by Cecilia Dart-Thornton
Page 1 of 2
THE LORE of the SUPERNATURAL
Some folk call them "fairies" others call them "wights". Whatever you name
them, it is useful to be armed with knowledge of their ways, if you intend to
venture into the countryside of the British Isles or the fantastic world called
Aia. Fortunately, over the course of human history this information has been
Seelie wights are those who wish mortals well, and even give them
supernatural help, or who merely use them as targets for their harmless
mischief. The intent of unseelie wights, however, is to harm humankind.
Although they can prevaricate and trick, wights cannot lie. By the same
token, if you make a promise or give your word to a wight you are bound by
gramarye to keep it.
Household wights, best exemplified by bruneys (brownies), do not necessarily
react adversely to the touch of cold iron. All others do.
Trooping wights wear green coats and red caps, while Solitaries wear red
To steal a swanmaiden, take her cloak of feathers so that she cannot fly. To
abduct a mermaid or merrow, take her comb. To kidnap a silkie (selkie), take
his or her seal-skin, without which these wights cannot travel underwater. Be
aware, it is unkind to do any of these things!
Silkies will not harm you unless you harm them. If you do them a good turn
they will return it to you.
Most unseelie and seelie land wights cannot cross running water, especially
if it flows south.
The high-tide mark is the boundary between the territories of land wights
and sea wights.
An 'awe band" can be put on mortals to stop them telling what they have seen
Giving helpful wights a gift or verbal thanks means "goodbye" to them - ie,
they have been paid therefore their services are no longer required. Some
wights take offence at being thanked in any form, and permanently withdraw
their services out of sheer indignation. Therefore, thanking wights is taboo.
Warding off unseelie wights:
Holding Fast, a Steady Look and Silence are three powerful charms against
Conversely (and confusingly), acknowledging their presence by looking at
them can be detrimental to them. (Perhaps this is only true outdoors, as The
Steady Look has been recorded as being used indoors.)
Having The Last Word is effective in certain cases; also, Rhyme has power
Many wights are powerless after cock-crow.
To show fear is to give them power over you, to allow them to strike.
The ringing of bells is anathema to them. So is whistling, and wearing your
clothes turned inside-out.
Charms against unseelie wights include ash keys, ground-ivy ("athair
luss"), amber, red verbena, salt, hypericum, cold iron, ash-wood, rowan and
THE BEAUTIFUL, THE WICKED AND THE SHAPE-SHIFTERS
Swanmaidens, redcaps, waterhorses, spriggans and urisks are just a few of
the interesting creatures belonging to the folklore of the British Isles. Some
quotes from THE BITTERBYNDE throw light on three of these entities.
She came in those ephemeral pre-dawn moments on the borders of day and night
when the world swings around and odd things may easily occur. They knew her
first by a clap of wings and a rush of air. Presently a feminine manifestation
emerged out of grey dewdrop stillness, forming as though she gathered shape to
herself from the sky, the clouds, the last fading star. The black cloak of
feathers dripped from delicate shoulders to her bare feet. Like a wondrous girl
she appeared, yet imbued with an inhuman wildness and a strangeness that evoked
glimmering meres glimpsed through mist. Afar off she stood - unspeaking,
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