Robert Kirk, the 'Fairy Minister'

"Truth be told, friends, mine was not a dramatic life. While strife and blood blighted much of Scotland - the time-honoured argy-bargy of Catholics and Protestants having briefly yielded to the new trend of Protestants knocking lumps out of each other, in what historians call ‘The Killing Time’ - I was happy with my lot. Politics was not for me. I was a country pastor. A scholar. Your servant, Robert Kirk, Minister o’ the Kirk, late o’ Balquiddhar an’ Aberfoyle.Robert Kirk, Faery Minister, Aberfoyle

I made it my business to learn a’ that I cou’d o’ the Wee Folk - the ‘People o’ Peace’, as the Gaelic-speaking Scots-Irish o’ my parish ca’d them – the better that I might defend my flock frae their charms. I studied the politics o’ the Peri an’ the Pigwidgeon, the winsome ways o’ the Wight an’ the Will-o’-the-Wisp, an’ a the crafty arts o’ the Daoine Sídhe an’ the Queene o’ it’s Seelie Court...an’ a’ I learned I set down in my book, ‘The Secret Commonwealth o’ Elves, Faunes an’ Fairies’, that others might learn their lore an’ beware.

Some held that they were an elder race. Where modern man seeks knowledge through the arts o’ Natural Philosophy – in science – they cultivated crafts o’ magick. Some say that the gifts o’ Second Sight, of Prophesy, Necromancy and Clairvoyance are the result o’ unholy unions twixt their race an’ ours.

It had been my hope tae extend unto them my mortal Ministry – a Fairy Missionary, if you will - ...though a’ my efforts earned me was the scorn o’ my peers in the Kirk Session. They thought me moonstruck!

One bright May morn in 1692 – a little over a year after I had revealed the eternal mysteries of the Secret Commonwealth – I climbed Doon Hill, in Aberfoyle. I stood there for a moment, still and silent, looking at the clear blue sky and the rolling, verdant hills below, pondering for one brief mellifluous moment on the infinite glory of God’s Creation. For all the ridicule my studies had brought me, I was content: happy in my lot, and joyous at the impending birth of my new child...a few more days and I would be a father.

Then...I felt it. A sharp stinging pain in my...well to use an ecumenical metaphor it would be my ‘Parson’s Nose’...though it wouldn’t be my choice of somewhere to put my hooter. I turned, quickly, thinking I had fallen prey to some errant quot, some silly slingshot-wielding schoolboy, and eager to...gently persuade the tyke of the folly of using his dear old Minister for target-practice. But...there was nothing to be seen. More than a little discommoded by this turn of events I decided to hasten home, but almost before I had taken my first step I felt the same fiery force affront my fundament. Again and again my tender portions were poked by unseen hands...which, despite what I’d heard, was no fun at all...and, as before, the road was still and silent all around me. I felt dizzy, my poor head swimming as I hurried t’ward the safety of the Kirk, sure in that instant of the significance of this assault -

I was being punished, friends, for revealing the Good People’s secrets to the world. I felt a tingling in my arms, a pain in my chest and a sudden blackness enveloped me. As though through a tunnel of twinkling lights I seemed to be...looking down upon my lifeless form. But that was not me...not Robert Kirk...sure, that was plain to see. Sure, I was a much more handsome fellow. Yet none of my friends, none of the villagers who came to my aid - who carried away my ‘other self’, my doppelganger, my Fairy Changeling – could see.

They buried me...him, I should say, for I am NOT dead! But, my friends, I was a student of their Fairy ways. Time, at last, to put my knowledge to good use. I summoned up my energies and appeared to my cousin, Graham of Duchray, to tell him that I was not dead, but that I had been abducted by pixies. He cowered in awe...said he’d thought I’d been awa’ with the fairies for years, and swore off the Whisky for life!

Poor rogue thought I was a demon come to haunt his drunken dreams!

I told him my release from the nether void could be obtained when my spectral form appeared at the baptism of my babe, when he must cast a great iron dagger at my wraith – for iron is resistant to all magicks, and would free me forever from my fairy bondage.

Upon the appointed day, as my congregation gathered, I again focussed my eternal energies and manifested myself above my bonny new daughter’s crib – arms outstretched for all to see. The crowd gasped. Cousin Graham leapt to his feet, shrieked, pointed, burped, dropped the iron dagger on his feet...and fainted. I fear he had been partakin’ o spirits o’ a different kind!

And so, my friends, I find myself still a walker between worlds. Half-living, half-man, half-fairy...and a’ because my cousin was half-cut. Still, at least my outcast state allows me to offer guidance to innocent travellers such as yourselves.

There are many unseen perils, friends: and you wouldn’t want just any old chancer telling fairy tales tae lead you up the graveyard path."

                    Monologue taken from 2012 Stirling GhostWalk

More Information

Learn more about Doon Hill, Aberfoyle and the 'Fairy Minister' here http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/scotland/stirlingshire/featured-sites/doon-hill-and-robert-kirk.html Or toast the Reverend Gentleman's eternal health (he's 371, now!) with a glass of Robert Kirk Ale at The Faery Tree Inn http://www.faerie-tree.com/#!accommodation/c203j

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