The Colepexy - The Orchard Guardian
The Fairy Horse
Roaming the beautiful downs of Dorset is the mischievous goblin colt with flaming red eyes called the 'Colepexy'. He enjoys nothing more than to mislead domesticated horses and travellers, but his favourite prank is luring unsuspecting people to ride him, and once mounted he takes them on a wild ride across the wettest and thorniest country before eventually throwing them into a ditch or stream.
Some times the Colepexy acts as a type of orchard guardian protecting apple orchards from thieves.
Once at Wareham a man set out one night to rob his neighbour's orchard of fine cider apples. He hid in a large basket and with the aid of a magic spell the basket bounded off down the lane into the orchard. Once the basket had settled he murmured another spell and one by one the apples flew off the branches and began pelting the basket. One apple smacked him in the eye and he leapt out of the basket howling in pain. In that instant the Colepexy was upon him. The goblin colt tossed the apple thief high into the air and as he came tumbling down the Colepexy kicked him in the back of his neck, snapping it in two and thus killing him instantly. Scrumpers beware!
In William Barnes "Poems of Rural Life, in the Dorset Dialect" gives the term 'Colepexy' in his Dialect glossery.
"Colepexy. In Somerset Puehyhwding from pixy or colepixy, a fairy? To beat down the few apples that may be left on the trees after the crop has been taken in ; to take as it were the fairies' horde."
The English antiquarian John Brand in "The Popular Antiquities of Great Britain" (Vol II, p.513), says:
"In Dorset the Pixy-lore still lingers. The being is called Pexy and Colepexy. The fossil belemnites are named Colepexies-fingers; and the fossil echini, Colepexies-heads. The children, when naughty, are also threatened with the Pexy, who is supposed to haunt woods and coppices."
Also mentioned in the 'Literary Gazette' for 1825. No. 430
"In Hampshire," says Captain Grose, "they give the name of Colt-Pixy to a supposed spirit or fairy, which in the shape of a horse wickers, i. e. neighs, and misleads horses into bogs, etc."