MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Fairy Abduction Story
James Maher NFLD 1 Tape 16A Track 3
Flatrock Audio:

In 19, in the year of 1918 l had occasion to go round Conception Bay on some business on the train. On the way over, at the station in Brigus, there was a woman got on the train; she sat in the seat next to mine. A little further on to the next station there was a man came on. So the woman recognized the man and, ah, she asked him if he was Mr. Jones. He said 'yes'. "Well," she said, "I think I saw you in Colinet." "Yes," he said, "I was in Colinet," he said. "Some years ago," he said. "The time that child was missing, I was there," he said. "I spent three days looking for the child and then," he said "I left and the child wasn't still found but l heard after she was found," he said. "And is she alive now?" he said to the woman. "Oh yes," she says, "she's ali- … she's alive, but she don't like you to talk about this to her at all: she don't like it, she don't want to hear tell of it." So, ah, l got kind of interested in the story and when the man got off the train l asked the woman what was … twas all about so she told me, and this is the story.

There was a young married couple. They had a child of eleven months old. The child was playing around the floor just crawling around it couldn't walk. One evening while they were at their tea the child crawled out on the porch. So the man said to the woman you better go out and bring in the child: he might fall over the stoop.

She went out: there was no child there. So she thought that twas one of the neighbours lived next door might have come and taken the child to give her a fright. So she didn't pay much attention to it, she came back and finished her tea. Then she went over to the neighbour's house to see if she could find the child bring home the child as she thought. She went there: there was no child. Well, then she went to the next house and the next one and she roused the neighbours and they started to search for the child. Twas coming on dark then. And they searched and searched.

Every man in the place was out searching for twelve days. eleven days and then they gave up. No sign of the child. They tried every lake every river. they tried under every bush within three or four miles of the settlement. They couldn't find the child. Well the twelfth day, there was nobody looking for the child but the father. So he came home in the evening and he said to his wife, "Well we can give her up now: she's gone. We'll never see her any more. She. she's dead anyhow. We'll never see her alive."

So he's sitting down and he's. through the window he saw a man coming down an old woods path. There was a shortcut coming from one settlement to the other that cut off a lot of the road and people if they were walking they usually came that way. So the man had a bundle in his arms. So they watched him: came right into the settlement. They went out to meet him and he had the child. He picked up the child about six miles from the settlement sitting under a tree. And she was gathering up the dead leaves and knocking them about with her hands then laughing at it. So he picked up the child and he had some biscuits on him and he brought her to a water pool and soaked the biscuits and the child ate them quite hearty… she was hungry. And there was nothing at all wrong with her: no mark on her only her neck was sun burned where her clothes was low on her neck and the neck was sunburnt. He brought the back and that was the child and the child is still alive.

Well 'tis one of those stories that's unbelievable but true. So that's the story.

Leach: And how did they account for it … how did they account for the … for the child being missing?

Oh, the fairies. Oh yes the fairies was supposed. Twas supposed the fairies took the child and kept it alive. It couldn't happen any other way: there must be something supernatural happened for the child to be alive after twelve days and twas their opinion twas taken by the fairies.


One of three fairy stories told by James Maher. This abduction story was immediately followed by a second, and then by one of hearing fairy voices. For more on fairies in Newfoundland tradition, consult Barbara Rieti's Strange Terrain and Peter Narváez (ed.), The Good People.

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