Balley Cashtal Beg, which is Manx Gaelic for 'Little Castletown', is a town within a town in the south of the Isle of Man! It’s a project I developed to help bring visitors to our town, and provide free family activities for locals & visitors alike.
There are 70 fairy doors hidden around the town, their rough positions are marked on one of two illustrated map leaflets which are available, free of charge from many local businesses. Below you can find all the characters, illustrations and stories from the world of Balley Cashtal Beg.
The Tooth Fairy's Garden
There’s a fairy post box in Balley Cashtal Beg where humans can ask questions and the Little People will answer them. This illustration and story is in answer to Kaila’s question to the tooth fairy - “What do you do with all of the teeth?”
Dear Kaila Rose,
Thank you so much for your letter, the fairy postal service bought it right to me, just as you requested! All the Little People love you too, we were so happy to hear from you!
In your letter you asked "what do I do with all of the teeth?"
Well, children's baby teeth are very important to us, as you probably know (thank you so much for leaving them under your pillow for me to collect!). I have a very special garden and in it, I plant all the baby teeth that I collect. Each tooth I plant grows into a beautiful flower, the more the child takes care of their teeth, the more beautiful and colourful the flower becomes! As the flower blooms and grows in my magical garden, a big strong adult tooth grows inside your mouth!
It's hard work, I prepare the soil and watch over each tiny seedling with love and care (and just a little magic), to make sure all your adult teeth grow well. You can help me by taking the very best care of your teeth!
Each flower is different, just as each tooth is different, and each is beautiful in its own special way, as is every child!
The gardens of the tooth fairies, (there are lots of us!) are renowned by Little People everywhere. Folk come to visit every day to see the beautiful new flowers as they bloom. There's always something new and amazing in a tooth Fairy's Garden! When you visit a new town or village, keep your eyes peeled and look for the most beautiful garden you can find and that may be the local tooth fairy's garden!
I do hope that answers your question Kaila Rose!
Lots of love from,
Ferrish ny Feacklyn Balley Cashtal Beg
The Tooth Fairy of Little Castletown
The World Thimble Racing Championships
One of the strange quirks about living in Castletown is that you can NEVER find a thimble in the run up to the World Tin Bath Championships. Go and look for yours now, I bet you won't be able to find it, but I bet if you look next week, it will be sitting there waiting. Last year mine reappeared with some grains of sand and a tiny bit of seaweed!
I've finally found out the reason why! The Little People LOVE tin bath day, they find it great fun, and host their own Little World Thimble Racing Championships.
Like tin baths, thimbles are very difficult to race, I'm told if you're not careful, you end up spinning round and round in tight circles, the Little People can hardly paddle for laughing!
The Featherfriends - Caarjyn ny h-Ushagyn
The Featherfriends (Caarjyn ny h-Ushagyn) are an ancient fairy family. They are great friends to all creatures and have a special affinity with the birds. They live mainly along the Silverburn River, or Awin Rosien in Manx Gaelic, the language of the Little People, from it’s source near South Barrule (Baarool Jias) right down into Balley Cashtal Beg.
Cara Meave Featherfriend is one of the busiest fairies in Balley Cashtal Beg, you can read her story below! She watches over the baby birds and teaches them to sing. She lives in a house with a beautiful purple door, decorated with delicate flowers. If you ever visit, see if you can find it! Perhaps the birds will help you!
A singing Lesson
In Balley Cashtal Beg there’s a fairy who wears a dress made from purple Crocus petals, she’s a great friend to all creatures, especially the birds. She flies, sings and plays with them all day long. In springtime, she helps the birds of Balley Cashtal Beg build cosy nests to keep their eggs safe and warm. When the eggs hatch, she watches over the baby birds, and helps the fledglings learn to fly. She has a beautiful voice and loves to sing, she teaches the birds to sing fairy songs, and they all raise their voices as one every morning for the dawn chorus. Little people come from all over the Island to hear the wonderful sound. For the longest time, no human knew her name. It was said that she teaches the birds to sing her name, thankfully, the children of Castletown listened to the birds and worked it out! Her name is Cara Maeve Featherfriend. In Manx Gaelic those names mean ‘A Songster’ and ‘A fairy Queen’.
The Woodland Elves
The Woodland Elves live quietly by the river. They watch the children come and go, and keep watch over them, and all the insects and animals, to see they come to no harm.
This is Alf, he helps creatures in need, he shares his house with a woodlouse (muc ny ferrishyn - in Manx Gaelic)), a snail (crammag), and a ladybird (deyllag vreck). Alf and his friends have decorated their doors with paintings of brightly coloured snails. There are three around Poulsom Park in Castletown, if you’re ever visiting, see if you can spot them!
Claymaking Charlotte - Sharlad y Pasheyder
Charlotte lives at Craftworks Studio in Castletown, she likes to play with clay when they’re closed. Sometimes, when the owners open up, there’s a whole row of new fairy doors ready to be painted!
Railway Bill - Illiam y Raad-Yiarn
Bill lives at the Steam Railway Station in Castletown. He travels on the train to Fairy Bridge to share news with the bridge folk. He collects coal along the way to keep the houses of Balley Cashtal Beg cosy and warm.
Bill is an excellent story-teller and he’s always got the skeet!
The Nollick Family
Have you heard of Railway Bill? He lives at Castletown train station and collects coal from the tracks for the little people of Balley Cashtal Beg. Bill travels on the steam train to visit the little folk at Fairy Bridge where they exchange news & hear each other’s stories.
Since the summer, Bill has been telling stories of how wonderful & accommodating the humans of Castletown are towards the little folk. He’s told tales of giant art works in their honour, and parties filled with magical costumes, fun and games! The bridge folk are always eager to hear about Balley Cashtal Beg!
The Nollick family were particularly enchanted by his tales, and they longed to move to Balley Cashtal Beg from their Fairy Bridge home. Nollick is Manx Gaelic for ‘Yule’. An unusual thing about this family is that all their children were born at Christmas time! The Nollick children are called Hollyn, Hibbin & Billey, in English, their names translate to Holly, Ivy & Fir! They absolutely love Christmas! They are kind and caring and full of fun. They have a particular fondness for humans, especially children, and like to help us out whenever they can. That’s one of the reasons they wanted to move to Balley Cashtal Beg; they know there are lots of us friendly humans here!
Last time Bill went to Fairy Bridge, he bought back more than coal and stories! He helped the Nollick family pack up their things, including their front door, and stow them safely on the train. They bid a fond farewell, and a ‘see you soon!’ to their bridge folk friends and set off to new adventures in Balley Cashtal Beg!
The Nollick family are known as finders and helpers. Have you ever lost a glove, only to find it a day or two later, hanging from a tree or propped up on a fence? Or maybe a long-lost trinket turned up in a place you’d looked a hundred times before? It’s highly likely that Hollyn or Hibbin found it and tried to return it to you! Gloves are their speciality; they don’t like to think of us with cold hands. They love to see pairs together again!
What's a Fairy's birthday like?
There’s a fairy post box in Balley Cashtal Beg where humans can ask questions and the Little People will answer them. This illustration and story is in answer to 5 year old Illieah's question ‘What is a fairy’s birthday like?’
I think a fairy's birthday would differ depending on the fairy in question, much like it does with humans! What they all have in common is that they spend time with those they love. Their spider friends weave birthday greetings into their webs which sparkle and shine with morning dew.
This fairy's friends have bought her gifts! Some honey from bee, a sprig of rosemary from sparrow, a hazelnut and some elderberries from mouse and a huge blackberry from the woodland elves! Later on I bet the carnival fairies will throw a party with music and dancing.
The Fairy Foal
On February the 22nd, 2018 a foal was born in Castletown. The little people had been eagerly awaiting his arrival, for they love all creatures, especially horses. They were great friends with his Mother, a Mare called Mili. They played together in the fields all summer long for many a year. They watched over Mili whilst she was pregnant, bringing her the sweetest fairy flowers to eat and combing her mane. When the foal was born, the fairy folk gathered from all of Balley Cashtal Beg to welcome him to the world! He was black as jet all over, with big black eyes and knobbly knees. The little people blew fairy dust over his face to protect him all his life. Their magic touch left distinctive white markings, a reminder of their fairy love! So loved we he by all, that the little people couldn’t agree on a name! “Do you know who else loves horses?” Asked Alf the Woodland Elf, “Human Children! Let’s ask them for help!”. What a great idea!” cried the little folk, “They’ll know just what to call him!”
There was a great competition, with lots of entries. The Little People eventually chose the Irish Gaelic name ‘Fiain’, which means ‘Wild’ in English. It was suggested by a little girl called Florence. We’ll be catching up with Fiain soon on his 1st birthday to see how he’s getting on!
Autumn - Yn Fouyr
A glimpse of Autumn in Balley Cashtal Beg. Autumn, or Yn Fouyr in Manx Gaelic, is the most difficult time of year to spot the Little People, the falling, and fallen, leaves make it near impossible! The Little children love to bounce around on mushrooms and toadstools as they spring up after the sudden rains, it’s a happy time for the Little People!
The Bowling Green Pixies - Ferrishyn ny Aaie Voulleragh
“We’re mischievous pixies
and we live at the bowling green
We’ll knot your hair,
and trip you up
as we skip around unseen!”
Fairy Children Playing
I caught a glimpse of the Little children playing with the mice! They love to make up games together and they all squeak with delight as they frolic around in the grass! A good place to try and spot them is Poulsom Park in Castletown, where they love to play beneath the live willow dome.
The Little Man in Green - Dooinney Beg yn Eaddagh Glass
The following story is a summary of “On the Shore” by Manx Dialect poet Kathleen Faragher
A long time ago on the Isle of Man there was a little girl, whose family fell on hard times. Her father broke his leg, so he could no longer work as a fisherman. There was hardly any food left in their little cottage and the family was hungry. One night, the little girl heard a tapping on her window, looking outside she saw a little man dressed in green, with a red pointed hat! He bade her to follow him down to the shore. By the rocks she saw lots more little men, all dressed the same way. They were crowded around a black and white, fluffy little puppy. They told her they’d found him, injured, and asked that she take him home and look after him. If she did, her family would be blessed by the little folk. The girl took the puppy home and cared for him. The next morning, they couldn’t believe their eyes, the kitchen was magically filled with good food and supplies! There was a bed in the corner for the pup, along with a red pillow and shawl! The puppy grew big and strong. He was digging in the garden one day and wouldn’t stop, even when they shouted him. He dug up a chest; it was filled to the brim with gold sovereigns that had belonged to their grandfather! The family never had to worry again, and they always thanked the little people for their blessings.
Little people live for a very long time and have even longer memories. Rumour has it that the Little Man in Green has moved to Balley Cashtal Beg to search for the descendants of the little girl and the puppy he befriended all those years ago. Perhaps it’s your family he’s looking for!
The Carnival Fairies - Ferrishyn ny Feailley Straiddey
The Carnival Fairies live around old Market Square in Castletown
Once a year at the beginning of August they collect confetti from Castletown’s famous confetti carnival. They make beautiful clothes, decorate their houses and invite all the little folk to come and dance until dawn. Their doors are very brightly coloured, much like the confetti, you can sometimes hear very quiet music coming from them, if you listen very closely!
The Seafarers - Mooinjer Veggey ny Marrey
“We’re the seafaring fairies,
we swim fast as well as fly.
Over mariners and sea creatures,
we keep watch with a caring eye.”