Stolen from the harvest field

Wed, 26 Feb 2020

An image by Mark Kinrade
An image by Mark Kinrade

A story from A. W. Moore's Folk Lore of the Isle of Man (1891), originally published by William Harrison:

The wife of a fisherman had to go into the harvest to help with the reaping, as there were very few hands, in consequence of so many being away at the fishing. She took her young child with her, which up to that time had not been christened, because of the absence of her husband, and placed it between two sheaves on the headland, taking the precaution to place an open pair of scissors across it, for fear the fairies should take the boght millish (poor, sweet thing), and leave one of their own bantlings in its place. She was engaged at the other end of the field, when, hearing great wailings, and thinking that something, had happened to the child, she hastened to the spot where she had placed it; but found that it was not there. Being half distracted with the fear of losing her infant, she ran towards the entrance of the field, from whence she saw two little people engaged in dragging the child between them. She at once rushed after them, seized the child, and carried it home. It was supposed that the scissors had slipped off, and thus left the child unprotected.

This story connects to an image in the project, Whispering in the trees: Images of Manx folklore by Mark Kinrade.