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The Old Man

by Bernadette Weyde
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They tell you that Castle Rushen on the Isle of Man was at first inhabited by fairies and afterwards by giants, who continued in possession of it till the days of Merlin. Merlin, who by force of magic, dislodged the greatest part of them and bound the rest in spells, which they believe will be indissoluble to the end of the world. For proof of this, they tell you a very odd story.

The Castle has long been famous for its subterraneous passages and there are individuals on the Island who firmly believe that they lead to a beautiful country underground, inhabited by giants. Amongst the many tales they relate is one, that several attempts being made to explore the passages, which in general proved unsuccessful, a number of daring fellows agreed to attempt the enterprise in company. Having armed themselves with staves etc, and procuring torches, they descended. After proceeding a little way, they found an old man, of great size, with a long beard, and blind, sitting on a rock as if fixed there. He hearing them approach, inquired of them as to the state of the Island, and at last asked one to put forth his hand, on which one of them gave him a ploughshare which he had, when the old giant squeezed the iron together with the greatest ease, exclaiming at the same time…

“There are yet MEN in the Isle of Man!”


(source: Folklore of the Isle of Man, A.W.Moore, (1891); artwork Old Man by Chailette)

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