[From Manx Reminiscences, 1911]



VA ny mraane obbee smooinit dy ye lane pooar oc er Laa Boaldyn, as va’d cliaghtey dy phrowal ooilley yn phooar va fys oc dy yannoo assee da sleih elley. T’ad er ye cronnit shassoo cheu-mooie jeh thieyn moghey moghrey er Laa Boaldyn, as ny roihaghyn oc dy hayrn yn aigh vie veih sleih elley.

Beagh er astyr oie Voaldyn ec guillin aegey crosh keirn ayns ny bayrnyn oc, as veagh crosh kianglt rish famman yn ollagh, ny baagh elley veagh ayns yn thie.

Ta’n aght cair dy yannoo crosh keirn dy scoltey un vaidjey as cur maidjey elley trooid, as myr shoh kiangle ad cooidjagh.

Va blaaghyn vluight, shuinyn, as cleesagh currit roish yn dorrys jeh ny thieyn as ny thieyn ollee dy reayll ad voish assee as drogh spyrrydyn.

Va blaaghyn as lossereeyn currit er bun dorrys, as stoyl uinnagyn, ayns ny thieyn dy reayll ersooyl ferishyn.

Va ushtey dy kinjagh freaylt ayns yn chrockan ec yn oie da ny ferishyn.



WITCHES were thought to have full power on May Day (Old), and they used to try all the power they knew to do harm to other people. They have been seen standing outside of houses early on May Day morning, and working their arms to draw the good luck from other people.

On the eve of May Day the young boys would have a cross of mountain ash (kern) in their caps, and a cross would be tied on the tail of cattle, or any other animal that would be in the house.

The right way to make a kern cross is to split one stick and put the other stick (piece) through it, and thus bind them together.

May-flowers (king-cups), rushes, and flags were placed before the doors of the houses and cow-houses, to keep them from harm and bad spirits.

Flowers and plants were placed on the door side, and window seats, in the houses to keep fairies away.

Water was always kept in the crock (large water dish) at night for the fairies.

Va bollan feailleoin ceaut ayns yn chooat, as ny keayrtyn ayns ny bayrnyn ‘syn astyr Laa Boaldyn, as er fastyr Laa’l Eoin. Va aileyn foaddit, as aile ayns cleiyee, as conney va losht dy agglagh ersooyl ny drogh spyrrydyn. Ren ad cur er ny cleiyee jeeaghyn golirish boallaghyn dy aile. Shen bun yn fockle " Boal Tiene," Boal aile. Va guillin aegey lheim trooid yn aile, as va’n ollagh ny keayrtyn eiyrt trooid yn aile, dy reayll ad voish assee son slane blein.

Veagh carryn sleodey dy bollan feailleoin tayrnit veih boal dy voal, dy eiyrt ny drogh spyrrydyn ersooyl.

Va bollan feailleoin smooinit dy reayll jeh dy chooilley horch dy goghanyn currit lesh liorish drogh spyrrydyn, son dy row ad feer agglagh roish. Ya’n aght cair dy reayll yn lhuss dy hayrn seose ee lesh ny fraueyn er yn astyr Laa’l Eoin, ec yn vean oie. Dy beagh ee tayrnit seose ayns yn aght shen, yinnagh ee freayll yn ymmyd kiart son yn slane blein.

Mugwort was worn in the coat, and some-times in the caps, on the eve of May Day, and on the eve of St. John’s Day. Fires were lighted, and fire in the hedges, and gorse was burnt to frighten away the bad spirits. They made the hedges look like walls of fire. That is the meaning (root) of the word, " Boal Teine," Wall of Fire. Young boys jumped through the fire, and the cattle were sometimes driven through the fire, to keep them from harm for the whole year.

Slide-carts of mugwort would be drawn from place to place, to drive the bad spirits away.

Mugwort was thought to keep off every kind of disease put (caused) by bad spirits, for they were very fearful of it. The right way to keep the herb was to pull it up by the roots on the eve of St. John’s Day, in the middle of the night. If it was pulled up in that way, it would keep its use right for the whole year.

Va paart dy leih genmys eh yn bollan bane, kyndagh rish yn daah bane fo ny duillaghyn.

Va cayrnyn sheidit fud-ny-hoie, as dollanyn chiaullee cloiet.

Ta sleih er yarrood dy row dig hoshiaght ymmyd jeant jeu dy agglagh drogh spyrrydyn ersooyl voish yn cheeill.

Moghrey Laa Boaldyn, dy leah er y laa, Kerree Mac Mollagh, shoh va sleih gra, v’ee " chirmagh yn ollagh as cur baase da ny lheiyee."




Lurg da ny cayrnyn va sheidit, as ny dig bwoaillit, ny dollanyn cloiet, ny blaaghyn vluight, shuinyn, cleesagh, as sumarkyn currit roish ny dorryssyn, as ny croshyn keirn ayns ny bayrnyn ny guillyn, as ayns fammanyn yn ollagh, as ny carryn sleodey dy bollan feailleoin tayrnit veih boayl dy voayl,as ny drogh spyrrydyn eiyrt ersooyl, as sleih as maase shooyl trooid yn aile, eisht va ny magheryn aarloo dy chur yn maase er yn aiyr.

Va ny bwoailtchyn yn boayl son yn ollagh ayns yn oie.

Some people called it the white herb, owing to the white colour under the leaves.

Horns were blown through the night, and "dollans" * were struck (beaten, played).

People have forgotten that bells were used at first to frighten away bad spirits from the church.

* Hoops with sheepskin stretched on them.

People were saying that on May morning soon on the day (early in the day) Kerry Mac Mollagh+ was " drying the cows and killing the calves."

+ Kitty (daughter of) the Son of the Rough—a reputed witch about whom the above saying became traditional.

After the horns were blown, the bells rung, the skin drums played, the May-flowers, rushes, flags, and primroses placed before the doors, and the kern crosses in the caps of the boys, and on the tails of the cattle, and the sliding carts of St. John’s wort drawn from place to place, the bad spirits driven away, and people and cattle had walked through the fire, then the fields were ready to put the cattle on the grass.

The folds were the place for the cattle in the night.

Er Laa Boaldyn va feaillys mooar er ny cummal ayns Ballachastal, as va sleih voish dy chooilley ard jeh Mannin cliaghtey cheet ayns eaddagh feailley oc.

Va cloie caggee cummit, caslys jeh’n chaggey eddyr sourey as geurey.

‘Va’n cheshaght souree jeh mraane seyrey as deiney seyrey er ny leeideil liorish yn yen aeg s’aalin, v’ee enmyssit quean y touree, as va’n cheshaght yeuree j eh deiney obbree as mraane obbree coamrit ayns yn aght quaagh, as ayns aght erbee dy bailleu, son gamman as cloie, as va’n fer hoshee enmyssit ree gheuree. Ya’n dooinney s’jerree va ree gheuree va Captan Tyldesley jeh Beemakem.

May Day a great feast was held in Castletown, and people from every part of the Island used to come in their holiday clothes.

A sham fight was held, a sign of the fight between summer and winter.

The summer company of ladies and gentlemen was led by the prettiest young woman, she was called the Queen of Summer ; and the winter party of working men and working women were dressed in a queer way, and in any way they liked, for fun and play, and the leader was called the King of Winter. The last man who was King of Winter was Captain Tyldesley of Beemakem.

Va’n cheshaght gheuree eebrit liorish yn cheshaght souree er yn raad gys Scarleod, as tra rosh ad gys Scarleod va’n chaggey harrish, caslys dy row yn ghrian er gholl dy lhie ayns y heear.

Eisht hooar ny sheshaghtyn bee as jough, as lurg shen va daunsin as gammanyn jeh dy chooilley horch.

Bollagh ad geddyn whilleen viol cloiederyn as oddagh ad, as sleih va oayllagh er y cheilley ren ad adhene ayns sheshaghtyn veggey, as goaill soylley jeh sheshaght y cheilley yn aght share oddagh ad.

The winter party was driven by the summer party on the road to Scarlett, and when they reached as far as Scarlett, the fight was over, a sign that the sun had gone down in the west.

Then the company had meat and drink, and after that there was dancing and games of every kind.

They used to get as many fiddlers as they could, and people who were acquainted with each other made themselves into small corn-panies, and enjoyed the company of each other in the best way they could.


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