There was in Bearnairidh in the Harris, a man coming past a knoll, and taking the road, and he heard churning in the hill. Thirst struck him. "I had rather," said he, "that my thirst was on the herdswoman." He had not gone but about twenty rods away when a woman met him, and she had a fine green petticoat on tied about her waist, and she had a vessel of warm milk between her two hands. She offered him a draught, and he would not take it.
"Thou one that sought my draught, and took not my draught, mayest thou not be long alive."
He went to the narrows, and he took a boat there over; and coming over the narrows he was drowned.
From Malcolm MacLean, who learnt it from his grandfather, Hugh MacLean.
North Uist, August 11, 1859.
The Argyllshire stories, which I can well remember as a child, are of the same stamp. The fairies lived in hills, they came out now and then and carried people away; and they spent their time inside their dwellings in dancing to the pipes. They stole milk, and they were overcome by charms, which men sold to those who believed in them. They could not withstand a rowan-tree cross; nor could they follow over a running stream.
There is a small waterfall in a wood which I know, where it used to be said that the fairies might be seen on moonlight nights, fishing for a magic chain from boats of sedge leaves. They used to drag this chain through the meadows where the cattle fed, and the milk came all to them, till a lad, by the advice of a seer, seized one end of the chain and ran for his life, with the fairy troop in pursuit; he leaped the lin and dropped the chain; and the lin is called the chain lin still.