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  The Fairy Folk in Orkney Lore

The fairy soldiers of Greenie and Furse-a-kelda
By David Spence
Old Lore Miscellany Vol III Part IV

The writer will now relate an instance of what has been seen by himself in Greenie.

One morning, about 8 am, the writer and family were having breakfast, when the dog, who was on the doorstep, commenced to bark viciously. One of the family went to the door and called to the dog, which continued to bark, and became more violent.

The writer then went out and called to the dog, who paid no attention, but seemed to be snapping viciously at something, as though preventing someone from entering the gateway in the dyke. The writer stood looking around, but while he could see nothing anywhere, he quite distinctly heard the tramp of men, such as of Volunteers marching.

The sound seemed to be very near, and was quite distinct. The writer seemed to be fixed to the ground, the dog was still barking, and seemed as if trying to get hold of something. All at once the writer saw a troop of men, six deep, and about seventy yards in length, marching past with guns on their shoulders, and officers with drawn swords.

They all passed about 60 yards from where the writer was standing, and marched to a dyke at the public road, and as each rank came to the dyke it disappeared. The officer in the front rank put his sword on the dyke, as though giving directions to march through. The writer afterwards found the cope stones and tabling of the dyke lying in the side drain of the road.

When they had all disappeared the dog ceased to bark and went quietly into the house.

The most marvellous point of the whole incident comes now -whether it was the same day, or some time afterwards or before, a farmer standing on the rising ground above the knowes of Furse-a-Kelda, saw a body of men coming out of a small knoll on the farm of Norton, marching direct for the knowes of Furse-a-Kelda.

When about half of the distance was covered, a number of men came out of the knowes of Furse-a-Kelda and met the other company. He described it as an awful fight-lots of men were killed on both sides and wounded.

Both armies drew off and marched back to their respective knolls, while a number were engaged in carrying the dead and wounded off the field of battle.

The writer received this information from a third party, as the second party did not know anything of what the writer had seen. The second party described the dress of the army that went from Norton, which corresponded with what the writer had seen.

The writer also had interesting old-lore stories from a Mr. George Linklater who, for long, was tenant in Norton, and the doing of the "good neighbours," or, in other words, the fairies.

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