FAIRY OINTMENT or The
The ointment itself, as a substance allowing a human to see fairies,
occasionally appears in fantasy literature. Folk-tales about such an
ointment are found in
* 1 Synopsis * 2 Other uses * 3 References * 4 External links
A midwife is summoned to attend a childbed. The baby is born, and she is given an ointment to rub in its eyes. Accidentally, or through curiosity, she rubs one or both her own eyes with it. This enables her to see the actual house to which she has been summoned. Sometimes a simple cottage becomes a castle, but most often, a grand castle becomes a wretched cave.
In the variant
Soon, the midwife sees a fairy and admits it. The fairy invariably blinds her in the eye that can see him, or both if she put the ointment in both eyes.
In a Cornish tale a woman, Joan, is going to market to buy shoes, and calls on a neighbour, Betty, who has a reputation for witchcraft, to see if she will go along. Joan sees Betty rub an ointment into her children's eyes. When Betty is out of the room she rubs some of the ointment into right eye out of curiosity. Betty returns with a glass of brandy, and when Joan drinks the brandy she is amazed to see that the cottage is full of little people dancing and playing games. Betty says she won't go to market, so Joan goes alone.
At the market, Joan sees Betty's husband, Thomas Trenance, taking "whatever took his fancy" from the market stalls and putting it into a bag, apparently unnoticed by the stall holders. She challenges him as a thief. He asks which eye she sees him with, and when she points to her right eye he touches it with his finger and she is instantly blinded.
* ^ Narváez, Peter (1997). The Good People: New Fairylore Essays.
University Press of Kentucky. p. 126.
* ^ Alexander, Marc; A Companion to the Folklore, Myths and Customs
of Britain, 2002
* ^ Kerven, Rosalind (2005). Northumberland Folk Tales. Antony Rowe
Ltd. p. 532.
* ^ "ML" stands for "migratory legend". Haase, Donald (2008). The
Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and