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Cock Robin Defending His Nest by John Anster FitzGerald

Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.
— C.S. Lewis

If you are called to establish ties with the Good People, you are going to want to learn about the proper use of offerings and gifts.

According to the 1911 work of American scholar, W.Y. Evans-Wentz in his book The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries (which earned him a Doctorate of Letters from the University of Rennes, Brittany, 1907, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Oxford University in 1910), “A [Welsh] servant-maid who knows her business leaves a vessel full of water for them, and takes care that the house is neat and tidy, and then probably finds in the morning some fairy gift left to her, whereas if the house be untidy and the water dirty, they will pinch her in her sleep, and leave her black and blue.”

Evans-Wentz quotes Professor of Welsh, J.M. Jones, who adds, “I believe the Tylwyth Teg were generally looked upon as kind and good-natured, though revengeful if not well treated. And they were believed to have plenty of money at their command, which they could bestow on people whom they liked.”

So, hopefully, you are not messing about with Folk who will leave you black and blue should you have a lapse, but there you have it; it is certainly possible, hence my constant admonishing to proceed with at least great sensitivity, if not downright caution.

One of the most common, and favored gifts for the Sidhe is milk or cream. It was customary in Ireland to spill a little milk on the ground at milking time, as a gift for the Good People, as well leaving a pot or two of potatoes.

In addition, “After churning, the knife which is run through the butter in drying must not be scraped clean, for what sticks to it belongs to the fairies,” according to an Irish priest interviewed by Evans-Wentz. (Although how this doesn’t conflict with their abhorrence of iron somewhat escapes me.)

Anyway, since few of you reading this are milking cows and churning butter on a regular basis, you can at least do the next best thing. A bit of milk or cream left out at night, or (a particular favorite) some honeyed butter is a treat that is always appreciated.

To be continued, of course!

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  • June 12, 2008, 9:34 am Copper Asetemhat Stewart

    Sounds like code around battery: “if the wife is black and blue, the Fairies are unhappy.”

  • June 12, 2008, 2:16 pm Beth Owl's Daughter

    Oh, goodness, I hope not!

    Besides, I would really not want to take the risk of the Folk hearing of being used so falsely!

  • June 12, 2008, 3:30 pm Grace

    Other than talking to them like friends and allies, I don’t think I’ve ‘offered’ much to them, now that I think about it. But I’ve always had a passion for gardening…so lots of plants are about. And I have stones and water features as well. Maybe they communicate with me because I’m just sort of naive? LOL

    It was about 2 years ago now, that I heard one audible giggle. Since then, most communications are through serendipities, the cards, and other ‘signs’….

  • June 12, 2008, 4:41 pm Beth Owl's Daughter

    You know, Grace.. you make a valid point. Thinking about it from that perspective, I believe that generally,it is probably MUCH better to simply be together, talk, hang out and appreciate one another first.

    The history of mortals and the Shining Ones has been complicated and has a lot of misunderstanding and even fear. So, I can see how the tradition of giving offerings may be more like peace offerings.

    On the other hand, in a more wholesome context, I would rather see it sort of like the early stages of courtship, where both parties are still a bit shy and tentative. But they may give each other little trinkets of affection that say, “You are dear to me.”

    There is a delicate timing to this sort of thing. You don’t want an expensive gift from someone you just met, and some gifts can be symbolic of other things, like rings, for instance, so should be given only with understanding..

    Great food for thought! Thanks SO much!
    – Beth