The Fairies

Up the airy mountain, down the rushy glen, we dare n’t go a-hunting for fear of little men. Wee folk, good folk, trooping all together; green jacket, red cap, and white owl’s feather!

Down along the rocky shore some make their home—they live on crispy pancakes of yellow tide-foam; some in the reeds of the black mountain-lake, with frogs for their watch-dogs all night awake.

High on the hilltop the old King sits; he is now so old and gray, He’s nigh lost his wits. With a bridge of white mist Columbkill he crosses,

On his stately journeys from Slieveleague to Rosses; or going up with music on cold starry nights, to sup with the Queen of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget for seven years long; when she came down again her freidsn were all gone. They took her lightly back, between the night and morrow; they thought she was fast asleep, but she was dead with sorrow. They have kept her ever since deep within the lake, on a bed of flag-leaves, watching till she wake.

By the craggy hillside, through the mosses bare, they have planted thorn-trees, for pleasure here and there. Is any man so daring as dig them up in spite, he shall find their sharpest thorns in his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain, down the rushy glen, we dare n’t go a-hunting for fear of little men. Wee folk, good folk, trooping all together; green jacket, red cap, and white owl’s feather!

By William Allingham (b.1824-d.1889)