Elves in Scotland: Elf bolt, weapons, and utensils

By Thomas Crofton Croker

The most shameful action of the Elves, however, is their killing men and animals with a magic weapon generally called an elf bolt. These bolts are of various sizes, of a hard, yellowish substance, resembling flint, which they can always replace. The bolt is frequently in the shape of a heart, the edges sharply indented like a saw.

The Fairies shoot this mortal weapon at men and beasts with so much precision that they seldom miss their aim, and the wound is always fatal. So great is the force with which it strikes, that the moment it touches its object it pierces it to the heart, and in the twinkling of an eye the man or beast lies dead and cold upon the ground.

Strange it is, an ordinary man is not able to find the wound, unless he possesses the power which enables some wise people to trace the way by which the bolt came, and to discover it in the dead body. Whoever finds it should preserve it with much care, as the possessor of it is always secured against death from such a weapon.

The rude metal battle-axes which are met with are made by Fairies, who are here hammering in the clefts and caves of rocks. The pierced and rounded stones which are formed by attrition in the beds of the rivers are the dishes and goblets of the Elves.

The lightning sometimes cuts out pieces of turf with extreme regularity: these are supposed to have been dug out by the Elves.

From Fairy legends and traditions of the South of Ireland, part III., by Thomas Crofton Croker.
London: John Murray, 1828.

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