Nancy- Author Sheila Currie stopped by to discuss one of my favorite subjects: Fairies. So I asked her, what Good are the Fairies??
Sheila- The fairies can be useful and kind to human beings. They bring food when a family is poor, build houses or barns overnight, and reward favours with gold. However, if they aren't treated with respect, the food will not nourish, the houses or barns disappear, and the gold turn to stone.
Moral: Treat fairies (and people) right and you'll be fine.
Parents of young Highlanders warn their daughters to beware of a handome stranger. He might be a leannan-sìth or fairy lover. If he is one of the fairy folk, a Highland girl might find seaweed or sand in his hair. The parents can also test him with mìosach, fairy flax. A person who can handle the plant without difficulty, is a human being.
Moral: A new boyfriend should be checked out by parents.
Children are carefully watched and baptised as soon as possible to prevent the fairies from lifting the baby and taking it to a fairyhill. If a child, which was once happy and lovable, cries loudly and throws tantrums, the real baby may have been stolen. Especially if it eats enough to feed the whole village. Dead giveaway. A child wasn't left but a bodach, an old man, or changeling as it is in English.
Moral: DNA is not responsible for a child's character, the fairies are.
The banshee or ban-sìth in Gaelic means 'woman fairy'. While she has a bad reputation among English-speaking people, she has a very important purpose--to warn people of death. She sings her lament outside a house because she cannot enter the homes of the living. Those who are involved with the care of a sick or very old person know that they should prepare a funeral sooner than later.
She has fearsome magicial powers. If a man finds her ivory comb and keeps it, Lord help him, his life will not be pleasant. An intelligent man, who meets a lone woman calmly combing her hair in the moonlight, will sprint in the opposite direction to avoid disturbing her. This tranquility in a seemingly helpless female is the mark of a banshee. Or a woman who appears to be one. The number of rapes in the Highlands is extremely low.
My novel The Banshee of Castle Muirn tells the story of this sort of woman fairy. Needless to say people are frightened to deal with a banshee. Imagine the thoughts of a young woman who has the potential to become one. Lose her friends? Be ostracised by the people of her village? Scare off every male in the wide world? No chance! But an evil man is determined to marry her for her dowry and finance rebellion with the proceeds. What if her powers as a banshee are the only thing which will save her family from him? What if the only other help comes from a man of an enemy clan? Truly she must make decisions which will change her life.
Nancy- Please share 3 things readers might not know about you.
--Fairly fluent in Scottish Gaelic
--Studied Scottish History and Celtic Studies in Scotland
--Born on the east coast of Canada of Scottish, Irish and French parentage
Nancy- What’s next for you?
Sheila- To finish The Banshee of Castle Muirn and two more books in the trilogy.
Nancy- Tell us more about you.
Sheila- I love research and travelling in Europe--and plan to do more of the same! Connect with me at my WEBSITE