SOME FOLK-LORE OF TREES, ANIMALS, AND RIVER-FISHING, FROM THE NORTH-EAST OF SCOTLAND.
ADVIE lies on the River Spey, and formed the eastern portion of the parish of Cromdale till lately, when it was disjoined, and formed into a parish quoad sacra. The following superstitions from the district have been furnished me by Mr. M. Macpherson, M.A., a native, to whom they have been familiar from boyhood. The others have been gleaned by myself.
The wood of the "hackberry" or bird-cherry (Prunus padus) is not used as a staff or for any other purpose, as it is looked on as the witch's tree.—(Advie.)
The rowan tree is used, as in many other places, as a preventive of witchcraft. It is the common belief that adders avoid the tree.—(Advie.)
A curse is believed to rest on the aspen. The cross was made of the wood of this tree, and ever since its leaves are in constant motion in consequence of the curse. In parts of Banffshire it goes by the name of "quackin' aish," i. e. quaking or trembling ash.
Pieces of holly along with rowan were placed inside over the door of the stable to prevent the entrance of the nightmare. My informant has cut the tree for this purpose.—(Strathdon.)