kelpie’s cairn.” Some years ago my informant broke up the stone for building purposes. A stone bridge now spans the river. (Corgarff).
A kelpie in Braemar, on Deeside, had taken a liking for a woman that dwelt not far from the mill of Quoich. This woman fell out of meal, and had not very good means of supplying her want. Kelpie resolved to come to her help. So one night, on which he knew corn was being ground at the mill, he went to it after the miller had left it. In those old days mills ground very slowly, and it was not unusual for the miller to put as much grain into the hopper as would keep the mill at work till he got up next morning. So it was in this case. Kelpie entered the mill and patiently waited till the sack that received the ground grain was full. He then lifted the sack on his back, and left the mill. It was “the grey o’ the morning,” and the miller had left his bed, and was coming to the mill to see that all was going on well. He spied a tall man coming round the corner of the mill, carrying a sackful of meal on his back. Seizing the “fairy-whorl,” that was lying at one of the mill-corners, he hurled it at the man with the oath and threat, “Kelpie, or nae kelpie, G—d d— you, a’ll brack your leg.” The stone took effect and broke the leg. The kelpie made for the “mill-lead” (mill-race), tumbled into it, was carried by it into the river Dee, and drowned. This was the last kelpie that lived in the Braes o’ Mar.
Told by D. McHardy in Ardjerige to my informant.
- A stone whorl was kept at each mill, which was fixed at night, when the mill was not in use, on the spindle, to prevent the fairies from setting the mill a-going.