The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

The Old Wife's Neck

Standing Stones


" When I was a boy, I was an ardent archaeologist. I remember on one occasion having been told that chipped flints were to be found in a field near Blois Hall, in the North Riding.
Hurrying thither the first whole holiday, I was fortunate enough on that occasion to find a flint arrow head-the only one I ever did find. This I showed to an old fellow who was hedging; without hesitation he pronounced it to be an elf-stone, declaring that the elves were evil spirits, who in days past used to throw them at the kie-I had up to that time always been told they were shot at cattle-but my informant stuck to throwing. I well remember that he also said the elves got them out of whirlpools, where they were originally made by the water spirits, but he could not say what the water spirits used them for, though he knew of several instances in which both cattle and horses had been injured by the elves throwing elf-stones at them. He further informed me that when the elves got them from the whirlpools, they had much longer shanks than the one I had found: this was so that better aim might be taken with them. 'But' said he, 'tha're nivver fund wi' lang shanks on, acoz t' fairies awlus brak' em off, seea ez t' elves wadn't be yabble ti potch 'em at t' beeasts neea mair' and he had been told that fairies often wore them as ornaments. Sore eyes could be cured by the touch from an elf-stone, if a fairy had worn it, and they were also a potent love-charm if worn so they rested near the heart. "

Yorkshire Wit, Character, Folklore & Customs
R. Blakeborough
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
19th November 2002ce

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