The Fairies Revenge
The fairies' revenge is the legend of a mortal man who encroached upon the fairies' rath, which they found most objectionable. The rath, or mound, where they meet at night for dancing and merrymaking, is thought of as their own special place. A farmer by the name of Johnstone, who had plenty of money, purchased some land and chose a lovely green spot on which to build a house. The problem was that it was the very spot the fairies loved best. His neighbors all warned him that it was a fairy rath but he laughed and shunned the advice because he believed that the stories were no more than old wives' tales. He proceeded with his plans to build the house and made it a beautiful home. No other people in the country were as well off as the Johnstones, so they all assumed that the farmer must have found a pot of gold while digging in the fairy rath.

The fairies were constantly plotting on how to punish the farmer for taking away their dancing green and for cutting down the hawthorn tree, under which they held their celebrations when the moon was full. One day when the cows were milking, an old woman of small stature, wearing a blue cloak, came to the door of Mrs. Johnstone and asked her for a bowl of milk. The mistress of the house told her to go away and that she would give her no milk. She told the farm servants to chase her away and that she would have no tramps coming around to her home.

Some time later, the finest of the cows became ill and gave no milk, lost her horns and teeth, then finally died. Then one day, as Mrs. Johnstone was spinning flax in the parlor, the same little woman suddenly stood before her. She asked of the mistress to give her some griddle cakes, as the maids had been baking cakes in the kitchen. Angrily, the farmer's wife told her to get off the property, and called her a wicked old wretch who had poisoned her best cow. She told the farm servants to drive her off with sticks this time.

The Johnstones had only one child, and he was a beautiful and bright boy, as strong as he was full of life and merriment. Soon after the second altercation with the old woman, he began to show signs of strange behavior and was disturbed while asleep. He spoke of the fairies who came around him at night, pinching and beating him, and sitting on his chest so he could neither breathe nor move. They told him that they would never leave him in peace unless he promised to give them a supper of a griddle cake and a bowl of milk, to be left beside his bed every night. To soothe her son, the mother laid these things out on a table beside his bed every night and, in the morning, they were gone.

Still, the boy pined away and his eyes changed to a strange and wild look, as if there was something far away that troubled him. When his parents asked him what ailed him, he told them that the fairies carried him off to the hills every night where he danced with them until morning, when they returned him to his bed. The farmer and his wife were at their wits' end, for the child was pining away before their eyes and they could do nothing to help him.

One night he cried out in great pain and told his mother to send for the priest to take away the fairies, for they were killing him. He said that they were there on his chest, crushing him to death, and he was terrified. The farmer and his wife did not believe in fairies, nor priests, but to soothe the child they did as he asked. The priest came and prayed over him and sprinkled him with holy water. The poor little boy seemed to calm down as the priest prayed, and he said that the fairies were going away, then he fell into a quiet sleep. When he awoke in the morning, he told his parents that he had a beautiful dream about walking in a lovely garden with the angels and he knew that it was heaven. He then told them that he would be in heaven that night, for the angels would come for him.

They watched by the sick child throughout the night, for the fever was still on him; and they hoped a change would come before morning, as he slept quite calmly with a smile on his lips. Just as the clock struck midnight, he awoke and sat up in bed. When his mother put her arms around him weeping, he whispered to her that the angels had come, and then he died.

After this disaster, the farmer never held up his head again. He let his farm go to ruin, and his crops go to seed, and all the cattle died off. Finally, after a year and a day, he died and was laid to rest in the grave beside his little son. The land passed into other hands and, since no one would live in the house, it was torn down. No one would plant crops on the rath, so the grass grew green and beautiful again. The fairies danced and reveled on the rath once more in the moonlight, as they used to do in the old time. As they were now free and happy, the evil spell was broken for ever more.

The neighbors would have nothing to do with the childless mother, so she went back to her own people as a broken-hearted and miserable woman. Let this be a warning to all who would arouse the vengeance of the fairies by interfering with their ancient rights, possessions and privileges.

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