My mother always told the tale of the farmer near Stranocum and his misfortune with the Wee Folk. Now it’s my turn to tell it.
Farmer Brown owned a herd of 50 Irish Moiled cattle that were his pride and joy. He knew every cow and he gave each a tap on the rump twice a day in fact as they were herded from the field for milking morning and evening.
Now Farmer Brown worked hard and did so well that he built himself a big new house for his family with a state of the art milking parlour and a barn for his cherished cattle for the winter.
He planned the house with big windows so that he too had great views in all directions, but he really looked forward to sitting on his favourite old armchair with his pipe and a mug o’tay watching the evening sun going down while his cows grazed lazily on that lush green grass.
But when they moved in and he settled down to relax, his view was blocked by the fairy fort. It had always been there, circled and protected by ash trees and briars.
He was so grumpy he made a decision.
‘I’m going to dig away that fairy hill’
‘Don’t be daft’ said his wife. ‘You can’t mess with the Wee Folk’
‘Wee Folk, me arse’ says he. ‘I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve yet to set eyes on a damn fairy’.
“Well on your head be it’, says she. ‘I’ll take no part in it!’
The farm labourer would have none of it either.
‘Whisht man!’ says the labourer ‘You can’t mess with the Wee Folk.’
‘Wee Folk, me arse’ says Farmer Brown. ‘I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve yet to set eyes on a damn fairy’.
“Well on your head be it’, says the labourer. ‘I’ll take no part in it!’
So off Farmer Brown went with his shovel and his barrow. He worked hard all day. It would be worth it in the end.
The next morning his mood was much better but when the cows were coming in he knew there was one missing, He found her lying dead in the field close to the fairy fort.
A passing neighbour said:
‘The wrath of the Wee Folk”
‘Wee Folk me arse’ said Farmer Brown angrily ‘I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve yet to set eyes on a damn fairy’.
“Well on your head be it’, says the neighbour.
He went back to work the next morning but that night another cow was lying dead in the field.
“Ye’ve had a couple a warnings now … ye canny mess with the wee folk’.
Now Farmer Brown was furious and worked late digging the fort.
But the next morning there was not a cow in sight.
To this very day you can drive up the Newal Road, past the ruins of the farmhouse. More importantly you will still see the fairy fort on the eastern side with the big chunk of earth excavated from one side of it.