Tales From Cornwall….

Wednesday morning, early on… Grey over the city, machinery stirring on the road digging up Hawthorne one more time.

Had a nice visit with a friend last night, had out the books on Britain as he is going over in 3 weeks. Suggested he take a few extra days…. and wander. It seems he will.

An entry today based around Cornwall. (this came out of last nights visit)

More on the way, but you knew that…


On The Menu:

The Links

Pete’s Pick:Savina Yannatou – Ah Mon Die

3 Cornish Tales

(PV) Utada Hikaru – Sakura drops

The Cornish Poet: John Harris

Artist: Robert Anning Bell


(Robert Anning Bell – when in the chronicle of wasted time)


The Links:

Do animals have telepathy?

Briton loses extradition fight over US military hacking

Past Lives and Why We Don’t Remember

Ancient human unearthed in China

Animal attraction


Pete’s Pick:

Savina Yannatou – Ah Mon Die


(Robert Anning Bell – The Magic Chrystal)

Persons Spirited Away to Fairy Land

When unmolested, fairies bring good fortune to places they frequent; but they are spiteful if interfered with, and delight in vexing and thwarting people who meddle with them. It is well known ‘that they can’t abear those whom they can’t abide.’ Then there were the tales of persons spirited away to fairyland, to wait upon the small people’s children and perform various little domestic offices, where the time has passed so pleasantly that they have forgotten all about their homes and relations, until by doing a forbidden thing they have incurred their master’s anger. They were then punished by being thrown into a deep sleep, and on awakening found themselves on some moor close to their native villages. These unhappy creatures never, after their return, settled down into work, but roamed about aimlessly doing nothing, hoping and longing one day to be allowed to go back to the place from whence they had been banished. They had first put themselves into the fairie’s power by eating or drinking something on the sly, when they had surprised them at on of their moonlight frolics; or by accepting a gift of fruit from the hands of one of these little beings.


Cornish Fairies: The Lost Child

It was a lovely evening, and the little boy was gathering flowers in the fields, near a wood. The child was charmed by hearing some beautiful music, which he at first mistook for the song of birds; but, being a sharp boy, he was not long deceived, and he went towards the wood to ascertain from whence the melodious sounds came. When he reached the verge of the wood, the music was of so exquisite a character, that he was compelled to follow the sound, which appeared to travel before him. Lured in this way, the boy penetrated to the dark centre of the grove, and here, meeting with some difficulties, owing to the thick growth of underwood, he paused and began to think of returning. The music, however, became more ravishing than before, and some invisible being appeared to crush down all the low and tangled plants, thus forming for him a passage, over which he passed without any difficulty. At length he found himself on the edge of a small lake, and, greatly to his astonishment, the darkness of night was around him, but the heavens were thick with stars. The music ceased, and, wearied with his wanderings, the boy fell asleep on a bed of ferns. He rellated, on his restoration to his parents, that he was taken by a beautiful lady through palaces of the most gorgeous description. Pillars of glass supported arches which glistened with every colour, and these were hung with crystals far exceeding anything which were ever seen in the caverns of a Cornish mine. It is, however, stated that many days passed away before the child was found by his friends, and that at length he was discovered, one lovely morning, sleeping on the bed of ferns, on which he was supposed to have fallen asleep on the first adventurous evening. There was no reason given by the narrator why the boy was “spirited away” in the first instance, or why he was returned. Her impression was, that some sprites, pleased with the child’s innocence and beauty, had entranced him. That when asleep he had been carried, through the waters to the fairy abodes beneath them; and she felt assured that a child so treated would be kept under the especial guardianship of the sprites for ever afterwards. Of this, however, tradition leaves us in ignorance.


(Robert Anning Bell – Cupids’ Visit)

St Levan Fairies

Years since–the time is past now–the green outside the gate at the end of Trezidder Lane was a favourite place with the Small Folks on which to hold their fairs. One might often see the rings in the grass which they made in dancing, where they footed it. Mr Trezillian was returning late one night from Penzance; when he came near the gate, he saw a number of little creatures spinning round and round. The sight made him light headed, but he could not resist the desire to be amongst them, so he got off his horse. In a moment they were all over him like a swarm of bees, and he felt as if they were sticking needles and pins into him. His horse ran off, and he didn’t know what to do, till, by good luck, he thought of what he had often heard, so he turned his glove inside out, threw it amongst the Small Folk, and ere the glove reached the ground they were all gone. Mr Trezillian had now to find his horse, and the Small Folk, still determining to lead him a dance, bewildered him. He was piskie-led, and he could not find out where he was until broad daylight. Then he Saw he was not a hundred yards from the place at which he had left his horse. On looking round the spot where he had seen the Small Folk dancing, he found a pair of very small silver knee-buckles of a most ancient shape, which, no doubt, some little gentleman must have lost when he was punishing the farmer. Those who knew the families will well remember the little silver buckles, which were kept for some time at Trezidder and some time at Raftra.


(PV) Utada Hikaru – Sakura drops


The Cornish Poet: John Harris


Midnight was on the mountains,

Midnight was on the town,

And sleep, the balmy seraph,

Came sweetly, gently down,

Sealing the lids of sorrow,

Hushing the storm of strife,

And calming down to quiet

The busy hum of life.

The stars were in their dwellings,

Watching the world below,

And on her path of silver

The white moon travell’d slow;

When forth the monster hurried,

With fury on his crest,

And fire upon his forehead,

And flames upon his breast.

With awful, savage grandeur,

The roof he rushes o’er,

Forcing his flaming fingers

Through window and through door.

The ships within the harbour,

The boats a-near the place,

Are shining in the anger

That flashes from his face.

With lurid look he rushes

Across the narrow street,

Thrusting his red arms upward,

Which in the centre meet,

And hiss with raging fury,

No waters scarce can tame,

Or art avail to lessen,

A canopy of flame.

The youth, the timid maiden,

And manhood in its prime,

Old age, o’errun with wrinkles,

And whiten’d much by time,

The mother with her baby

Beneath the shining star,-

All rush before the monster,

Whose eyelids flash afar.

Yet, in this dread tornado,

The breeze of mercy flows;

No human life was injured

In all this rush of woes.

God saved the stricken parent,

And child upon his knee:

No lot, however bitter,

But it might bitterer be.

We pass not by the matron,

Who, in the dreadful roar,

Rose up to leave her dwelling,

Perchance for evermore;

And from the shelf her Bible

She snatch’d with tearful eyes,

The best of all her treasures,

Her chiefest, richest prize.

God bless the noble-hearted,

For many a generous deed,

For bounty richly flowing,

In this the time of need!

In other climes are heroes,

Whose names illustrious stand;

But none are truly greater

Than in our native land.

‘The Fall of Slavery’ (1838)

Musing by a mossy fountain,

In the blossom month of May,

Saw I coming down a mountain

An old man whose locks were grey;

And the flowery valleys echoed,

As he sang his earnest lay.

“Prayer is heard, the chain is riven,

Shout it over land and sea;

Slavery from earth is driven,

And the manacled are free;

Brotherhood in all the nations;

What a glorious Jubilee!

“God has answered, fall before Him,

Laud His majesty and might;

On thy knees, O earth, adore Him:

Now the black is as the white;

Hallelujah! hallelujah!

Every bondsman free as light.

“Whip and scourge, and fetter broken,

Far away in darkness hurled;

This a grand and glorious token,

When millennium fills the world.

Hallelujah! O’er the nations

Freedom’s snowy flag unfurled.

“God has answered! Glory, glory!

O’er the green earth let it speed;

Sun and stars take up the story,

Nevermore a slave shall bleed;

Shout deliverance for the freeman,

Send him succour in his need.

Glory be to God the Giver.

Slavery now shall brand no more;

From the fountain to the river

Freedom breathes on every shore.

Hellelujah! Hallelujah!

Brotherhood the wide world o’er.”


Where not a sound is heard

But the white waves, O bird,

And slippery rocks fling back the vanquish’d sea,

Thou soarest in thy pride,

Not heeding storm or tide;

In Freedom’s temple nothing is more free.

‘T is pleasant by this stone,

Sea-wash’d and weed-o’ergrown,

With Solitude and Silence at my side,

To list the solemn roar

Of ocean on the shore,

And up the beetling cliff to see thee glide.

Though harsh thy earnest cry.

On crag, or shooting high

Above the tumult of this dusty sphere,

Thou tellest of the steep

Where Peace and Quiet sleep,

And noisy man but rarely visits here.

For this I love thee, bird.

And feel my pulses stirr’d

To see thee grandly on the high air ride,

Or float along the land,

Or drop upon the sand,

Or perch within the gully’s frowning side.

Thou bringest the sweet thought

Of some straw-cover’d cot,

On the lone moor beside the bubbling well,

Where cluster wife and child,

And bees hum o’er the wild:

In this seclusion it were joy to dwell.

Will such a quiet bower

Be ever more my dower

In this rough region of perpetual strife?

I like a bird from home

Forward and backward roam;

But there is rest beneath the Tree of Life.

In this dark world of din,

Of selfishness and sin,

Help me, dear Saviour, on Thy love to rest;

That, having cross’d life’s sea,

My shatter’d bark may be

Moor’d safely in the haven of the blest.

The Muse at this sweet hour

Hies with me to my bower

Among the heather of my native hill;

The rude rock-hedges here

And mossy turf, how dear!

What gushing song! how fresh the moors and still!

No spot of earth like thee,

So full of heaven to me,

O hill of rock, piled to the passing cloud!

Good spirits in their flight

Upon thy crags alight,

And leave a glory where they brightly bow’d.

I well remember now,

In boy-days on thy brow,

When first my lyre among thy larks I found,

Stealing from mother’s side

Out on the common wide,

Strange Druid footfalls seem’d to echo round.

Dark Cornish chough, for thee

My shred of minstrelsy

I carol at this meditative hour,

Linking thee with my reed,

Grey moor and grassy mead,

Dear carn and cottage, heathy bank and bower.

(The Cornish Chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, is a medium-sized bird related to the crow with a red curved beak. It was once common in Cornwall and in fact is the Cornish national symbol. Sadly, however, the bird became extinct in Cornwall in the early 1970s, although it still lives in Wales and Scotland. The good news is that it seems to be making a return.

John Harris was born in 1820 in Bolenowe, a small village not far from Camborne, in Cornwall. His father was a miner at Dolcoath Tin Mine where young John also started at the age of 10. he began writing poetry as a child, usually in the open air where he was inspired by nature. After 20 years working in the mine, one of his poems was eventually published in a magazine. It attracted notice, and he was encouraged to produce a collection, which was published in 1853. Shortly after, he obtained a position as a Scripture Reader in Falmouth, where he stayed until his death in 1884.

(Robert Anning Bell – The Daisy Chain)

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