Monday, December 19, 2011

My favourite Christmas Story -- Number 1

For the week before Christmas I'm going to post one Christmas book, or story, that I particularly LOVE.

The story for today is called FIDDLER PLAY FAST, PLAY FASTER. I don't believe you can get this story in a single book format, but there is a collection of short stories by Ruth Sawyer (out of print, I believe, unfortunately - you may be able to find it on Amazon) that contains this story. But it is a gorgeous, gorgeous Christmas Story.

On St. Thomas' Eve, Billy Nell Kewley, a fine fiddler, is accosted by a strange gentleman with a fiery glow about him. This grim and graceful gentleman requests Billy Nell to come and play for a feast that he will be having three nights hence, on Christmas Eve. In exchange, Billy Nell will receive as many gold pieces as he can carry away with him.

Stricken by the power in the man's voice Billy Nell agrees. However, he fears he may have made a bargain with Noid ny Hanmey, the Enemy of the Soul: the devil himself.

Billy Nell seeks to find an answer to this question: What manner of spirit is the Enemy of the Soul? Can he be anything he chooses to be - a devil in hell or a fine gentleman on earth?

"Is the man noble or is he the devil?" asks the abbot whom Billy Nell begs an answer from. "I cannot say. But go. Carry salt, carry iron and bollan bane. Play a dance and watch. Play another, and watch. Then play a Christmas hymn and see!"

This is the Christmas tale of Billy Nell Kewley, the fiddler of the Isle of Man, who goes to fiddle for one who may be merely a fine gentleman, or else the very devil.


  1. I've never heard of this particular story, though it sounds a lot like "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." Thanks for the rec!

  2. It's a really neat story, Shannon. I love it.

    Oh, and thanks for joining!

  3. It strikes me as rare that the fictional abbot would declare he didn't know the answer, especially when it's the hinge of the story. I really like that.

  4. I had never heard of this. It is great when someone shares unknown treasures like this. It's like a gift.


  5. Neat story, with a spin of the fae. I look forward to the next stories on your list! I posted my own favorite story on my blogs today, if you care to pay a visit. :-)

  6. John, isn't it neat? I love how Billy Nell is playing and playing, and then he sees that monk and remembers to pray the Christmas Carol... whew! Takes away my breath each time!

  7. Rick, I'm glad you liked it. :)

  8. Kessie, I'm heading over to your blog right now! Yes, I'l post another story tomorrow. Stay tuned!

  9. Wow, I didnt know of that story. I knew of the song that sounds like that, but not an actual story. I will have to look for it.


  10. I love a good Christmas story, and this one sounds intriguing! Thanks for sharing. ;0) And thanks for the blog follow! I'm now following you back! Merry Christmas!



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