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p. 56



From W. Ross, stalker.

THIS celebrated witch was accused of having enchanted the deer of the Reay forest, so that they avoided pursuit. Lord Reay was exceedingly angry, but at a loss how to remedy the evil. His man, William (the same who braved the witch and sat down in her hut) promised to find out if this was the case. He watched her for a whole night, and by some counter enchantments managed to be present when in the early morning she was busy milking the hinds. They were standing all about the door of the hut till one of them ate a hank of blue worsted hanging from a nail in it. The witch struck the animal, and said, "The spell is off you; and Lord Reay's bullet will be your death to-day." William repeated this to his master to confirm the tale of his having passed the night in the hut of the great hag, which no one would believe. And the event justified it, for a fine yellow hind was killed that day, and the hank of blue yarn was found in its stomach.

This is one of nearly a hundred stories, gathered amongst the people of Sutherland by a very talented collector, whose numerous accomplishments unfortunately do not include Gaelic. This resembles an account of a Lapp camp (see Introduction). It also bears some affinity to a story published by Grant Stewart, in which a ghost uses a herd of deer to carry her furniture.

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