Fairies in Belfast! Yes, indeed. In Belfast – in this utilitarian town of ours, as well as in those German cities and villages where the bright mythology carried from Arabia by the Crusaders still lives in the popular belief, is to be found a lingering recollection of the beautiful little people in whom many of our grandmothers believed so steadfastly. In one of the crowded streets of small houses with which Belfast abounds an incident occurred the other evening, which, for the nonce, transports us to the ‘hills, brooks, standing lakes and gorves,’ once sacred to the elves. A woman had gone out of her house, leaving it in charge of a child, who, in turn, went out, locking the door after her. After sundown, a neighbour passing happened to look in and saw – a fairy. Looking again, she saw an ample ring of them, the Queen, – the veritable Empress Mab it must have been – sitting in the centre, dressed in the most brilliant green, and attended by little Hop and Mop and Drop and Pip and Skip and Gill and Tit and Nit and all the rest of the tiny and beautiful maids of honour. In a while, she brought another woman to look, and, in the gloaming, this new spectator certainly saw one, which was quite enough to confirm her friend’s revelation, since she knew that fairies had the power of making themselves invisible, and could get through any enclosure. Good gracious! She had a fine baby at home, and perhaps they were gone to steal it, and leave instead thereof one of their own mischievous little vixens. And off she hurried, for her mother – peace to her ashes! – had often told her of a good woman whose lovely child was stolen in the same way. A crowd gathered, and, as the shades of evening began to deepen, the conviction deepened too that all was not right. To heighten the alarm, it was whispered that the good woman had left one of her little girls in the house. What had become of her? Few dared to speculate, for the fairies were present, though unseen, and could hear what was said of them. In a remote country district we have actually heard the peasantry speak with bated breath about the exploits of these airy creatures in the belief that an incautious word would be avenged. But if the townspeople dared not to speak ill of them, they would do ill by deputy. In a trice a messenger was away for the police. In due course came the men in green, but not the delightful green which gives such fitting relief to the beautiful complexions of the fairies. The police actually looked in through the key hole, and saw the suggestion of one tiny being, the rest having perchance gone off one dew drops, pressed into their service, to their dwellings in the caves whose entrance overlooks the town. There was evidently something wrong. The house was haunted and the people about were indebted entirely to their numbers for keeping each other in countenance and courage. At the supreme moment, up came the good man of the house and his fugitive little daughter, who had gone to meet him. The door was timidly opened, for he thought there was surely something in all the stir. Imagine the disgust of the expectant crowd when a doll turned out to be the prolific fairy. It was handsomely dressed in green, having been presented on St Patrick’s Day to the little girl. Still there is always some water where the stirk drowned and it is clearly there must be something wrong with the house – at least such is the opinion of the more credulous of the recently affrighted neighbours, who hare not likely soon to forget this fairy tale of fact. ‘Fairies in Belfast’, 1870, p.3.