Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/224

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A man had to cross the Don at the bridge of Luib, Corgarff. His wife was ill and supposed to be dying. So he made all haste, but a great fall of rain came, the river was flooded, and the bridge, which was then of wood, was carried away. When the man came to the river and found the bridge away, he was in great sorrow. It was impossible to cross. The wild, flooded river in all its force was rushing past, and he sat down, and cried. It was night, and he did not observe a very tall man approaching him. He was asked by the stranger what was the cause of his distress. “Ma wife’s deein, an ma peer bairns may be mitherless afore I win hame,” was the man’s sad answer. The stranger tried to comfort him, and said to him, “Oh, peer man! a’ll tack you across the watter.” “Na,” said the man, in his despair, “there’s naebody born wid (would) cross the Don the nicht.” “Oh! aye,” quo’ the kelpie, “I cam throw ’t eh noo” (even now). The man was doubtful. “Are you weet,” quo he, to satisfy himself of the truth. “Aye,” quo the kelpie, “fin me” (feel or touch me). The man examined his clothes and found that he was wet up to the oxters (armpits). He now mounted on the back of his apparently kind friend, and all went well till the two reached the middle of the river. The carrier threw himself down into the roaring torrent, and tried to cast off his burden, crying out, “Droon, Johnnie; droon, Johnnie; droon. For ye’ll nevver win hame t’ yir wife and yir bairns.” Johnnie clung hard to his false friend, and both rolled down the flood; sometimes the one uppermost, and sometimes the other. At last the current carried them to a shallow part, near the bank. The moment Johnnie felt himself touch the bottom, he let go his hold, jumped on the bank, and ran up a steep brae as fast as his feet could carry him. Kelpie, in disappointment and rage, tore a rock weighing 8 or 10 cwt. from the bottom of the river, and hurled it after the escaped man up the slope to a distance of about 80 yards. It went by the name of “the kelpie’s stehn” (stone); and as each passer-by made it a point to cast a stone beside it, a cairn of considerable size arose round it, and it was called “the