The tourist who ascends the noble mountain called the Old Man of Coniston may notice from the road approaching the copper mines, a narrow excavation, or niche, cut obliquely across the face of a rocky precipice high above the works. This is called by the people there, Simon’s Nick” so begins a tale of fairies related by A Craig Gibson he detailed in a lecture to the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire in 1858.
He told how a miner, named Simon, obtained, under the direction of fairies, large quantities of rich ore from that niche, to the great mystification of his neighbours who had not been able to find any trace of copper there. Simon underwent much questioning as to the source of his inscrutable success but, secrecy being part of his agreement with the fairies, he for a long time resisted all attempts to make him divulge it. Being, however, unhappily addicted to beer, one evening he violated this important condition of the contract and his good fortune at once ceased.
His bad luck grew worse and his life ended when a keg of gunpowder exploded, leaving his name to the singular-looking excavation that remains to attest the truth of his story