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The far darrig, pronounced "fear dearg", is an Irish fairy, though its original home may have been Scotland. Translated, the name means "red man." They are also known by the name Rat Boys, largely due to their appearance; they have dark, hairy skin, long snouts, skinny tails and are rather fat. Even their clothing looks as though it might have been scrounged from a sewer, being extremely torn and shabby.

The far darrig  wears a red cap and coat, and busies himself by being the practical joker of the otherworld.

Of all these solitary, and mainly evil fairies, there is none more wretched than the far darrig. Like many other phantoms, he presides over evil dreams. Some legends hold that the far darrig is an unlucky former human who wandered into fairy land by mistake and now attempts to warn others from making the same mistake.


Far Darrig




Despite this apparently good natured move, they revel in cruel and gruesome practical jokes, which they play upon those who have made the mistake of irritating them. A favorite trick is to make some poor mortal tramp over hedges and ditches, carrying a corpse on his back, or to make him turn it on a spit.

Possessing a similar lack of taste in their choice of foodstuffs, far darrigs consume carrion as their main staple.

Most active in winter, and found along polluted coastlines, in swamps, marshes and coastal ruins, it is best to avoid these creatures at almost any cost. Occasionally they venture into the land of humans, where they delight in startling people by knocking upon their doors in the dead of night and asking to warm themselves at the fire. Never refuse such a request, as it is exceedingly bad luck and you may wake to find a changeling in your child's crib or that your cows have come down with the pox.

Should you happen to encounter a far darrig, take great pains to be polite to it, lest you become the victim for one of its practical jokes.

Variants: fear-dearg, fir darrig, rat boys, red man.

No matter what one doubts,
one never doubts the fairies....

William Butler Yeats


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