Have You Ever Been Pixie-Led?

Mythical Monday

Have you ever found yourself lost or wandering around trying to find your way?

Then, Pixie6it’s possible you may have been pixie-led!

Pixies are mythical creature commonly found in folklore particularly in the western parts of England. Up to the end of the 19th century, pixies and fairies were taken quite seriously as part of the ‘little people’, especially in Cornwall and Devon.

Pixies are Notoriously Mischievous

They are not malevolent creatures, but they are very mischievous, and love to torment and play tricks on humans.

Like many Faeries, Pixies dislike rude, greedy and cruel people and often single them out to be the victims of their pranks. They also hate human laziness.

Pixie1
Artwork by Brian Froud

They have been known to steal people’s belongings or throw things at them. They even steal horses at night, ride them wildly and then bring them back before dawn, their manes a tangled mess.

They rap on windows and walls, blow out candles, throw small stones at walls, kiss young girls in the dark and splash water around. Young girls were particularly prone to teasing by pixies. They would knot their hair or pinch one’s skin until it bruised.

So, if you find you have a lot of small items going missing, such as paper clips and pins, you might have a pixie problem. And if you happen to find your pixie’s lair, you just might find all those things that they’ve “borrowed”.

Getting Lost

Pixies are most notorious for confusing travellers. People have gotten lost even on familiar terrain. They can change aspects of the environment to confuse humans, and most reports mention a strange mist.

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Artwork by Brian Froud

They lure travellers walking alone. The person would be so confused they could be lost for hours, or worse, vanish without a trace. This is what is known as pixie-led.

When I was doing my research on pixies, I found a fantastic website called Legendary Dartmoor According to the author, Tim Sandles, this really does happen! Dartmoor is located in southwest England in the county of Devon.

From their site:

Probably the best I have ever heard came from an old woman who has lived on the moor all her life. Whilst she had not actually experienced being pixie led herself her grandfather often related how he once earned the displeasure of the little folk and became ‘led’. Apparently one minute he was happily traipsing across the moor on a track he knew well. Suddenly a dense mist descended that appeared to have a very feint green tint to it, along with this the man’s head became ‘zwimmy’ (dizzy) and he began stumbling around trying to find his direction. The actual experience seemed to last for hours and he lost all track of time but when the mist lifted he looked at his watch and only a few minutes had passed. Despite thinking he had been wandering around for miles he had in fact only moved a few yards from the spot he had reached when the mist ascended.

 

Probably the most famous story of people being Piskie Led on Dartmoor is that of the unnamed couple who got lost near Okehampton. So relieved were they to have survived such an ordeal that the husband erected a granite cross next to the well where they were spared, known today as Fitz’s Well.

The author goes on to say:

There seem to be two modern conditions that can lead to people becoming ‘Piskie Led’, the first scenario involves an illegal substance or copious amounts of alcohol and the second is a result of the inability to read a map and compass – stoned, drunk or lost, blame it on the piskies.

How to Avoid Being Pixie-Led

One remedy to avoid being pixie-led during the 17th century was to turn your coat inside out, and if you didn’t have a coat, you could even turn your pocket out. Carrying a piece of bread could also prevent bewilderment.

If you leave gifts like honey, milk or cake, the pixies will regard this as a sign of respect and help with tidying up or helping around the farm. Sometimes doing favours for pixies will backfire though, and they may respond with mischief.

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Artwork by Brian Froud

If you find yourself in the mist and suspect you are being pixie-led, find a spring of clear water and drink some to break the spell.

Don’t Invite Trouble!

stellaria-holostea-2Pixies are known to sleep among the Stitchwort plant, also known as Addersmeat, so to pick this plant is inviting trouble from them. Don’t do it!

 

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Artwork by Brian Froud

What about You?

Have you ever found yourself lost in a mist, unable to find your way? I’d love to hear your stories. Leave a note in the comments!

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