Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/369

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THE WITCH.

He was in the habit of saying that he had got the secret from his wife before she died, and that he could give it before he died to a woman. It was the common belief with regard to these occult powers that they could only be given just before death to one of the opposite sex. (Told by Mr. Michie.)

2. H— S—, Peathill, Pitsligo, when a girl, was one morning churning butter. A woman that lived close by, and was noted for her uncanny powers, came in at the time. On entering, her eye caught the cotton curtains of the bed, and she made the remark, "Eh! Sic a bonnie print." She then cast a quick glance on the churn, and, without speaking another word, rushed from the house. The cream was churned all that day, into night, and all next day, but no butter was got. The cream did only "ramp," i.e. rise in froth. Several churnings were tried as the cream was collected, but there was the same result. A man noted for his skill, who went by the nickname of "Sautie," was sent for. He came. After hearing all the facts of the case, he got a three-girded cog and a half-crown. With these he went to the well from which the family drew the supply of water, and went through some ceremonies. He returned, and went to the byre and performed some other ceremonies with the cow, which my informant unluckily could not describe. He ordered the "gueedewife" to get every morning from a neighbouring farmer's wife a mutchkin (an imperial pint) of newly-drawn milk and "sey" it amongst her own cow's till she was put forth to grass, for the thing took place in the early part of the year not long after the cow had dropped her calf. When the animal was put to grass, the "seal" or binding that bound her to the stall had to be fastened or tied as when round her neck every time she was driven forth to graze. (Told by H— S—.)

3. In the houses of the common people up to a period not Yery far back the couples were placed on upright posts fixed in the ground, and built into the walls. These upright posts were called in Corgarff "couple-reets," i.e. couple-roots. In many if not almost in all houses one of the couples was made of rowan-tree.

When a cow's milk was taken away, "the canny woman" of the