Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/368

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Modes of undoing her Work.

1. Mrs. Michie, Coull of Newe, Strathdon, began one day to make butter, but no butter could she get, though she churned from three o'clock in the afternoon till late at night. The cream was given to the pigs, but they turned away from it. On three separate occasions the same thing took place. Something was judged to be far wrong. Peter Smith, a man of skill, that lived in the adjoining parish of Towie, was sent for. He was fond of a glass of whisky, and on his arrival he was treated to one and a little more. So refreshed, he said, "Noo (now), a'm (I am) fit for wark (work)." He asked if there was any myrrh in the house. There was not. My informant, Mr. W. Michie, the present farmer, then a boy, was sent to the gardens of Castle Newe—not far distant—in search of the herb. He got a small quantity. The "skeely man" examined it, smelt it, and said, "There's nae muckle o't, bit (but) its gueede (good)." He then ordered a large copper to be placed over the fire and half filled with water. He put the myrrh and some ingredients he took from his pocket into the copper. He sat down and watched the mixture boiling for about three hours. The copper was then removed from the fire, and the mixture was allowed to cool. When it was cooled, a bottleful of it was given not only to each cow, but to each of the cattle on the farm. A small stream, or "burn," runs alongside the farm. He asked Mrs. Michie to go to it and to gather from it a quantity of "water-ryack" and to place it over the door of the cowbyre. He gave instructions that if there was any difficulty (which there might be) in the butter -making when the cream was next churned, a little rennet should be put into the churn. He asserted there would be no difficulty again.

Mrs. Michie asked Peter if he knew who had wrought the mischief. He said he did, but he refused to tell her as "it wid (would) only cause dispeace amon' neebours (neighbours)."