"SPEAKIN' o' fairies," quoth Robbie Oliver (an old shepherd, who lived at Southdean in Jedwater, and died about 1830), "I can tell ye about the vera last fairy that was seen hereaway. When my faither, Peter Oliver, was a young man, he lived at Hyndlee, an' herdit the Brocklaw. Weel, it was the custom to milk the yowes in thae days, an' my faither was buchtin' 2 the Brocklaw yowes to twae young, lish, clever hizzies ne nicht i' the gloamin'. Nae little daffin'
an' gabbin' 1 gaed on amang the threesome, I'se warrant ye, till at last, just as it chanced to get darkish, my faither chancit to luik alang the lea at the head o' the bucht, an' what did he see but a wee little creaturie a' clad i' green, an' wi' lang hair, yellow as gowd, hingin' round its shoulders, comin' straight for him, whiles gi'en a whink o' a greet 2 an' aye atween its hands raisin' a queer, unyirthly cry, 'Hae ye seen Hewie Milburn? Oh! hae ye seen Hewie Milburn?' Instead of answering the creature, my faither sprang owre the bucht flake, 3 to be near the lasses, saying, 'Bliss us a'--what's that?' 'Ha, ha! Patie lad,' quo' Bessie Elliot, a free-spoken Liddesdale hempy; 'theer a wife com'd for ye the nicht, Patie lad.' 'A wife!' said my faither; 'may the Lord keep me frae sic a wife as that,' an' he confessed till his deein' day, he was in sic a fear that the hairs o' his heed stuid up like the hirses of a hurcheon. 4 The creature was nae bigger than a three-year-auld lassie, but feat an' tight, lith o' limb, as ony grown woman, an' its face was the downright perfection o' beauty, only there was something wild an' unyirthly in its e'en that couldna be lookit at, faur less describit: it didna molest them, but aye taigilt 5 on about the bucht, now an' then repeatin' its cry, 'Hae ye seen Hewie Milburn?' Sae they cam' to nae ither conclusion than that it had tint 6 its companion. When my faither an' the lasses left the
bucht, it followed them hame to the Hyndlee kitchen, where they offered it yowe brose, but it wad na tak' onything, till at last a neer-do-weel callant made as if he wad grip it wi' a pair o' reed-het tangs, an' it appeared to be offendit, an' gaed awa' doon the burnside, cryin' its auld cry eerier an' waesomer than ever, and disappeared in a bush o' seggs." 1
148:1 Old Friends with Newe Faces. Field & Tuer.
149:1 Romping and "chaffing."
149:3 Movable gate of the fold.
149:4 Bristles of a hedgehog.