Showing posts with label fairy stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fairy stories. Show all posts

Friday, March 1, 2019

Digital Storytelling: Taken by the Fairies with Mary Flynn

Left to right: Betty Moore, Mary Flynn, and Joanne Morrissey.
Digital storytelling is a short form of digital media production that allows everyday people to share aspects of their own family and community history. Many people have stories about family members and local places that often go untold. Digital storytelling helps interpret and make community history accessible.

Watch below as Mary Flynn, originally from Shearstown and currently living in Otterbury, Newfoundland, tells the story of her first cousin, Molly, who was taken by the fairies as a child:

Or click here to watch the video on YouTube.

If this video elicits memories for you, or if you'd like to arrange a digital storytelling workshop for your community, contact Dale Jarvis at

Friday, January 26, 2018

Living Heritage Podcast Ep098 Croatian Tales of Long Ago

Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić might not be the first name you think of when you think of fairy tales, unless, of course, you had a magical Croatian childhood like photographer and researcher Bojan Fürst.

Bojan is the Manager of Knowledge Mobilization at the Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Bojan leads the Harris Centre's knowledge-brokering team, connecting community needs with the resources available at the university.

Recently, Bojan has been working to translate some of the literary fairy tales of Croatian author, poet, and essayist Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, who has been praised as one of Croatia’s best writers for children, and whose work utilizing traditional Slavic names and motifs been compared to Hans Christian Andersen and JRR Tolkien, though her work is not widely known by English-speaking audiences. Today, we’re working to fix that, and delving into the enchanting fairytales of Ivana's imagination and Bojan’s childhood.

Monday, April 3, 2017

#CollectiveMemories Monday - Fairy Lore in Witless Bay

Pat Carew, 2014. Photo by Emma Tennier-Stuart.
In September 2014, as part of Memorial University’s Folklore Field School, Emma Tennier-Stuart interviewed Babe Walsh, Bride Finn, Pat Carew, and Bernadette Maddigan about ghosts and fairy lore in Witless Bay.

In these interviews personal and community ghost and fairy stories are told. This includes stories of people being taken by the fairies, hearing music in the woods, and beliefs about how to ward off the fairies such as keeping bread in your pocket. There are also stories of ghostly animals – talking black dogs and ghost cows. Bernadette describes the death tokens seen before the death of a loved family member or pet.

Click here to listen and learn more about ghost, fairy lore and token beliefs.
Bernadette Maddigan, 2014. Photo by Emma Tennier-Stuart.
~Terra Barrett

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Campfire Tales at Lobster Cove Head

Come share your ghost and fairy stories or just sit at the fire and be spooked! Hosted at the Lobster Head light house shed party, by folklorist Lisa Wilson on behalf of the Registered Heritage District of Woody Point and Gros Morne Park Artist in Residence Michael Young

Stories start at Lobster Cove Head Sunday, August 10th at 8PM

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Book Launch - Folk Belief and Legends of Bay Roberts and Area

The Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Bay Roberts Cultural Foundation invite you to the official public launch of our booklet:

“Folk Belief and Legends of Bay Roberts and Area”

Saturday, 3 May 2014
2:00 p.m.
Bay Roberts Pavilion, Bay Roberts, NL
Free Admission, Booklet cost: $5.00

Join us for the launching event of our booklet “Folk Belief of Bay Roberts and Area” to see just how rich your local stories are and learn a dozen different ways to cure a wart. The booklet is a collection of anecdotes that celebrates the oral history, folk beliefs, storytelling traditions, ghost stories, fairies stories, and folk remedies that have been passed down through the generations in Bay Roberts and surrounding communities. Much of the material presented was submitted by students in Kim Welsh’s grade 10 English class, and rounded out with oral history interviews with elders in the region. Come by to hear some tales, have a cup of tea, and purchase a copy to take home (just $5.00). 

You can preview the booklet in pdf format here.
Book illustration by Graham Blair.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Away with the fairies! Resources on Newfoundland fairy traditions

Nicole Penney and I have been busy little elves, working on a project we both love: Newfoundland fairylore!

We have had some requests from people about the tradition of fairies in Newfoundland and Labrador, so we've pulled together some links to online material that we think might be useful to people doing projects or heritage fair displays on the faerie folk, fairy belief, tradition and superstition.

The best place to start, however, is Barbara Rieti's excellent book, Strange terrain: The fairy world in Newfoundland.   It is the go-to book for anyone starting research on fairy traditions. I believe it is out of print, but local libraries should have a copy. We've also included a link below to Dr. Rieti's dissertation below, which is available online.

Another good-but-out-of-print book is Fables, Fairies and Folklore of Newfoundland by
Alice Lannon and Mike McCarthy, also possibly available at local libraries. We've included a great recording of Alice telling fairy stories in 2010.

Another good print resource is Peter Narváez's article “Newfoundland Berry Pickers ‘In the Fairies’: Maintaining Spatial, Temporal, and Moral Boundaries Through Legendry.” The Good People: New Fairylore Essays. Edited by Peter Narváez. University Press of Kentucky, 1997. Pp. 336-367.

If there is an important resource we've missed, email

Photo: detail from Newfoundland Faerie Ring sculpture by Morgan MacDonald.

Online Video Sources

Audio Files

Online Articles

Bishop’s Cove: John R Barrett. John What They Call Jackie. Decks Awash, vol. 18, no. 02 (March-April 1989). Pages 42-43.

Bulman, Andie. "Risking abduction by fairies to modernize a 1905 Newfoundland blueberry cake." CBC Sep 01, 2019.

Fairies. The Collegian, 1914, vol. 20, no. 01. pages 17 and 18.

The floating dead: N.L. inspired 'zombie faeries' photoshoot arrives in time for Halloween.  CBC News · Posted: Oct 30, 2016.

Folklore: Folk Beliefs. Encyclopedia of NL. Vol 2. Page 245

Helesic, Day. The Fairy Folklore of Newfoundland. Canadian Living. May 2015.

Janes, Burton K. The fairies of Conception Bay. The Compass. September 10, 2012

Jarvis, Dale.

Kelland, Ariana. Meet the fairy caretaker of Airport Heights. CBC Aug 27, 2019.

Lyver, Emily. Fear the Fairies. Kicker, September 21, 2017.

Milley, B. Joan. Little Fairies. The Collegian, 1939, [02], Summer. Page 23.

Noseworthy, Kayla. Fairy-Tales: Berry Picking and the Fairy Lore Connection. The Overcast. 14 September 2016.

Poems About Fairies. Collegian, 1939, [03], Christmas. Page 34.

Robinson, Andrew. Harbour Grace writer looks to fairies with latest novel. Aug 02, 2019.

St. John’s man tells court he was carried away by the fairies. Archival Moments.

Silvester, Nicole. Blast Those Little Fellas: The Fairy Folklore of Newfoundland. 11 September 2012.

Wilson, Lisa, ed. Folk Belief and Legends of Bay Roberts and Area. St. John's: Heritage Foundation of NL, 2014.


Rieti, Barbara. Newfoundland Fairy Traditions: A study in Narrative and Belief. Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1990.

Silvester, Niko. There’s a Piece Wad Please a Brownie: A Comparative Study of Offerings to the Fairies in Traditional Cultures and Contemporary Earth Centered-Religions. Memorial University of Newfoundland.

For those interested, Strange Terrain is still in print and was recently reprinted by its original publisher ISER Books, Memorial University. Their address is ISER Books, MUN, 297 Mount Scio Road, St. John’s A1C 5S7, (709)-864-3453, , or

Last Update: 19 December 2022 by Dale Jarvis

Monday, February 4, 2013

Hunting Hogboons and Detecting Trows: Kids search out the supernatural

I had two meetings today about future folklore projects in Conception Bay, one in Bay Roberts and the other in Cupids. Perhaps unsurprisingly, talk of the fairies came up in both. Conception Bay is rich in fairy lore, and there seems to be a growing interest in communities in the area in documenting and celebrating these traditions.

While in Cupids, I mentioned two fairylore projects from across the pond, one from Shetland and the other from Orkney. I first heard about the Shetland project from storyteller Davy Cooper when he visited Newfoundland a few years back. The Shetland Museum and Archives had created a Trowie Knowe, the house of a "trow" - a type of small, ugly supernatural creature like a troll. They had also created a "Trow Detector" - a steampunkish looking device for alerting museum goers to nearly trows.

The Orkney project allowed kids to search out evidence of a similar type of creature, a hogboon, a mound-dwelling creature tied to particular families. The hogboon hunt was part of a one day workshop where participants used newly learnt archaeological skills like surveying, map making, photography, and collecting and documenting artefacts. You can check out the video of the kids on their hunt on Vimeo. The story in the piece is told by Orkadian storyteller Tom Muir.

Rousay Summer Club Survey from Mark Jenkins on Vimeo.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Paranormal in Heart's Content

As a folklorist, it isn't every day that you get to hear a good ghost or fairy story, but then on some days, people will tell you two or three. Doing fieldwork for the Heart's Content heritage district this past Wednesday, a few residents shared some of what they know about the paranormal in Heart's Content. Art Cumby had a wonderful fairy story to share, along with a photograph of himself hanging out with the other boys he knew as a child. You'll find him standing up, wearing a striped shirt. He and his friend Art Button (also wearing a striped shirt) were just 11 years old when this happened to them:

Gina Balsom, on the other hand, has been working as an interpreter at the Cable Station historic site for several years. She explained that while she has never had any strange experiences or feelings in the old building, a few visitors certainly have. Here is what Gina had to say about working in a supposedly haunted space:

Thanks to Art and Gina for sharing their stories. In fact, I'm always looking for a good ghost or fairy story. If you know of any from the Heart's Content or Bay Roberts (my next heritage district destination), please drop me a line at