Carved – Leverett Island stories.

Up on the top of Stony Peak, there’s a rock that looks like it’s been carved. If you stand by it and look round, you can see all down the west coast of the Island. It’s probably just erosion by wind and rain, but the story my mother told me is that it was a bathing place for the little people. If you were to go up there after dark, you might see them, jumping and splashing in the water there. Midsummer Eve is the best time to see them, she said, but you must carry an iron horseshoe in your pocket to prevent them stealing you. You should never bargain with the little people, you’ll always come off worst. If you bathe a child in the little pool on May Eve, that child will  never drown, but if you go up there and there’s no water in the hollow, that’s terrible bad luck, and you shouldn’t let that child leave the Island. If you’ve a loved one lost at sea, you should go up there and leave something to call them home – something they treasure. The little people will help you if they’ve a mind to, but they can’t be depended on.

Here’s a little something for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto challenge. Leverett Island is a place where stories grow out of the stony soil. I’m in the process of cataloguing them. 

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Leverett Island Recordings #15

You’ll have heard lots of stories while you’ve been here on Leverett? Mostly from long ago? I’ve a story that happened not that long ago – in my lifetime. I remember it. People don’t talk about it much, now, but it’s a true story.

It was the summer of ’76, that hot summer. I was 17, so a bit old for playing, but my sister was 12, and she spent most of the summer hanging round with a gang of kids, some from the island, some over on their holidays. They swam in the bay, and from the shell beach on the eastern side, and they explored the island, generally messed around. They’d be gone all day. I had a bit of work serving breakfasts at the hotel, so I’d be finished by mid-morning, and I’d go to the beach myself, with my friends, topping up our tans.

It was a Friday morning, a quiet morning, and I’d finished up early. A few of us were heading towards the shell beach with a football and some cans of beer, when there was a right commotion. A whole horde of kids came charging down the middle road, screeching and shouting. My sister was there, and I grabbed her arm, like, and pulled her out of the mass of them. It’s her story, really.

They’d been up at the Manor. Some visitors think it’s an old church, but there never was a church on the island. The Manor was where Lady Montrevor lived, and she was a terrible heathen, they say. She wouldn’t let a priest land on the island while she was alive. After she died, there was a fire there, and the place was never properly rebuilt. The family built a new place, down towards the bay, with a view out to sea, and the Manor was left alone.

The kids had gone up there, to play. It was cool in there, my sister said. They’d been playing hide and seek, scaring themselves a bit, I think, and then the boys started daring each other to do silly things – climbing bits of wall, jumping off things. I say silly – I’d been doing them myself when I was that age. One of the lads took a run towards the window, jumped from it – and disappeared! That’s what my sister said, he just vanished in front of their eyes. They were stunned for a minute, and then they decided he’d played some kind of trick on them, started calling for him, and looking for him.

They couldn’t find him, not anywhere. The ground below the window was hard, and dusty from the sun, and there were no footprints there, no sign anybody had landed. They searched, and then one of them – his cousin, I think – started to panic, and then they all panicked, came running down to the harbour.

Of course, me and my pals went up there and searched around, thinking he was just messing, but we couldn’t find him. By the end of the day, the whole village was there, and his parents – they were from the mainland – and all their mob, and none of us could find him.

His  parents stayed on. Never left. That’s why it’s not talked about, you see. They’re a nice couple, Sheila and Ted. Quiet, but, you know, they’d help you out if you needed it.

He never turned up, the boy. No sign of him. I still keep an eye out if I’m walking the dogs up that way, but I daresay I’ll never see anything. People started to say the fairies took him. Now, I can’t say I believe in fairies, but I’ve thought about it over the years, and maybe that is the best explanation. Maybe that’s what happened.

May 17, 2013.
Leverett Island.

For Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt. I’ve revisited my stash of recordings from Leverett. This seemed to fit the photo. #writephoto

Leverett Island Interviews: transcript 17.

My people have always lived on the island. This is a story told to me by my grandmother, who was told it by her mother. It concerns my great-grand-uncle, Padraig.

One Sunday morning, when he was quite a young man, he went down the the strand to look for pickings after a storm. He came across a young girl, not from the island, all alone and crying. She was quite naked, and cold, so he gave her his coat. He tried to coax her off the strand, but she wouldn’t go. He ran for his parents, and by the time they got back to the girl she had fainted away. Padraig and his father carried her up to the house, his mother calling out for help all the way.

She stayed in house three days and three nights. She wouldn’t talk at all, and wouldn’t eat, only the mackeral heads that the mother was throwing away, and she ate them raw. On the fourth day, she left, still saying nothing. Nobody saw her go, and nobody knew where she went.

That’s the whole story, as I heard it.

This is for Jane Dougherty’s microfiction challenge. The image is by Olav Johan Andreasson.andreassen_olav_johan_stormnatten_olje_pa%cc%8a_lerret