many years ago, the Chief of Clan MacLeod was a handsome, intelligent
man, and all the young ladies in the area were very attracted
to him, but none suited his fancy...
One day, he met a fairy princess, a bean sidhe, one of the Shining
Folk. Like all the other females he met, she fell madly in love
with him, and he with her as well. When the princess appealed
to the King of the Faeries, for permission to marry the handsome
Chief, he refused, saying that it would only break her heart,
as humans soon age and die, and the Shining Folk live forever.
She cried and wept so bitterly that even the great King relented,
and agreed that she and the Chief could be hand-fasted for a year
and a day. But, at the end of that time, she must return to the
land of Faerie and leave behind everything from the human world.
She agreed, and soon she and the young MacLeod were married with
No happier time ever existed before or since for the Clan MacLeod,
for the Chief and Lady MacLeod were enraptured of each other totally.
As you might expect, soon a strapping and handsome son was born
to the happy couple, and the rejoicing and celebration by the
Clan went on for days.
the days soon passed and a year and a day were gone in a heartbeat.
The King led the Faerie Raide down from the clouds to the end
of the great causeway of Dunvegan Castle, and there they waited
in all their glamourie and finery for the Lady MacLeod to keep
Lady MacLeod knew that she had no choice, so she held her son
to her, hugged him tightly, and at last, ran from the castle tower
to join the Faerie Raide, and returned with them to the land of
Faerie. Before she left, however, she made her husband promise
that her child would never be left alone, and never be allowed
to cry, for she could not bear the sound of her son's cries. The
Chief was broken-hearted with the loss of his wife, but he knew,
as did she, that the day would come when she would return. He
kept his promise, and never was the young MacLeod allowed to cry
and never was he left unattended. However, the Laird of MacLeod
remained depressed, and grieved for the loss of his lady.
The folk of the clan decided that something must be done, and
on his birthday, a great feast was proclaimed with revelry and
dancing until dawn. The Laird had always been a grand dancer,
and at long last he agreed to dance to the pipers' tunes.
So great was the celebration that the young maid assigned to watch
the infant Laird left his nursery and crept to the top of the
stairs to watch the folk dancing in all their finery and to listen
to the wonderful music. So enraptured was she that she did not
hear the young Laird awaken and begin to cry.
So pitiful was his crying that it was heard all the way in the
Land of Faerie, and when his mother heard it, she immediately
appeared at his crib, took him in her arms, and comforted him,
drying his tears and wrapping him in her faerie shawl. She whispered
magic words in his ears, laid her now-sleeping son in his crib,
kissed him once more on the forehead, and was gone.
Years later when the young lad grew older, he told his father
of his mother's late-night visit, and that her shawl was a magic
talisman. It was to be kept in a safe place, and if anyone not
of the Clan MacLeod touched it, they would vanish in a puff of
smoke. If ever the Clan MacLeod faced mortal danger, the Faerie
Flag was to be waved three times, and the hosts of Faerie, the
Knights of the Faerie Raide, would ride to the defense of the
Clan MacLeod. There were to be three such blessings, and only
in the most dire consequences should the Faerie magic be used.
The Chief placed the Faerie Flag in a special locked box, and
it was carried with the Chief wherever he went...
Hundreds of years later, the fierce Clan Donald of the Lord of
the Isles had besieged the MacLeods in battle, and the MacLeods
were outnumbered three to one. Just before the Donalds' last charge,
the Chief opened the box, and placing the faerie flag on a pole,
waved it once, twice, and three times. As the third wave was completed,
the Faerie magic caused the MacLeods to appear to be ten times
their number! Thinking that the MacLeods had been reinforced,
the Donalds turned and ran, never to threaten the MacLeods to
this very day.
On another occasion, a terrible plague had killed nearly all the
MacLeod's cattle, and the Chief faced the prospect of a winter
of starvation for all his people. Having no alternative, he went
to the tallest tower of Dunvegan Castle, attached
the Faerie Flag to a pole, and waved it once, twice, three times.
The Hosts of Faerie rode down from the clouds, swords drawn, and
rode like the wind over the dead and dying cattle. They touched
each cow with their swords, and where there once had been dead
and dying cows, now stood huge, healthy, and well-fattened cattle,
more than enough to feed the Clan for the winter to come.
There remains one more waving of the Faerie Flag, and the Flag
is on display at Dunvegan Castle, there awaiting the next threat
to the Clan MacLeod.
It is said during World War II that young men from the Clan MacLeod
carried pictures of the Flag in their wallets while flying in
the Battle of Britain, and not one of them was lost to the German
flyers. In fact, the Chief of Clan MacLeod had agreed to bring
the Faerie Flag to England and wave it from the Cliffs of Dover
should the Germans attempt to invade Great Britain.