Visit a Place

The Fairy Knoll

Our District Visitor Operations Manager, Rachel Sydeserff, shares her favourite version of a childhood story she was told growing up.

A rock formation

This is the story of a young girl who is supposedly one of Rachel’s ancestors:

“A young girl from North Uist went out one evening, but the mist came down, and the girl lost her way as night fell. Eventually she saw a light in the distance and went towards it. When she arrived, she realised that she had entered a fairy knoll, and there was no way out. She became a servant of the fairy folk. Every day, the fairies went out, and they left the girl to bake for them, using flour from a large chest. They told her that when the chest was empty, she could leave. She baked and baked every day, but the chest of flour never seemed to go down. She thought she would be in the fairy knoll forever.

One day, an old man, who was too old to go out with the other fairies was left in the kitchen with her. He took pity on her and told her to do exactly what he said, and she would get out soon enough. He told her that every time she was baking, she should make sure that any leftover flour on the board was put back into the chest. The next day, the girl followed this advice, and put the leftover flour back in the chest. She kept going every day, and eventually the chest emptied. The fairies had no choice but to let her go home, and when she left, they granted her one wish. The girl wished that she would be a good worker, and the wish was granted by the fairies.

The girl went home and found out that she had been gone for seven years. She was recognised, as she was still wearing the plaid that her mother had made for her.

The fairy gift of being hard working was passed down generations of the family until the present day. Descendants of this girl were called in Gaelic “Siol Sidheadh Clann Anndra” (The fairy descendants of the family of Andrew).”