Spinning Tails: Animals and Cornish Spyrys (Fae) By R. A. Kennedy

Something a little different for you today from deepest Cronwall (where they put jam on their scone then the cream). So without further ado I shall hand you over to your host for the day. R.A. Kennedy.


When asked to do an article about Cornish Fae by Aunty Fox, I immediately knew what it was I wanted to write about. Animals.
It comes as no surprise that animals are prevalent in Folklore, and Cornish folklore is certainly no different.
The relationship between Fae and animal shows that the two can coexist, and their destinies coincide and collide with one another on a regular basis.

I remembered hearing a story when I was in Primary School and since have heard only a few times after, although very different versions to what I originally heard. I havent been successful in finding it any publications online or otherwise. I did however manage to find out from other sources such as friends etc that such a story is within existence. However, the many different versions makes it difficult to confirm where in Cornwall it happened. Folklore is like Chinese whispers i.e A barrel can roll to one end of the street and in the next town that barrel can be something else. Its one of the many wonderful things about such stories.
So I took up my trenchcoat and fedora and went into the Private Investigation business. So let me tell you about it, its quite extraordinary.

Sculpture by Marilyn Collins. Image source http://undergroundlore.blogspot.co.uk
Sculpture by Marilyn Collins. Image source http://undergroundlore.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/i-love-spriggans-in-springtime-i-love.html

Romeo Kennedy F.I.
Thats my name over the door. The F is for Folklore and the I is for Investigator, or on a bad day the F can stand for Innumerable amount of things that I’m not willing to repeat.
Tracking down stories is my thing. Stories that lay hidden for years, stories that tell of the Spyrys and all manner of wonderful creatures, among other things.
I was sitting at my desk, late one misty Monday evening when there was a knock at the door. With a creak and a groan I got up from my comfy chair and casually opened the door.
Said she was a Spriggan, told me her brother had gone missing, asked me to find him.
I asked how long he had been missing?
She told me a thousand years.
The look on my face said it all. ‘Did you not think to search for him a bit sooner?’ I asked
Thats me, always try to go for the cheap shot. Needless to say she wasn’t Impressed and the snarl and large hands around my throat told me as much.
Looks like I have a new client, I thought, and I wasn’t in any position to argue.

The Spriggan told me that her brother’s name was Tiddy and he just upped and disappeared one night. Spriggans don’t tend to leave explanations. Hell they never usually leave anything except bones. Especially when treasure is involved.
Before Tiddy’s departure, he would regularly make long distance journeys to somewhere and come back with nets full of fish. When his sister asked where he had been Tiddy said not to ask. This went on for months, until he vanished.
‘Maybe he doesn’t want to be found?’ I said taking a sip of my stone cold coffee.
Apparently that wasn’t the case.
A few days before our meeting she was handed a note by a Pisky named Trevara. I say ‘a note’; it was more of a cryptic scrawl written on a leaf in a watery blue ink.
She handed me the screwed up leaf and I held it under the lamp. I couldn’t read whatever the hell it said but knew someone who could. I asked if it was okay to hold on to it.
That was all she could tell me. Other than: ‘Find him.’ Which was either a threat or just a friendly reminder that if I didn’t I would probably have a lot more free time on my hands, if you catch my drift?

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Aunty Fox on Diversity

The thing in fiction that is unique is the writer. For this reason, if for no other, we need diversity in our writers.

As a publisher I care about stories, the telling of tall tales, the spinning of yarns, the coming together around a fire and sharing urban myths. A good storyteller is the real world Rumpelstiltskin creating gold from straw.Wolf at the Door web

To me the fundamental reason for wanting diversity in genre fiction writers is the uniqueness of every voice. The richness of experience and the alternatives views of the world and events in it that comes from being a different religion, ethnicity or gender.


I am not saying that, for example, only writers of colour should have protagonists of colour. I think all writers should write the stories and characters they want. Still, as important as it is to have diversity within stories, it is, to me at least, even more important to have diversity behind the story. That is the only way we can truly enjoy the deep, glorious potential of storytelling.

Cover 1 Book 2
Cover 1 Book 2

This is why at Fox Spirit we focus on stories. In our selections we would rather work a little harder with authors for whom English is not a first language and get the great stories. It’s because we love storytelling in all its forms that we organise live reading events for all local writers not just our own (Fox Bites), which in Leicester is a wonderfully multicultural affair.

Fox Spirit is deliberately open when we do submission calls, allowing for interpretations of a theme to encourage people with different voices and ideas to take a chance where they might otherwise be cautious and while we cannot say we are truly diverse we are definitely bucking the trend in gender bias, which is a start.