The country of the fairies (cntd)
His second letter in much the same way couples historical facts with tales of folk-lore. He meticulously observes and eloquently describes events. The two companions walked over a high pass. "Mountain after mountain appears, dimmed by distance, and hollow after hollow, darkened by shadows"; "the deep note of the curlew is heard from the marshy ground below".
At the end of the walk the companions again find themselves beside a blazing fire; "I knew that I was in the country of the fairies, and so without much circumlocution I introduced the subject."
Once he had reassured the locals, "for the people are very shy on such subjects, and they think that the lowlanders only laugh at them for believing such things ever existed", another rich vein of folk-lore emerged.
This exemplifies perhaps Elias's greatest strength; he was never judgemental but was genuinely fascinated by these stories and the influence such stories had on the everyday lives of many people for generations.