Tiddy Men, Tiddy People

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In north Lincolnshire, fairies were called Tiddy People because they were no bigger than a newborn baby. Collecting in the 1880s, Mrs Balfour found one old woman who told a long, poetic story about one particular Tiddy Mun; he lived ‘down deep in the green still water’, but would come out at dusk, looking like a small, white-bearded, limping old man, and laughing in a shrill voice like a peewit. ‘To her, Tiddy Mun was a perfect reality, and one to be loved as well as feared’, but she was the last person who remembered him. He controlled the rise and fall of fenland flooding; the story concerns his fury when Dutchmen drained the fens in the 17th century, which provoked him into bringing disease on the fenmen till he was appeased by pails of water poured into the dry dykes.

M. C. Balfour, Folk-Lore 2(1891), 149–56;summarized in Briggs, 1971–1: B. i. 277–8, and also in Briggs, 1976: 395–7.

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