Margaret Drabble writing in The Spectator
in 2011 explained: “The Potteries are one of the strangest regions in the British Isles". It's quite true. There are even people who still believe in fairies in Stoke-upon-Trent town. I went into the newsagents to get a paper today, before going to the allotment. There was a pensioner in there, obviously well known to the newsagent (who had a bemused smile on his face), telling the newsagent about: "the hob-elfs, they call 'em — they has little arrows, tiny ones, with stone points... they fires 'em at you... you look out for 'em, they're sharp..."
This belief persisted quite late, so if the chap has a family tradition, it's quite possible the belief is still alive for him...
"References to folk-beliefs attributing the ills of humans or their livestock to 'elf-shot' persisted in some rural areas of the British Isles into the 19th century." — The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary, 2009.
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