Dale Jarvis is a well-known Story-teller friend of ours known for telling ghost stories, legends and traditional tales from Newfoundland and beyond. Founder of the St. John’s Storytelling Circle, he was Storytellers of Canada’s representative at the inaugural meeting of the Federation for European Storytelling (FEST) in Norway, 2008.
Since 1997, Dale has been the host of the St. John’s Haunted Hike, named “Event of the Year” by the City of St. John’s.Author of four books on Newfoundland folklore and ghost stories, Dale has taught workshops across North America on historical storytelling.
He has taught hundreds of children to tell their stories, and is committed to spreading the art of storytelling. In the Telegram he reports:
The idea there are certain rocks associated with the faeries is an ancient one, and it is not surprising to find stories in circulation in the province about rocks that are fairy-haunted. I have heard stories about a special rock on the Southside Hills where the faeries were supposed to dance, and which was said to best be avoided by human folk.
Faeries and Rocks
In the summer of 2006, I took part in a CBC Radio Noon phone-in show with former host Anne Budgell and Newfoundland playwright Robert Chafe, whose fairy-themed play “Butlers Marsh” was then running. One gentleman caller from Seal Cove shared a story of a fairy rock which had once stood close to Empire Avenue near the north side of the Belvedere Cemetery in St. John’s. When the man was young, there was a gate at the corner of Bonaventure Avenue and Empire Avenue. Near that, just outside the graveyard, close to the gate, was a rock outcrop. In the rock were five or six little steps about half-an-inch to an inch high. The caller said:
No one could convince us that it wasn’t the faeries that owned those steps. Of course, we only saw that in daylight, because no one was going down there to check that after dark, it being so close to the graveyard. Every time we passed there, myself and my friends, we’d have to stop and sit down and look at the fairy steps.
“The association with fairies and specific rocks is a very old tradition, and one that has its roots in the old world. There are many stories from the Celtic world of fairy-haunted rocks, and the idea is particularly common in Scandinavian countries as well.”
In Iceland, there are many rock outcrops that are said to be the homes of elves and trolls, and in some instances, particular rock formations are said to be the remains of trolls themselves.
An area in Iceland known as Dimmuborgir (Icelandic for “Dark Citadels”) is home to a series of strange rock formations which folklore maintains were once trolls. A group of trolls had been out walking one night, forgot about the time, and when the sun came up, they all turned into stone. Another Iceland formation, called the “Reynisdrangar Needles,” was formed when a pair of trolls were dragging a ship to land. When daylight broke they, too, were turned to stone.
In recent years, an Icelandic road project threatened a rock formation said to be home to trolls. With great care, the road plan was adjusted, and one rock was moved. I think this says more about a local belief in the importance of their heritage and folklore than it does about whether or not the road planners really believed in the fairy folk. In contrast, when I went looking for the fairy steps on Empire Avenue, they were nowhere to be found.
Find out more about Dale Jarvis on his own Blogspot website.
Read the full article on the Telegram website.
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