The Piskies Who Carried Their Beds


The Piskeys Who Carried Their Beds


Every night, an elderly woman called Jinney Chapman walked to Newtrain Bay, Padstow. When the moon was high, many cheerful and energetic piskeys danced on the edge of the cliffs. The piskeys knew old Jinney liked to watch them dance but they never paid her any attention. One night, the piskeys were nowhere to be seen and Jinney set off to look for them. It was autumn, a bright moon lit the cliffs and the bay. Jinney saw a group of mushrooms or piskey-stools as she knew them. She thought perhaps the piskeys were resting and chatting on the piskey-stools but the slippery seats were all empty as the cliffs. She looked all about her and up at the moon, feeling lonely and disappointed. It was then, Jinny heard giggling followed by shrieks of laughter coming from under the cliffs. She began to climb down to investigate. Some way down, a group of four piskeys came toward her, carrying a brown bag between them.


‘What are you going to do with that bag?’ Jinney asked the piskeys.


‘Sleep in it,’ they replied, ‘these bags are very comfortable.’


‘It looks very much like a piskey purse to me.’


‘Piskey purses are tiny compared to these. When winter comes we will all be warm,’


The four piskeys each took a corner of their bed and carried it past Jinney and on up the cliff road. Jinney walked down to the beach. She saw lots of brown bags each one carried by four piskeys. A string of little people walked from the water’s edge to the road. As every night, the piskeys all knew old Jinney Chapman was watching them but they continued to laugh and joke and swing their little beds as if no one was watching at all. Ever curious, Jinney followed the piskeys up the cliff road to see where they were going. Every time a group of piskeys got to the top of the cliff, where they were usually seen dancing, they vanished.



retold by Anna Chorlton


from Enys Tregarthen ‘Legends and Tales of North Cornwall’

  • Padstow