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Trows are most active at Christmas; a ring of trows turned t...

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Title - Trows are most active at Christmas; a ring of trows turned t...
Contributors - Tom Anderson
Reporters - Prof. Tadaaki Miyake

Summary - Trows are most active at Christmas; a ring of trows turned to stone in Fetlar; trow relations with humans.

Trows [trolls, fairies] were only active at certain times of year, particularly Yule [Christmas]. They usually disappeared by the 24th day of Christmas, the night that Shetlanders call Up Helly Aa. The old name for it is 'the four and twentieth night'. The trows could be seen en masse any time during that period. They were no bigger than big bottles and always had lots of music. Fiddlers returning home from weddings often hear trow music coming from inside the hill. Lots of fiddle tunes are based on these trowie tunes.

In Fetlar there is a stone ring with two stones in the middle. Tradition has it that the sun came up and turned two trow fiddlers and a ring of dancers to stone, but a passing fiddler got a bit of their tune, which is called 'The Haaltadance [limping dance]'.

Some old ladies knew the trows by name and put out bread and viands for them, and the trows were in turn very good. Sometimes, however, the trows would come into a house and wash a newborn trow baby in the buttermilk. If they poured the buttermilk back into the churn, that brought bad luck. Some people set out buttermilk and oatmeal for them, and they would clean up the house or grind corn. Clothes left out would be taken. If trows turned against someone, they could take the luck from the butter and make it impossible to churn; the same practical effect could be achieved by contaminating it with alum. The trows would sometimes take a fiddler to play for a wedding. He would think he was away for one night, and find he had been away from a year. Brucie Henderson had many of these stories.


Track Duration (h:m:s) - 00:05:43
Date Recorded - 1972.12.18
Language - English, Scots
Genre - Story, Information
Collection - School of Scottish Studies

Track ID - 71706
Original Tape ID - SA1972.238
Original Track ID - SA1972.238.A8
Audio Quality - Poor
Audio Format - R2R



Recording Location:
  County - Shetland
  Parish - Lerwick
  Island - Shetland Mainland
  Village - Lerwick


Item Location:
  County - Shetland

Item Notes -

Permanent Link - http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/fullrecord/71706/1




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