Making Friends:

Illiam Jones of the Isle of Man

By Richard M. Romney

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    Illiam Jones lives in a place of fairy tales and myths. It’s the Isle of Man, located in the sea between England and Ireland. And, naturally, there’s a legend about how the island came to be.

    “A giant from England and a giant from Ireland were having an argument,” ten-year-old Illiam explains. “They got so angry with each other that the giant from England picked up a rock and threw it at the giant from Ireland. But he couldn’t throw it far enough to reach Ireland. It landed in the middle of the ocean and became the Isle of Man.”

    Although the Isle of Man is part of the United Kingdom, it has its own money, its own stamps, and a flag and coat of arms featuring a symbol with three legs. People who live on the Isle of Man speak English, but some people know an older language, Manx.

    The Isle of Man has many things to remind you of its heritage—steam and electric railways; the world’s largest working water wheel; a village folk museum; and Tynwald Hill, where Vikings used to meet to make their laws. Every year, the Isle of Man is the site of motorcycle, bicycle, and automobile races.

    The island is also known for unusual animals, like the Manx cat, which has no tail, and the Loghton sheep, which has four horns—two pointing up and two curling down.

    But for Illiam, the Isle of Man is just home. He says the races mostly bring noise and crowds to Douglas, the city where he lives. He thinks all the tourists staring at the sheep “make the sheep seem like show-offs, trying to be ‘posh’ with their four horns.” He’s more keen on playing football (soccer), going to school, and eating “chips,” or fried potatoes.

    Most of all, Illiam loves to sing with his seven-year-old sister, Voirrey (the Manx name for Mary). They often sing duets in their ward, and sometimes they’re asked to sing in other religions’ churches.

    “I love to sing,” Illiam says. “My favorite hymn is ‘As I Have Loved You.’ I’ve sung it at nearly every single baptism held in our ward.”

    His own baptism was an occasion to remember. “It was the best day of my whole life!” he says exuberantly.

    School teachers, friends, and friends’ parents all came, and each received a small handmade paper book from Illiam and his mother, with poems, pictures, photos, and Illiam’s written testimony.

    “It helped them to be better informed about our church and its teachings,” Illiam says.

    When he was baptized, he says, “I felt like the Holy Ghost was with me all the time, especially when I went under the water.” He had a special feeling that he was very close to Heavenly Father and that Jesus was proud of him.

    Illiam also loves to go to Primary. “I love the sing-alongs, and when we act out stories from the scriptures. But most of all, I like learning about Heavenly Father and Jesus. Learning about them is the most important thing in life, so that you can do the things they want you to do.”

    On an island where myths and fairy tales abound, Illiam Jones has clearly learned a lot about knowing the truth.

    Photography by Richard M. Romney

    On the Isle of Man, the ruins of a centuries-old castle and the unusual Loghton sheep don’t seem unusual at all to ten-year-old Illiam Jones, who likes to play soccer and sing duets with his younger sister, Voirrey.