Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review Volumes 32 and 33.djvu/618

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.
308
Folk-Lore of the Isle of Skye.

In a Bracadale version there were twelve sisters. The water horse was heard to say, as it went away, " Sad, sad water, I cannot cross you."

(3) A girl and young man were sweethearts. He one day lay down and asked the girl to arrange his hair. While doing so she saw sand in it, and by this token knew him for a water horse. He fell asleep with his head on her knee, and, in order to get away quietly, she took out her scissors and cut round her dress so as to leave a piece still under his head. Slipping away, she took out her crucifix, and rubbing with it the road he would have to take in following her, effectually barred him from doing so, and thus made her escape.

(4) A family of Buchanans had a water horse which they had broken in and used for ploughing. One night the mistress of the house was making the porridge for supper. The doors are never locked and seldom shut, so strangers enter as they please. On this occasion a man walked in. By various signs she knew him to be no ordinary man. I suppose familiarity with the species had made her able to recognise a water horse when she saw one. The stranger asked the woman her name. In all cases the revelation of one's name is followed by bad con- sequences, as magical uses can be made of it. The woman knew this, and was equal to the occasion. " Myself," she replied. She then threw the porridge on him. In pain from the scald he rushed out, and at the door was met by what we may call the tame water horse, who asked him what was wrong. " I am burned, tell the woman with the wee pot of porridge," was the reply. " Who burned you } " again asked the plough horse. " Myself."

In connection with these water horse stories, I may say that one of the lochs, famous for loch trout, which lie under the shadow of the Storr Rock, some nine miles from Portree, is said to be the haunt of a water horse.

(5) A woman, alone in a summer shielmg, was much disturbed by the noise of footsteps outside. She went out to see what it was, and found it was a sea horse trampling round. The creature tried to seize her, but she escaped by drawing a magic circle. Inside this she drew a Cross and stood on it. By means