Little People in St. Teath

Little People in St. Teath

Date: 1645

Location: St. Teath, Cornwall, England

Over 200 years ago there lived in the parish of St. Teath, a poor laboring man called Jefferies, and this man had one daughter, called Anne. Anne was a sweetly pretty girl, and a very intelligent one, but she was a terribly boisterous.

She shocked all the old ladies in the village, and all the prim people, dreadfully, and instead of being ashamed, she seemed to glory in it.

Everyone wondered how she came to have such a spirit, and whom she took after, for her mother was as quiet and meek a little woman as ever was born, and always had been, while her father was a stern, silent man, who looked upon his daughter as a thorn in his side, a cross laid upon him for his good.

But the fact remains that Anne was the most daring of all the young people in the parish, doing things that even the boys were afraid to do, for she had no fear, nothing awed her, and there was nothing she would not attempt.

In those days the fairies & piskies, witches & goblins of all sorts were all over the land, and everyone knew it, and was more or less in awe of them.

The young people appealed to the fairies for everything, to be helped in their work, to get love draughts, to be made beautiful, and to know their fortunes. At the same time they all, except Anne, would have been scared to death if they had caught sight of one. Anne, often boldly declared that she longed to see them, and would love to have a talk with them, and she made up her mind that she would, too, and when once Anne had got an idea into her head, she generally managed to carry it out.

So, without saying anything to anyone, she went out every evening as soon as the sun had gone down, and wandered about looking into the foxglove bells, and under the ferns, examining the Fairy Rings and every other likely spot, singing:

Fairy fair and fairy bright, Come and be my chosen sprite!

For though she had a very good and true sweetheart, named Tom, she had a great fancy for a fairy one. Perhaps she was thinking of the lovely presents that people said the fairies gave, or perhaps she thought that she would like to live in a palace, and be dressed in silks and velvet, none of which things could poor Tom give her, of course.

On moonlight nights, Anne crept away by herself to the banks of the stream which ran through the valley, and here, walking against the current, she would sing:

Moon shines bright, water runs clear, I am here, but whereís my fairy dear?

She sang it wistfully enough to touch the heart of any fairy, but though she went on for a long time repeating all the charms she knew, and trying, by every means she could think of, to please the Little People, and though she often nearly put her hand on one during her searches, the Little People never showed themselves to her.

They noticed her, though, and were only biding their time.

One beautiful warm summerís day, Anne, having finished her housework early, took her knitting and went and sat in an arbor at the foot of the garden, for she never could bear to be cooped up indoors if she could possibly get out. She had not been sitting there very long when she heard a rustling amongst the bushes, but she took no notice of it, for she felt it was sure to be her lover, coming to have a talk with her, and now that she was so possessed with the thought of a fairy lover, she had ceased to care for poor Tom, and was extremely cool and off hand with him.

So, at the sound of the rustling, even when it was repeated, she did not even raise her eyes from her knitting, or turn her head.

Presently, though, the bushes were rustled more violently, and then someone gave a little laugh. Anne moved this time, for the laugh was certainly not Tomís laugh.

A lane ran along at the back of the arbor, a lane which one had to pass down to get to the garden gate, and it was from here that the laugh came. Anne peeped carefully out through the trellis work and bushes to try to see who it was who was laughing at her, but not a sign of any living being could she see.

She felt annoyed, for it is extremely unpleasant to feel that someone is looking at you through a peep hole, and making game of you.

Anne grew so vexed she could not keep her vexation to herself. Well, she said aloud, feeling sure it was Tom who was trying to tease her, you may stay there till the moss grows over you, before ever Iíll come out to you.

A burst of laughter, peculiarly sweet and ringing, greeted her words. Oh, she thought to herself, whoever can it be? Iím certain sure Tom could never laugh like that. Who can it be, I wonder?

She felt really nervous now, for there was something unnatural about it all, but she tried to reassure herself by thinking that nothing could happen to her in broad daylight such as it was then. Besides which, she did not know of anyone who wished to harm her, for she was a favorite with everyone in the village. She waited anxiously, though, to see what would happen next.

She went on with her knitting, seemingly paying no heed to anything, but her ears were strained to catch the least sound, and when, after a little while, the garden gate was softly opened and closed again, she heard it distinctly, and glancing up to see who was coming, she saw to her astonishment, not Tom, or anyone else she knew, but 6 little pisky gentlemen, handsome little creatures, with pleasant smiles and brilliantly shining eyes.

To her astonishment they did not seem at all disturbed at seeing her, but came up and arranged themselves in a row before her and bowed to the ground. They were all dressed alike in green knickerbockers and tunics, edged with scarlet, and tiny green caps, and one, the handsomest of the lot, had a beautiful red waving feather at one side of his.

They stood and looked at Anne and smiled, and Anne, not at all frightened now, but pleased, smiled back at them. Then he with the red feather stepped in front of the others, and bowing to her in the most courtly manner, addressed her with a charming friendliness which set her at ease at once.

Whether this strange little gentleman was really attracted by her charms, or whether he acted in the same way to every pretty girl he met, one cannot say, but he certainly looked at Anne very affectionately and admiringly, and poor Anneís heart was captured at once. She was certain there never had been such a charming little gentleman before, nor ever could be again, nor one with such good taste.

Stooping down she held out her hand, whereupon the little gentleman stepped into it, and Anne lifted him to her lap. From her lap he soon climbed to her shoulder, and then he kissed her, and not only kissed her once, but many times, and Anne thought him more charming than ever.

Presently he called his companions, and they climbed up and kissed Anne, too, and patted her rosy cheeks, and smoothed her hair. But while one of them was patting her cheek, he ran his finger across her eyes, and Anne gave a terrible scream, for with his touch she felt as though a needle had been run through her eyeballs, and when she tried to open them again she found she was blind.

At the same moment she felt herself caught up in the air, and for what seemed to her a very long time she was carried through it at a tremendous rate. At last they came to a stop, whereupon one of the little men said something which Anne could not understand, and, behold, her eyesight at once came back.

And now, she had something to use it on, for she found herself in what seemed to be a perfectly gorgeous palace, or rather 2 or 3 palaces joined together, all built of gold and silver, with arches and pillars of crystal, large halls with walls of burnished copper, and beautiful rooms inlaid with precious marbles.

Outside was a perfect paradise of a garden, filled with lovely flowers, and trees laden with fruit or blossom. Birds were singing everywhere, such rare birds, too. Some were all blue and gold, others a bright scarlet, then again others shone like silver or steel. There were large lakes full of gold and silver fish, and marble fountains throwing jets of water high into the air. Here and there were dainty bowers covered with roses, and filled within with soft moss carpets and luxurious couches.

Walking about everywhere in this lovely place were scores of little ladies and gentlemen, dressed in rich silks and velvets, and with precious stones sparkling and flashing from their fingers, their hair, their shoes, they seemed to sparkle all over, like flowers covered with dewdrops. Some strolled along the walks, others reclined in the bowers, some floated in little scarlet or ivory boats on the lakes, others sat under the blossoming trees.

There seemed no end to them, and to Anneís great astonishment, neither they nor her 6 companions seemed small now, also, to her great delight, she was dressed as beautifully as any of them, and wore as beautiful jewels. Though she did not know it, she had shrunk to their size, and a very lovely little fairy she made.

Her gown was of white silk, with a long train bordered all round with trails of green ivy, and over her shoulders she wore a long green silk cloak with a little scarlet hood. Her hair looked as though it had been dressed by a Court hairdresser, and amidst the puffs and curls sparkled emeralds and diamonds, like trembling stars.

Her little green slippers had silver heels, and diamond buckles on the toes, round her waist hung a diamond girdle, on her neck, too, and fingers gems sparkled and flashed with every movement.

Oh, how proud and delighted Anne did feel, and how eagerly she hoped that she might always live like this. Instead of having one cavalier as most of the ladies had, she had 6, but the one with the red feather was her favourite, and hour by hour he and Anne grew more deeply in love with one another.

Unfortunately, though, the other 5 began to grow very jealous, and they kept such a watch on Anne and her friend, that the poor lovers had no chance to get away and talk by themselves, or exchange even a look, or a kiss, or a hand clasp.

However, when people are determined they usually succeed in the end, and one day Anne and her handsome lover managed to slip away unobserved. Hand in hand they ran to a garden which lay at some little distance from the others, one that was seldom used, too, and where the flowers grew so tall and in such profusion that they soon were completely hidden amongst them.

Here they made their home, and here they lived for a time as happily as any 2 people could who loved each other more than all the world beside.

Alas, though, their happiness was too great to last. They had not been in their beautiful retreat very long, when one day they heard a great noise and disturbance, and to Anneís dismay the 5 little men followed by a crowd of fairies, equally angered, burst in on them. They had traced the lovers to the garden, and even to the lily bell in which they had made their home.

With drawn swords and faces full of anger, they surrounded the lily and commanded the lovers to come down. Nearly mad with jealousy as they were, they heaped the most cruel and insulting speeches on the poor little pair.

Furious with indignation Anneís lover sprang down, sword in hand, and faced his attackers, but what could one do against such odds? His sword was knocked out of his hand, he himself was overpowered by the numbers who hurled themselves on him. For a while he fought desperately, his back to the wall, his courage unfailing, but the blows fell on him so fast and furious, that in a few minutes he lay bleeding and lifeless at poor Anneís feet.

What happened next Anne never knew. She remembered looking down on her dead lover through eyes almost blind with tears, she remembered seeing his blood staining her dainty green slippers, and splashing her gown, then someone passed a hand over her eyes, and she could see nothing. She was as blind as she had been once before.

All about her she heard strange noises, like the whirring and buzzing of numberless insects, she felt herself being carried through the air at a terrific rate, until her breath was quite taken away, then she was placed on a seat, and in a moment her sight came back to her.

She was back in the arbor where she had first seen the fairies, but, instead of 6 little men, she now saw about 26 big men and women all staring at her with frightened eyes and open mouths.

Sheís very bad, they were whispering, poor maid, she does look ill. Tis a fit sheís had, and no mistake. Then seeing her open her eyes and look about her, they crowded nearer. Why, Anne, child, youíve been in a fit, havenít Yee?

Anne lifted her arm and looked at it and her hand, there was not a single jewel on either. She glanced down over her gown, it was of linsey woolsey, not silk or velvet. She closed her 111 eyes again that they might not see the tears that sprang to them.

I donít know if Iíve been in a fit, she said wearily, but to herself she added sadly, I know, though, that Iíve been in love.

Anne Jeffries was found on the ground outside apparently unconscious.

She then described her kidnap by strange little entities.

She remembering a sound similar to the ringing of bells and immediately thereafter was confronted by 6 little men, wearing feathered hats and with brilliantly shiny eyes.

The little men suddenly climbed on her and kissed her repeatedly. They supposedly floated her to a brightly lit place, where she saw beautiful temples, persons wearing splendid glowing customs. The little men, now somehow resembled normal humans.

The one that appeared to be the leader seduced Jeffries and during sexual relations returned her back to the garden while she heard a loud humming sound.

She never again suffered a similar experience but reportedly gained curative powers after the incident.

| Home | About Us | Directory of Directories | Recent Additions | Top 10 Pages | Stories |