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Celtic Guide, Vol.3:1 (2014)
Introduction: For many hundreds of years Skye remained an island isolated from the rest of Scotland. It did not exist in a complete vacuum, as it was settled by both Celts and Norse, and probably by the Picts before them. There were always comings and goings by way of ships and boats from the mainland and abroad. Due to this sea access, Skye became a Viking hot spot, like so many of the other Scottish Isles. Its isolation became more pronounced toward the Industrial Revolution. As mechanized farming equipment, railroads, and eventually motorways became the norm across mainland Britain, residents of Skye continued using traditional farming methods and modes of transport. It is no wonder, then, that fairy lore lingered on after it had begun to erode elsewhere.
Life moved at a slower pace in Skye, and stories of fairies continued to be passed on orally. Storytelling is, after all, a form of entertainment that comes with no technology necessary. Author Mary Julia MacCulloch recorded some folklore during her time in Skye, which was published in the journal Folklore in 1922. She says that nearly all of her stories were collected in and around the village of Portree. Yet, when it comes to Skye, the location of her interviews made little difference. She explains that the island was a tight knit community, and the inhabitants were a hardy breed of folk. It was not uncommon to see an elderly woman walking twenty-six miles just to attend mass. Many inhabitants belonged to parishes at distances quite far from where they lived. So, it seems that these people, who were so used to hard work, thought nothing of traversing their island on foot. As such, stories would have travelled throughout the island with ease.