Fairy Aristocrats

In the middle ages fairy aristocrats were thought to be the most beautiful of fairylands people and their heroic exploits were described in legends about King Authur, in the Border ballads and in medieval romance. In many stories they were led by a King and a Queen and were at least the size of humans, but they could also be tiny. Like human aristocrats they spent their time hunting, hawking and feasting. Many tales were told of the fairy Rade, when they rode in procession behind there king and queen, on white horses hung with silver bells.

These noble fairies were mainly found in Scotland and when they did appear in England they were generally very small. In a story told in the 9th century an old man tried to steal the fairies treasure as they feasted on the Gump, a fairy hill just outside St.Just. The royal dais and banqueting table were small enough to be covered by the old mans hat, but as he raised it to trap them ‘a shrill whistle was heard, the old mans hand was held fixed powerless in the air, and everything became dark around him.

After their Elizabethen heyday, fairylands aristocrats went into decline, and there are few modern accounts of them. The story of Scotlands last fairy Rade was told by Hugh Miller more than 100 years ago. A herdboy and his sister saw a procession of dwarfish strangers riding through a hamlet near Glen Eathie. As the last rider rode past the boy asked: ‘What are ye, little mannie; and where are you going?’ ‘Not the race of Adam,’said the creature turning for a moment in the saddle : ‘The People of Peace shall never more be seen in Scotland.’