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  • Fairy and Diary September 26, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    fairy diary

    Just recently Beach came across an eighteenth-century diary with a strange fairy reference and wondered if any readers could help with trying to get to the bottom of it. First, we should say that the diary, by one Rev John Thomlinson, is full of highly elliptical references: it was definitely not for public consumption, but rather a private aid to memory. Don’t believe? Take this entry for Oct 11, 1718:

    Scotch woman asking her daughter that was sick if she would have any thing ran thro several, to which she answered no, at last she asked her, if she would have a man, which made her tihee, and say, ‘you would make a sick body laugh’.

    It is possible that this a joke, but honestly we couldn’t say. However, Beach cares relatively little about the Scotch lady. He is far more interested in this entry from Oct 13, 1718.

    One Carr of Chatta, near Kelso, was in Italy, and melancholy, etc. His host said he would soon tell if his mother, etc., ailed ought, dispatched a fairy, took her ring, she turned a maid of when he returned told her, etc. Mr. Hall told it, he was in the family, but asked not the man.

    Now what the hell is this about? Let’s start with the easy stuff. Kelso is a town on the Scottish border. Carr is a common English and Scots surname and apparently there was an important family from the area known as Kerr. This was, we imagine, the grand tour. Now things get tricky. The man was sad, presumably, given what followed, because he was far from home and worried about his mother and wanted to know whether she ‘ailed’. The rest is guesswork, but Beach would say that the host took the mother’s ring that Carr was wearing and sent a fairy to see her. The fairy came back with the news that the mother had just turned a servant out of the house. This was confirmed on Carr’s return. A similar story was told by one Mr Hall, but he said that Carr did this magic on his own without the help of his host. Or another possibility is that the fairy stole the ring, brought it to the son and the mother turned out the maid believing that she had stolen the ring. HELP!  Any other interpretations? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com