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  The Fairy Folk in Orkney Lore

Davie o' Teeveth and the Fairy Folk

Fiddle GraphicIn the early 1800s, in the Mainland parish of Harray, there lived a man known as Davie o' Teeveth.

Davie, whose house, Teeveth, was a Harray ale-house, was renowned for his ability with the fiddle.

Teeveth was a few "chains" from the Knowe o' Dunshou - a heath-covered hillock, of about four acres, which was a renowned haunt of the fairy folk.

But while most Orcadian folk went to great lengths to avoid contact with the "peedie folk", Davie was said to be in favour with the fairies, and often, with fiddle in hand, sought out their company.

Davie was open about his contact with the fairies, as well as people who were long since dead. As such, many stories circulated among his neighbours. His ale, it was said, undoubtedly contained the spell that charmed the fairies.

On dark winter nights, Davie o' Teeveth would pick up his fiddle and set off to Dunshou, where he claimed to be "taen in at ae side o' the knowe, an lit oot at the ither."

Being a fiddler, "and one of some renown at that ", Davie was a great favourite at rants and weddings; and, on his way home, he always finished up on Dunshou. There he would play a few tunes. He is reported to have said: "I aye hae tae gang an gie the peerie folk a dance."

A certain Harray man was once homeward bound after a wedding.

While passing the Knowe o' Hammeran, near the lands of Overhouse, he heard the strains of the fiddle ringing faintly in his ears. At first the reveller thought the sound was simply the music of the wedding still ringing in his ears, but, nonetheless, he set off to the knowe to investigate.

Carefully picking his way around the mound, he found Davie o' Teeveth sitting on the ground playing his fiddle.

As he approached, Davie looked up and waved.

"Sit thu doon, Jamie, aside me," he said.

Jamie did so.

After some time, Davie broke the silence: "There they come noo; luck min, there they gather; dis thu no see them?"

Jamie panicked and his courage vanished. Without further ado he took to his heels.