Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fairy Dances and Oak Trees

Fairies and Oak Trees

With regard to the fairy rings, Jones held that the Bible alludes to them, Matt. xii. 43: ‘The fairies dance in circles in dry places; and the Scripture saith that the walk of evil spirits is in dry places.’ They favor the oak-tree, and the female oak especially, partly because of its more wide-spreading branches and deeper shade, partly because of the ‘superstitious use made of it beyond other trees’ in the days of the Druids. Formerly, it was dangerous to cut down a female oak in a fair dry place. ‘Some were said to lose their lives by it, by a strange aching pain which admitted of no remedy, as one of my ancestors did; but now that men have more knowledge and faith, this effect follows not.’ William Jenkins was for a long time the schoolmaster at Trefethin church, in Monmouthshire, and coming home late in the evening, as he usually did, he often saw the fairies under an oak within two or three fields from the church. He saw them more often on Friday evenings than [any other. At one time he went to examine the ground about this oak, and there he found the reddish circle wherein the fairies danced, ‘such as have often been seen under the female oak, called Brenhin-bren.’ They appeared more often to an uneven number of persons, as one, three, five, &c.; and oftener to men than to women. Thomas William Edmund, of Hafodafel, ‘an honest pious man, who often saw them,’ declared that they appeared with one bigger than the rest going before them in the company. They were also heard talking together in a noisy, jabbering way; but no one could distinguish the words. They seemed, however, to be a very disputatious race; insomuch, indeed, that there was a proverb in some parts of Wales to this effect: ‘Ni chytunant hwy mwy na Bendith eu Mamau,’ (They will no more agree than the fairies).