The History of Leith

June 5, 2007

The Fairy Boy of Leith

Leith became famous for the following story. The Fairy boy of Leith acted as the drummer to the elves who met every week on the Calton Hill.

The Circumstances of the story are related by Captain George Hill and is told in his own words ” About fifteen years ago having had business in Leith and being detained there. I met with some of my friends in a certain house and there we would drink wine. The woman who kepted the house was honest and which made me pay close attention to what she told me one day about a Fairy Boy (as they called him) who lived in the Town. She gave me such a strange account of him that I disired to see him and she agreed to help.

A few days later the woman shouted me to the window and there in the street the strange Boy was pointed out me playing with the other children and I rushed out and by smooth words and some money I got him to come into the house. I started to ask him questions about astrology and without hesitation he answered in a way beyond his years and all the time his fingers were drumming on the table. I then noticed this and asked if he could beat a drum “Yes,Sir as well as any man in Scotland” he replied in a shot and added that he played the drum ” To the folks that live under yonder hill”. To this I laughed “What folk are you talking about”. Och he says “A great company of men and women and they have plenty of meat and wine. In fact we go to France or Holland in a night and return again. Thinking this was utter nonsene I asked I demanded to know “how anybody got inside the hill”. The reply came quick as a flash “by a gate on the side of the hill which only spirits, elves and fairies could see and not mortal man”.

To prove that this was all nonsense I devised a plan to hold the boy in the house to see what would happen. The boy sat and stared and the druming fingers got louder and louder and then he disappeared and was never seen again. I searched Calton Hill for the gateway and of course it couldn’t be found. But for many years after people walking over Calton Hill late at night swore that they could hear a distant drumming coming from beneath their feet

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