THE LUCK AT EDEN HALL
IN this house (Eden Hall, a seat of the Musgraves,) are some good old-fashioned, apartments. An old painted drinking-glass, called the Luck of Eden Hall, is preserved with great care. In the garden near to the house is a well of excellent spring water, called St. Cuthbert's Well. (The church is dedicated to that saint.) This glass is supposed to have been a sacred chalice; but the legendary tale is, that the butler, going to draw water, surprised a company of Fairies, who were amusing themselves upon the green near the well; he seized the glass which was standing upon its margin. They tried to recover it; but, after an ineffectual struggle, flew away, saying,--
If that glass either break or fall,
Farewell the luck of Eden Hall [a]
"In the year 1633--4 (says Aubrey [b]) soon after I had entered into my grammar, at the Latin schoole of Yatton-Keynel, [near Chippenham, Wilts,] our curate, Mr. Hart, was annoyed one night by these elves or fayeries. Comming over the downes, it being neere darke, and approaching one of the faiery dances, as the common people call them in these parts, viz, the greene circles made by those sprites on the grasse, he all at once saw an innumerable quantitie of pigmies, or very small people, dancing rounde and rounde, and singing and making all maner of small odd noyses. He, being very greatly amazed, and yet not being able, as he says, to run away from them, being, as he supposes, kept there in a kinde of enchantment, they no sooner perceave him but they surround him on all sides, and what betwixte feare and amazement he fell down, scarcely knowing what he did; and thereupon these little creatures pinched him all over, and made a quick humming noyse all the tyme; but at length they left him, and when the sun rose he found himself exactly in the midst of one of these faiery dances. This relation I had from him myselfe a few days after he was so tormented; but when I and my bed-fellow, Stump, wente soon afterwards, at night time, to the dances on the downes, we sawe none of the elves or faieries. But, indeed, it is saide they seldom appeare to any persons who go to seeke for them."
The next account, in order of time, that occurs, is what Sir Walter Scott calls the Cock Lane narrative of Anne Jefferies, who was born in 1626, in the parish of St. Teath, in Cornwall, and whose wonderful adventures with the Fairies were, in 1696, communicated by Mr. Moses Pitt, her master's son, to Dr. Fowler, bishop of Gloucester. [c]
According to this account, Anne described the Fairies, who she said came to her, as "six small people, all in green clothes." They taught her to perform numerous surprising cures; they fed her from harvest-time till Christmas; they always appeared in even numbers. When seen dancing in the orchard among the trees, she said she was dancing with the fairies. These fairies scorned the imputation of being evil spirits, and referred those who termed them such to Scripture.
The following "relation of the apparition of Fairies, their seeming to keep a fair, and what happened to a certain man that endeavoured to put himself in amongst them," is given by Bovet. [d]
[a] Hutchinson, History of Cumberland, vol. 1. p. 269.
[b] As quoted by Thoms in his Essay on Popular Songs, in the Athenaeum for 1847.
[c] Morgan, Phoenix Britannicus, Loud. 1732.
[d] Pandemonium, n. 207. Lond. 1684.