Manx Fairy Tales: The Fynoderee of Gordon

Manx Fairy Tales: The Fynoderee of Gordon

There was one time a Fynoderee living in Gordon. Those persons who saw him said that he was big and shaggy, with fiery eyes, and stronger than any man. One night he met the blacksmith who was going home from his shop and held out his hand to him to shake hands. The blacksmith gave him hold of the iron sock of the plough which he had with him, and he squeezed it as if it had been a piece of clay, saying: "There's some strong Manxmen in the world yet!"

The Fynoderee did all his work at night and went into hidlans in the daytime. One night, when he was out on his travels he came to Mullin Sayle, out in Glen Garragh. He saw a light in the mill, so he put his head through the open top half of the door to see what was going on inside, and there was Quaye Mooar's wife sifting corn.

When she caught sight of the great big head she was frightened terrible. She had presence of mind, however, to hand him the sieve and said:

"If thou go to the river and bring water in it, I'll make a cake for thee; and the more water thou carry back, that's. the bigger thy cake will be."

So the Fynoderee took the sieve, and ran down to the river; but the water poured from it and he could fetch none for the cake, and he threw the sieve away in a rage, and cried:

"Dollan, dollan, dash! Sieve, sieve, dash!
Ny smoo ta mee cur ayn, The more I put in, N y smoo ta goll ass." The more there's going out.

The woman got away while he was trying to fill the sieve, and when he came back to the mill he found it in darkness.

The Fynoderee was working very hard for the Radcliffes, who owned Gordon then.

Every night he was grinding their corn for them, and often he would take a hand at the flails. If they put a stack into the barn in the evening and loosed every sheaf of it, they would find it thrashed in the morning, but he would not touch one sheaf of it unless it were loosed. In the summer time he was getting in their hay and cutting their corn.

Many a time the people of the farm were passing the time of day with him. One cold frosty day, big Gordon was docking turnips and he blew on his fingers' to warm them.

"What are thou blowing on thee fingers for?" said the Fynoderee.

"To put them in heat," said the Farmer.

At supper that night the Farmer's porridge was hot and he blew on it.

"What are thou doing that for?" said the Fynoderee. "Isn't it hot enough for thee?"

"It 's too hot, it is; I'm blowing on it to cool it," said the Farmer.

"I don't like thee at all, boy," said the Fynoderee, "for thou can blow hot and blow cold with one breath."

The Fynoderee was wearing no clothes, but it is said that he never felt the cold. Big Gordon, however, had pity on him that he had none, and one frosty winter he went and got clothes made for him-breeches, jacket, waistcoat and cap-great big ones they were too. And he went and gave them to him in the barn one night. The Fynoderee looked on them and took them up, and says he:

Coat for the back is sickness for the back
Vest for the middle is bad for the middle
Breeches for the breech is a curse for the breech
Cap for the head is injurious for the head!
If thou own big Gordon farm, boy
If thine this little glen east, and thine

So he flung the clothes away and walked his ways to Glen Rushen, out to Juan Mooar Cleary's. He was working for him then, cutting the meadow hay for him, cutting turf for him, and seeing after the sheep.

It happened one winter's night that there was a great snow storm. Juan Mooar got up to see after the sheep, but the Fynoderee came to the window.

"Lie, lie an' take a sleep, Juan," says he; "I 've got all the sheep in the fold, but there was one loaghtan (brown native sheep) yearling there that give me more trouble till all the res'. My seven curses on the little loaghtan! I was twice round Barrule Mooar afther her, but I caught her for all."

When Juan went out in the morning all the sheep were safe in the cogee house and a big hare in with them, with two short lankets on him, that was the brown yearling!

After a time the Fynoderee went up to the top of Barrule Mountain to live, up to the very peak. Himself and the wife went to make a potful of porridge one day, and they fell out.

She ran and left him. He threw a big white rock after her and it struck her on the heel - the mark of the blood is still on the stone at Cleigh Fainey. While she stooped to put a rag on her heel he threw a lot of small rocks at her, that made her give a spring to the Lagg, two miles away. Then he threw a big rock with the pot-stick in it - it's in the Lagg river to-day.

At that she gave two leaps over the sea to the Mountains of Mourne in Ireland; and for all that I know she's living there still.

Source:  Sophia Morrison - Manx Fairy Tales, London 1911