In the Highlands, belief in the 'wee folk' continued into relatively modern times. Many unwary humans were lured inside the fairy hills at night, only to emerge the following morning and discover that decades had passed in the outside world. Other tales tell of the abduction of babies, romances with the fairy folk, or the various ills which befell people who failed to treat the fairies as they expected to be treated.
Numerous places on Skye reflect the past presence of fairies on the isle: the Fairy Glen, the Fairy Pool, the Fairy Bridge, Broadford Fairy Knoll, several Cnoc an t-sìthean (fairy hills) Sìdhean Dubh (black fairy hill)
Only one place can claim to have physical evidence of the fairies: Dunvegan Castle. The tattered remnants of an ancient fairy flag can still be seen by visitors to the castle.
Some years ago, Sir Reginald McLeod, the Clan’s 27th chief took the flag to a museum expert for analysis. The curator dated it between the 4th and 7th centuries AD and hypothesised that it was an already ancient relic brought back to Scotland by knights on crusade during the middle Ages,
Sir Reginald replied “You believe it to be a relic of the Crusades. I know it was given to my ancestor by the fairies.”
Relating to this story, Otta Swire in her “Skye: The Island and its Legends” book tells us how one of the early chiefs of Dunvegan married a fairy maid, apparently not an unusual event at that time. As is common in human/fae marriages, one of the stipulations to their betrothal was that McLeod must promise to allow his beloved to return to her own folk at such time as they deemed appropriate to recall her. Soon after the birth of their first child, a son, the fairy mother heard the fae pipers calling her home. She had no choice but to obey. Her husband said his sad farewell at the nearby Fairy Bridge.
One evening some time later, the baby had been left alone by his nurse. His mother, the fairy, heard his cries and came to him, covering him with the fairy flag and singing him a lullaby to comfort him.
This flag is said to have the power to protect the clan from adversity if unfurled. The downside for this service was, that in return the bearer would be mysteriously spirited away … never to appear on Earth again.
Clan tradition, preserved in the early 19th century, tells how the Fairy Flag was entrusted to a family of hereditary standard bearers. In return for this service they were given lands in Bracadale.
Whatever you think about the legends, no-one can deny that the views over Loch Bracadale are magical. Pick a time near sunset on a clear evening to see the magic and find the fairy treasure. To avoid falling foul of the fairies, remember to leave them a gift. Of course, in return you may take an item from the treasure horde
Congratulations to den sure kalkun on being the FTS (first to solve)