A PEEP AT THE PIXIES - 6 of the most popular Pixie tales from Dartmoor
These are the 6 most popular tales about Pixies which are being told in Cornwall and Devon to this day. They Are:
Pixy Gathon; or, The Tailor's Needle
The Three Trials; or, The Story of Crabby Cross
The Seven Crosses of Tiverton; or, The Story of Pixy Picket
Fontina; or, The Pixies' Bath
The Lady of The Silver Bell
The Belfry Rock; or, The Pixies' Revenge
But why did they choose Dartmoor? In this most pleasant part of England, there are many hills and rivers, with plenty of woods, and fields, hedgerows, birds, and flowers - and a large tract of country called Dartmoor, where the hills are so high that some of them are like mountains, with a number of beautiful sparkling streams and waterfalls, and a great many rocks, some standing alone, and others piled on the top of the heights in such odd ways, that they look like the ruins of castles and towers built by the giants in the olden time - these are called Tors. They are so lofty that the clouds often hang upon them and hide their heads. And what with its being so large and lonely, and having very few trees, except in one or two spots near a river, Dartmoor is altogether, though a wild, a very grand place. In short it is the ideal place for Pixies to take up residence.
Many a Pixy is sent out on works of mischief to deceive the old nurses and steal away young children, or to do them harm. This is noticed' poet Ben Jonson who wrote:--
"Under a cradle I did creep
By day, and, when the childe was asleep
At night, I suck'd the breath, and rose
And pluck'd the nodding nurse by the nose."
Many Pixies are solely bent on mischief and are sent forth to lead poor travellers a fine dance when trudging home through woods, water, bogs and quagmires. If ever you are there late at night, beware of the light from the Will-o-the Wisp, for it may be a mischievous Pixie intent on having fun at your expense.
Not many have really seen a Pixie house. It is often said to be in a rock; sometimes, however, a mole hill is a palace for the elves, or a hollow nut cracked by the "joiner squirrel," will contain the majesty of Pixy-land. Drayton describes their royal dwellings thus:
"The walls of spiders' legs are made,
Well morticed and finely laid,
He was the master of his trade
It curiously that builded;
The windows of the eyes of cats,
And for a roof, instead of slats,
Is covered with the skins of bats,
With moonshine that are gilded."
And now, young friends, having been told that the wild wastes of Dartmoor, are said to be much haunted by Pixies, proceed to these stories which we trust will afford you some amusement in those hours not devoted to your lessons, or to more serious studies.
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