Fairy and the Wool, The

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  • Teideal (Title): Fairy and the Wool, The.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 840122.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): sone.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): story.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): unavailable.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 31/01/1984.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): University of Washington, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): evening class.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

This is a story about the ‘good fairies’ – na daoine maithe – supposed to be a remnant of the Tuatha Dé Danann.
A woman was generous to a small man who came to the door, and in return the man offered to help with carding wool. Every night she would leave the raw wool out, and the fairy would come in, and in the morning she would find it not only carded but spun, and halfway to becoming cloth.

When one of her neighbours became curious about how she was getting so much work done with the wool, the woman told her about the fairy visitor. The neighbour then left her own wool with the woman, in hopes that she would get the same help. The fairy, however, knew the difference; he left the neighbour’s wool untouched, and never returned to the house after that night.


Elements of this story relate to a number of other items in Joe’s repertoire. See The woman who found a bucket of blood in her kitchen, The woman who threw water on the fairies, Sliabh na mBan is on Fire!, traditions about the Púca and other spirits, and the Foot-Water Rhyme.