Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Strange Case of the Edinburgh Fairy Coffins


There's a fantasy story to be had out of this.  And since I'm not planning to write it, one of my readers might as well:

In July, 1836, some boys were rabbiting at Arthur's Seat, the famous rock formation near Edinburgh.  Spotting a hole, they widened it and discovered a small cave containing 17 wee wooden coffins, each one between three to four inches long.  Boys being boys, they proceeded to pelt each other with the things.  The surviving coffins were subsequently acquired by an amateur archaeologist, who prised them open and found carved wooden figures within, clad in wee cloth suits.

Of their origins, much is speculated and nothing is known.  Were they deposited all at once or one at a time over the course of years?  Were they meant as a curse?  A surrogate funeral for sailors lost at sea?  A great deal of effort went into the creation and decoration of the mysterious items.  No one knows why.

You can read the Smithsonian article here. . .  And how can you not love an article which quotes "the leading expert on" three-ply thread?


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