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28 October 2014

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Folklore

You are in: Guernsey > History > Folklore > The Fairies Invade

Battle

The men prepare to defend their women.

The Fairies Invade

The fairy men want a beautiful wife so they invade Guernsey to find some. Read more and hear the story read by local historian the late Freda Wolley.

One of Guernsey's most well known fairy tales is a happy tale but with a violent sequel.

The first part of the story is about beautiful girl who found the little fairy king as he lay asleep under a hedge near Vazon Bay. When the green clothed elf opened his eyes and saw her he immediately fell in love with her.

He then persuaded her to come with him to his boat on the beach. Then his oarsmen pushed the boat out into the surf and they sailed off to fairyland where she became Queen.

According to Guernsey tradition Fairyland was situated 'in far-away England'.

'Return of the Fairies' as it could be called was a much less cheerful tale.

The Fairy people were so impressed by their new Queen that all the Fairy Bachelors decided to go and find themselves such lovely brides.

An expedition set out to Guernsey and landed in Vazon Bay near the spot that Michele had found the King.

As they made their way into the interior of the island they were seen by a cowherd. He saw them leave the cave near Houmet which is now known as Le Creux des Fees (Hollow of the Fairies).

The cowherd was quickly captured by the fairies and only set free on the condition that he went to the islanders and told them to hand over their women or they would taken by force.

The Guernsey men naturally refused the fairies and prepared to fight to protect their wives and daughters. Two men however ran and hid rather than fight.

The local men fought bravely but mortal men stood no chance against the power of the fairies and all were vanquished after a final stand on the slopes of St Peter Port Hill.

The fairy men then settled down with the Guernsey women who were forced to accept the situation.

After several years of domestic and agricultural pursuits the fairies were forced to leave as the rules of their people mean they have to return home after a certain time.

They left behind their wives and children and indigenous islanders are said to come from fairy stock. The high proportion of short dark people is seen as proof of this. Those who are local, tall and fair are seen as unreliable as they are the descendants of the men who ran away.

Tradition states this legend is based on an invasion by mercenaries in 1338 but to those into folklore the main interest is that the beliefs about fairies it shows are consistent through out Europe.

More Information

For more on this story and folklore in general try 'Folklore in Guernsey' by Marie De Garis - available at the Guille-Alles Library.

last updated: 02/05/2008 at 16:03
created: 28/10/2005

You are in: Guernsey > History > Folklore > The Fairies Invade

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