Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Celtic 

Notes on

The Folk-Lore

of the

North-East of Scotland

By Walter Gregor


This is an ethnographic study of the inhabitants of the North-Eastern area of Scotland in the mid-19th century, at a time when an agrarian, barter economy still prevailed. Life was hard among these remote coastal communities, and they lived in fear of maleficent witches and the 'Evil Eye'. Many of the rituals, taboos and folkways in this book are to ward off witchcraft directed against economic mainstays such as livestock and fishing. The book has many fascinating bits of lore, as well as extensive oral poetry, all in Scots dialect. (There is, thankfully, an extensive glossary at the end, in case ye're na sure fhat all the clatterin's aboot.). There are also detailed descriptions of holidays, weddings, and other celebrations, which reveal that life was not completely grim.

--John Bruno Hare, September 26th, 2004.

Title Page
Table of Contents
Chapter I. Birth
Chapter II. The Child
Chapter III. Baptism
Chapter IV. The Nursery
Chapter V. Boy Code of Honour
Chapter VI. About the Human Body
Chapter VII. Dreams, Divination, &c.
Chapter VIII. Leechcraft
Chapter IX. The House
Chapter X. Evenings at the Fireside
Chapter XI. Fairies
Chapter XII. Waterkelpie
Chapter XIII. Ghosts
Chapter XIV. Witches
Chapter XV. ''Black Airt'' and Devil Compacts
Chapter XVI. Riddles
Chapter XVII. Marriage
Chapter XVIII. Place Rhymes
Chapter XIX. Place Names and Family Characteristics
Chapter XX. Animal and Plant Superstitions.
Chapter XXI. Times and Seasons and Weather
Chapter XXII. Christmas, New Year's Day, &c.
Chapter XXIII. Countings-Out
Chapter XXIV. Washing Day
Chapter XXV. Farming
Chapter XXVI. Boats and Fishing
Chapter XXVII. Death
Chapter XXVIII. Burial
List of Works Quoted