The Badenoch account of the fairies is much the same. I have received eight stories from a Highland minister, who has been kind enough to interest himself in the matter, at the request of the Countess of Seafield. These show, that according to popular belief, fairies commonly carried off men, women, and children, who seemed to die, but really lived underground. In short, that mortals were separated from fairies by a very narrow line.
1. A man sees fairies carding and spinning in a shealing where he is living at the time. Amongst them is Miss Emma MacPherson of Cluny, who had been dead about one hundred years.
2. A woman, benighted, gets into a fairy hill, where she promises to give her child, on condition that she is let out. She gives her child when it is born, and is allowed to visit it "till such time as the child, upon one
occasion, looked at her sternly in the face, and in a very displeased mood and tone upbraided her for the manner in which she had acted in giving her child over unto those amongst whom it was now doomed to dwell." The mother scolded, found herself standing on the hillock outside, and never got in again.
3. A lad recognizes his mother, who had been carried off by fairies, but who was believed to be dead. She was recovered from the fairies by a man who threw his bonnet to a passing party, and demanded an exchange. The rescuer gave up the wife, and she returned home. Of this story I have several versions in Gaelic and in English, and I believe it is in print somewhere.
4. An old woman meets her deceased landlord and landlady, who tell her that the fairies have just carried off a young man, who is supposed to be dead. They advise her not to be out so late.
5. The young Baron of Kincardine is entertained by fairies, who steal his father's snuff for him when he asks for a pinch.
6. The young baron meets a bogle with a red hand, tells, and is punished.
7. The baron's dairymaid, when at a shealing, has a visit from a company of fairies, who dance and steal milk.
8. "A man, once upon a time, coming up from Inverness late at night, coming through a solitary part called Slockmuic, was met by crowds of people, none of whom he could recognize, nor did they seem to take any notice of him. They engaged in close conversation, talked on subjects not a word of which he could pick up. At length accosting one individual of them, he asked who they were? 'None of the seed of Abram nor of Adam's race; but men of that party who lost favour at the
[paragraph continues] Court of Grace." He was advised not to practise late at night travelling in future.
Thomas MacDonald, gamekeeper at Dunrobin, also gives me a fairy tale, which is "now commonly believed in Badenoch."
9. A man went from home, leaving his wife in childbed. Her temper had never been ruffled. He found her a wicked scold. Thinking all was not right, he piled up a great fire, and threatened to throw in the occupant of the bed, unless she told him "where his own wife had been brought." She told him that his wife had been carried to Cnoc Fraing, a mountain on the borders of Badenoch and Strathdearn, and that she was. appointed successor.
The man went to Cnoc Fraing. He was suspected before of having something supernatural about him; and he soon found the fairies, who told him his wife had been taken to Shiathan Mor, a neighbouring mountain. He went there and was sent to Tom na Shirich, near Inverness. There he went, and at the "Fairy Knoll" found his wife and brought her back. "The person who related this story pretended to have seen people who knew distant descendants of the woman."