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22 cabin, and having told his wife, took to his bed. An alarm was instantly made; the news flew through the country, and at length reached the ears of Captain Millar. A visit was made to the fort, a survey of the spot disclosed the mystery – the crowbar had by chance hit upon the entrance to the cave and fell from the labourer’s hands into the antechamber. The Captain soon caused the passages to be opened and in a small cyclopean chamber the lost crowbar was recovered, and restored with much merriment to the stricken owner who soon recovered from the shock; and thus a death-blow was very unexpectedly given to the dominion of the “wee-folk” in that neighbourhood from which it has not since recovered. W.G. Wood-Martin, Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland, vol. II (New York, 1902). (pp. 3-4) ‘In the north of Ireland, fairies appear to have been of larger stature and more uncouth than elsewhere; there the fairy called “Grogan” is low of stature, hairy, with broad shoulders and very strong; or, in popular parlance, “uncoo wee bodies” but “terrible strang”. In Ulster, also, the peasantry on a day of mingled rain and sunshine sometimes say “the good people are baking today”; alluding to the unlimited supply of water for the purpose of moistening the flour and the sun-heat for baking fairy-dough. The fairies are not as numerous as formerly. An Ulsterman asked why they were not seen nowadays, thought for a little while and then replied “there’s them that says the wee-folk’s gone to Scotland, but they’re wrang. This country’s full o’ them only there’s so much scripture spread abroad that they canna get making themselves visible”.’ (pp. 237-9) ‘About a mile from the village of Doagh, County Antrim, stands a large slab called the “Holed Stone”. It is upwards of feet above the ground. At a height of about three feet there is a round hole perforated through it large enough to admit an ordinary sized hand. Whatever other uses it may have been created for, there can be little doubt but that it was connected with aphrodisiac customs. Marriage contracts are still ratified at this spot, as county couples go there to signify their betrothal clasping hands through the hole. It is said that not long ago a large stone with a hole through it stood on a hill near Cushendall in the same county.’ Frances Brown, ‘The Story of Fairyfoot’ (taken from Granny’s Wonderful Chair, 1856).

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