THE STOLEN LADY
JOHN ROY, who lived in Glenbroun, in the parish of Abernethy, being out one night on the hills in search of his cattle, met a troop of fairies, who seemed to have got a prize of some sort or other. Recollecting that the fairies are obliged to exchange whatever they may have with any one who offers them anything, however low in value, for it, he flung his bonnet to them, crying Shuis slo slumus sheen (i. e., mine is yours and yours is mine). The fairies dropped their booty, which proved to be a Sassenach (English) lady whom the dwellers of the Shian of Coir-laggac had carried away from her own country, leaving a stock in her place which, of course, died and was buried. John brought her home, and she lived for many years in his house. "It happened, however, in the course of time," said the Gaelic narrator, "that the new king; found it necessary to make the great roads through these countries by means of soldiers, for the purpose of letting coaches and carriages pass to the northern cities; and those soldiers had officers and commanders in the same way as our fighting army have now. Those soldiers were never great favourites m these countries, particularly during the time that our kings were alive; and consequently it was no easy matter for them, either officers or men, to procure for themselves comfortable quarters." But John Roy would not keep up the national animosity to the cottan dearg (red-coats),and he offered a residence in his house to a Saxon captain and his son. When there they could not take their eyes off the English lady, and the son remarked to his father what a strong likeness she bore to his deceased mother. The father replied that be too had been struck with the resemblance, and said he could almost fancy she was his wife. He then mentioned her name and those of some persons connected with them. The lady by these words at once recognised her husband and son, and honest John Roy had the satisfaction of reuniting the long-separated husband and wife, and receiving their most grateful acknowledgments. [a]
[a] There is a similar legend in Scandinavia. As a smith was at work in his forge late one evening, he heard great wailing out on the road, and by the light of the red-hot iron that he was hammering, he saw a woman whom a Troll was driving along, bawling at her "A little more! a little more!" He ran out, put the red-hot iron between them, and thus delivered her from the power of the Troll. He led her into his house and that night she was delivered of twins, In the morning he waited on her husband, who lie supposed must be in great affliction at the loss of his wife. But to his surprise he saw there, in bed, a woman the very image of her he had saved from the Troll. Knowing at once what she must be, he raised an axe he had in his band, and cleft her skull. The matter was soon explained to the satisfaction of the husband, who gladly received his real wife and her twins.'.--. Thiele, i. 88. Oral.