Scotland's History, Legends, Wildlife and Hunting Practices...because the past lives in us and guides our footsteps.

FOLK­LORE IN THE PARISH.                  417



Decay of Folk­lore.—Decline of the Ceilidh.—Satan in the
Parish.—His Conflicts with the Men.—The Death of the
Factor.—Fair Ewen of the Goblin.—Hags and Goblins.—
Cailleach a’ Chrathaich.—Destruction of the Macmillans.—
Cailleach Allt-an-Dùnain.—Death of Macdougalls and Mac-
donalds. —Cailleach Allt-Saigh.—Cailleach Chragain-na-Caillich.
—Donald Macrae’s Adventure.—Daibhidh and Mor of Corri-
Dho.—Their Feud against the Men of Urquhart.—Bocan na
Sleabhaich.—The White Mare of Corri-Dho.—The Death of
Alasdair Cutach.—The Fairies and their Haunts.—Theft of
Mothers and Babes.—Other Depredations. — Fairy Love-
making and its Results.—Gay Life in Fairy Knowes.—The
Fairy Smith of Tornashee.—The Witches of the Parish.—
Their Pastimes and Pursuits.—Divination.—Dead Men and
Demon Cats.—A Famous Seer. — The Evil Eye.—Second
Sight.—Sacrifices and Safeguards.

Folk­lore, before the days of the Schoolmaster and
the Men, must have bulked largely in the every­day
life of the inhabitants of Urquhart and Glenmoriston.
Even after the appearance of these destructive
agencies, it long held its ground in the Parish,
although with a gradually diminishing vitality.
Until within the last twenty-five years, the
people spent the winter evenings around some
favourite fireside, where tales were told, poems
recited, songs sung, and riddles propounded—the
head of the house employing himself the while in



making a creel, or whittling into shape a wooden
ladle or some other article of domestic utility ; and
the good-wife in plying the distaff, or gently driving
the spinning-wheel. A great and sudden change—
and in some of its aspects a regrettable one—has,
however, taken place. The ancient institution of
the ceilidh,1 which nurtured good fellowship and
good feeling, has all but disappeared. The penny
newspaper has taken the place of the tale and the
song ; and present political and social questions, with
all their appeals to self-interest and cupidity, occupy
the minds of men to the almost entire exclusion of
the deeds of the Feinne, and of the traditional heroes
of the Parish. And so the ancient lore is allowed
to decay, and no new seanachies arise to take the
place of the old as they, one after another, disappear
into the unknown.

Of the historical legends which of old formed no
small portion of the folk­lore of the Parish, some use
has been made in the preceding pages. It is pro­
posed to deal briefly in this chapter with that branch
of it which may be placed under the head of The

Satan, who is familiar to us under the various
names of An Diabhal, An Droch Spiorad, An
Droch Bud, An Namhad, An Riabhach
—that is,
The Devil, The Evil Spirit, The Evil Thing, The
Adversary, The Speckled One—occupies the first
place in our local system of demonology. In impious
imitation of the Godhead, he consists of three

1 Ceilidh (pronounced kaily) : a fire­side social gathering.

FOI LORE IN THE PARISH.                   419

persons—the Back Devil, the Speckled, and the
White, the latter being the most dangerous, not
only on account of his excessive share of evil, but
also because of his hypocrisy and the difficulty of
distinguishing him from an angel of light. The
Devil’s appearances have been without number, but
he has been specially troublesome to the Men.
Early in the present century an elder was urgently
called upon, on a dark night, to visit a dying man
who had not led the most exemplary of lives. The
elder hastened to the sufferer’s house, but his pro­
gress was soon interrupted by the cries of a child.
Making for the spot from which they came, he found
an infant lying under a bush, and apparently in
great distress. To wrap it in his plaid and take it
on his back was but the work of a moment, and he
again pressed forward to administer the consolations
of religion to the suffering sinner. By-and-bye,
however, as he ascended a steep hill, his burden
became so heavy that he was forced to sit down on
a bank and rest. When he tried to resume his
journey he found it impossible to rise, and he then
looked behind and saw, to his amazement, not the
child, but a great hideous monster which glared
upon him with flaming eyes, and clutched him with
horny fingers about the throat until he was well-
nigh strangled. The good man at once realised that
this was the Evil One endeavouring to keep him
away from the death­bed, and he invoked the aid
and protection of the Trinity — whereupon the
Enemy disappeared in a flash of light, and interfered


with him no more. Hurrying on, he soon reached
the dying man, and was the means of bringing peace
to his soul before he closed his eyes for ever.

A somewhat similar story relates how one of the
Men, journeying at night, came to the old ford near
the mouth of the river Enerick, with the intention
of crossing. On reaching the bank he found the
stream high, and a boy making ineffectual efforts to
wade across. Placing the boy on his back he
entered the water. When in mid-channel, however,
his load became unbearably heavy, and on looking
back he found that he was carrying an Evil Thing
of great size, which was trying hard to press him
under the water. In his distress he called upon the
Trinity, and instantly the Fiend vanished into the

A man of well known piety and grace, who was
an ornament in the Church, married a woman of
equally good disposition and temper ; and much
blessing was expected to result from the union. How
disappointed and scandalized, therefore, were all good
people when it became known that the couple had
given themselves up to discord and strife, and that
their fireside was the most unhappy in the Parish !
Means taken to get them to agree had no effect—
each declaring that the other was a fiend and roused
feelings of a most fiendish nature. At last one of
the Men called, in sorrow and shame, with the view
of pleading with them to put an end to the scandal.
On approaching the house he was distressed to hear
high sounds of anger and wrath. Going to the

FOLK­LORE IN THE PARISH.                   421

window he saw the husband and wife in the height
of a terrible quarrel. He also saw that they were
not alone. Between them moved continually a
repulsive-looking thing which did its best to keep
them going. When the husband gave up, the Evil
Thing appeared to scratch and bite him ; and he
instantly started afresh. When the woman’s tongue
slackened speed, she was attacked in the same way ;
and on she went with renewed energy. Rightly
concluding that the mysterious being was the
Tempter himself, the Man boldly entered the house,
and, severely reprimanding the couple, asked them
whether they knew in whose company they were.
They, however, had seen nothing ; but on his sug­
gestion they agreed to join him in prayer—with the
result that the Fiend flew up the chimney, and that
peace ever afterwards reigned in the house.

The Devil’s motive in harassing good men, and
creating a scandal in connection with a pious couple,
is not far to seek ; but it is not so easy to under
stand why he delighted in harassing and destroying
those who were supposed to have voluntarily entered
his own service. The case of the factor who perse­
cuted the righteous, and, as his reward, was beaten
to death by the Fiend, is well known, and has
already been related.1 Equally well authenticated is
the history of Eobhan Ban a’ Bhocain—Fair Ewen
of the Goblin. Ewen, who resided at Glenmoriston
some eighty or a hundred years ago, entered into an
unfortunate paction with Satan, under which he was

1 See p. 379, supra.


bound to serve him, and to render an account of his
stewardship every night before cock­crow. For a
time Ewen faithfully carried out the terms of his
agreement, and met his Master every night. But
the latter grew more and more exacting, and Ewen
began to repent. He tried to break off his nocturnal
interviews ; but, no matter where he was when the
hour of meeting arrived, something within him
forced him to keep the appointment. With the
view of getting rid of his tormentor, he sailed for
America. But at sea the Evil Thing met him nightly,
and he troubled him so cruelly in America that he
was glad to come back to his own country. After
his return the meetings were for a period kept as
before, but at last Ewen arranged with certain of
his neighbours that they should spend a night with
him in his house, and prevent his going out—by
force, if necessary. The men accordingly sat with
him. As the usual hour approached Ewen became
restless, and felt impelled to leave. His companions
refused to let him go, and in the end bound him
hand and foot. Then arose a high, shrieking wind
that shook the house to its foundations, and strange
sounds and noises were heard which became so
terrible that Ewen was released. The unfortunate
man walked forth into the dark. He did not return,
and next morning his dead body was found stark
and stiff on a neighbouring heath.

The Hags and Goblins that haunted certain
localities were almost as much dreaded as the Devil.
The worst of these was Cailleach a’ Chrathaich,

FOLK­LORE IN THE PARISH.                   423

the Hag of the Cràach—a wild and mountainous
district lying between Corrimony and the Braes of
Glenmoriston. This being rejoiced in the death
of men, the Macmillans being especially the objects
of her fierce malice. Her manner was to accost some
lonely wayfarer across the wilds, and secretly deprive
him of his bonnet. As he travelled on in ignorance
of his loss, she rubbed the bonnet with might and
main. As the bonnet was worn thin by the friction,
the man grew weary and faint, until at last, when a
hole appeared in it, he dropped down and died. In
this way fell at least five Macmillans within the last
hundred years—and all were found in the heather
without a mark of violence. Very few escaped from
her toils. One evening, Donald Macmillan, Balma-
caan, met her at Cragan a’ Chrathaich, and
exchanged a passing salutation with her. He went
on his way unaware of the fact that she had taken
his bonnet. His eyes were, however, soon opened,
and he hastened back to the Cragan, where he found
her rubbing his head­gear with great vigour. A
terrible struggle took place for its possession, in
which he in the end prevailed ; but as he hurried
away from her she hissed into his ear that he would
die at nine o’clock on a certain evening. When the
evening arrived, his family and neighbours gathered
around him, and prayed and read the Scriptures.
The hag’s words were, however, to be fulfilled, and,
as the clock struck the fatal hour, he fell back in his
chair and expired.


As Cailleach a’ Chrathaich, who was last seen by
a member of the Clan Macdougall who is now dead,
but whose son still lives in the Parish, was the
enemy of the Macmillans, so Cailleach Allt-an-
Dunain was the enemy of the Macdougalls and
Macdonalds. As her name bears, her home was in
Allt-an-Dùnain—that burn which runs from the
Monadh Leumnach down through the lands of
Clunebeg until it falls into the Coilty, near the
Clunebeg bridge. Many a man did she waylay and
destroy on his way across the bleak Monadh Leum-
nach. She slew Somerled Macdonald about a
hundred years ago, at a place on the Bunloit road
still marked by his cairn—Cam Shomhairle. She
killed Dugald Macdougall about ninety years ago at
Cam Dughaill (Dugald’s Cairn), on the same road ;
and his son, young Dugald, fell a victim to her near
the same place at a later period. She was last seen
about thirty years ago by an estimable woman who
still survives to tell the tale, notwithstanding that
in her veins runs the blood of the Macdonalds and
the Macdougalls.

Cailleach Allt-Saigh was a female goblin of
an amiable disposition, who did what she could to
protect people from the malice of Cailleach Allt-an-
Dùnain, by warning them of her malicious projects ;
and similar services were rendered to intended
victims of Cailleach a’ Chrathaich by a gentle spirit
who inhabited Cragan-na-Caillich, near Torna-
shee. This latter being had a passion for riding,
and it is told that she accosted Donald Macrae,


Lochletter, one night as he was passing the Cragan,
and begged him for a cùlag—that is, a seat behind
him on his horse. He enquired, “ Nach bu mhaith
leat bialag”—“ Would you not as soon have a seat in
front?” She complied with his suggestion, and leapt
into the saddle before him. Quietly binding her
with the mare’s-hair rope which served him for a
rein, he took her home by force, and tied her to one
of the couples of his dwelling. Instantly the house
was surrounded by hundreds of elves, who shouted
and screamed, and stripped the building of every
clod and stick of roof. Macrae soon had enough of
her, and he offered to let her go if she would cause
the house to be restored to its former condition. To
this she agreed, and exclaimed—

“ Gach maid a’s sgrath,

Gu tigh Mhic-Rath,

Ach leum-thar-’chrann a’s fiodhagach !”

(“ Speed wood and sod

To the house of Macrae,

Except honeysuckle and bird cherry !”)

The words were no sooner uttered than turf and
timber flew from all directions and placed them­
selves in proper position on the roof, until it was
sufficiently covered. Then Macrae granted the
Cailleach the liberty which she had so well earned.

The mountain stretch at Corri-Dho which is
known as Tigh-Mor-na-Seilg—the Great House of
the Hunting—was the haunt of a male goblin known
as Daibhidh (David), and of a female spirit named
Mor. These two strongly objected to the right


which the Glen-Urquhart tenantry had of grazing
their cattle in summer on the shielings of Corri-
Dho, and they were repeatedly seen driving away
the Glen-Urquhart flocks. At last Daibhidh was so
thoroughly roused that he pulled a great fir tree up
by the roots, and, with the assistance of Mor, chased
the Urquhart men and their bestial for many miles,
until he sent them over the Glenmoriston march
beyond Achnagoneran. Daibhidh’s words on the
occasion are still remembered :—

“ ’S leams’ Doire-Dhamh, a’s Doire-Dhaibhidh,
’S Boirisgidh bhuidh nan alltain
’S Ceannachnoc mhor le ’fiodh ’s le ’fasaich—
A bhodaichibh dubh, daithte, togaibh oirbh !”

(“ Mine are Doire-Dhamh and Doire-Dhaibhidh,
And yellow Boirisgidh of the streams,
And wide Ceanacroc, with its woods and pasturages—
Ye black and singed carles, take yourselves away !”)

And the Urquhart carles did take themselves away,
and never again showed face in Corri-Dho.

Another male goblin, known as Bocan-na-
Sleabhaich—the Goblin of the Sleabhach—haunted
the high ridge (An Sleabhach) lying between Aonach
and Fort-Augustus ; but he, although ugly, was of a
harmless character. Not so harmless was Lar
Bhan Choire-Dho—the White Mare of Corri-
Dho. The White Mare was for generations the
cause of much trouble to the farmers of Urquhart
and Glenmoriston ; for if they let loose a horse any­
where within the wide bounds of the Parish, it was
almost certain to make off and seek her society. At

FOLK­LORE IN THE PARISH.                 427

last the people of both glens met and resolved to
endeavour to destroy her. A large number of the
boldest and swiftest among them accordingly formed
a ring around her usual haunts, and gradually closed
in upon her until she had apparently no way of
escape. One of them, Alasdair Cutach (Alexander
the Short), a member of the Clann Iain Chaoil of
Glenmoriston, was bold enough to seize her by the
tail. He had cause to repent. The mare rushed
furiously through the crowd, dragging behind her
the wretched Alasdair, who, to his horror, found
himself unable to let go the tail. On, on she flew,
followed by the fleetest of her would-be capturers,
until, after a run of many miles, she came to Ruigh
an t-Slochdain Duibh, in the mountain region
between Achnagoneran and Urquhart. There she
and Alasdair disappeared. Next day his mangled
corpse was found on the moor. She has never since
been seen.

The Fairies of Urquhart had their haunts at
Tornashee, and in the beautiful sidheans, or
fairy-knowes, of Lochletter ; and the favourite
retreats of their Glenmoriston brothers and sisters
were the sidheans of Duldreggan. The fairies
were very troublesome to the people of the Parish
in the Olden Times. Not only did they carry away
young mothers to become wet-nurses for their own
elfish imps, and human babes—for what purpose is
not quite so clear—but they also milked the cows,
and took the substance out of the milk in the dairies.
Not sixty years have passed since a child was taken


out of a Glen-Urquhart cradle, and a changeling put
in its place which soon withered away and died ;
and their last attempt to steal a newly made mother
still lives in tradition. The wife of Ewen Macdonald,
Duldreggan, had just given birth to his first-born,
when he went out one night to attend to some
necessary duties in connection with his farm. As he
was crossing a small stream, ever since known as
Caochan-na-Sgine—the Streamlet of the Knife—he
heard a peculiar rushing sound over his head, and a
heavy sigh exactly the same as sighs which he had
within the last hour or two heard his wife give.
Instantly realising what had occurred, he threw his
knife into the air in name of the Trinity, and his
wife dropped down before him. She was being
carried away by the fairies, when his presence of
mind saved her.

Two men were reaping at Duldreggan one very
hot day, when one of them expressed a strong desire
for a drink of butter­milk. Instantly a little woman
appeared and offered him a draught from a vessel
which she carried. He declined ; but his companion
drank, and died within a year and a day.

A farmer slept on the Sidhean Buidhe—the
Yellow Fairy-knowe—at Duldreggan, and was
awakened by the cries of a child coming from
underneath him. Placing his ear against the sod,
he heard a voice hushing the child to rest, and
telling it that the white cow would spill her milk
that evening, and that it then might drink its fill.
The white cow was the farmer’s own, and on his

FOLK­LORE IN THE PARISH.                 429

return home he informed his wife of what he had
heard, and warned her to be careful that no milk
was spilt. Notwithstanding her utmost care, how­
ever, the white cow kicked the pail, and sent its
contents over the sward.

Sometimes the fairies stole not only the milk,
but also the cattle—as in the case of the Gobha
Mor of Polmaily1—and substituted a wretched
breed of their own, which pined away and died.
Beautiful maidens of their race made love to young
men, with fatal results to the latter ; and, worse
still, they sometimes threw their glamour over
married men, and made them desert their lawful
wives. The Gobha Mor, as we saw, prospered
through his intercourse with his leannan-sidhe, or
fairy-love ; but his was an exceptional case, and the
result of such traffic was, as a rule, disastrous, if
not fatal, to the human transgressor.

Although the fairies thus bred mischief and
misfortune among the people of the Parish, they
themselves appear to have enjoyed life as if they
were guiltless of sin. Their dances on the green
sward on moonlight nights are still remembered,
and the enchanting music which was heard issuing
from their knowes by persons whose children still
live has not yet ceased to be spoken of. In Glen-
Urquhart their general evil reputation was to some
extent relieved by the good deeds of one of their
number—the Gobha Sidhe, or Fairy Smith, of
Tornashee. Whoever in the Glen was in need

1 See page 100, supra,


of a reaping hook, spade, or other such imple­
ment, had only to leave in the evening a piece
of iron at the stone of Clach-na-hurrain, in
Tornashee wood, along with a suitable offering
for the Fairy Smith ; and when he returned next
morning he found the article he wanted awaiting
him. At last, a certain person deposited a wooden
lint-beater, in order that it might be converted into
an iron mallet. On his return, he found the beater
untouched, and, as he raised it in his hands, an echo
reached his ear :—

“ Cha shimid e, cha shimid e,
Ach maide-buailidh linn ;
A’s buille cha dean mise tuille
’An coille Thoir-na-sidhe !”

(“ ’Tis not a mallet, ’tis not a mallet
But a stick for beating lint ;
And I shall never work again
In the wood of Tornashee !”).

The Fairy Smith had, indeed, been greatly offended,
and from that day until now neither he nor his
handiwork has been seen in Urquhart.

Although no record remains in the Parish of any
Witches of outstanding notoriety or power, Glen-
Urquhart has known not a few of mediocre talent.
According to a very old tradition the Urquhart
witches were, hundreds of years ago, the bearers of
the stones for the walls of Urquhart Castle. These
stones were brought from the districts of Caiplich
and Abriachan, and the rock from which the
wretched carriers got the first sight of the Castle, as

FOLK­LORE IN THE PARISH.                  431

they toiled towards it with their burdens, is to this
day called Cragan nam Mallachd—the Rock of the
Curses. The great place of meeting of the Urquhart
witches was An Clarsach (The Harp), a rock on the
shore of Loch Ness, and within the bounds of the
farm of Tychat. There they could be seen congre­
gated on certain nights under the presidency of his
Satanic Majesty, who sat on a ledge of the rock,
and, when not engrossed in more serious business,
played to them on bagpipes and stringed instru­
ments—which circumstance gave the rock its name.
The effect of his music on the old women was
marvellous : they danced and flung as no maid of
seventeen ever did, and indulged in pranks and
cantrips which the lithest athlete could not touch.
Their evil influence was exercised quietly and in
secret, and involved the objects of their attentions
in misfortune, or even death. We have seen how
a witch in the shape of a hare was responsible for
the fatal fight at Corribuy, and how a later genera­
tion of the evil race helped to bring about the death
of an erring factor. The merits of the corp crèadh
—the clay corpse—which proved so fatal on the
latter occasion, have not yet been forgotten. Within
the last quarter of a century two such images, stuck
with pins, have been discovered in the Glen.

The witches, however, made themselves most
troublesome in connection with the dairy industry
of the Parish. They were greater experts than even
the fairies at the art of taking the substance out of
the milk. Cream frequently refused to be churned


into butter, and cheese was often so thoroughly
deprived of its essence that it tasted like baked saw­
dust, and floated like a cork. In the early years of
the present century the dairy work on the large farm
of Shewglie was in this way completely suspended.
No butter would come from the cream, and no cheese
worthy of the name would come from the milk. In
his extremity, Macdougall, the farmer, proposed to
consult the famous Willox of Tomintoul, who worked
marvellous cures with the Warlock’s Stone and the
Kelpie’s Bridle. Before doing so, however, he
sought the advice of the saintly Duncan of Buntait.
His advice was that he should avoid the Warlock
and appeal to the Almighty. A prayer meeting was
accordingly held, and special prayers offered up ;
and henceforth Macdougall had no more reason to

Somewhat akin to witchcraft was that species
of Divination which was known by the name of
Taghairm. Two forms of it were practised in Glen-
moriston—Taghairm nan Daoine (the Taghairm of
Men), and Taghairm nan Cat (the Taghairm of
Cats). The last expert in this black art was
Alasdair Mac Iain ’Ic Iain, who flourished at Ballin-
tombuy, in that Glen, in the beginning of last
century. When he wished to operate with men, he
placed himself within a large boiler just outside the
entrance of the ancient burying-ground of Clachan
Mheircheird, and from there summoned the dead to
rise and pass before him. This they did until the
one appeared who was able to communicate the

FOLK­LORE IN THE PARISH.                   433

information which he required. On one occasion,
when he was in this way making an unusually bold
attempt to solve the mysteries of the future,
the dead arose and streamed out of the burying-
ground, until three thousand of them crowded the
surrounding fields ; but still no glimpse of the future
was given to the seer. At last the form of his own
dead niece appeared, and revealed to him the evils
that were to befall himself. He never practised his
art again—but his niece’s prophecies were in due
time fulfilled, and his career was closed by a party
of Lochabermen, who shot him down as he tried to
turn back the cattle which they were in the act of
taking from him. He fell three times before he
expired, and the places are marked by three cairns
to this day.

The person who would learn of the future by
Taghairm nan Cat had to stand before a great fire,
and keep roasting live cats on spits, until, in
response to their cries of agony, large black demon-
cats appeared, and gave the sought-for information.
The same result was sometimes attained through
the turning of the sieve and the shears, which had
the effect of raising the Devil.

The Evil Eye has often been looked upon as of
the nature of witchcraft. While, however, the latter
was a gift bestowed on human beings as the result
of a voluntary compact with Satan, the former was
an involuntary acquisition for which the unfortunate
possessor was not responsible. If he praised a



beast, that beast was sure to die—as numerous
instances which have occurred within recent years
amply prove. It is told of Alexander Grant of
Shewglie—the same who was involved in the troubles
of The Forty-Five—that his Evil Eye was so little
under his control that his own best cattle had to be
kept out of his sight. If he admired them even
mentally, death invariably followed.

The Second Sight was another gift which most
men who possessed it would willingly do without.
They knew of the approach of death by death-
candles, wraiths, and the screams of the taibhse.
Sounds of hammer and saw within the carpenter’s
shop, when the carpenter himself was in bed, foretold
the making of the coffin ; and the phantom funeral
was invariably followed by the real one. After
death men frequently appeared to their old com­
panions.1 And there still lives in Urquhart the
man who last saw the battle of Blar-an-Aonaich
behind Culnakirk — spectre armies engaged in a
sanguinary struggle, foreboding, it is feared, a con­
flict and carnage the like of which our Parish has
not yet seen.

Fortunately for the people of Urquhart and
Glenmoriston, certain measures were known which,
if taken, served to ward off or mitigate the numerous

1 Alexander Mackay, the laird who sold Achmonie, for years after his
death continued his old earthly custom of visiting his stables. It is not certain
that the Rev. James Doune Smith has yet discontinued his nightly stroll
between the Manse and the cross-roads on the Blairbeg and Drumnadrochit

FOLK­LORE IN THE PARISH.                     435

supernatural evils to which they were exposed.
Charms and incantations were the commonest pre­
ventives. The Bible or a bar of iron was placed in
the bed or the cradle, to protect the young mother
or child from elfish thieves. The protective virtues
of the rowan tree were almost universal. Oblations
of milk were freely poured on the fairy-knowes, to
appease their mischievous inhabitants. Fifty years
ago a live cock was buried at Lewistown as a peace
offering to the spirit of epilepsy. At an earlier
period lambs were buried at the threshold of
dwelling-houses and cow-huts, as a protection from
the demons that sought admission ; while the
growing corns were similarly guarded from evil by a
marching through and around them of persons
carrying blazing torches on the eve of St John the
Baptist. A pilgrimage to the holy wells of the
Temple and St Columba, and a faithful and proper
use of their waters, not only cured the pilgrim of his
bodily ailments, but also shielded him from the darts
of the Evil One and his agents.1 And even after
the spirit of man left his body, it was possible to
protect the latter from the demons that hovered
around it. Not more than seventy years have passed
since the handbell which for centuries was carried at

1There is a farm in it” [Glen-Urquhart], wrote William Lorimer in
1763, called The Temple, where there stand the ruins of a church and a
consecrated well to which superstitious people resort for curing several
diseases.” People still live who remember this custom, and who saw the walls
and trees near the well almost covered with bits of cloth left by persons who
imagined they thus left their diseases behind them. Coins were also left in
the well as offerings.


funerals, and kept ringing in front of the coffin for
the safeguard of its mortal contents, was discon­
tinued in Glen-Urquhart as a relic of Popery.
It was really a relic of a belief which existed
before the Pope, and even before Christianity.1

1 The bell—An Clagan Beag (The Little Bell)—was carried by the beadle,
who was paid a small fee. The last who carried it was Ewen Roy Macfie, who
was beadle for many years. When the custom was discontinued—at the
instance of John Macdonald the Catechist—the change was objected to not
only by Ewen but by many of the people, and a little agitation was got up on
the subject. The bell, unfortunately, disappeared with the custom.

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