Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/377

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The Devil in Shape of a Raven.

Many years ago there lived in the wildes of Braemar a man named lane use na gergie, i.e. blood John of the fir. He stuck at nothing; murdering and stealing as it suited him. On one occasion he along with two companions went a deer-stalking to one of the wildest corries in Mar Forest. Night overtook them, and they had to take shelter in a shiel among the hills. They had not been long in the hut when John was taken suddenly ill. His companions as they sat beside him were startled by a sound like the croaking of thousands of ravens. One of the men took heart and looked out of the hut to see what might be the cause of the sound. He saw a bird of tJie shape of a raven, and so large that his wings covered the whole shieling. The two men seized their guns and attacked the bird. They spent the whole of their ammunition on the monster, but without effect. It clung to the shieling. The men then went into it and barricaded the door, and waited to see what might be the end of the matter. John grew worse and worse till midnight, when he died. As he drew the last breath the door was burst open and the devil rushed in. He had the form of half man, half beast, with tremendous horns on his head, and cloven feet covered with iron. In a voice of thunder he cried out, "I claim my own," and at the same time made a clutch at the dead body. One of the men had a stick in his hand, and with it he drew a circle round the body in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, whilst the other "sained" (made the sign of the cross over) it. The devil had no power to go within the circle. Still he would not leave what he claimed as his own; and, summoning thirteen other smaller evil spirits, he with them danced round the dead man outside the circle during the rest of the night. As the first ray of light struck the peak of the highest mountain, they all disappeared through the roof of the shieling with a roar so terrible that it rent a hole in a rock near the shieling, which is called "the Hole of Hell."

Told often to James Farquharson by an old woman from Braemar, who died in 1843 at the age of 93.