Trows' passion for music
was a well-known fact that the trows of the Northern Isles were passionately addicted
to music, in particular fiddle music.
As such, they
took great delight in luring mortal fiddlers into their knowes, howes and halls
beneath the hills.
There are many tales describing such
incidents, some of which state that the fiddler remained with the trows for a
year, others insisting it was a year and a day or longer.
there is one element that all the tales agree on - to the unsuspecting fiddler
only one night had passed and he always returned home not knowing the true length
of time he had been away.
A fiddler whose playing particularly
pleased these underground music lovers might be well rewarded. Indeed, one episode
tells of a fiddler who pleased the trows so much that when he finally left their
howe after a long musical session he was informed that he would never again lack
Thereafter, whenever he needed cash, he simply
put his hand into his pocket and because of trow magic
there was always money there.
But, as always, his good
fortune did not last.
when well well and trult drunk on some fine home-brew, the fiddler told a number
of his companions the secret of his magic money. But his confession broke the
trows' magical spell and never again did the foolish fiddler have a "trowie-shilling"
played around the islands were said to have been taught to the fiddlers by the
trows. One such reel was supposedly learned by a man while walking over a hill
During his journey, the wanderer heard the trows
playing from deep within the hill, so sat and listened intently until he had memorised
their otherworldly tune.
Another account explains that
an old man, sitting outside his house on summer's night, watched a party of trows
traverse a nearby area of marshy ground.
As they crossed
the terrain they sang: "Hupp horse handocks and we'll ride on Bulmints."
old man called out - "I'll ride with you" - and in an instant was whisked
away by the trows. Twelve long months passed with no sign of the old man, until
one day he appeared back back on his own rooftop.
folk in the area were astounded to see the old chap back and in good health. But
no matter how much they asked, he would say nothing as to where he had been, and
what he had seen.
But the tune the trows had
been singing when he first spied them was remembered and taught to others, soon
becoming one of the known "Fairy Reels".