Local historians have been baffled by some strange goings on at Jersey’s Neolithic site.
Every morning Peter Roberts spends hours raking over old ground at La Hougue Bie making the same circular patterns in the gravel - that is until this morning when his rake was nowhere to be found and the job had mysteriously been done for him!
Peter said: “I was amazed when I came in this morning to find all the gravel had been raked for me. It usually takes me a couple of hours and this has really helped."
The site has only just re-opened to the public and Peter has come to believe the handiwork could have something to do with the new crowd that's just moved in - Les P’tits Faîtchieaux - as they are known in Jersey French - who are the work of a team of artists who have created them out of local clay.
Jersey Arts Trust director Tom Dingle said: “According to folklore, Les P’tits Faîtchieaux were believed to live in the local dolmens where they were generally active and helpful - legend has it that they would do housework in exchange for cake! - but were also known for mischievously hiding people’s belongings.
“One morning, a Jersey farmer awoke to discover his horse completely exhausted, and wondered what on earth had happened. But after inspecting his field, he discovered that the little people had ploughed it for him during the night!”
Peter later found his rake propped up inside the dolmen where the Les P’tits Faîtchieaux installation is currently being housed.
Mr Dingle said: “During the spring Equinox, the Jersey Arts Trust team were lucky enough to witness the installation illuminated in the dolmen at La Hougue Bie. The Equinox alignment happens only twice a year, when a beam of sunlight travels all the way to the back of the passageway and illuminates the chamber where our figures are on display. It was a truly spectacular experience and our collection of Les P’tits Faîtchieaux clay figures looked superb.”
With no witnesses to this morning's strange goings on, we'll probably never know who's been giving Peter a helping hand!
He said: "I don’t know who did it but can only imagine it must have been Les P’tits Faîtchieaux.”
You can have a go at making some of these mischievous little people too as the idea behind this Skipton Art Series project is to get as many people involved as possible to help create an exhibition like Antony Gormley's "Field for theBritish Isles."
Artists will be at La Hougue Bie running figure-making workshops from 10.30 am until 12.30 pm during the Easter holidays until 13 April and again during the summer holidays.
The little figures will continue to fill the Neolithic passageway throughout the year until October when the site closes and Peter can put his rake to rest!
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