Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/371

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281
THE WITCH.

time as was thought necessary for the boat to come round the first headland and get under the hollow, the mother asked her daughter to go to look if the boat had rounded the headland. The young woman did so, but came in a short time running back with the news that the boat was floating keel uppermost and with the men clinging to it. The mother was standing beside the tub with the cog in it bottom up. The men were rescued. The man who had been the cause of the mishap came to know that it was his forsaken lady-love and her mother that had caused the disaster, and he resolved to protect himself from the power of the offended mother. He, accordingly, watched his opportunity, fell upon her, and drew blood from her "abeen the breath," i.e. he cut her in the forehead in the form of a cross. The man was punished for assault, and the woman ever after wore a black band round her forehead. (Told by one who knew the man and has often seen the woman.)

2. A mole "abeen the breath" in a woman shows she is a witch.

G. Scott's father, who was a servant on the farm of Tillywharn, Aberdour, lived in a house near the farmhouse and steading. He had to be removed from that house, as it was inconveniently placed for the farmhouse. To make room for him, a woman who lived on the farm in another house, to which a small croft of a few acres was attached, had to be removed. She had "a mole abeen the breath," and much woe did she work to the man who displaced her from her home. Within a short time she by her power killed four cows belonging to him one after the other, as he bought them. Two of the animals he did not see die, but found them dead when he entered the byre in the morning. "He never got abeen't" (above it), as his son, now an old man, said to me in telling the story.


3. The Laird of Skellater^s Witch.

The old Laird of Skellater (Corgarff) had a witch that gave him help in his difficulties On one occasion he laid a wager with a neighbouring laird that his reapers would beat his by a long way at "shearing," i.e. cutting the crop with the sickle. The day of trial