WM. DURANT COOPER.
81. Guilford Street.
In reference to your correspondent H.G.T.’s article on pixies (Vol. ii., p. 475.), allow me to say that I have read the distich which he quotes in a tale to the following effect:—In one of the southern counties of England—(all the pixey tales which I have heard or read have their seat laid in the south of England)—there lived a lass who was courted and wed by a man who, after marriage, turned out to be a drunkard, neglecting his work, which was that of threshing, thereby causing his pretty wife to starve. But after she could bear this no longer, she dressed herself in her husband’s clothes (whilst he slept off the effects of his drunkenness), and went to the barn to do her husband’s work. On the morning of the second day, when she went to the barn, she found a large pile of corn threshed, which she had not done; and so she found, for three or four days, her pile of corn doubled. One night she determined to watch and see who did it, and carrying her intention into practice, she saw a little pixey come into the barn with a tiny flail, with which he set to work so vigorously that he soon threshed a large quantity. During his work he sang,
“Little Pixey, fair
Without a rag to cover him.”
The next day the good woman made a complete suit of miniature clothes, and hung them up behind the barn door, and watched to see what pixey would do. I forgot to mention that he hung his flail behind the door when he had done with it.
At the usual time the pixey came to work, went to the door to take down his flail, and saw the suit of clothes, took them down, and put them on him, and surveyed himself with a satisfied air, and sang
“Pixey fine, and pixie
Pixey now must fly away.”
It then flew away, and she never saw it more.
In this tale the word was invariably spelt “pixey.”
Pixies.—The puckie-stone is a rock above the Teign, near Chagford. In the Athenaeum I mentioned the rags in which the pixies generally appear. In A Narrative of some strange Events that took place in Island Magee and Neighbourhood in 1711, is this description of a spirit that troubled the house of Mr. James Hattridge:
“About the 11th of December, 1710, when the aforesaid Mrs. Hattridge was sitting at the kitchen-fire, in the evening, before daylight going, a little boy (as she and the servants supposed) came in and sat down beside her, having an old black bonnet on his head, with short black hair, a half-worn blanket about him, trailing on the ground behind him, and a torn black vest under it. He seemed to be about ten or twelve years old, but he still covered his face, holding his arm with a piece of the blanket before it. She desired