The prettiest girl in all Ireland, a great fire, and the most deliciously tempting music.
Halloween, otherwise known as ‘All Hallows Eve’ is a celebration that takes place annually on the 31st of October. It is believed to have originated as a Celtic Holiday, Samhain, in Ireland around 2000 years ago. The festival held magical significance and was a time dedicated to remembering the dead. It is no surprise that the traditions of today are thought to have been influenced by folk customs and stories of this time long ago. To celebrate the ancient holiday, we’re sharing an Irish Halloween tale, The Girl Who Danced with the Fairies.
This short tale wasn’t originally illustrated, so we have chosen some sweet dancing fairies to complement this post.
The Girl Who Danced With The Fairies
An Irish Halloween Tale
ONE must never wanderabout alone on Hallowe’en, for then the Fairies are abroad looking for mortals to trick and lead astray.
Now, there was once a girl, the prettiest girl in all Ireland, who late one Hallowe’en was going to a spring to fetch some water. Her foot slipped, and she fell. When she got up, she looked about her, and saw that she was in a very strange place. A great fire was burning near, around which a number of people, beautifully dressed, were dancing. A handsome young man, like a Prince, with a red sash, and a golden band in his hair, left the fire, and came toward her. He greeted her kindly, and asked her to dance.
“It is a foolish thing, sir, to ask me to dance,” replied she, “since there is no music.”
At that the young man lifted his hand, and instantly the most delicious music sounded. Then he took her by the fingers and drew her into the dance. Around and around they whirled, and they danced and danced until the moon and stars went down. And all the time, the girl seemed to float in the air, and she forgot everything except the sweet music and the young man.
At last the dancing ceased, and a door opened in the earth. The young man, who seemed to be the King of all, led the girl down a pair of stairs, followed by all the gay company. At the end of a long passage they came to a hall bright and beautiful with gold and silver and lights.
A table was covered with every good thing to eat, and wine was poured out in golden cups. The young man lifted a cup, and offered it to the girl; at the same moment some one whispered in her ear:—
“Do not drink! Do not eat! If you do either, you will never see your home again!”
Well, the girl, when she heard that, set the cup down and refused to drink. Immediately all the company grew angry. A great buzzing arose. The lights went out. And the girl felt something grasp her, and rush her forth from the hall and up the stairs; and in a minute she found herself beside the spring holding her pitcher in her hand.
She did not wait for anything, but ran home as fast as she could, and locked herself in tight, and crept into bed. Then she heard a great clamour of little voices outside her door, and she could hear them cry:—
“The power we had over you to-night is gone, because you refused to drink! But wait until next Hallowe’en Night, when you dance with us on the hill! Then we shall keep you forever!—forever!”