Hamish and the Fairy Gifts by Moira Miller (1988)
I think I'd like to meet Hamish.
He doesn't really believe in the Wee Folk. He just lets his old mother ramble on about things that most other people have forgotten - fairy nonsense he calls it - and he's got a deal of common sense on his own account. He works hard for his living, farming his three fields and fishing the loch.
Stolid, I think I would probably call him. And if, occasionally, he finds himself in a wee bit of trouble with the Wee Folk, he takes it all quietly in his stride. That's because his mother's always there with her timely advice:
Over the next few days, the Wee Folk tried all the tricks they knew to sneak in and take away the baby. Hamish's mother went round the cottage and round the cottage searching for ways to stop them.
She unravelled a red ribbon from her best petticoat and tied it around the cradle. Then she sent Hamish out into the storm to cut branches from the rowan tree to nail above the front and back doors of the cottage.
Actually, for someone who doesn't believe in magic our Hamish does seem to have quite a lot of it in his life. He can scarcely walk out of his cottage door without encountering mysterious seal people, or the odd bloodcurdling bogle.
Traditional fairy magic in short stories with a charming contemporary feel. I loved reading these, and I think you will too. Not just for children.
What can I read next?
If you enjoy traditional magic you could look at this collection of Irish stories by Carlo Gebler:
If you are looking for something with a similar light touch to the Hamish stories I think you might enjoy something by Odo Hirsch:
There's another charming Scottish story told by Michael Morpurgo which might interest you:
And if you fancy a rip-roaring adventure with traditional fairy characters have a look at this brilliant book by Alan Temperley:
Also, the Bookchooser has found these books with a similar profile:
- The Big Bazoohley by Peter Carey (Score: 93%)
- The Lost Grandad by Geoff Steward (Score: 93%)
- Highway Robbery by Kate Thompson (Score: 93%)
- The Midnight Folk by John Masefield (Score: 89%)
- The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones (Score: 89%)
Hamish and the Fairy Gifts features in these lists: