THE PIXIES OF DARTMOOR.
THERE is a celebrated piskie haunt at Costellas in Cornwall (says Mrs Bray), where they have been seen sitting in a ring--the men smoking after .the most approved fashion of the Dutch burgomaster, and the women spinning, perhaps in emulation of the frugal vrow.
I never heard of this place. Like the rest of the "good people," piskies are fond of music, and the sound of their "harp and pipe and symphony," is occasionally heard at nightfall. It is said that a man once passing one of the piskie rings, and hearing them dancing and singing within it, threw a large stone into the midst of the circle, when the music at once ceased and a dreadful shriek arose.
The appearance of the pixies of Dartmoor is said to resemble that of a bale or bundle of rags. In this shape they decoy children to their unreal pleasure. A woman, on the northern borders of the moor, was returning home late on a dark evening, accompanied by two children, and carrying a third in her arms, when, on arriving at her own door, she found one missing. Her neighbours, with lanthorns, immediately set out in quest of the lost child; whom they found sitting under a large oak-tree, well known to be a favourite haunt of the pixies. He declared that he had been led away by two large bundles of rags, which had remained with him until the lights appeared, when they immediately vanished. [a]
The pixies of Dartmoor, notwithstanding their darker character, aided occasionally in household work. A washer-woman was one morning greatly surprised, on coming down-stairs, to find all her clothes neatly washed and folded. She watched the next evening, and observed a pixie in the act of performing this kind office for her: but she was ragged and mean in appearance, and Betty's gratitude was sufficiently great to- induce her to prepare a yellow petticoat and a red cap for the obliging pixie.
[a] For additional information respecting the pixies of the banks of the Tamar and the Tavy, the reader is referred to Mrs Bray's "Traditions, Legends, Superstitious, and Sketches of Devonshire."