Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/366

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To save a newly-calved cow from the power of the witch:—

(A) The apron of a married woman who was a mother was placed for a short time over the horns or head of the cow, and a "seal," i.e. a binding, was tied round her neck. This "seal" was allowed to remain round her neck for some weeks. The first draught of water that was given her was warm, and into it was thrown a live coal. (Corgarff.)

(B) Some made it a practice to cut off a little of the hair of the cow's tail just as she was going out through the door for the first time after calving. (Pitsligo.)

(C) Others put both salt and a shilling into the milkin' cog the first time the cow was milked after dropping the calf. (Pitsligo.)

(D) To keep away the evil influence of the witch in butter-making, some had the habit of putting salt on the lid of the churn round the hole through which the stalk of the "plumper" passed. This was done in Pitsligo by a farmer's wife who died some years ago.

(B) Horses.

When a mare was taken from the stable the first time after foaling, a rowan cross was tied with red thread to her tail. My informant, J. Farquharson, has seen mares ploughing carrying such crosses. (Corgarff.)

A horse would not have been put into an open shed over night lest witches might come and take him for their dark purposes. If necessity compelled a horse to be left in such a house over night, a cross of rowan tied with red thread was tied to the animal's tail. (Corgarff.)

Mr., Corgarff, bought a horse, and when the servant brought the animal home he tied him up in the shed, as there was no room for him in the stable. 'Tahr (where) ha'e ye pitten (put) him?' said the farmer to the servant. "I' the shed," was the answer. "He winna (will not) need t' be there a' nicht," rejoined the farmer. The animal was accordingly taken to the stable of a neighbouring farmer.