The European Sky -God. 319
on Allhallowmas Eve, with a new dirk, and after surround- ing the tree three times sun-ways, and pronouncing a certain spell, was a sure charm against all glamour or witchery, and an infallible guard in the day of battle. A spray gathered in the same manner was placed in the cradle of infants, and thought to defend them from being changed for elf-bairns by the fairies. Finally, it was affirmed, that when the root of the oak had perished, " the grass should grow in the hearth of Errol, and a raven should sit in the falcon's nest." The two most unlucky deeds which could be done by one of the name of Hay was, to kill a white falcon, and to cut down a limb from the oak of Errol. When the old tree was destroyed I could never learn. The estate has been some time sold out of the family of Hay,^ and of course it is said that the fatal oak was cut down a short time before. A white rose is the badge of the Clan Stuibhard.' Thomas the Rhymer is credited with the following : -
' While the mistletoe bats on Errol's aik. And the aik stands fast, The Hays shall flourish, and their good grey hawk Shall nocht flinch before the blast.
But when the root of the aik decays,
And the mistletoe dwines on its withered breast,
The grass shall grow on Errol's hearth-stane, And the corbie roup in the falcon's nest.'
So then the fortune of the Hays was bound up with an immemorial oak. And the white falcon that haunted the spot was very possibly regarded as an ancestral spirit
^ Id. ib. p. 334 f. explains that the name De la Haye is a translation of the old Gaelic name Mac Garadh. Garadh, i.e. ' Dike ' or ' Barrier,' was the appellation bestowed on the ancestor of the Hays for his conduct at the battle of Luncarty. Hence his descendants were known as the Clann na Garadh, and their chief for the time being as Mac Alhic Garadh Mor ann Sgithan Dearg or ' the son of the son of Garadh of the red shields.'
^Rev. J. B. Pratt Buchan ed. 4 Aberdeen 1901 p. 57 n. /(/. ib. p. 50 ff". gives many interesting details concerning the Hays, the Saxuin Falconis, the Luncarty Stone, etc.