The church in the village where I live is chiming the hour at 10 past, which confused me greatly. My normal explanation for such things is that “it’s the pixies” – in this case because they dislike bells. This got me thinking, how do you protect yourself from the malevolence of pixies and fairies, and avoid being enchanted or led astray on the walk home?
This is my simple guide:
1. Turn your clothes inside out. Simple and effective, even a pocket inside out will do – this seemingly confuses the piskies and allows you to go about your business (will also break the spell of anyone pixie led, as it is thought to change the afflicted person’s identity)
2. Put a pin in your clothes. Pixies and fairies are repelled by iron (both in ore and worked form), so this seems to be the lightest way of carrying some on your person.
3. Wear a holed stone amulet or bells (also works for cattle). As I mentioned above, pixies aren’t overly keen…
4. Oatmeal in a pocket: For some reason pixies and fairies aren’t keen on the oaty goodness
5. Holy water. Often thought of as fallen angels (not good enough for heaven, not bad enough for hell), holy water is said to make the fairies and pixies keep their distance. A soggy solution, but effective.
6. Open scissors over a baby’s cot: One for home, stops the baby been taken and replaced by a changling. Although it is up to you which you consider the more dangerous…
7. Don’t travel on your own. Or at night, or in a storm, or mist. In fact best to stay in all together.
8. Don’t ignore them. In some places it pays to be polite – like at Santon in the Isle of Man. Always best to say “Laa Mie” (or hello if you not versed in Manx) as you cross the bridge.
9. But if you see one, don’t let on… Remember the tale of the mortal midwife who, after delivering a fairy child, secretly put drops in her eyes that allowed her to see the fae. On recognising the father at a fair she called out to him (and therefore showing him what she’d done), and he responded by taking her sight.
10. …and don’t ask them their names. Very-bad-idea…
11. Best not to eat any food offered either. As you’ll be under an obligation you won’t be able to get away from; they always want something in return.
12. In fact, just don’t provoke them... Seriously, do you still think running widdershin around a fairy ring is a good idea??