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The Fairy Fleet

by Bernadette Weyde

There are many fishermen here to this day that declare they have seen the Fairy Herring Fleet lying before their nets, with their lights upon the water and their buoys. They fully expected that when the day broke they would see numbers of boats around them, but when the day appeared there were none there – to their very great surprise!

There was sure to be a shoal of herrings where the Fairy Fleet was seen, and the boats that shot their nets there were certain to have a good fishing.

The Manx fishermen believed that the fairies, besides fishing on their own account, made barrels, and cured the herrings they caught. A cave on the sea coast under Cronk-ny-Irree Laa is called ‘Ooig-ny-Seyir‘, that is ‘Cave of the Carpenter’, where the fishermen have heard them, times without number, making barrels.

They were always sure to have a good fishing in the Big Bay when they heard the fairies making barrels. That season always turned out well.

(source: Wm. Cashen’s Manx Folk-lore (1912); photo is a wallpaper)

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