and I'll work yere work." Up he started--the wind arose--the corn was chopped--the outlyers were foddered--the hand-mill moved around, as by instinct--and the knocking-mill did its work with amazing rapidity. The lass and child then rested and diverted themselves, till, on the approach of the mistress, it was restored to the cradle, and renewed its cries. The girl took the first opportunity of telling the adventure to her mistress.
"What'II we do with the wee diel?" said she. "I 'II work it a pirn," replied the lass. At midnight the chimney-top was covered up, and every chink and cranny stopped. The fire was blown till it was glowing hot, and the maid speedily undressed the child, and tossed him on the burning coals. He shrieked and yelled in the most dreadful manner, and in an instant the Fairies were heard moaning on every side, and rattling at the windows, door, and chimney. "In the name of God bring back the bairn," cried the lass. The window flew up, the real child was laid on the mother's lap, and the wee diel flew up the chimney laughing.