Tag Archives: faeries

Boys & Girls Come Out to Play

The old English 18th century nursery rhyme ‘Boys & Girls Come Out to Play’ ๐Ÿคพ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ warns of the dangers of faeries luring children out of their beds. ๐Ÿงš๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

 

Boys and girls come out to play,
The moon doth shine as bright as day;
Leave your supper, and leave your sleep,
And come with your playfellows into the street.
Come with a whoop, come with a call,
Come with goodwill โ€“ or not at all.
Up the ladder and down the wall,
A half-penny loaf will serve us all;
You find milk, and I’ll find flour,
And we’ll have a pudding in half an hour.

Now, it’s possible that children might sing such a rhyme to ask their playmates to come and join them outside, but there’s something slightly sinister about this jaunty ditty. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

It’s far more likely that this rhyme is a warning against leaving the safety of your bed. ๐Ÿ›Œ๐Ÿป Night ๐ŸŒƒ was the time of witches ๐Ÿง™๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ faeries, and evil spirits. ๐Ÿ‘ป The moon๐ŸŒœ in particular was seen as intensifying their power and tempting forth even more dangerous creatures, like werewolves. ๐Ÿบ

The poem is a siren call to children to leave the safety of their homes and come out to play with their enticing magical playmates with the promise of a faerie pudding. ๐ŸŽ‚ But as any child who knows their fairytales ๐Ÿ“œ can tell you, faerie time passes at a completely different rate to normal time. โฐ One night spent playing with your new friends, and you could come home only to find that everyone you had known died of old age. โšฐ๏ธโ˜ ๏ธ Source: Jack Albert ‘Pop Goes the Weasel: The secret meanings of nursery rhymes’

Image: ‘Fairy Islands’ from the book Elves and Fairies, 1916, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

Home Protection Sacrifice

Our ancestors left behind numerous clues in the buildings we continue to live in today of how they attempted to protect their homes and families over the last 500yrs. Like the human body, a house was believed to have vulnerable points where witches ๐Ÿง™๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ faeries ๐Ÿงš๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ and evil spirits ๐Ÿ‘น could enter more easily. In Scandinavia and the Alps ๐Ÿ—ป venomous adders ๐Ÿ were buried alive under thresholds to ward off unwelcome visitors, such as witches & thieves. Poor snakes!

Horseshoes

Today, people hang horseshoes forย  good luck without realising that a century or more a go they were considered powerfulย  apotropaicsโ€”or ‘warding away’ objects against witches. Here we have a representation of two separate traditions: because iron weapons aided the Iron Age Celts to vanquish the bronze-using peoples who proceeded them, the belief arose that iron was a powerful protection against earlier inhabitants & their gods, which in time became represented by faeries, goblins, witches ect.โ€”therefore iron was a protection against witches. ๐Ÿง™๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ The second tradition is connected with theย  moon goddessโ€”the horseshoe resembles aย  crescent moon so a house with this talisman was under the protection of the moon goddess. ๐ŸŒš๐Ÿ€๐Ÿคž