Willoughby Bedford’s Journal – investigating superstition and folklore
I managed to catch up with Albert Clifton in the small village of Burnsall, 6 miles north of Skipton. The area is surrounded by beautiful countryside and the little B roads that criss-cross the area take you around what is home to many a pixie and fairy haunt.
Albert took me to see Elbolton Hill which is supposedly a haunt of fairies. I must say it all reminds me of the tale of the Cottingley fairies. We sit down with a hot sun on our backs and Albert tells the tale.
It seems that a local man of these parts found himself on his way home after frequenting his local inn. Well he caught sight and started watching a group of the little folk enjoying themselves in the moonlight. The creatures were a dancing and celebrating. So the local man kept himself quiet while he watched with excitement at what was before him. But in his excitement he did forget himself and yelled out in broad Yorkshire dialect. “Na’ then, Ah’ll sing a song if tha loikes.”
Well the fairies were furious at his interruption and beat him so soundly that he was bruised for days afterwards. Apparently this is what the little folk do if disturbed. The man claimed to tell everyone who questioned him what he’d seen and how he’d ended up so battered and bruised?
I kept my thoughts to myself. Albert’s eyes were a glinting. Bruised, I bet he met with an accident rolling down this hill after one too many of the strong Yorkshire brew they serve in these parts.
now you’ll excuse me while I make on call on a certain individual about an overdue borrowed book, yes my Edgar Allan Poe’s book, Valentine Heart!
by Willoughby Bedford/John Riley