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A Fairy Story – 1910

Strabane Chronicle 12th March, 1910 p2

Tawnagh Sunset Photo: Norma Scheibe
Tawnagh Sunset
Photo: Norma Scheibe

A failing fringe of glimmering light was lying gently still,
Along the rise of Errigal, and Aileach’s princely hill
E’en yet the globe of golden fire low on the ocean’s breast,
Had all the waves round Arranmore in ruby vesture drest;
Into the West one lonely cloud went moving slowly by,
Then blushed to find itself alone in all the vaulted sky;
Within the dells the flowers slept, the shadows stretched afar,
And in the dark blue sleeping lake was seen the evening star.
No more the brighter tines of day the falling brook caress,
The thousand dyes that sunset flings upon the waves flew less,
When from the glens among the hills where all day long it slept,
Like ghost of some forgotten age, an errie vapour crept,
It moved adown the whin-clad braes, it lay upon the heath,
It curled around the copeswood lane, and haunted fort beneath.

The fishers down by the olden beach had watched, and then in fright,
They crossed themselves, and whispered low,
“‘Tis the fairies out tonight.”
They gathered round and told strange tales in voices hushed with awe,
Of when that mist came down before what men and women saw
Within the haunted fort and out upon the hawthorn brae,
Or on the bogland lone, if they perchance had gone astray,
Strange eerie rows of little folk unknown to mortal sight,
Around a flame by nought supplied, that beamed a bluish light.

Dunguaire, Kinvara Irish Independent, 1950
Dunguaire, Kinvara
Irish Independent, 1950

But strange to tell among those folk of other worlds than ours
Were some who faded from our earth in youth like summer flowers,
Faded and passed from life away, and sank among the dead;
But when the fishers told their tales Red Michael shook his head.

Red Michael never yet believed in witch or fairy sprite,
Or any shady thing that walks in the watches of the nights;
and he only said when he heard these tales,
“Such things one never sees,
I never yet could have believed in stories such as these.”
Red Michael was a fisherman as bold as fishers be,
He had one child, a rosy boy, as fair as eye could see,
And when the mist came down the hill and crept along the brae,
The child ran from his mother’s side out thro’ the waning day,
And coming from his labour done thro’ the mist acreeping round,
Red Michael found his little boy asleep upon the ground,
And cold and weary were his limbs, his eyes looked strangely grey
He caught a cold and from that hour the baby pined away.

Red Michael’s heart is sad and lone, bereft of hope and love,
His boy has hearkened to the call and left to go above.
“My boy’s in Heaven,” Red Michael cries,
“But, ah, my heart is lone!”
But the country people shake their heads,
“‘Tis the fairies have their own,”
But when he heard them speak he said,
“Such things man never sees,
I never yet could have believed in stories such as these.”

P.MacGill