[From Yn Lioar Manninagh Vol 3 pp175/191] - (see pp129 for 1st part)





Va'n chiark vreck as yn yeean beg screebey fo billey ooyl ayns yn gharey as huitt ooyl ass yn villey as woaill eh yn yeean beg ayns y chione. Dooyrt eh rish yn chiark vreck : lhig dooin goll gys yn Raue, son ta'n seihll er tuittym quoi dooyrt shen rhyts yeean beg, dooyrt yn chiark vreck huitt eh ayns my chione. Smereree ! Eisht hie yn chiark vreck as yn yeean beg roue gys veet ad kellagh kiark. Cel oo goll, kiark vreck ? dooyrt yn kellagh kiark. Goll gys yn Raue, son ta'n seihll er tuittym, dooyrt yn chiark vreck ; quoi dooyrt shen rhyts kiark vreck, dooyrt yn yeean beg rhyms eh quoi dooyrt shen rhyts yeean beg huitt eh ayns my chione. Smereree ! Myr shen hie ad roue cooidjagh gys veet ad kellagh ghuiy. Cel oo goll, kellagh kiark? dooyrt yn kellagh ghuiy. Goll gys yn Raue, son ta'n seihll er tuittym quoi dooyrt shen rhyts kellagh kiark, dooyrt yn kellagh ghuiy, dooyrt yn chiarkvreck rhyms eh quoi dooyrtshen rhyts kiark vreck dooyrt yn yeean beg rhyms eh quoi dooyrt shen rhyts yeean beg huitt eh ayns my chione. Smereree ! Myr shen hie ad ooilley cooidjagh gys veet ad tarroo ollee. Cel oo goll, kellagh ghuiy? dooyrt yn tarroo ollee.. Gol gys yn Raue, son ta'n seihll er tuittym quoi dooyrt shen rhyts kellagh ghuiy, dooyrt yn kellagh kiark rhyms eh quoi dooyrt shen rhyts kellagh kiark, dooyrt yn chiark vreck rhyms eh quoi dooyrt shen rhyts kiark vreck, dooyrt yn yeean beg rhyms eh quoi dooyrt shen rhyts yeean beg huitt eh ayns , my chione. Smereree ! Myr shen hie ad ooil!ev cooidjagh gys veet ad bock ghoayr. Cel oo goll, taroo ollee? dooyrt yn vock ghoayr. Goll gys yn Raue, son ta'n seihll er tuittym, dooyrt yn taroo ollee, quoi dooyrt shen rhyts tarroo ollee, dooyrt yn vock ghoayr, dooyrt yn kellagh ghuiy, dooyrt yn kiark vreck rhyrns eh quoi dooyrt shen rhyts kiark vreck, dooyrt shen rhyts yeean beg huitt eh ayns my chione. Smereree ! Myr shen hie ad ooilley cooidjagh gys veet ad collagh chabbyl. Cel oo gell, bock ghoayr ? dooyrt yn collagh chabbyl. Goll gys yn Raue, son ta'n seihll er tuittym quoi dooyrt sheii rhyts'bock goar, dooyrt yn tarroo ollee rhyms eh quoi dooyrt shen rhyts tarroo ollee, dooyrt yn kellagh ghuiy rhyrns eh quoi dooyrt shen rhyts kellagh ghuiy dooyrt yn kellagh kiark rhyms eh quoi dooyrt shen rhyts kellagh kiark dooyrt yn yeean beg rhyms eh quoi dooyrt shen rhyts yeean beg huitt eh ayns my chione. o Smereree!

Myr shen ren ad ooilley troaillt cooidjagh gys haink ad gys thie fower, as hie ad stiagh ayns y thie as va'n fower voish yn thie; myr shen hie yn col!agh chabby! fo yn voard wooar, as hie yn tarroo ollee fo yn drazzar, hie yn vock ghoavr er ny greeishyn, as yn chooid e!ley avns ny corneilyn. Tra haink yn fower dy valley haink ad ooilley er ec keayrt, as va caggey trome eddyr oc."Calk, calk, my heem sheese hieu," dooyrt yn kellagh kiark. Haink eh sheese ec y jerrey, as heigh eh ny sooillyn ass yn fo\ver as var ad eh as ren ad ooilley cummal ayns yn thie ec eh. Mannagh vel ad marroo t'ad bio foast!


Va dooinney beg beg, as ben veg veg, as thie beg beg, as moddey beg beg. Hie yn dooinney, as yn ven, as yn moddey beg beg gys yn vargey, as chionne ad mannan beg goayrey. Er yn raad thie dooyrt ee rish yn mannan goll harrish yn truan. Cha jean, dooyrt yn mannan. Dooyrt ee rish yn moddey goll thie lesh yn mannan beg goayrey gys y vainshter. Cha jean, dooyrt yn moddey. Dooyrt ee rish yn maidjey yeilley yn moddey, son nagh darragh yn moddey thie lesh yn mannan beg goayrey gys y vainshter. Cha jean, dooyrt yn maidjey. Dooyrt ee rish yn aile ; lostey yn maidjey, son nagh iinnagh yn maidjey yealley yn moddey, son nagh darragh yn moddey thie lesh yn mannan beg goayrey gys y vainshter. Cha jean, dooyrt ee rish yn ushtey mooghey yn ai!e, son nagh jinnagh yn ai!e lostey yri maidjey, son nagh jinnagh yn maidjey yealley yn moddey, son nagh darragh yn moddey thie lesh yn mannan beg goayrey gys y vainshter. Dooyrt ee nsb yn dow gin vn usbtev, son nagh jinnagh yn ushtey mooghey yn aile, son nagh jinnagh yn aile lostey yn maidjey, son nagh jinnagh yn maidjey vealley yn rnoddey, son nagh darragh ~n rnoddey thie lesh yn mannan beg goayrey gys y vainshter. Dooyrt ee rish yn dooiney marroo yn dow, son nagh jinnagh yn dow giu yn ushtey, son nagh jinnagh yn ushtev mooghey yn aile, son nagh jinnagh yn aile lostey yn maidjey, son nagh jinnagh yn maicijey yealley yn moddey, son nagh darragh yri moddey thie lesh yn mannan beg goayrey gys y vainshter. Cha Jean dooyrt yn dooinney. Dooyrt ee rish yn teid croghey yn dooìnney, son nagh jinnagh yn dooinney marroo yn dow, son nagh jinnagh yn dhow giu yn ushtey, son nagh jinnagh yn ushtey mooghey yn aile, son nagh jinnagh yn aile lostey yn maidjey, son nagh jinnagh yn maidjey yealley yn moddey, son nagh darragh yn moddey thie lesh yn mannan beg goayrey gys y vainshter. Dooyrt ee rish yn lugh giarey yn teid, son nagh jinnagh yn teid croghey yn dooinney son nagh jinnagh yn dooinney marroo yn dow, son nagh jinnagh yn dow giu yn ushtey, son nagh jinnagh yn ushtey mooghey yn aile, son nagh jinnagh yn aile !ostey yn maidjey, son nagh jinnagh yri maidjey yealley yn moddey, son nagh darragh yn moddey thie lesh yn mannan beg goayrey gys y vainshter. Dooyrt ee rish yn chayt marroo yn lugh, son nagh jinnagh yn !ugh giarey yn teid, son nagh jinnagh yn teid croghey yn dooinney, son nagh jinnagh yn dooinney marroo yn dow, son naghjinnagh yn dow giu yn ushtey, Son nagh jinnagh yn ushtey niooghey yn aile, son nagh nnagh yn alle lostey yn maidjey, son nagh jinnagh yn maidjey alley yn moddey, son nagh darragh yn moddey thie lesh yn mannan beg goayrey gys yn vainshter.

Cur bine dy vainney dou dooyrt y chayt Eisht roie yn chayt dy ee yn lugh, as roie yn !ugh dy yiarey yn teid, roie yn teid dy chroghey yn dooinney rom yn dooinney dy varroo vn dow, roie yn dow dy iu yn ushtey, roie yn ushtey dy vooghey yn ai!e, roie yn ai!e dy lostey yri maidjey, roie yn maidjey dy yealley yn moddey, roie yn moddey thie !esh yn mannan beg goayrey gys y vainshter. Myr shen cur yn chayt orroo ooi!ley gansoor yn yen veg veg, as jannoo shen v'ee dy hirrey, as ta yn chayt aar!oo gys yn laa t'ayn jiu dy varroo yri lugh lurg dy gheddyn jough vainney.



( Shortened translation.)

There was once a spotted hen and a little chicken scraping under an apple tree in the garden, and an apple fell from the tree and struck the little chicken on the head. Says she to the spotted hen, " Let us go to Rome, {or the the world is falling." [I am told Smereree!" is the chirping note of the little chicken.] Then went the spotted hen, and the little chicken on before them, till they met a cock. " Where are you going, spotted hen ? " said the cock, &c., &c. Thus they went on together before them till they met the gander —till they met the cow’s bull, till they met the he-goat, the stallion, &c. , &c. Thus did all wander together till they came to the house of the giant, and went into the house, and the giant was away from home. Then went the stallion under the great table, and the bull under the dresser, and the he-goat on the stairs, and all the rest in the corners. When the giant came home, they all came upon him at once, and there was heavy war between them. " Cluck, cluck, if I come down to you," said the cock. He came down at last, and picked the eyes out from the giant, and they killed him, and lived all in his house. If they are not dead they live yet.

The latter story much resembles Grimm’s " Breimer Stadt Musikanten " in the leading points.


(Shortened translation).

There was once a little, little man, and a little, little woman, and a little, little house, and a little, little dog. The man, the woman, and the dog went to market and bought a little kid.

On the way home she said to the kid, " Go over the stream.’~ " I don’t," says the kid. Says she to the dog, " Go home with the little kid to the master." " I don’t," says the dog. Says she to the stick, " Beat the dog, for that the dog would not go home with the little kid to the master." " I don’t," says the stick. Says she to the fire, " Burn the stick, for he will not beat the do for he would not go home with the kid to the master." Then it goes on : Says she to the water, extinguish the fire ; and to the ox drink the water ; and to the man, kill the ox ; and to the rope hang the man ; and to the mouse, cut the rope ; and to the cat, kill the mouse (with all the other repetition). " Give me a drop of milk," says the cat. Then runs the cat to eat the mouse, the mouse to cut the rope, and the rope to hang the man, and that man, &c., &c. Therefore the cat made them all to answer them little, little woman, and do what was desired ; and the cat is ready to this present day to kill the mouse after getting a drink of milk



Cred oo goll ?
Goll dy schoill
Cred yn lioar?
Ayns y drawer
Cred ayns y drawer ?
Ayns y drezzar
Cred yn drezzar ?
Ayns y thie.
Cred ayns thie?
Ayns y clieau
Cred ayns clieu ?
Boayll ye dy rieu

Where are you going ?
Going to school
Where is the book ?
In the drawer
Where in the drawer ?
In the dresser
Where in the dresser ?
In the house .
Where in the house ?
In the mountain
Where in the mountain ?
Where it ever was.


Sleggan slieau
Boggan dhoo
Luss ny mynnag
Goayr mygeayrt myr goayr

Fox glove
nipping plant
Goat about as goat

"Moirrey airh ~
Illiam mulish
feather few as traa"

} this has to he repeated very quick


THE BLACK BIRD—(a fragment).

"Moghrey laa Boaldyn, ee brishey yn laa
Ny ushaghyn va singal, as ny biljyn lane dy vlaa (rest lost).


" Dy row my milley er ny doosey
Ta’r volley mish rish choud dy hraa ——
Tra honnie ee dy row graih aym urree
Nagh lhissagh ee ye er n’obbal traa?
Agh nish tra t’ee ish er my volley
My chree ta bunnys brisht dy boar.
Ny yeih ta ee hoiagh’ jeh dy chooibley
Fer ta sheet, ga beg na mooar."

May a blight be on the maiden
That has deceived me such a long time —
When she saw that I so loved her
Should she not have refused in time ?
But now since she has thus deceived me,
My heart is nearly broken enough
Yet she respects each rambling suiter
Little or big, however, he is.

"The following is a rhyme I have heard old women ~ sing, when jnmping the baby

" Hy dan danny, heose thie warree
Breechyn lhiare as oashyryn voynnee
As quoit dy’ ashyn noa er."

Hy dan danny, up in grandmother’s house
Leather breeches and soleless stockings
And a coat of the new fashion on him.


Tra lhieys yn grian, as tra irry yn yeean.

Corresponding with the English : Lie down with the lamb and rise with the lark.

When Barrule mooar will get his cap
Maughold Head will pay for that.

(:= " a cloud would be storm, and Maughold Head would get washed. ")


" Wife beating used to be a very uncommon thing in the Island. It was reckoned a disgrace to any man who was mean enough to beat his wife, yet if there happened such a thing- the man next door was put on a barrow and carried through the village, alway repeating a verse of poetry made by some one for the occasion They called this 'putting them on the stang'.

Tis not for myself I am riding the stang
But for my neighbour who has had some strife (mentioning the name) I have seen some of the stang work myself when I was a boy. "



The observance of the Qualtagh extends beyond the bounds of the Isle of Man ; we meet with it in the Highlands and the northern counties of England, and other parts of Britain.

Doubtless, since Kelly’s time, many old customs in the Island have disappeared unrecorded, but may linger yet in the memories of some old men. For instruction, I will give an account of the celebration of the New Year’s Day, as kept in the Highlands, and recorded by A. Macgregor in his " Superstitions of the Highlanders. " It was called La Calluin and Oidhche Hallooin ( the day and night of shouting). He says : " On New Year’s. Day, they surrounded each house, carrying dried cows’ hides andi beating them with sticks, thrashing the walls with clubs, all the:time shouting and repeating rhymes. It was supposed to charm the fairies. They provided themselves with the flap or hanging part of the hide on the cow’s neck (caisean uchd), which they singed in the fire and presented it to the inmates of the family, one after the other to smell, as a charm against injuries from fairies, etc."

The caisean uchd is the dewlap, or the breast’s stripe of a sheep,. roasted at Christmas and smelled by all the house, to keep away fairies for all the rest of the year, according to McAlpine’s Gaelic: Dictionary. I have inserted this custom with a view to draw attention to it, and possibly traces of the same may yet be discovered in the Island.

I am told that you must never allow the Qualtagh to depart. from your house, in the Island, without giving him first to eat and. to drink. On the first of Jarn.iary, you also put thimbles of salt up for divination.


" I have heard from my mother that the old women in the Isle Man used to open the front door before going to bed, and say : My vannaght lesh ny ferrishin’ (My blessing be with the fairies) ; and on St Bridget’s Eve the old farmers’ wives used to sweep out the barn, and put a bed, and a chair, and a table in, and light a large: mould candle that would burn all night, and set bread and cheese:on the table, with a quart jug of good Manx ale, all in the hope that Breeshey would pay them a visit ; and used to say, at the open door before going to bed, ‘ Quoi erbee yn. thie hig oo, huggy tar gys yn thie aynyn’ (whosever house you come to, come to ours to-night).’’

"A young man, a relation of my mother, was once coming home at a late hour, and passed one of those lighted barns. He went in to have a look, and ate as much as he could of the bread and cheese, and finished the ale ; and then went and rolled himself well in the bed, and shut the barn door again. The old farmer’s wife, as soon as she got up in the morning, went to the barn to see if Breeshey had been, and when she saw the bread and cheese and the ale removed, and some one had lain in the bed, her joy knew no bounds. She was all day going about telling the neighbours that Breeshey had paid her a visit, and she would be all riglit, blessed with peace and plenty for the year."

Weather saving :-——" I have heard my father say : ‘As far as the sun would shine in the house Oil St. Bridget’s Day that the snow would come as far before May Day’ (‘Choud as hig yn ghrian stiagh laa Breeshey, hig yn sniaghtey stiagh roish laa Boayldyn’)."



" I have heard my grandfather used to tell us that March borrowed three days of February to catch the crane on the nest ; but he only caught her tail, and the crane has no tail since that time."

" On the 12th of March, the Cailtagh ny drummag is coming round early in the morning, and gathering as many sticks as make a fire all the year. If it’s a dry morning, he has the sticks dry ; if it’s a wet morning and the sticks wet, he will be praying for fine weather to dry the sticks ; and if the sticks is dry, farmers believe it will be a wet spring ; and if the sticks is wet, there will be a dry spring. This is current through all the parish of Cregneish."

" The Caillagh ny drummag is supposed to be a fiendish sort, gathering sticks for fire" (Surby).

" Servants always hired on St. Patrick’s Day, the 17th March, in the town of Peel. I have been at that fair a few times myself. It was a great sport for young women and men, and a fine place to find a sweetheart."

" March dry and April kills," is applied to people who are complaining.

Moore quotes : " Share craagh ye ‘sy cheer, na mee ny Vayrnt cheet stiaqh meein." I may mention incidentally that Mayrnt for March is apparently a misprint in Kelly’s and Cregeen’s Dictionary. It was always given to me as Mayrt, and so it is also in Scotch.

Cregeen gives the proverb : " Share craght ve ‘sy cheer na mee ny mannan cheet stiagh meein" ; and I got another rendering : " Te’ ny share yn chraght dy ye ‘sy cheer na mee ny Meallagh. "

This is interesting in so far as March is thus equated with nee ny Mannan (the kid month), and wee my Meallagh (translated to me as the soft month). Cregeen says : " That the Manx had names of their own for the months, is evident, as mee ny Mannan, mee ny Meallagh, etc., etc." It is a pity he did not give them all. I have tried hard to get more information about the other months, but have been unsuccessful so far. The name for April is given in McAlpine’s Gaelic and English dictionary, as " An Giblean," of which I cannot trace the meaning. A little lower, Moore gives another proverb : " Ta eayst jesarn ‘sy Vayrnt dy-lioar ayns shiaght bleeantyn," the version I have obtained, reads, however, " Ta eayst jesarn ‘syn ouyr," etc. (A Saturday’s moon in harvest, not March, is enough in seven years.

Again : Laa’l Pharick arree, yn dow gys e staik as y dooinney ass e liabbee." I got it : " gys e liabbee," which changes the whole sense, and, therefore, cancels the whole of Moore’s following conclusion, (Patrick’s spring feast day, the ox to his stake, and -the man to, not from, his bed.)

My authority tells me : " I have often heard the old folks mention these proverbs."

Another saying is to the following effect : " Va cowree er yn vooard as yn grian soilsihean stiagh er. " (The cowree on the table and the sun shining in on it), meaning to get supper and go to-bed early.

MAY DAY EVE (Oie Voaldyn), May 12th.

" They used to make bonfires to chase the witches away, and get witch-wood (cairn) for making crosses and putting it on the cow’s tail and over the cow’s door to keep witchcraft away. A woman, Billy Quirk’s wife, keeps a tree now for that purpose."

" On the May Day eve they blow the horns on the hills." All these old customs are much like those observed in the Highlands. Stewart, in his " Pop. Superstitions of the Highlanders," mentions how the housewife would busy herself with baking Beltain bannocks. The children are presented with one each, and reel their bannocks from the brow of the hills to learn their fate. They sign them with a cross and a cypher, and on their edges let them down the hill, repeating it three times ; if the cross presents itself most frequently, the owner will live to celebrate another Beltain day ; if the cypher is often uppermost, he is doomed to die." Armstrong is still more explicit. He says : " On Bealtain they knead a cake of oatmeal, which is toasted on the embers against a stone. They divide the cake in so many parts as there are persons in the company, and daub one of these portions with charcoal until it is perfectly black. They then put all the bits of the cake into a bonnet, and everyone, blindfold, draws a portion. Whoever draws the black bit is to be sacrificed to Baal, whose favours they mean to implore for the year’s proverbs." In treating of the Manx Sauin, or All-hallowtide, we shall meet again with points of close resemblance of these cults. We there have the Soddag Vallooo for divination. Kennish sings

That all the witches in the Island flew
At times like crows, transformed by magic skill,
Or into horses they’d turn themselves at will.
To evade the scrutiny. of human sight,
On old May eve, at twelve o’clock at night,

and took their course to Glenreagh, Rushen.

May-day is the servants’ fair. In the " Lex scripta," it runs :— " All servants within this Isle are to be free once a year, that is to say, men servants at All-hollow-tide and maid servants at May, to leave and serve again."

The 11th May is also the general day for letting houses, payment of half~yearly rents, and taking in grazing cattle ; Hallowtide, the general day for letting lands.

St COLUMBA’S EYE, 9th June.

According to the " Ordnances " of the Isle of Man, anno. 1510 ( when Robert Lassel was Fforester), " The fforester or his deputy ought to go forth on St. Collum Ece through the forest, and ride to the highest hill top in the Isle of Man, and there blow his horn thrice ; this done, to range and view the forest, and on the third day to go forth and take such company with, him as he shall like, to see what sheep he findeth unshorn. If he finde any, he aught to take them with his dogge, if the said sheep be not milk sheep, to shear them and to take the fleece to himself, and to put a private mark upon said sheep ; to use all he finds within the precincts of the fforest so at the time, to the intent that if any of the said sheep be found the next year, by the same iforest, he to certify the comptroller and receiver of the same, that they may be recorded in the Court Rolls and so priced and sold to the Lord’s best profit, etc

This refers to unmarked sheep. Curiously enough there is another enactment which has reference to vagrant servants, and we find the following order in the Lex Scripta, sub. 1665 " The jurys of servants be impannelled all times in the year, as oft as there be just cause for the same, and that vagrant servants by the said jury found, be made lyable and put to service or otherwise to suffer imprisonment until the servants submit, and having for allowance in that time, as is ordered for refractory servant. And that the days of St. Cathrine in winter for men servants, and Columba's in summer maid servants be no hindrance thereunto for the future," etc.


In the times of Dr. John Kelly it was still a common custom for the Manx to gather the Mugwort (artemisia vulgaris). He mentions that a chaplet of it was worn on St. John’s Day, and Harrison, in his " Mona Miscellany," observes that " pieces were indeed worn on the dress, or in the hat. " Von Pecqer, in his " German Plant Legends," amplifies its use, and says " The devil fears the Mugwort, and where Mugwort is nailed on the house evil spirits cannot enter, and the house is protected against fire. People girdled themselves with Mugwort, and afterwards threw the belt into the Saint John’s fires to rid themselves of all evil."

" On Midsummer-day the landlords go to the tenants to give them notice, if they want to get rid of them." In Swabia they boiled peas over the Midsummer fire, which were laid by and esteemed wholesome for bruises and wounds (Grimm’s Mythology). Peas were parched on Christmas eve (24 December) in Isle of Man, in a pan, and flung by the women at their male friends in church.

Weather sayings.——Moore has it : " Laue crioie cabbyl dy ushtey laa’l Eoin feeu mayl Vannin " ; but the proverb was given me as follows : " Ta laue dhoan dy ghoan Mayrt as laue ynnyd croie cabbyl dy ushtey er laa Boaldyn ny share na lhoug laue dy airh as dy argid " (one handful of dust in March, and the print of a horse-shoe full of water on May-day, is better than a shipful of gold and silver).


1732.—" A custom prevails among young people of Kirk Lonan of going to the top of Snaefell on the first Sunday in August."— A prayer to have them prevented. Ordered that publication be made on the last two Sundays in July to prohibit such a wicked superstitious custom. (Annals of the Isle of Man, from Fargher’s Directory).


In the north of the Island bands of boys used to go round the town, as for instance in Ramsey, repeating the well-known rhyme

Hop-tu-naa, this is old Hollantide night,
Trollalaa, the moon shines fair and bright.
Hop-tu-naa, I vent to the well,
Trollalaa, I drank my fill.
Hop—tu-naa, on my way back,
Trollalaa, I met a witch cat. (Also polecat.)
Hop-tu-naa, the cat began to grin,
Trollalaa, and I began to run.
Hop-tu-naa. where did you run to
Trollalaa, I ran to Scotland.
Hop-tu-naa, What were you doing there
Trollalaa, baking bannocks, and roasting collops.
If you’re going to give us anything, give us it soon,
Or well be away by the light of the moon.

Moore says (p. 124, Folklore), that Pror. Rhys came across a different, and seemingly more rational (is) version of above in the South, but, as will be seen by the Manx verion, I have been able, to my great pleasure, to obtain from the South, there is not much difference between ii and the Bannag,which I shall give now

A BANNAG (from the Mull.)

1. Translation.

Noght oie Hauiney, hopdyn ay ! This is Hollantide night
Famman y ghouney ,, Tail of the striper.
Quoi’n gauin mar mayd ? ,, Which calf shall we kill
Yy gauin beg breck shid. ,, Von little spotted one.
Ren mee yn hrott, ,, I made the broth,
Losht mee my scoarnagli, ,, I scalded my throat,
Roie nice gys yn chibbyr ,, I ran to the well,
Giu mee my haie ; ,, I drunk my fill
Er yn raad cheet thie ,, On my way coming back
Veet niee kayt keoi, ,, I met a wild cat,
Haink kayt dy scryssey, ,, The cat went to grin,
Hie inish dy roie. ,, And I went to run.
Cre gys roie oo ? ,, Where did you run to?
Roie mee gys Nalbin. ,, I ran to Scotland.
Cre honnick oo ayn ? ,, What dd you see there
Van vuck vooar fuinney ayn ,, The big pig was baking,
Van vuck veg cur fo’n gryle ,, And the little pig putting under the griddle.

11 (Surby.)

Noght oie Houney, hopd yn ay
Shibber ny ghouney ,,.
Quot yn gauin mar mayd ? ,,
yn gauin beg breck shid. ,,
Q uoi yn kierroo ver mayd
S ayns phot ?] ,,
Yn keiroo beg jerrey. ,,
Hest mee ci y brott, ,,
Scolt mee my hengey. ,,
Rote mee dys yn chibbyr, ,,
Giu nice ITI haie ; ,,
Er yn raad cheet thie ,
Veetmee chayt keoi ,,
v ginney dy scryssey orrim ,,
Flie mish dy roic, etc.

To-night is hollantide night
The supper of the heifer
Which heifer .hall we kill?
The little spotted one yonder.
Which quarter will we put in the pot?
The little hind quarter.
I tasted the broth,
I scalded my tongue
.I run to the well,
I drunk my fill.
On the way coning back
I met a wild cat
That was beginning to grin at me, etc.

III (Port Erin.) Ill.

Noght oie hauin, tral-la-laa
Kellagh ny giark,
Chibber ny gatlin, hopd yn ay
Viare my ~~air. ,, I cut my finger.

* * * * *

As roie i~nee dys chibbyr;
Er raad back
Veet me yn chayt keoi
As roie mee dy Naibin.

* * * * *

IV (Ramsey.)

Hoptunaa, ringo, ringo.
Hoptunaa, biiligo fingo.
Hoptunaa, the moon is shining fair and bright, etc., etc.


V (from Ballaugh.)

Noght oie houney, Hoptunaa.
Maragh laa houney, Troialaa.
Hoptunaa is old Hollantide night.
Trolalaa, the moon shines fair and bright, etc., etc.


VI (Glen Meay.) (another Hollantide song, quite different)

I went to the rock, trollalaa.
The rock gave me cold, hopdynay.
The cold to the smith ,,
The smith gave me a lock ,,
The lock to the barn,,
The barn gave me straw,,
The straw to the cow,,
The cow gave me milk ,,
The milk to the cat ,,
The cat to the kitten ,,
The cat began to grin ,,
And I went to run
Where did you run to ? etc., etc.


Collops were simple slices of bread, but these were long ago discarded for slices or rashers of bacon.

Cregeen, in his dictionary, says he cannot tell what " Bannag" means, if not the Manx of ballad. He adds, " I have often heard it used for a rhyme said or sung on Hollantide Eve." My old Manx friends in the south had also forgotten its meaning, and declared it meant a " rhyme." It is very interesting to find that Macgregor, in his Highland Superstitions, while speaking of the celebration of Hollantide Eve, says : "The Bannag (Gaelic) was a New Year’s gift, a treat given to one on his first visit on the New Year’s Day," and the same explanation is given by Armstrong, in his Gaelic Dictionary, 1825, and the few lines given by Professor Rhys, and quoted by Moore, form merely the introductory lines of the bannag song. As will be seen from the. first four renderings

I have given, the song shows certain variations. With regard to the two end-lines of the song, " Va'u vuck—fuinney," &c., my authority mentioned to me, in explanation : ‘‘ When I was young the people did not burn coals for baking, but ripe heath or fern ; so there was always one putting under the griddle. " The old melody of the song is lost now.1 I was told " they used to have this rhyme to sing for the night at the children. A lot of lads met to sing at the doors for herrings, or coppers, and then they would divide the spoil between them for a toffy spree." Again : " Lumps of boys came, at my time, for the Hop dy nay ; never girls. Later on, it was the girls came. It died out, and the singing was replaced by hymns, and is now stopped altogether. The Irish don’t seem to have practised this custom of bonnag-singing ; and O’Reilly’s Dictionary, sub n : bonnag, defines it simply as a cake.

On this night in Glen Meay also, the same as in Arbory parish and Cregneish, "Young women used to go backwards to herring barrels, and get a salt herring out. She would, after that, not dare to speak to any person. The herring would be roasted, and she went to bed backwards, without sayinq any prayers, and that night she would expect to dream to see her future husband, he would give her a drink, she would feel very thirsty."

" There was another custom among the young girls on Hallow-eve : They took a mouthful of water and went to listen at some door or window, and the first man’s name they heard mentioned was to be the name of their future husband. They also went into the garden and pulled cabbages."

" And the young men used to bring some of the biggest apples they could find for the occasion, and get a large tub filled with cold water and put some of the apples into it, and whosoever could take one out with his mouth was to have it. I have also seen an apple hung from the roof and the young men trying to bite it, but it was very difficult to catch it with the mouth. "—" On Hollantide eve the biggest bol/an is kept for supper, and eaten with parsnips and mashed potatoes. They call this the ‘ bollan ny hauney.’

" The Soddag Valloo (Irish : Sudog = a cake. specially the last cake taken out. Manx : a thick-clapped cake, from suidh (gaelic) ;-= soot) was a cake, made in a frying pan by four or five young maids ; each had a hand it making it, and it was called yahoo, which is dumb ; from the time they commenced to make it none of them was to utter a syllable until they awoke next morning, when. it was baked. They took a small piece each, and put it under their pillow, and whoever would be the young man they would dream about would be their husband, which cake was made on Holy Eve, the 12 November. An essential ingredient of this cake was the addition of a quantity of soot. The Rev. Js. Robertson, writing from Callander, in March, 1791 (see the Edinburgh Literary Journal, page 365, 1831) about the superstitious customs of the Highlanders upon All-Hallow Eve, speaks of the fern-bonfire which was lit that night, and the various customs, which mostly agree with those observed in the Isle of Man for the divination of their future husbands, and he also enumerates the cake, which requires the first egg of a young hen, baked into a cake, with one shellful of soot, another of meal, and a third of salt, all properly mixed. This extraordinary cake must be dressed by a fire made of straw, taken from the cradle of a woman’s first son." Macgregor, in his " Superstitions of the Highianders," says of Halloween (Samhuinn):

" It was the night above all, when supernatural influences prevailed and the universal walking abroad of all sorts of spirits. After sunset, every youth with a firebrand, a samhnag, ran forth to surround the boundaries of their farm with these burning lights, as a protection against fairies, carrying the fire in the right hand, running around their premises from right to left, thus observing the deas-iuil; and W. Grant Stewart (The Popular Superstitions of the Highlanders, 1823) tells us that branded bannocks loaded the hospitable board." As I have shown before, the bannock (one of the portions of which was daubed with charcoal) played also an important part on Beltain (12th May), and we see from the English rendering of the Bannag-song, used in Isle of Man, that the last two end rhymes run : " What were they doing in Scotland? Baking bannocks and roasting collops "—a circumstance which shows the intimate lore connection of these customs between the two countries. The black cat, which appears in the rhyme, is, of course, a transformed witch, and we know that it was unlucky to meet a cat on the 1st January in the Island. The " bonnag " in the Manx rhyme stands, no doubt, for the gift, the bannock-cake itself. " I went to the teeth," in the song, is probably in connection with fetching or drinking water for a charm, so that all the elements of the song appear to have some significance. To show further that we have to deal with the celebration of an important moment—the beginning of the Celtic year [with an overlap or admixture probably of the Norsemen’s New Year], we have further proof in the fact that on Hollantide, " it is the day the farmlads’ year is up, and the Old May-day is the day the lasses’ year is ended, that is the 12th of May," as my old Manx friend told me, although he was quite ignorant of any New Year but the one beginning with that on the 1st of January.

All Soul’s Day, in some places called Soul caking, kept up in the Fylde, and they used to collect cakes from house to house. On All Hallow Eve, in Lancashire, they used to strew the ashes, which are to take the form of one or more letters of the lover’s name. In Cornwall on that night, they entered the sacred buildings to see the Spirits enter, and those who would die in the year this was also done at midnight of Midsummer Eve. The same used to prevail in Wales.

1 But see Manx Ballads and Music edited by A. W Moore, M , recently published by G. and R. Johnson, Douglas  


St. Catherine as the patroness of the field workers, and I have already alluded to this day for men vagrant servants (under chapter of St. Columba’s eve). The short ditty which used to be sung at Colby fair was given to me thus :-

Kark Catreeney maroo,
Gow uss ny cassyn, as goym’s ym kione,
As ver mayd ee fo’n thalloo.

And if a man got too jolly over the mug it was said of him : ‘‘ J?en eh plite/oj .ijii kid/i! mie rc " (he plucked the good hen last night), vhich differs a little from Moore’s and Professor Rhys’ version.


" The Christmas Day kept in the Island is the 5th January, and they reckon the myrrh as a proof that it is the right day, as it springs up soon after 12 o’clock, and is in flower in the morning. The fiddlers used to go about after 12 o’clock, and sing some Manx song, called Unnesup. I suppose that was the name of the tune, for I never heard the word in anything else in the Manx language, it runs thus

Goll er yn unnesup, goll er yn unnesup,
Daa oor roish yn laa;
Dooinney ta ny lhie marish ben dooinney elley—
Te bogh dy girree ayns traa.

Coil er yn unnesup, gnu er yn unnesup,
Daa oor lurg y vean oie,
Dooinney ta ny lhie marish ben dooinney elly- .
Te bog dey girree as roie."

" I am told that was the name of the dancing tune the fiddlers played. It wa a common word with the folk on the Mull, and meant a good thrashing when we, that were young fellow’s, did some mischief for some of the old folks. I have often heard them say that they would give us unnesup' if they caught us.

[FPC - is this the Wandescope mentioned by Moore(footnote Introduction) and Gill in their music book as not sounding Manx ? - see also later description in Notes & Queries #38]

" On that day the bullocks went on their knees, but they must be three years old and under that number."

" My mother was watching the oxen in the night, and saw the bullocks kneeling and moaning and sweating wonderfully. The same night the bees come out of the hive, beginning to sing and fly round the hive and go back again into it."

" There is the Viaw yn ghow (ox-cave), to the west of the break-water of Port Erin, and a farmer lived at Ballahowe farm, and they were ploughing with oxen in them days, and he went to plough on Christmas Day, and the oxen ran away with the plough, over hedge and ditch and all, till they came to this cave, and went down headlong into the sea and were killed—for people must not work on Christmas Day, it is held."

" Some fishermen at Port St. Mary went out on Christmas Day to fish haddock (they never show themselves on the top of the water, for it is a ground fish); but they came up and began to jump and play, and all went away in a body for many years.

" I remember an old practice, which is not quite done away with in the Island. If there was any man working on the Christmas holidays the young men gathered around him and placed him on a handbarrow, and carried him on their shoulders backwards and forwards through the village.

" On Christmas eve my mother used to parch peas in the pan, and bring them in her pocket and fling them at her friends in the church."

CHRISTMAS EVE (Oie’l Verrey).

The Oie’l Verrey was a great time with the old people, and is kept up still, but there is none of the congregation singing carvals, as in the past. The old fishermen all went to church to the Oie’l Verrey service, and when they came out of church, about 11 o’clock, , if there was a cap of mist on Cronk-ny-Irree-Laa, they went to the public-house to drink Manx ale, as they reckoned the cap of mist the sign of a good herring season for the following sunmer."

" On the 31st December they used to play cricket [sic ? hockey is a better description but even that implies gentility which cammag does not!], which was done with a ball and a stick with a crook (cammag), and they ranged themselves on two sides, 20 men on each side."



" I never heard of the tradition of the siren fairy that was changed into the wren, but the tradition I have heard, is that : In a time of war in the Island—and we had many in ancient times— there were two powerful chiefs encamped some distance from each other with their armies, and intended to have a battle in the morning. But one of those chiefs armed his men at midnight, and intending to surprise the army by coming on them while asleep. But a wren came and fluttered her wings and feet over the drum’s head, and the stir awoke someone near it who saw the wren, who thought it was a sign of something which was to happen, and called up the rest of the army, which was ready when the enemy was come, and when they found them all in readiness, they were surprised themselves, and lost the battle. So the discomfited party made a practice of hunting the wren, and I think it became universal in the Island, but that, along with other things, is nearly forgotten now."

On this day they used to go about in Munster (see Griffin’s Tales of the Munster Festivals), a song which I think worth quoting on this occasion :—

The Wran, the Wran, the King of all birds,
St. Stephen’s Day was caught in the furze
Although he is little, his family is great
Get up, fair ladies, and give us a trate.
And if your trate be of the best,
In heaven we hope your soul will rest.

Last Christmas Day I turned the spit,
I burnt my finger (I feel it yet).
A cock sparrow flew over the table,
The dish began to fight with the ladle,
The spit got up like a naked man
And swore he’d fight with the dripping pan,
The pan got up and cock’d his tail
And swore he’d send them all to jail.


ADDENDA—Page 148.



"The man that was telling this story said he knew the house and the young men as well, and that the house was haunted by the fairies. It was a farm-house in Kirk Onchan, and he said that soon after the young man died. There was one night and there was no water in the house, and one of the servant-girls refused to go and get water, as the hour was late, and there was an old beggar-woman lodging in the house that night, so she kept awake, and the rest of the family were asleep. And the fairies had a christening, but had no water to baptize the baby, and they made much noise ; they came at last to the bed and took the foot of the girl that refused to get water and bled it under the nail of the big toe, and put the cup with the blood in under a flag near the hearth ; so the girl began to pine away, and when this old Woman came again on her rounds the girl was very poorly, and she told them about the cup, and they lifted the flag, and took it out, and the young woman got well again, and if she is not dead she is alive yet"





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