Monday, 1 September 2014

The Miser and the Faeries of the Gump

At St Just in Cornwall is a hill called the Gump, and it is well known throughout the county that the fae hold their revels on this mound. They are often seen atop the hill on moonlit nights dancing and feasting; while well mannered observers are welcome, and are often given small but valuable gifts, any visitor must be careful not to offend them.
It was the rumour of these valuable little gifts that brought an old miser out of his house in St Just, he set out by the light of the Harvest Moon and wound his way slowly to the top of the hill. As he neared the summit he could hear the sound of music and much merrymaking, the music was so beguiling that the old man found himself dancing up the last slope of the hill. But where the music came from he couldn't see, until a new tune struck up and he became sure that it came from under his feet. The music became louder and louder until suddenly the hillside opened up before him; amidst a blaze of light, a long line of faeries wound their way out of the hillside. They seemed not to notice him there as he crouched gaunt and black in the silvery moonlight, only the Spriggans who came out first noticed him and surrounded the old man.

(Spriggans are very ugly small creatures who can change shape at will and can also inflate themselves to gigantic proportions.
They roam around the countryside in packs terrorizing the residents. Spriggans can be very dangerous and are best avoided. Human babies are also stolen by them and a very ugly spriggan baby left in it's place.)

The spriggans were the ugliest things that came out of the hillside that night, for after them came a great number of faerie children clothed in gauze and gold, and scattering flowers as they went. As the blooms touched the ground they rooted and soon the hillside became a mass of sweet smelling flowers. Then came the faerie knights in green and gold followed by all the ladies of the court; all singing like nightingales; finally the Faerie King and Queen appeared and led the assembled company to the top of the Gump where a magnificent banquet was laid out for them. The surrounding gorse bushed blazed with twinkling lights, the ground was starred by flowers and the air sweetly scented.
But the miser could not see the beauty of the faeries, all he could see was the little golden plates and cups on which the feast was being served and the beautiful gem encrusted thrones upon which the King and Queen were sitting. He threw himself upon the ground and began to crawl towards the golden throne of the King, with his attention fixed upon the gold he did not notice that the spriggans had surrounded him. The old man blind to his danger crawled closer and closer, and the faeries carried on feasting as if unaware of his intentions. Immediately behind the throne he stopped and reached out to snatch up the tiny dias, as he stretched out his hand he suddenly saw that every faerie had stopped feasting and was staring at him. Undeterred, as his greed made him reckless, he snatched at the gold throne when a single whistle rang out and he found his arm caught as though by a thousand strings.
The lights suddenly went out and the miser found himself being dragged to the ground and held tightly by the threads drawn over him. With a sound like a swarm of angry bees the faeries were on him, piching and pricking. He could neither cry out or move although he was in agony; one of the spriggans began to dance upon his nose, all jeering and tormenting him until a faint glow appeared in the east and the moon light began to pale.
The King called out to the company 'Away, away! I smell the day!'
And within seconds the hillside was empty, the only remaining figure was that of the miser. When the sun rose he could see the tiny threads of gossamer that bound him, but now he could break them easily. Shrugging of of his bindings, he hobbled back down the Gump aching and bruised. At first he told no one of his encounter with the faeries on the hill but as he got older and closer to his death bed he confessed to a few of his cronies, and the story has served as a warning to anybody thinking of disturbing the faeries on the Gump.

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