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Hill of Airthrey Fairy Knowe



There have been many 'fairy' stories surrounding this site throughout the ages.

A local writer, R. Menzies Fergusson wrote a collection of stories which were first published in 1912, called 'the Ochil Fairy Tales'. This book contained some tales from his own imagination, and some stories which were adapted from previous local folklore.
One of the stories which he adapted from existing lore went roughly as follows.

Sometime before the union (pre 1707) a man named David Rae ,a farmer from Tullibody fell in love and married a local woman, Janet Cokley.
Janet was vain and flirtatious and gained a reputation in the small village, to David's dismay.
David met a fairy while working one day, and he confided in the wee guy re. his marital strife. The fairy (named 'Red Cap') told him to put a magic stone into her broth which would change her ways. David tried this but Janet found the stone and threw it out the door.
The following Halloween while returning from a party near the hill of Airthey, David met his wee friend again and explained that the stone plan had went to pot. Red Cap told Dave he'd arrange that if Jan didn't change in the next year, he and his wee pals would escort the dirty whore off to fairyland the following Halloween.
Jan didn't change and the powers of the local kirk became involved in the whole thing and Jan became ostracised.
The next Halloween, instead of going to one of the local parties, Dave persuaded Jan to go to bed early.
The next morn Jan was gone and Dave discovered that the front door was still barred. Local folk who'd been to parties the night before, told Dave that they'd seen a funny little cloud with Jan on it, moving toward Dumyat Hill (monkey style?!?) and on to the Fairy Knowe.

Fergusson reports that there were actual church records in Stirling and Dunblane proving the existence of Janet, which worries me.
This woman was by all accounts only flirting.

*John, I'm only dancing, she turns me on, but I'm only dancing, she turns me on, don't get me wrong, I'm only dancin'*

Was it the fairies?,
or the presbytery?
or poor (paranoid, jealous) Dave who arranged for her removal?
Hopefully, for 15th century Jan, it was the fairies.

Fergusson adds that this story has long been a warning to 'those wives who were tempted to forget their home duties and obedience to their lawful husbands,' an example of how our lore was used to control and possibly to cover up truths which people didn't want to tell or hear.

Another story,'Wee Tommie', tells of a lost child, who was rescued by the fairies and was taken through a secret opening in the side of the mound into a cavern in the knowe where he was looked after by the fairies before being returned safely to his parents.

I've added a couple of links for another 2 of Fergusson's adaptations.
Posted by winterjc
15th January 2002ce

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