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The Blacksmith and the Fairies

 
 

A long time ago – so the legend goes – a blacksmith lived high on the Rhinns of Islay, with fine views across Loch Indaal to Bowmore.

 His one son laboured hard with him in his forge.

Suddenly, the son fell ill. He lay on his bed, getting thinner, but eating more and more. No one knew what was wrong. One day, an old man famous for his wisdom walked into the forge, and over a dram of old Bowmore whisky, the smith told him about his son.

‘It is not your son you have got!’ the old man cried immediately. ‘Evil fairies have taken him to the fairy hill, leaving a changeling - a fairy impostor - in his place! But fear not, I’ll help you rescue him!’

On the next full moon, he said, the fairy hill would be open. He told the smith to approach on that night, armed with a dagger and a cockerel that would crow loudly and readily. The smith did so, and drew near the fairy hill in the moonlight. He approached the entrance, and following the old man’s instructions, thrust the dagger into it, to stop it closing on him. The fairies shrieked when he entered, furious he had dared enter their realm. But he saw his son labouring at the fairy forge and cried

‘I want my son and I will not go without him!’

The fairies cackled loudly at this, maddening the cockerel. It flapped its wings wildly and crowed loud and long – incensing the fairies further. They seized the smith and his son, threw them out of the hill and flung the dagger after them. The hillside closed over. And from that day on, the smith and his son laboured at their forge, creating wonderful weapons, the like of which had never been seen beyond the fairy realm.

 

Legend Tin Box - Released 2004

(Limited Edition)

         

This Limited Edition Tin illustrates an artist's interpretation of the Legend of the Blacksmith and the Fairies, based on a story from Iain Og Ile, JF Campbell of Islay's ‘Popular Tales of the West Highlands, Vol 1’.

From this design no Italian version has been produced.

 

 

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