As if by magic
Preparing for the muse

Sanskrit read to a pony

Portrait of a Fairy Horse

Two last pony pictures for you: the cheeky spotted pony, who was as interested in me as I was interested in her (and just as good as Tilly at posing for the camera), and the sweet, shaggy pair who were really only interested in each other.

In the West Country lore of Devon and Cornwall, the land is home to a variety of fairies called piskies, running the gamut from benevolent house piskies to shy, isolated moor-and-bogland-dwelling creatures, to dangerous beings who plagued the region's tin miners of old and still delight in leading travellers astray. Some piskies are said to be shape-shifters -- most commonly turning into hares and hedgehogs, but I've also run across tales of "colt piskies" who take the shape of young wild ponies.

Colt piskies are trickster figures, fond of playing practical jokes on their domesticated equine cousins, but not so deeply dangerous as other Celtic horse fairies (Scottish kelpies, for example, or Irish phookas). They are mischievous creatures, of whom it's best to be wary, but capable of kindness towards humans too -- and they seem to have it made it their special mission to protect apple orchards from thieves and harm.

Pony Love

"Life is like Sanskrit read to a pony," the musician Lou Reed once said. Here on Dartmoor, I wouldn't put it past our local fairy horses to understand Sanskrit perfectly, to love being read to, sung to, and told stories -- for they are, in myth and folklore, a magical part of the Great Story themselves.