He also testified that Calton Hill had ‘invisible gates’ on it that only fairy people can see. Before he had been interviewed by George Burton, the boy had been playing on the street with other children and was known to be a ‘strange fairy child’ – which is why he was interviewed.
The other two stories are the Fairy Boy of Culzean and the Fairy Boy of Borgue, short tales of people’s encounters with these strange boys, although, there is not any date of when these occurred.
Below, are the tales of these three boys.
THE FAIRY BOY OF LEITH.
THE worthy Captain George Burton communicated to Richard Bovet, gentleman, author of the interesting work entitled Pandæmonium, or the Devil's Cloister Opened, the following singular account of a lad called the Fairy Boy of Leith, who, it seems, acted as a drummer to the elves, who weekly held rendezvous in the Calton Hill, near Edinburgh.
"About fifteen years since, having business that detained me for some time at Leith, which is near Edinburgh, in the kingdom of Scotland, I often met some of my acquaintance at a certain house there, where we used to drink a glass of wine for our refection; the woman which kept the house was of honest reputation among the neighbours, which made me give the more attention to what she told me one day about a fairy boy (as they called him), who lived about that town. She had given me so strange an account of him that I desired her I might see him the first opportunity, which she promised; and not long after, passing that way, she told me there was the fairy boy but a little before I came by; and, casting her eye into the street, said, Look you, sir, yonder he is at play with those other boys; and, designing him to me, I went, and, by smooth words, and a piece of money, got him to come into the house with me; where, in the presence of divers people, I demanded of him several astrological questions, which he answered with great subtlety; and, through all his discourse, carried it with a cunning much above his years, which seemed not to exceed ten or eleven.
"He seemed to make a motion like drumming upon the table with his fingers, upon which I asked him whether he could beat a drum? To which he replied, Yes, sir, as well as any man in Scotland; for every Thursday night I beat all points to a sort of people that used to meet under yonder hill (pointing to the great hill between Edenborough and Leith.) How, boy? quoth I, what company have you there? There are, sir, said he, a great company both of men and women, and they are entertained with many sorts of musick, besides my drum; they have, besides, plenty of variety of meats and wine, and many times we are carried into France or Holland in a night, and return again, and whilst we are there we enjoy all the pleasures the country doth afford. I demanded of him how they got under that hill? To which he replied that there was a great pair of gates that opened to them, though they were invisible to others; and that within there were brave large rooms, as well accommodated as most in Scotland. I then asked him how I should know what he said to be true? Upon which he told me he would read my fortune, saying I should have two wives, and that he saw the forms of them sitting on my shoulders; that both would be very handsome women. As he was thus speaking, a woman of the neighbourhood, coming into the room, demanded of him what her fortune should be? He told her that she had two bastards before she was married, which put her in such a rage that she desired not to hear the rest. "The woman of the house told me that all the people in Scotland could not keep him from the rendezvous on Thursday night; upon which, by promising him some more money, I got a promise of him to meet me at the same place, in the afternoon, the Thursday following, and so dismist him at that time. The boy came again, at the place and time appointed, and I had prevailed with some friends to continue with me, if possible, to prevent his moving that night.
He was placed between us, and answered many questions, until, about eleven of the clock, he was got away unperceived by the company; but I, suddenly missing him, hasted to the door, and took hold of him, and so returned him into the same room; we all watched him, and, of a sudden, he was again got out of doors; I followed him close, and he made a noise in the street as if he had been set upon; but from that time I could never see him.
~ GEORGE BURTON.
The Fairy Boy of Borgue
In the village of Borgue there lived a young boy who the locals suspected had a relationship with the faeries. He would disappear for days at a time and they all believed that he was spending time with them. In Katherine Briggs 'The Fairies in Tradition and Literature' she says the Kirk Session in Borgue records the questioning of the Boy of Borgue, who claimed intercourse with the fairies. Other accounts say the boy never spoke of the matter to either confirm or deny it. His grandfather sought help from a Catholic priest who gave him a wooden cross to place around the boy's neck. Once the cross was in place the boy did not wander off to visit the faerie folk again, however, according to the story his grandfather was punished by being shunned by his Kirk. Apparently they did not like faeries much but as evil as they can be they would have accepted the situation, but to have dealings with a papist, that they would not forgive.
The Fairy Boy of Culzean
Hundreds of years ago the Laird of Co' who owned Culzean Castle in Ayrshire was visited by a small boy with a tiny wooden cup. He came to beg for some ale saying that it was for his sick mother, the Laird then asked his butler to fill the boys cup. To the butlers astonishment the half the barrel failed to fill the boys cup and he was loathed to open another barrel but the laird ordered him to fill the cup no matter how much ale was spent so the butler opened another barrel and just as the first drop landed the cup was full, the boy thanked the laird and went on his way. Some years later during wars in Flanders the laird was caught and taken prisoner and sentenced to death. The night before he was to be executed the door of his dungeon swung open and the boy appeared saying, "Laird o' Co', rise an go". Once outside the little boy (who was a fairy) took the laird apon his shoulders and whisked him back to his castle in a flash, a he set the laird down on the ground he said" Ae guid turn deserves another. Tak ye that for being sae kind to my auld mither".
There are bound to be many other tales of children’s encounters with fairies in documents out there. In times past, superstition and belief in the supernatural certainly does make for interesting story telling. Today, no boy would be believed if one came forward with such stories. Perhaps a wane in belief in the 20th and 21st centuries makes fairy interaction with people less likely to occur.
|From 'Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain' - Readers Digest|