"Plucked from the Fairy Circle"
A man saves his friend from the grip of a fairy ring


A great deal of folklore surrounds fairy rings.

 Their names in European languages often allude

 to supernatural origins; they are known as ronds

 de sorciers ("sorcerers' rings") in France, and Hexenringe

 ("witches' rings") in German.

 In German tradition, fairy rings were thought to mark

the site of witches' dancing on Walpurgis Night,

 and Dutch superstition claimed that the circles

 show where the Devil set his milk churn.

In Tyrol, folklore attributed fairy rings to the fiery tails

 of flying dragons; once a dragon had created such a circle,

 nothing but toadstools could grow there for seven years.

European superstitions routinely warned against entering

 a fairy ring.

French tradition reported that fairy rings were guarded

 by giant bug-eyed toads that cursed those who violated

 the circles.

In other parts of Europe, entering a fairy ring would result

 in the loss of an eye.

 Fairy rings are associated with diminutive spirits

in the Philippines.

Western European, including English, Scandinavian and Celtic,

 traditions claimed that fairy rings are the result of elves

 or fairies dancing.

Such ideas dated to at least the mediæval period;

 The Middle English term elferingewort ("elf-ring"),

meaning "a ring of daisies caused by elves' dancing"

dates to the 12th century.[25] In his History of the Goths

 (1628), Olaus Magnus makes this connection,

saying that fairy rings are burned into the ground

by the dancing of elves.

 British folklorist Thomas Keightley noted that in Scandinavia

 in the early 20th century, beliefs persisted that fairy rings

 (elfdans) arose from the dancing of elves. Keightley

 warned that while entering an elfdans might allow

 the interloper to see the elves—although this was

not guaranteed—it would also put the intruder in thrall

 to their illusions.


The folklores of the British Isles contain a wealth of fairy lore,

 including the idea from which fairy rings take their name:

the phenomena result from the dancing of fairies.

 In 19th-century Wales, where the rings are known as

 cylch y Tylwyth Teg, fairies were almost invariably

described as dancing in a group when encountered,

 and in Scotland and Wales in the late 20th century,

stories about fairy rings were still common;

 some Welsh even claimed to have joined a fairy dance.

 Victorian folklorists regarded fairies and witches

as related, based in part on the idea that both

were believed to dance in circles.

 These revels are particularly associated with moonlit nights,

 the rings only becoming visible to mortals

the following morning.  Local variants add other details.

 An early 20th-century Irish tradition says that fairies

enjoy dancing around the hawthorn tree so that fairy rings

 often centre on one.

 One resident of Balquhidder, Scotland, said that the fairies

 sit on the mushrooms and use them as dinnertables,

 and a Welsh woman claimed that fairies used the mushrooms

 as parasols and umbrellas.

 Olaus Magnus in "De Gentibus Septentrionalibus"

wrote that the brightness of the fairy ring comes not

from the dancing of the fairies, who harm it with their feet,

 but from Puck, who refreshes the grass.

 A Devon legend says that a black hen and chickens

sometimes appear at dusk in a large fairy ring

on the edge of Dartmoor.

 A Welsh and Manx variant current in the 1960s

removes dancing from the picture and claims that fairy rings

 spring up over an underground fairy village.

 These associations have become linked to specific sites.

For example, "The Pixies' Church" was a rock formation

in Dartmoor surrounded by a fairy ring,

 and a stone circle tops Cader Idris in northern Wales,

 believed to be a popular spot for fairy dances.


Many folk beliefs generally paint fairy rings as dangerous

 places, best avoided. Sikes traces these stories of people

 trespassing into forbidden territory and being punished

 for it to the tale of Psyche and Eros.

 In it, Psyche is forbidden to view her lover, and when

 she does so, her palace disappears and she is left alone.

 Superstition calls fairy circles sacred and warns

 against violating them lest the interloper

(such as a farmer with a plough)

anger the fairies and be cursed.

 In an Irish legend recorded by Wilde, a farmer builds

 a barn on a fairy ring despite the protests of his neighbours.

He is struck senseless one night, and a local "fairy doctor"

 breaks the curse.

The farmer says that he dreamed that he must destroy

 the barn.

 Even collecting dew from the grass or flowers of a fairy ring

 can bring bad luck.

Destroying a fairy ring is unlucky and fruitless;

superstition says it will just grow back.

A traditional Scottish rhyme sums up the danger of such places:

He wha tills the fairies' green
No luck again shall have :
And he what spills the fairies' ring
Betide him want and woe.
For weirdless days and weary nights
Are his till his dying day.
But he what goes by the fairy ring,
No tree nor pine shall see,
And he what cleans the fairy ring
An easy death shall have.


Numerous legends focus on mortals entering a fairy ring

—and the consequences.

One superstition is that anyone who steps into an empty

 fairy ring will die at a young age.

 A 20th-century tradition from Somerset calls the fairy ring

a "galley-trap" and says that a murderer or thief

who walks in the ring will be hanged.

 Most often, someone who violates a fairy perimeter

 becomes invisible to mortals outside

 and may find it impossible to leave the circle.

 Often, the fairies force the mortal to dance

 to the point of exhaustion, death, or madness.

 In Welsh tales, fairies actively try to lure mortals

into their circles to dance with them.

 A tale from the Cambrian Mountains of Wales,

current in the 19th century, describes a mortal's  encounter

 with a fairy ring: ... he saw the Tylwyth Teg, in appearance

like tiny soldiers, dancing in a ring.

He set out for the scene of revelry, and soon drew near

 the ring where, in a gay company of males and females,

 they were footing it to the music of the harp.

Never had he seen such handsome people,

 nor any so enchantingly cheerful.

They beckoned him with laughing faces to join them

 as they leaned backward almost falling,

whirling round and round with joined hands.

Those who were dancing never swerved from

the perfect circle; but some were clambering over the old

cromlech, and others chasing each other with surprising

swiftness and the greatest glee.

Still others rode about on small white horses

 of the most beautiful form ...

 All this was in silence, for the shepherd could not hear

 the harps, though he saw them.

 But now he drew nearer to the circle, and finally ventured

to put his foot in the magic ring.

The instant he did this, his ears were charmed with strains

of the most melodious music he had ever heard.


Entering the ring on May Eve or Halloween night

 was especially dangerous.

 One source near Afon fach Blaen y Cae, a tributary

of the Dwyfach, tells of a shepherd accidentally disturbing

 a ring of rushes where fairies are preparing to dance;

 they capture him and hold him captive,

and he even marries one of them.

 In variants from Scotland recorded by Edwin Sidney

Hartland in 1891, the ring is replaced by a cavern

or an old mill.

Freedom from a fairy ring often requires outside intervention.

A tactic from early 20th century Wales is to cast

wild marjoram and thyme into the circle and befuddle

 the fairies; another asks the rescuer to touch the victim

 with iron.

 Other stories require that the enchanted victim

simply be plucked out by someone on the outside,

 although even this can be difficult: A farmer in a tale

 from the Langollen region has to tie a rope around himself

 and enlist four men to pull him from the circle

as he goes in to save his daughter.

 Other folk methods rely on Christian faith to break

 the enchantment: a stick from a rowan tree

 (thought to be the wood from which the cross

of Jesus Christ was built) can break the curse,

 as can a simple phrase such as "what, in Heaven's name",

 as in a 19th century tale from Carmarthenshire.

 A common element to these recoveries is that

the rescuer must wait a year and a day from the point

where the victim entered the ring.

Mortals who have danced with the fairies are rarely safe

 after being saved from their enthrallment.

Often, they find that what seemed to be but a brief foray

 into fairyland was indeed much longer in the mortal realm,

 possibly weeks or years.

 The person rescued from the fairy ring may have no memory

 of their encounter with the sprites, as in a story from Anglesea

 recorded in 1891.

 In most tales, the saved interlopers face a grim fate.

 For example, in a legend from Carmarthenshire,

 recorded by Sikes, a man is rescued from a fairy ring

only to crumble to dust.

 In a tale from Mathavarn, Llanwrin Parish, a fairy-ring

survivor moulders away when he eats his first bite of food.

 Another vulnerability seems to be iron; in a tale from

 the Aberystwyth region, a touch from the metal

causes a rescued woman to disappear.

Some legends assert that the only safe way

 to investigate a fairy ring is to run around it nine times.

This affords the ability to hear the fairies dancing

and frolicking underground.

According to a 20th-century tradition of Northumberland,

 this must be done under a full moon, and the runner

 must travel in the direction of the sun; to go widdershins

allows the fairies to place the runner under their sway.

 To circle the ring a tenth time is foolhardy and dangerous.

 Thomas Keightley recorded a similar tradition from

Northumberland in 1905:

"The children constantly run this number [nine times],

 but nothing will induce them to venture a tenth run."

 A story from early 20th century England says that a mortal

 can see the sprites without fear if a friend places a foot

 on that of the person stepping beyond the circle's perimeter.

 Another superstition says that wearing a hat backwards

 can confuse the fairies and prevent them from pulling

the wearer into their ring.

Although they have strong associations with doom,

some legends paint fairy circles as places of fertility

and fortune.

Welsh folk belief is that mountain sheep that eat the grass

 of a fairy ring flourish, and that crops sown from such

 a place will prove more bountiful that those

from normal land.

 A folk belief recorded in the Athenian Oracle claims

 that a house built on a fairy circle will bring prosperity

 to its inhabitants.

 Likewise, a legend from Pont y Wern says that in the

 13th or 14th century, the inhabitants of the town of

Corwrion watched fairies dancing in a ring around

 a glow worm every Sunday after church at a place

 called Pen y Bonc.

They even joined the sprites in their revels.

The legend survives in a rhyme:

"With the fairies nimbly dancing round /

The glow-worm on the Rising Ground."

 A Welsh tale recorded by Rhys in 1901 tells of a man

who supposedly lived on the side of the Berwyn,

above Cwm Pennant, in the early 19th century.

The man destroyed a nest of rooks in a tree

 surrounded by a fairy ring.

 In gratitude, the fairies gave him a half crown every day

but stopped when he told his friends,

"for he had broken the rule of the fair folks by making

their liberality known".

 Nevertheless, fairy boons are not without their curses,

and tales often tell of the sprites exacting their revenge

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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