first consulting Thom Reid, 'quhen sundrie persounes cam to hir to seik help for thair beist, thair kow or yow, or for ane barne that was tane away with ane evill blast of wind, or elf-grippit, sche gait and sperit at Thom. Quhat mycht help thame?—Sche culd do nathing, quhill sche had first spokin with Thom.' Alison Peirson (1588) learnt her craft from Mr. William Simpson, her mother's brother's son, who lived among the fairy folk; 'the saide Mr Williame tauld hir of ewerie seiknes and quhat herbis scho sould tak to haill thame, and how scho sould vse thame; and gewis hir his directioune att all tymes.' Agnes Sampson, the Wise Wife of Keith (1590), always asked the Devil's advice in serious cases: 'she had a familiar spirit, who upon her call, did appear in a visible form, and resolve her of any doubtful matter, especially concerning the life or death of persons lying sick.' Grissel Gairdner of Newburgh (1610) was executed for consulting with the 'Devill, and seiking of responssis fra him, at all tymes this fourtene or fyftene ʒeir bygane, for effectuating of hir devillisch intentiones'. Elspeth Reoch in Orkney (1616) confessed that the fairy man, whom she met, told her 'he wald lerne her to ken and sie ony thing she wald desyre'. Isobel Haldane of Perth (1623) also obtained all her information as to life and death from the man with the 'grey beird' whom she met among the fairy folk. Jonet Rendall, another Orkney witch (1629), stated that 'the devill apperit to you, Quhom ye called Walliman, claid in quhyt cloathis with ane quhyt head and ane gray beard, And said to you He sould learne yow to win almiss be healling of folk'. Sandie Hunter was only moderately successful in curing cattle till he covenanted with the Devil, who 'came to him in the form of a Mediciner, and said, Sandie, you have too long followed my trade, and never acknowledged me for your Master. You must now take on with me, and be my servant, and I will make you more perfect in your Calling. Whereupon the man gave up himself to the Devil. After this, he grew
- Pitcairn, ii, pp. 53, 54.
- Id., ii, p. 164.
- Id., ii, p. 230.
- Id., iii, p. 96.
- County Folklore, iii, p. 112; Mait. Cl. Misc., ii, p. 188.
- Pitcairn, ii, p. 537.
- County Folklore, iii, p. 103.