As children, we were warned to never go past Granny Griffin’s rock for fear she would capture us. The rocks were located just past Uncle Cec’s house on the point!
As an out-the-banker, playing in the woods and on the wharfs was second nature. However, passing Granny Griffin’s rocks was an exhilarating, anxious and fearful venture. No kid would ever attempt passage on their own!
Sometimes a group of us would go out to the point together. We would throw rocks in the woods and at the cliffs, howl and make fun of Griffin. The slightest sound created a great fright. The adrenaline would kick in and we would take flight back to the safety of Bank Road. Some of us would be laughing, some crying.
Granny presented a particular challenge to me. I loved the outdoors; one of my favorite hideaways was a rocky outcrop atop Hearn Cove. The boulders, cliffs and divergent paths resembled something from a Western movie. This was the best spot around to play Cowboys & Indians. Convincing others to take the path past Granny’s rock was not easy.
I convinced myself, and my buddies, that she would not snatch us in broad daylight. Still, there were plenty of anxious moments because the trail above her rock included a narrow ledge covered by trees. The dense trees, curled at the tips by the wind, created the illusion of a dark tunnel.
Even as a young teenager armed with my .22, the three or four minutes in the tunnel leading to the Puffin Dirt always made me nervous. The .22 was not for protection, I used it to shoot Ice birds and other targets. Guns went hand in hand with growing -up in an outport.
How about you, any childhood stories of fairies or Granny Griffins to share?
Provincial Folklorist Dale Jarvis’s latest Telegram Column features a couple of great tales about fairies in Conception Bay and the South Side Hills.