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You Just Don’t Mess With The Fairies January 25, 2006



This is just the greatest story:

Fairies stop developers’ bulldozers in their tracks

VILLAGERS who protested that a new housing estate would “harm the fairies” living in their midst have forced a property company to scrap its building plans and start again.

Marcus Salter, head of Genesis Properties, estimates that the small colony of fairies believed to live beneath a rock in St Fillans, Perthshire, has cost him £15,000. His first notice of the residential sensibilities of the netherworld came as his diggers moved on to a site on the outskirts of the village, which crowns the easterly shore of Loch Earn.

He said: “A neighbour came over shouting, ‘Don’t move that rock. You’ll kill the fairies’.” The rock protruded from the centre of a gently shelving field, edged by the steep slopes of Dundurn mountain, where in the sixth century the Celtic missionary St Fillan set up camp and attempted to convert the Picts from the pagan darkness of superstition.

“Then we got a series of phone calls, saying we were disturbing the fairies. I thought they were joking. It didn’t go down very well,” Mr Salter said.

In fact, even as his firm attempted to work around the rock, they received complaints that the fairies would be “upset”. Mr Salter still believed he was dealing with a vocal minority, but the gears of Perthshire’s planning process were about to be clogged by something that looked suspiciously like fairy dust.

[…]

“A lot of people think the rock had some Pictish meaning,” Mrs Fox said. “It would be extremely unlucky to move it.”

Mr Salter did not just want to move the rock. He wanted to dig it up, cart it to the roadside and brand it with the name of his new neighbourhood.

The Planning Inspectorate has no specific guidelines on fairies but a spokesman said: “Planning guidance states that local customs and beliefs must be taken into account when a developer applies for planning permission.” Mr Salter said: “We had to redesign the entire thing from scratch.”

The new estate will now centre on a small park, in the middle of which stands a curious rock. Work begins next month, if the fairies allow.

This is even better than the Garden Gnome Liberation Front!

I showed this story to a British friend, mainly because I wasn’t sure if it was something real or a spoof (British humor is sometimes difficult to get… there you are, laughing away and then you figure out that the joke was on you). Anyway, he said that it seemed real to him… in many rural societies in Britain pixies and elves and fairies are still very much believed in. Or, at least such a part of the thousands of years old (pre-Christianity) traditions that actual belief or disbelief is immaterial.

That makes sense and considering that a number of cultures have ‘little people’ traditions, although by different names, well… who knows?


  1. What a wonderful story :o)
    This brought memories of my dear Grandma Mary flooding back and stretched my face with a wide grin because you see Grandma Mary was from Ballina in County Mayo Ireland and when I was a wee little fellow ;o) she would enrapture my brothers and I with stories of Fairies and Elves, Leprechauns and more frightful apparitions like the Banshee and the Pookah Hound that guarded the graveyards.

    One fantastic story she told was of a huge stone the size of a bus that sat in a field near her home. According to her, Leprechauns lived inside of it and if you put your ear to the stone you could hear little pots and pans rattling and banging about as the Leprechauns were cooking :o)

    Thank you for reminding me of this story and reminding me of my dear Grandma and how much her gentle and playful soul is missed by this little boy :o)

    Posted by supersoling  on  03/07  at  04:53 AM
  2. Hi Super! Yes, I love this story… I read it from time to time when things just seem a bit too dark ;).

    LOL, Grandma Mary sounds like a great storyteller too. Lucky you, to have heard those stories. I hope people still tell them to their kids for years to come.

    After all, there’s nothing to prove that there aren’t any little people, is there?

    Posted by Nanette  on  03/08  at  08:14 PM

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