THERE are numerous stories about fairies in Scotland, but Clackmannanshire has its fair share of them too.

It is said that in Alva hundreds of years ago, the fairy king kidnapped the wife of the local baker and she was taken to the fairy glen in the village where she was held captive.

She was well kept by the little people and was only released from the king’s enchantment when the baker accidentally stood on one leg and broke the spell.

A similar enchantment happened a couple of miles away. A miller at Menstrie had a very beautiful wife but the fairies had taken a liking to her and one day they carried her away.

The poor man was beside himself at the loss of his wife, even more so because he could hear her chanting in the morning:

O! the Alva woods are bonnie,

Tillicoultry hills are fair;

But when I think on the braes of Menstrie,

It makes my heart aye sair

Although he heard this, he could never see his wife. Time passed but one day, when he was riddling chaff at the door of his mill, he stood on one foot, like birds do in the rain.

For whatever reason, this broke the enchantment that had bound his wife and suddenly she appeared beside him.

The miller was delighted to see her, and she was never captured by the fairies again.

Now the miller in Menstrie had a brother called Davie who lived in Tullibody and who enjoyed a drink.

His wife nagged him about his drunken behaviour but what she said fell on deaf ears and had no effect on him.

Seeing that she could never be happy with him, she prayed that the fairies would come and take her away.

They arrived within seconds and whisked her away, flying up the chimney singing:

Deedle linkum dodie

We’re aff wi’ drunken Davie’s wife,

The sautman o’ Tullibody.’

They carried her to Cauldhame, the place where the palace of the fairies was situated, and she was treated like a queen.

However, after a time, the wife asked for permission to go and live with her husband once more.

This was granted but as she was leaving, one of the fairies gave her a small stick saying ‘as lang as ye keep this, your gudeman will drink nae mair.’

The charm was successful, and Davie never touched a drop of alcohol again, remaining sober for the rest of his life. His wife never forgot the kindness of the fairies.