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Isle of Skye Casts a Spell of Enchantment on Visitors

Suspended in turbulent seas with cliffs that plunge into dangerous waters, many islands have an air of mystery, but on the Isle of Skye belief in the existence of fairy inhabitants or “little people” dates back to prehistoric times. Once believed to have evil overtones, Scotland’s fairies are believed to live in “beehive” houses buried deep in the heather in The Fairy Glen where the tribe meets located on the north end of the island near Uig.

Some long-time island inhabitants believe in the continued existence of these strange creatures, but debate over what they wear and how they live might get a little heated in a pub. Green is widely acknowledged to be the color of choice for fairy clothing, though “eyewitness accounts” from medieval times describe fairies as wearing gold and silver clothes made of gossamer and silk. The queen of all the fairies is said to prefer white linen with a coronet of pearls in her hair.

Tales of Scotland’s island creatures are not simply told by word of mouth. In 1691, the Rev. Robert Kirk published a book called “The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies.” The book may have cost the Rev. Kirk his life though as it is said that he was spirited away by the subjects of his research because “he knew too much.”

Skye’s surreal tranquility may convince even the most committed skeptic of the fairies existence. Their purported meeting place, a glen bursting with twisting trees and grassy knolls, captivates visitors, but don’t go there to spy on the fairies. “Little people” have a rigid moral code and spies face retribution. Conversely, they repay acts of kindness and politeness with good luck. Doubters are ignored.

The Fairy Glen cannot be found on a map, but if you're visiting Scotland and you go to the Isle of Skye and you're lucky, one of the island’s human residents might tell you a story or walk with you through the wild landscape. Just be sure you wear any color but green!


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