Ancient Mysteries Arctic/Nordic/Teutonic Fians, Fairies and Picts

Fians, Fairies and Picts

Fians, Fairies and Picts
Catalog # SKU3688
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name David MacRitchie
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Fians, Fairies and Picts

David MacRitchie

The general belief at the present day is that, of the three designations here classed together, only that of the Picts is really historical. The Fians are regarded as merely legendary-perhaps altogether mythical beings; and the Fairies as absolutely unreal. On the other hand, there are those who believe that the three terms all relate to historical people, closely akin to each other, if not actually one people under three names.

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To those unacquainted with the views of the realists, or euhemerists, it is necessary to explain that the popular definition of Fairies as "little people" is one which that school is quite ready to accept. But the conception of such "little people" as tiny beings of aörial and ethereal nature, able to fly on a bat's back, or to sip honey from the flowers "where the bee sucks," is regarded by the realists as simply the outcome of the imagination, working upon a basis of fact. An illustration of this position may be seen in the Far East.

There is a tradition among the Aïnos of Northern Japan that they were preceded by a race of "little people," only a few inches in height, whose pit-dwellings they still point out. But the pottery and the skeletons associated with these habitations show that not only were their occupants of a stature to be measured by feet rather than by inches, but also that, by reason of a certain anatomical peculiarity common to both, the traditional dwarfs were very clearly the ancestors of the Aïnos-a race which, though now blended, was once most distinctly a race of dwarfs, if one is to believe the earliest Japanese pictures of them. Similarly, the dwarfs of European tradition are believed to have had as real an origin as the little people of Aïno legend, at any rate by those who hold the realistic theory.

Any attempt to reconcile the pygmies of the classic writers with actual dwarfs of flesh and blood is outside my province. Moreover, this has been admirably, and, as it seems to me, successfully done quite recently by M. Paul Monceaux, in an article in the Revue Historique,18 wherein he compares the traditional and historical descriptions with the statements of modern travellers, and draws the inference that the pygmies of the Greek and Roman writers, sculptors and painters, are all derived from actual dwarfs seen by their forefathers in Africa and India. (Still less doubt is there with regard to the dwarfs in Ancient Egyptian paintings.) And whereas Strabo is, says M. Monceaux, the only writer of antiquity who questions the existence of the dwarfs, all the others are on the side of Aristotle, who says-"This is no fable; there really exists in that region (the sources of the Nile), as people relate, a race of little men, who have small horses and who live in holes." And these little men were of course the ancestors of Schweinfurth's and Stanley's dwarfs.

But although M. Monceaux confines his identification to equatorial Africa and to India, he does not omit to state that Pliny and other writers speak of dwarf tribes in other localities, and among these are "the vague regions of the north, designated by the name of Thule." This area, vague enough certainly, is the territory with which Fians and Picts are both associated; as, also, of course, the Fairies of North European tradition.

The attributes with which the "little people" of North Europe are accredited cannot be given in detail here. It is enough to note that they were believed to live in houses wholly or partly underground, the latter kind being described as "hollow" mounds, or hills; that when people of taller race entered such subterranean dwellings (as occasionally they did) they found the domestic utensils of the dwarfs were of the kind labelled "pre-historic" in our antiquarian museums; that the copper vessels which dwarf women sometimes left behind them when discovered surreptitiously milking the cows of their neighbours, were likewise of an antique form; further, that they helped themselves to the beef and mutton of their neighbours, after having shot the animals with flint-headed arrows; that melodies peculiar to them are still sung by the peasants of certain localities; that words used by them are still employed by children in their games; and that many families in many districts are believed to have inherited some of their blood.

88 pages - 8½ x 11 softcover

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