The Piskeys . . .
Always doing good, Always lucky.
Joan The Wad
Queen of the lucky Cornish piskies
The piskie folk, according to Couch's History of Polperro, are about a span
long, clad in green and wearing straw hats or little green caps on their heads.
Two only are known by name, "Joan The Wad" and "Jack 'O' Lantern". The piskies
are the cheery wonder workers of Cornwall. Their power is incalculable and
wherever they abide, good luck attends. Sir Arthur Quiller Couch in one if his
books described how the maidens go to the well to intercede with the piskie folk
for the name of their true love.
Jack 'O' Lantern
King of the piskeys
The piskies are the little people who from time immemorial have inhabited the
wild parts of Cornwall and Devon. Their king is Jack 'O' Lantern and his Consort
Joan is the Wad of Cornwall. Jack 'O' Lantern's influence extends all over
the world and he stands for the spirit of Eternal Youth, ever doing things,
building things and making life better and happier. It is not so very long ago
that both Jack 'O' Lantern and Joan the Wad were accepted as very real persons
whose help and goodwill were eagerly sought after. These same traits appear to
remain today as owners of either Jack or Joan or both have testified by their
Dr Jonathan Couch in his "History of Polperro" (1871) wrote:
"Jack o' the lantern! Joan the wad,
Who tickled the maid and made her mad;
Light me home, the weather's bad."
The Rev. S. Barring in his book on folk lore traces the piskeys back to days
before the Romans and always with contact with metal. Another devotes a whole
chapter to Jack 'O' Lantern and several others to piskies in general.
And finally there is the Devonshire verse which runs as follows:
"Jack 'O' Lantern was born in a wood,
Jack 'O' Lantern was born to be good,
He may not be seen, he may not be heard,
But his life's as pure as the shyest bird.
So therefore if you would most benefit get,
Bide faith in good Jack and forget fear and fret."
Knight of the knockers
The knockers are a race of piskeys that inhabit the mines of Cornwall, their
knight is Nicky Nan. The Knockers and Buccas are renowned for guiding the miners
to wealth by tapping the sides of the mine. Any miner who followed their tapping
would surely find the richest part of the mine. The piskeys reward was a piece
of the miners pasty.