The world of faeries was explored at the monthly meeting of Crewkerne & District U3A. Guest speaker Brian Wright pointed out that streams and wells are among the most common places where they are to be found. Brian said: “There are no less than 170 faeries varieties in British myth. The three most common explanations for their existence are that they are souls left in limbo after the purging of Heaven by St Michael, they are Eve’s uglier children who she tried to hide from God and they are the ancient little people, pushed to the fringes of the world by humans.”
Brian warned against trusting them: “Although they often appear in a friendly guise at first, they are tricky customers and turn on humans eventually.” In Medieval times, there was a real fear of faeries as they were suspected of bringing sickness and even worse, substituting faeries for babies. Children who were suspected of being faerie changelings were reported to have been murdered by their parents up to as late as 1902 in Ireland.
On the lighter side of faerie stories, Brian Wright invited U3A members to share their encounters. He was surprised when one member told the group what she had experienced when walking across a peat bog in Scotland. The woman said she’d heard a voice urging her to cross a stream, which she did with some reluctance. The magic had come on the other side of the stream where she saw a “beautiful tinkling waterfall” which she felt embodied the spirit of the place. Speakers secretary Denise Smith thanked Brian for his enchanting talk. She reminded members that it was the last monthly meeting at the Henhayes Community Centre as the increase in numbers attending the meetings had prompted them to find a larger venue, which beginning in October would be the George Reynolds Centre.