Tales From The Waters Edge

When I was growing up my grandmother often spoke of fairies and goblins and sprites. She loved the
My favourite tale was the one she told about the water sprites who lived in the river Deel. This is
what I recall…..
The best itme to spot a fairy is dawn or dusk. At these itmes the line between their world and ours is
thinner, so we can see through to theirs and they can see into ours. Sprites are just what we call the
water fairies.
One summer evening when my grandmother was a young girl, maybe eight or nine, she stayed out
past going home itme. It was staritng to get dark and she knew she would be in trouble, so she
decided on a short cut along the river bank to get home. As she approached the river Deel she could
hear faint sounds of music but thought it was the noise of the running water over the rocks. She
always said the sound of the running river was music in nature.
As she got to the river’s edge the sound of music got louder and there was a low murmur of voices,
just on the edge of hearing. She could see lfickering lights by the water’s edge relfected in the mirror
like surface of the water. Like fairy lights she said.
She stopped at the river edge. She says she felt compelled to look at her relfeciton. But when she
looked into the river the face relfected back was not her own. The girl relfected had blue eyes like
the water itself. Her face was sharp and her hair was the colour of river mud…Granny like me has red
hair and green eyes! Granny says she felt no fear. She smiled at the girl and the girl smiled back. She
waved and the girl waved back. Neither said a word. All that could be heard was the gurgle of the
river and the calls of the meadow birds from the ifelds either side.
Granny doesn’t remember the itme passing at all…..atfer what seemed like only minutes she heard
her father’s voice calling her as if from a far distance. ‘Maggie, Maggie Delahunty where are you?’
She didn’t want to leave her new friend though. Then she remembered in her pocket was a small
carved doll her uncle Jack made her for her birthday. She dipped her hand into her pocket and
dropped the doll into the river. The ripples on the surface seemed to fan out forever and like as if a
spell was broken she heard her father’s voice beside her and felt her father’s hand on her shoulder.
(He swears he checked that river bank only minutes before and granny had not been there at all.)
Granny says the whole family were searching for her, she had been by the river for hours. Past dusk
and into full dark. She says it is her ifrm belief that the river sprite intended on taking her to live in
her world but the doll was exchanged for the child and she was let go home. She says this is what
her whole family believed.
Granny never did see the doll or the river sprite again, but she otfen went back to the river Deel to
check-although never on her own.