fairies only left Orkney when folk stopped seekin' them"
situation surrounding Orcadian fairy lore is somewhat complex.
speaking, in Orkney, the term "fairy folk" was simply a blanket term used to refer
to a wide range of supernatural creatures. Of these, the trows
were the most common.
To the Orcadians of yesteryear, there
was no distinction between the terms "trow" and "fairy". So
it is not uncommon to encounter what is obviously the same tale, or legend, with
a "trow" in one instance, but a "fairy" in the next.
does Orkney's "fairy" lore simply recount the exploits of the islands'
In most cases, yes.
are a few tales in which the characteristics, appearance and behaviour of the
fairy folk are distinctly different to that of the archetypal trow.
of this, I have chosen to present the tales of the fairy folk in their own section, and
not bundled in with the pages dealing with trows.
One crucial element remains throughout - the Orcadian fairy was not the benign gossamer-winged
nymph of popular tradition. Far from it.
The Orcadian fairy folk, like
the trows, were feared immensely.