Manx Fairy Tales: The Child Without a Name

Manx Fairy Tales: The Child Without a Name

It was many and many a year ago that the heiress of Eary Cushlin Farm had a little child. Eary Cushlin is a terribly lonely place; it stands high up on the Eanin Mooar, the big precipice, close by the steep brow of Cronk-yn-Irree-Laa. You might live there for months without seeing the face of clay, and no person knew of the birth of the child.

It was not welcome when it came, and as soon as it was born, it died. Then the mother carried it, at dead of night, along the narrow path over the rocks, past where the waters of Gob-yn-Ushtey leap into the bay, past Ooig-ny-Goayr, the Cave of the Goat, to Lag-ny-Keilley. She buried it in the ruins of the lonely little Keeil that has been there on the hill-side for fourteen hundred years and more. There she left it alone.

A short while after some yawls were going to the haddock fishing from Dalby. There was the 'Lucky Granny' from the Lagg, the Muck Beg, or Little Pig, from Cubbon Aalish's, Boid-y-Conney from Cleary's, Glen Rushen, and others, ten in all. Then it began to be said that something strange was going on over at Lag-ny-Keilley.

The men would be fishing close in to land under the black shadow of Cronk-yn-Irree-Laa, the Hill of the Rising Day. When little evening came, the yawls would be drifting south with the flood tide, north with the ebb, passing and repassing the strand of Lag-ny-Keilley. Then they would see a beautiful light and hear a lamentation and crying, as if from a little lost child.

In the end the light would run up the steep brow to the old Keeill, and go out. The men got so frightened that at last they would not go on the bay after dark, but would make from the fishing-ground as soon as the sun was getting low.

Things became so black for the women and children at home that one old, old man, Illiam Quirk, who had not gone to sea for many years, said he would go with one of the yawls to see for himself. They used to say of him: "Oul Illiam has the power at him in the, prayer, and he is a middlin' despard fella; he will dar' most anything."

It was so at this time - his yawl was the last of them coming in; the rest were frightened. It was a right fine, beautiful moonlight night when he was coming down from the mark, and when he was near to Gob-yn-Ushtey he heard crying and crying. He lay on his oars and listened, and he heard a little child wailing over and over again: "She lhiannoo beg dyn ennym mee!" That is, "I am a little child without a name!"

"Pull nearer to the lan," said Illiam when he heard it. They pulled close in, and he plainly saw a little child on the strand bearing a lighted candle in his hand.

"God bless me, bogh, we mus' give thee a name!" said Illiam. And he took off his hat, and stood up in the boat, and threw a handful of water towards the child, crying out: "If thou are a boy, I chrizzen thee in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Juan! If thou are a girl I chrizzen thee in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Joanney!"

In an instant the crying stopped, and was never heard again, and the light went out and was seen no more.

Source:  Sophia Morrison - Manx Fairy Tales, London 1911