The Project Gutenberg EBook of Legends of the North; The Guidman O' Inglismill and The Fairy Bride, by Patrick Buchan This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Legends of the North; The Guidman O' Inglismill and The Fairy Bride Author: Patrick Buchan Release Date: September 10, 2011 [EBook #37375] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK LEGENDS OF THE NORTH; THE *** Produced by Bryan Ness, Ron Stephens and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)
Transcriber's Note: All apparent printer's errors retained.
|LONDON,||HAMILTON, ADAMS, AND CO.|
|CAMBRIDGE,||MACMILLAN AND CO.|
TO THE VERY REV.
DEAN RAMSAY, M.A., LL.D., F.R.S.E.,
THE GENIAL AUTHOR OF
REMINISCENCES OF SCOTTISH LIFE AND CHARACTER,
THIS LITTLE WORK
IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED.
The Guidman o' Inglismill was written, not to fill up "hours of idleness," but as a relaxation from the cares of a more important and arduous occupation.
Its object is the encouragement of temperate habits, and the enjoyment of "ane's ain fireside."
It is hoped it will be no less acceptable to the reader as another attempt to assist in preserving the pure Doric of "auld langsyne," which is fast being superseded by a language less pithy, less expressive, though more fashionable.
Every "toon's laddie"—or he is no true son of the "bruch"—however old, however placed as regards wealth or poverty, or wherever he may be on this habitable globe, can sympathise with the lines to the spot "where we were born." There is a charm in the true Buchan dialect to a child of the district, which neither time, age, nor distance can destroy. When "far awa," it falls on the ear like the breathings of some holy melody, and calls up in the imagination a fleeting panoramic picture of early days, and homes, and play-mates,—swelling the heart and dimming the eyes as they try to gaze down the vista of the past,—dotted, it may be, with the resting-places of those who have gone "to the land o' the leal."
The superstition with which the tale is interwoven—
has, for unknown ages, and in all countries, been an article of the popular creed. It is impossible to trace the origin of the belief. Some imagine it has been conveyed to us by the tradition of the Lamiæ, who took away young children to slay them, and that this, mixed up with the tales of Fauns and Gods of the woods, originated the notion of Fairies. Others, that the belief was imported into Europe by the Crusaders from the East, as Fairies somewhat resemble the Oriental Genii. It is certainly true that the Arabs and Persians, whose religion and history abound with similar tales, have assigned the Genii a peculiar country. Again, Homer is supposed to have been among authors the originator of the idea, as, in his third Iliad, he compares the Trojans to cranes when they descend to fight against pigmies or fairies. Pliny, Aristotle, and others give countenance to the belief in a race of fairies; Herodotus described a nation of dwarfs living on the head waters of the Nile; Strabo thought that certain men of Ethiopia were the original dwarfs; while Pomponius Mela placed them far south. But nobody believed these stories, which were taken to be either poetical licences or chapters in romance. It is, however, strange that a race called Obongos, about thirty-six inches high, are mentioned as existing near the Ashango country by Paul de Chaillu (the discoverer of the gorilla), in his late work "From the Country of the Dwarfs."
Whatever conjecture may be adopted, it is certain our Saxon ancestors, long ere they left their German forests, believed in the existence of a kind of diminutive demons, or middle species between men and spirits, to whom they attributed performances far exceeding human art. Although we are now a great literary people, yet, in this description of legendary lore, we are far behind the Germans; for this is a peculiar style of writing not exactly fitted for English cultivation, but in which the Germans seem to possess the faculty of invention and contrivance, together with originality of conception and power of execution, in such an eminent degree as to leave the legendary writers of our own and other countries at an immeasurable distance. In fact, we may search the whole range of English, French, Spanish, and Italian literature, and there will not be found one author "who dips so deep into the dark profound," or one who is possessed of that magic wand that can give the same vitality to the beings of a shadowy world as the Germans, or one who, can conjure up before the mind's eye, in such enchanting colours, the magical representations of beings and forms of no mark or likelihood, and with whose names even we were previously totally unacquainted.
The Fairies of our own land were, on the whole, a genial, frolicsome, happy race—occasionally given to mischievous tricks—benefiting those who were kindly disposed to them and paid them due honour, but revengeful and doing harm to those who were differently inclined. They were a kind of intermediate beings, partaking of the nature of both men and spirits: they had material bodies and the power of making them invisible, and of passing through any opening. They were generally, in their natural state, small in stature, of fair complexion—hence their name in England; while, for their kind dispositions, in Scotland they were called "the good people." Says Dr Rogers, in his work "Scotland Social and Domestic," in which will be found much of interest regarding "Folk Lore":—"The forms of the Scottish fairies were beautiful. The female was a being of seraphic loveliness: ringlets of yellow hair descended upon her shoulders, and were bound upon her brow with gems of gold. She wore a mantle of green silk, inlaid with eider-down, and zoned round her waist with garlands of wild flowers. The male fairy was clad in green trows and a flowing tunic. His feet were protected with sandals of silver, from his left arm hung a golden bow, and a quiver of adder-skin was suspended on his left side. His arrows were tipped in flame. The fairies feasted luxuriously. The richest viands adorned their boards. They frequented human banquets, and conveyed a portion of the richest dishes into their palaces. They were present at funerals, and extracted the liquor and meats which were presented to the company. Some Highlanders refused to eat or drink at funeral assemblages in apprehension of elfin interference. Their habits were joyous. They constructed harps and pipes which emitted delicious sounds. They held musical processions and conducted concerts in remote glens and on unfrequented heaths. In their processions, they rode on horses fleeter than the wind. Their coursers were decked with gorgeous trappings: from their manes were suspended silver bells which rang with the zephyr, and produced music of enchanting harmony. The feet of their steeds fell so gently that they dashed not the dew from the ring-cup, nor bent the stalk of the wild rose." Their haunts on the surface of the earth were groves, mountains, wooded dells, by springs, the southern sides of hills, and verdant meadows, where their diversions were dancing in circles, hand in hand. The traces left by their tiny feet were supposed to remain visible on the grass, and were called fairy rings, but are now discovered to be the production of an agaric or mushroom.
Science, alas! sadly interferes with these fanciful old legends, but not always without leaving some doubtful explanation of her own.
The unfortunate wight who turned up a fairy ring with the ploughshare became the victim of a wasting sickness—
The protector of the fairy ring was proportionally recompensed—
The kingdom of Fairyland was supposed to be peculiarly beautiful, somewhere in the interior of the earth. The Ettrick Shepherd's description of this fair land is, perhaps, unequalled in Scottish poetry. It occurs in his ballad of "Bonny Kilmeny," embodying the tradition of the removal, to Fairyland, of the daughter of a labourer at Traquair, and her restoration to earth a few weeks after:—
Scottish fairies had a king and queen and royal court, which, in pomp and pageantry, far exceeded that of any earthly monarch. In Poole's "Parnassus," the principal persons are named Oberon, the emperor; Mab, the empress; Perriwiggin, Periwincle, Puck, Hobgoblin, Tomalin, Tom Thumb, courtiers; Hop, Mop, Drop, Pip, Drip, Skip, Tub, Tib, Tick, Pink, Pin, Quick, Gill, Jim, Tit, Wap, Win, Nit, the maids of honour; Nymphidia, the mother of the maids.
At one time, the Queen seems to have chosen Thomas of Ercildoune—better known as The Rhymer—with whom to share her royalty. Whether from infidelity to her royal spouse, or from his having fallen into temporary disgrace, tradition sayeth not, but her offer is celebrated in ballad lore—
But, after seven years' residence, he was suddenly dismissed by her majesty, his mistress, and for a very sufficient reason, as told also in ballad lore—
Having thus restored The Rhymer to earth, he was permitted to remain for a time, to enlighten and astonish his countrymen by deeds resulting from the knowledge, and by his marvellous prophetic powers, acquired during his seven years' residence in the Fairyland; still, however, bound to return to his royal mistress when she should intimate her pleasure. Accordingly, while Thomas was making merry with his friends in the Tower of Ercildoune, a person came running in, and told, with marks of fear and astonishment, that a hart and hind had left the neighbouring forest, and were, composedly and slowly, parading the street of the village. This being the signal agreed upon for his recall to Elfinland, the prophet instantly arose, left his habitation, and followed the wonderful animals to the forest, whence he was never seen to return. According to the popular belief, he still "drees his weird" in Fairyland, and is one day expected to revisit the earth. The village of Ercildoune is situated on the Leader, two miles above its junction with the Tweed, and the ruins of an ancient tower are still pointed out as The Rhymer's castle. The Eildon tree, from under which he delivered his prophecies, no longer exists; but the spot is marked by a large stone, called Eildon Tree Stone; and a neighbouring rivulet takes the name of the Bogle Burn, from being the spot where The Rhymer's visitants met him.
Hunting was a favourite sport at the Fairy court. They rode to the hunt in three bands. The first was mounted on brown horses; the second rode on grey; while the third, consisting of the king, queen, and chief nobles, sat on white steeds. One member of the court rode on a black charger: this was Kilmaulie, prime councillor of Fairyland. Altogether, they seem to have led a jolly life there, the principal drawback being the liability to pay, every seventh year, one of their number as a tribute or Kain to hell. This is described in the ballad of "Tamlane," who, while he relates the delights of his home in Fairyland, and even, somewhat selfishly, values them higher than the affection of his true love, fair Janet, does not relish the possible finale in his being made the Kain to hell:—
And so the brave Janet, actuated by that greatest of all feelings—a true woman's love—took her lover from the procession on Hallow-e'en, by "pulling him down" from the "milk-white steed" on which he rode, and holding him fast in spite of all the "horrible and awfu'" changes he underwent in her hands, discovering, when he returns to his true likeness, that he is her old boyish love, son of Randolph, Earl of Murray, whom the fairies had, years before, stolen away.
There were, as in all communities, a good and a bad section, known as the "seelie" and the "unseelie court." The seelie court were kind, courteous, and charitable to the aged, the poor, and the afflicted, to whom they gave gifts suited to their necessities, as in the rhyme—
The unseelie court, on the other hand, from those who offended them, stole their goods and killed their cattle by elf-shot, occasionally found on the moors or turned up in the fields now-a-days, but which science ruthlessly asserts to be the arrow-heads of our prehistoric ancestors. They entertained a particular dislike against those who wore clothing of a green colour. To this cause the Highlanders ascribed the death of Viscount Dundee at Killiecrankie. But their most wicked prank of all was the carrying away of handsome unbaptized children from the side of the lying-in mother, substituting their own loathsome and sickly progeny in their stead. To prevent this misfortune, it was customary in the Highlands to perform the Dessil—that is, carrying fire in the right hand, and in the direction from right to left, morning and evening, round the house in which lay the mother and child, until the baptism and churching had taken place. "This was," says Martin, in his "History of the West Highlands," "considered an effectual means to preserve both the mother and infant from the power of evil spirits, who are ready at such times to do mischief, and sometimes carry away the infants and return poor, meagre skeletons; and these infants have voracious appetites. In this case, it was usual for those who believed that their children were thus taken away to dig a grave in the fields on quarter-day, and there to lay the fairy skeleton till next morning, at which time the parents went to the place, where they doubted not to find their own child instead of the skeleton." They had also, in other localities, recourse to the barbarous charm of burning, with a live coal, the toes of the suffering infant, the supposed changeling. They were not content with abstracting handsome children—beautiful maidens and wives sometimes disappeared, and, of course, the fairies were the abductors. The Miller of Menstrie,[A] in Fife, who possessed a charming spouse, had given offence to the "unseelie" court, and was, in consequence, deprived of his fair helpmate. His distress was aggravated by hearing his wife singing in the air—
After many attempts to procure her restoration, the Miller chanced one day, in riddling some stuff at the mill door, to use a posture of enchantment, when the spell was dissolved and the matron fell into his arms. The wife of the Blacksmith of Tullibody was carried up the chimney, the fairies, as they bore her off, singing—
Those snatched to Fairyland might be recovered within a year and a day, but the spell for the recovery was only potent when the fairies made, on Hallow-eve, their annual procession. Sir Walter Scott relates the following:—"The wife of a Lothian farmer had been snatched by the fairies. During the year of probation, she had repeatedly appeared on Sundays in the midst of her children, combing their hair. On one of these occasions she was accosted by her husband, when she instructed him how to rescue her at the next Hallow-eve procession. The farmer conned his lesson carefully, and, on the appointed day, proceeded to a plot of furze to await the arrival of the procession. It came, but the ringing of the fairy bridles so confused him that the train passed ere he could sufficiently recover himself to use the intended spell. The unearthly laughter of the abductors, and the passionate lamentations of his wife, informed him she was lost to him for ever." A woman who had been conveyed to Fairyland was warned, by one she had formerly known as a mortal, to avoid eating or drinking with her new friends for a certain period. She obeyed; and, when the time expired, she found herself on earth, restored to the society of mankind. A matron was carried to Fairyland to nurse her new-born child, which had previously been abducted. She had not been long in her enchanted dwelling when she furtively anointed an eye with the contents of a boiling cauldron. She now discovered that what had previously seemed a gorgeous palace was, in reality, a gloomy cavern. She was dismissed; but one of the wicked wights, when she demanded her child, spat in her eye and extinguished its light for ever. About the middle of last century, a clergyman at Kirkmichael, Perthshire, whose faith was more regulated by the scepticism of philosophy than the credulity of superstition, would not be prevailed upon to yield his assent to the opinion of the times. At length, however, he felt, from experience, that he doubted what he ought to have believed. One night, as he was returning home, at a late hour, from a meeting of presbytery, and the customary dinner which followed, he was seized by the fairies and carried aloft into the air. Through fields of ether and fleecy clouds he journeyed many a mile, descrying, like Sancho Panza on his clavileno, the earth far distant below him, and no bigger than a nut-shell. Being thus sufficiently convinced of the reality of their existence, they let him down at the door of his own house, where he afterwards often recited, to the wondering circle, the marvellous tale of his adventure. Some people will believe that spirits of a different sort had a little to do with the worthy minister's conviction, and that his "ain gude grey mare" had more to do with bringing him to his own door than the fairies. Toshack, the last chief of clan Mackintosh, occupied a castle or keep on the margin of the river Turret, in Perthshire. He held nocturnal interviews with a fairy whom he had brought with him from abroad. The mode of his reaching the place of meeting, and the nature of his companion, were long a mystery. His wife, at length, became jealous of the frequent departures of her lord; and, being unable to discover whither he proceeded, resorted to the scheme of attaching a piece of worsted to his button. Thus guided, she followed him down a subterraneous passage under the bed of the river, where, after various windings, she discovered him in conversation with a beautiful lady. The discovery so enraged the matron that she insisted on the immediate destruction of the stranger, who fled, and the sun of Toshack set to rise no more.
With all the passions and wants of human beings, fairies are represented as great lovers of cleanliness and propriety, for the observance of which they were said frequently to reward good servants by dropping money into their shoes; and, on the other hand, punishing the sluts and slovenly by pinching them black and blue—
They took particular fancies to certain people and families. Sometimes their favour was obtained by compulsion, as in the case of Musgrave of Edenhall, near Penrith, in Cumberland. The legend is, that the butler of the family, having gone one night to draw water at the well of St Cuthbert, a copious spring in the garden of the mansion of Edenhall, surprised a group of fairies disporting themselves beside the well, at the margin of which stood a drinking glass. He seized hold of it, when the elves took to flight, kindly informing him, however, as they went, that
It is still in existence, but had at one time nearly been destroyed by the wild and hair-brained Duke of Wharton, who let it drop from his hands. The luck of Edenhall was, however, preserved by the presence of mind of the butler, who, standing by, caught it in a napkin. Lloyd, a boon companion of the Duke, wrote a burlesque poem on it, as a parody of "Chevy Chase," beginning
and Uhland, the German poet, has a ballad, "Das Glück von Edenhall," on the same legend. The glass is of a peculiar shape, very thin, and painted outside with various devices, including the letters "I.H.S." (Iesus Hominum Salvator). Most probably, it had originally been a chalice used in the chapel dedicated to St Cuthbert, which stood in the neighbourhood of Edenhall.
Another description of fairy was the brownie—so called from their complexion—a sort of domestic elf, who was extremely useful and performed all sorts of domestic drudgery, and was repaid by meat, a bowl of milk, or wort, but who, if offered clothes, departed in sorrow and great distress, returning no more. At one time, every family of substance had their brownie. Milton, in his "L'Allegro," describes the brownie, and
Notwithstanding the progressive increase of knowledge, and proportional decay of superstition in the Highlands, these genii are still supposed by many of the people to exist in the woods and sequestered valleys of the mountains, where they frequently appear to the lonely traveller, clothed in green, with dishevelled hair floating over their shoulders, and with faces more blooming than the vermeil blush of a summer evening. At night, in particular, when fancy assimilates to its own preconceived ideas every appearance and every sound, the wandering enthusiast is frequently entertained by their music, more melodious than he ever heard. It is curious to observe how much this agreeable delusion corresponds with the superstitious opinion of the Romans concerning the same class of genii represented under different names. Lucretius, an acute philosopher, brilliant poet, and most accomplished disciple of Zeno, after describing the predisposing causes of echoes, sums up their effects on uncultivated minds in the following beautiful lines:—
For the sake of those readers to whom Latin is an unknown tongue, we add the following translation by Thomas Creech:—
Sir John Sinclair's "Statistical Account of Scotland, 1792," says:—"About eight miles to the eastward of Cailleachbear, a conical hill rises considerably above the neighbouring hills. It is called Siensluai, the fairy habitation of a multitude." He adds, in a note:—"A belief in fairies prevailed very much in the Highlands of old, nor at this day is it quite obliterated. The small, conical hill Siensluai was assigned them for a dwelling, from which melodious music was frequently heard, and gleams of light seen on dark nights." In the account of the parish of Kirkmichael, we read: "Not more firmly established in this country is the belief in ghosts than that in fairies. The legendary records of fancy, transmitted from age to age, have assigned their mansions to that class of genii in detached hillocks, covered with verdure, situated on the banks of purling brooks, or surrounded by thickets of wood. They derive this name from the practice of the Druids, who were wont occasionally to retire to green eminences to administer justice, establish peace, and compose differences between contending parties. As that venerable order taught a saogh hal, or world beyond the present, their followers, when they were no more, fondly imagined that seats, where they exercised a virtue so beneficial to mankind, were still inhabited by them in their disembodied state. In the autumnal season, when the moon shines from a serene sky, often is the wayfaring traveller arrested by the music of the hills, more melodious than the strains of Orpheus. Often struck with a more solemn scene, he beholds the visionary hunters engaged in the chase and pursuing the din of the clouds, while the hollow rocks, in long-sounding echoes, reverberate their cries. There are several now living who assert that they have been suddenly surrounded by visionary forms, have seen and heard their aerial hunting, and been assailed by a multitude of voices."
But it would be impossible, without very largely extending our limits, to give other than a meagre sketch of this interesting portion of folk lore. All our ancient poets and writers of fancy, Scotish and English, dealt largely with the subject, and quarried from this exhaustless mine. "Spenser was contented with the fairies of romance, but Shakespeare founded his elfin world on the frothiest of the people's traditions, and has clothed it in the ever-living flowers of his own exuberant fancy. How much is the invention of the great poet we shall probably never be informed, and his successors have not rendered the subject more clear by adopting the graceful world he has created, as though it had been interwoven with the popular mythology and formed a part of it."[C]
With the spread of education and increase of knowledge, the superstitious belief in fairies has almost died out, except in some very few localities and among very uneducated people. When the writer was a very young boy, he was acquainted with an old couple who related to him their having jointly and severally seen the "good people" in troops enter, in procession, the Castlehill of Inverugie; and the husband, a worthy, honest man, with the strongest declarations of verity, described his having spent part of a summer eve lying, with his ear on the turf, listening to the delighful music which was executed by the fairy minstrels within the mount.
That such things have been is still believed by many, and there are still those who assert that their appearance and mischievous exploits have ceased, or, at least, become less frequent, since the light of the Gospel was diffused in its purity, or that they have fled before the minister and the schoolmaster.
The Peris of Eastern romance are most likely the source from which sprang the tales of romantic fancy with which our legendary lore abounds.
In the enunciation of the Arabic language the word "Peri" would sound "Fairy," the letter P not occurring in its alphabet, and would be so pronounced by the Crusaders in their early intercourse with the Arabs.
In the wreck of Gothic mythology consequent on the introduction of Christianity, the amiable characteristics of the Peris or Fairies became degraded amid the mischievous attributes ascribed to subordinate spirits, more unamiable in their persons and practices, yet more congenial to the habits of thought of the northern peoples.
In Eastern tales, however vaguely they are described, the females are uniformly represented as beings of great beauty, amiability, and beneficence—the fairest creatures of romantic fancy.
With the early troubadours and minstrels, those nymphs formed the subject of many a lay, and the fate of their amours, of many a wild romaunt.
The fondness of female fays for human society were fertile themes of Persian poetry and early European romances, such as "Sir Launfal and Sir Gruelan," wherein the Fairies of Normandy and Bretagne are endowed with all the splendour of Eastern description.
The Fairy Malusina, who married Guy de Lusignan under condition that he should never intrude on her privacy, was of this class. She bore him many children, and erected for him a magnificent castle by her art. They lived in uninterrupted harmony until the prying husband concealed himself to behold his wife in her enchanted bath. When discovered, Malusina fled in great sorrow, and was never again seen. A humiliating tale, which, if true, would seem to show that men are quite as curious and inquisitive as women are popularly supposed to be.
So common was the idea of the union of human beings with the females of Fairyland in early times, that it was firmly believed the ancestor of the English monarchs, Geoffrey Plantagenet, had married one of these beings.
In the ballad of "Thomas of Ercildoune," the Queen of Fairyland is represented as becoming enamoured of True Thomas. Among the Icelanders the belief was common. Torfaeus, in his history, gives an account of a female who, having born a child to an Icelander, claimed the privilege of baptism, and deposited the infant at the gate of the churchyard for that purpose, with a golden goblet as an offering. The belief is still held by the Laplanders.
The origin of the noble family of Hay dates from a remote period in our national history. In Normandy there were lands and a lordship denominated Hay, and in the roll of the adventurers who accompanied William the Conqueror into England in 1066, Le Sieur de la Haya is expressly mentioned; but the origin of the Erroll family is thus told by tradition:—The Danes, having landed in Aberdeenshire, ravaged the country as far as the town of Perth. King Kenneth hastened to give them battle, and the hostile armies met on the Leys of Luncarty, in Perthshire. The Scots at first gave way, and fled through a narrow pass, where they were stopped by a countryman of great strength and courage, and his two sons, who had no other weapons than the yokes of their ploughs, they having been at work in a field not far from the scene of action. Upbraiding the fugitives for their conduct in flying from the field, these peasants succeeded in rallying them. The Scots turned upon their conquerors, and, after a second encounter, still more furious than the first, they gained a complete victory. It is said that, after the Danes were defeated, the old man, lying on the ground, wounded and fatigued, cried "Hay, Hay," which word became the surname of his posterity. The King rewarded him with as much land in the Carse of Gowrie as a falcon should fly over before she settled; and a falcon, being accordingly let off, flew over an extent of ground six miles in length, afterwards called Erroll, and lighted on a stone still styled the Falcon Stone. The King also raised him to the dignity of nobility, and assigned to him and his family armorial bearings in accordance with the signal service which he and his two sons had rendered to their country.
"Till lately, indeed," says Lord Lindsay, in his Lives of the Lindsays, "more especially in Great Britain and north of the Tweed, Genealogy merited the ridicule which was so freely lavished on her. It is but a few years ago since the most unfounded fictions were currently believed as to the origin of the Scottish families. The Stuarts were universally held to be the descendants of Banquo—the Douglases of 'the dark grey man,' who fought under King Salvathius against the Danes. It would be endless to enumerate all the fictions with which vanity and flattery peopled the blank of time; they are now forgotten—all save the beautiful legend of the patriarch Hay of Luncarty, on which Milton, in his youth, purposed to found a drama, and which has been immortalised by Shakespeare in the play of Cymbeline."
"Circumstantial evidence," says Pratt, "is also so far in favour of the traditionary record as to render it hazardous to set it aside as wholly unworthy of credit. Thus, the Hawkestone at St Madoes, the well-known boundary of the ancient possessions of the Hays of Erroll in Perthshire, is mentioned by Boethius as existing in his day (anno. 1500), and as having been set up immediately after the defeat of the Danes, in 980. Also the Stone so carefully preserved at Slains Castle, and which from time immemorial has been venerated by the family as that on which their ancestor sat down after the conflict. For the origin of these and similar traditions it would be difficult to account, had there been no foundation whatever for the narrative of Luncarty."
Gilbert de Haya, Regent of Scotland during the minority of Alexander II., married a daughter of William Comyn, Earl of Buchan, about 1255.
The old Castle of Slains belonged originally to the Earls of Buchan, and became afterwards, for many generations, the seat of the Earls of Erroll.
There is some doubt whether the Castle owed its erection to Fergus, who lived in the time of William the Lion (1065), or to the Comyns who succeeded to this earldom through marriage with Marjory, only daughter of Fergus, and Countess of Buchan in her own right.
Again,—Saladin, the famous Sultan of Syria, fought Guy de Lusignan, King of Jerusalem, in 1187. Then Phillip Augustus of France, Richard I. of England, with many others, and among them numbers of our Scottish nobility, deemed themselves called upon to fly to the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre, and by a third crusade endeavour to wrest its possession from the infidel.
From these facts considerable doubt arises as to which of the "gallant Hays" was the hero of the following ballad. It could hardly be Gilbert, who married the daughter of the Earl of Buchan. If it was, then he could scarcely have been in the third crusade; and there are grave doubts as to the Lady Claribel having been the "child of the Elfin Queen." There may, however, be no doubt that she was beautiful as a Princess, for beauty is no rare qualification of the ladies of the district; nor may it be improbable that she waylaid and captured the Hay in one of the many knightly journeyings in search of adventures which the nobles of those days undertook.
The ladies of those far-off times did many strange things—at least, what now-a-days would be considered such; nevertheless, from the ballad it appears she "made a good wife for all that."
It is feared, under all the circumstances, that, as in many other legendary tales, considerable liberty has been taken with fact in favour of fancy.
From the Recitation of a Collector of Ballads
of the Olden Time.
Compiled for the use of English Readers.
A wee thocht, a little.
Ayont, on the other side.
Beff, to strike with a heavy blow.
Begink, a trick played on one; a misfortune.
Beik, bake; inflame.
Birrin' at the wheel, spinning busily; birr, to whirr.
Boose, a drinking bout.
Brawly, in good health.
Browdenin' on, thinking fondly of.
Buik, to give to the session clerk the names of those to be married for the proclamation of the banns of marriage.
Bumbees, humble bees.
But an' ben, in every apartment.
Byke, the hive, or nes
Ca', call; right.
Cantrips, wild actions.
Canty, cantie, cheerful and pleasant.
Chessel, a cheese-vat.
Clean-cap-oot a' roun', all round the table must drain the glass.
Clout, patch; mend.
Crack, in a, in an instant.
Crap an' reet, crop and root; the whole of a thing from beginning to end.
Crouse, brisk; bold; boldly.
Cuttie, a short spoon made of horn.
Deaved, rendered deaf.
Dellin', digging with a spade.
Dinna, do not.
Dirdum, an uproar; a loud noise.
Drappy, a small quantity.
Dreepie, very rainy.
Dreich, dreary; slow.
Drucken bite, a dainty morsel to make the strong drink taste sweeter.
Drummel'd, stupified; dumfoundered.
Ech, och, the smallest word or sound.
Ee, eye; pl. Een.
Eldricht, wild; unearthly.
Fairin', a present from a fair.
Fair fa', may fortune attend.
Feckly, for the most part.
Fell, sharp; keen.
Fernyear, the past year.
Fidgin', moving in a fidgety manner.
Fient, not; a strong negation. Corrupted from fiend.
Fizz, great hurry.
Flichter, flutter; quiver.
Fyke, vexation; trouble.
Gaed on, went on.
Gars, makes; causes; forces.
Geylies, gaily; in good health; well.
Girnin', groaning; complaining peevishly.
Greetin'-fou, in that state of intoxication that induces weeping or greetin'.
Grip, seize; hold fast.
Grow-grey, of the natural grey colour; applied to wool.
Guid neebours, fairies.
Gyte, out of one's senses.
Haenae, have not.
Haith, faith; an oath.
Hantle, a large quantity, sum, or number.
Hardin, a kind of rough linen.
Harle, pull; tug.
Hauds the gait, holds on the way.
Hauld, hold; habitation.
Haulket, with a white face; applied to cattle.
Hoddlin', walking with a heaving motion.
Hoo's a', how is all, that is, how does all go with you? the mode of salutation equivalent to "How do you do?"
Hoosie, small house, ie being the termination of diminutives.
Humeldoddy, without horns.
Jowin', rolling like a wave.
Kelpie, the water hobgoblin.
Kenna, do not know.
Kirnin' day, day for making butter.
Kittle, attended with constant difficulties.
Link at, to do anything with vigour, as walking.
Losh, Lord; an exclamation.
Mains, the farmer generally is addressed by the name of his farm.
Mak' me boun', go.
Mant, to hesitate; stutter.
Meat-hale, in sound health and with good appetite for food.
Mint, to give a hint.
Mochy, moist; misty.
Moulie draps, small drops; nae moulie draps, not the smallest drop left in the glass.
Moyen, to draw forth.
Moyens, means; plans; to lay moyens, to form plans; to use means.
My certy, assuredly; by my faith; a strong assertion.
My lane, by myself; alone.
Paumerin', moving with heavy step in a very stupid manner.
Ploy, play; frolic.
Pottie boilin', to keep the, to keep anything a-going.
Put an' row, with the greatest difficulty.
Pyowtered, walked with slow, tottering step.
Raked up his een, opened his eyes.
Rants, wild frolics.
Rape, rope twisted of straw with which the thatch is secured over the stack.
Rig an' fur, ribbed; applied to stockings.
Rippet, wild tumult; boisterous fun.
Routh, plenty; a large number.
Sair dung, much overcome.
Sair'd, served; satisfied.
Sanna, shall not.
Saul, soul; an imprecation.
Siller, silver; applied to money in general.
Skinklin', falling slightly.
Skirled, cried with a shrill voice.
Sonsie, plump, and having a pleasant look.
Soople, supple; flexible.
Spang, to walk with a long, quick step.
Spates of drink, drunken bouts.
Speel, to run.
Splore, a wild frolic.
Stan' the session, appear before the kirk session to satisfy discipline.
Stendin', walking with long strides at a quick pace.
Tap to tae, frae, from top to foot.
Thestreen, last night.
Thowless, without vigour.
Thrang, strongly bent.
Toun, farm buildings.
Troke, small ware.
Unco sair, very much.
Vaunty, given to boasting.
Warstles up, mounts with difficulty.
Wasna, was not.
Waur, overcome; adj. worse.
Wee bit sheltie, small pony.
Weet oor mou', to moisten the mouth; applied commonly to the use of strong drink.
Win wi', accompany.
Win to, win as far as, to reach.
Wun o'er his lips, escaped from his lips.
Yarkit at the wark, wrought with vigour.
Yestreen, last night.
Yokes wi', engages in anything.
David Scott, Printer, "Sentinel" Office, Peterhead.
[A] Dr Rogers.
[B] Lucretius Lib. IV., lin. 581 et seq.
[C] Halliwell's "Parnassus."
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