In a magnificent Scottish castle, there lived a page-boy who spent his days serving a kind and generous Earl and his old and devoted butler. The page-boy, named Luden, was allowed to spend his afternoons playing out on the moor and the beach but with one warning: he must not go into the faerie’s den on the other side of the moor or he would never come back. Luden was curious and defiant, though, so he stole into the faerie cave one night and found them enjoying a large feast. Their laughter was contagious and their music was enchanting; how could the old butler be afraid of this wonderful place?
A loud voice came bellowing over the crowd: “Bring out the cup!” With this order, a large and stunningly beautiful goblet was produced. Each little creature would hold the cup in front of him and say the name of whatever drink he wished to have and the goblet would fill to the brim with it. Without realizing it, Luden was already imagining himself walking out of the cave with that cup for a trophy.
Suddenly, several pairs of small hands grabbed him viciously and pulled him out of the dark corner where he hid. Shaking violently, Luden awaited his terrible fate from the little people. To his utter astonishment, a great cheer filled the room followed by a roar of laughter. There was nothing to fear, his old butler just believed the old, foundationless legends. To his dismay, however, the page-boy soon found that the favorite entertainment of these people was to subject Luden’s beloved earl and all the people in his community to raucous and savage jeering. Two realizations dawned on Luden as the night wore on: one was that these creatures were cruel and unfriendly just as the butler had predicted and the second was that they clearly had no intention of ever seeing him leave this place again.
At last, when the page-boy could stand it no longer, he let out a huge laugh and called for the cup. “Such company as this I have never experienced before! To your health and mine! WATER!” The boy feigned raising the silver goblet to his lips and then he splashed it all over the room thereby extinguishing every candle. In the ensuing blackness and confusion, Luden made his escape. With a heinous rallying cry, the faeries came leaping after him. Luden was fast and he could run this moor in his sleep but the faeries were gaining on him nonetheless. Hope drained from Luden’s heart and he began to cry for fear of his pursuers, for the butler and the earl, and for his foolishness in disregarding their wise warnings. Then suddenly he stumbled and he felt himself roll onto a grainy bed of cool wet sand. He had made it to the beach and he lay there steeling himself for the onslaught. But Luden soon found that here the faerie magic stopped and they were stuck at the edge of the wet sand to scream furiously for their stolen goods and escaped captive. From that day on, the silver goblet was displayed with pomp in the castle in memory of this near fatal adventure.
*This is a traditional Scottish fairytale included in Elizabeth W. Grierson’s The Scottish Fairy Book in 1910.