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wore him to the shank, and they were put out and the place was empty.
The king's daughter got away, but promised him to come back with her father and her attendant maids to be married to him. He said to her that he was going away from there, but that he would wait in the house nearest the castle till she came back and fulfilled her promise. She went away, and he left the castle and went to an Elfin woman's house, which proved to be the one nearest the castle. One day when he was taking a drink at the well he heard a stirring noise coming about the place, but he was seeing nothing. The Elfin woman saw the king and his daughter and her attendant maidens coming in an eddy wind, and without sign or warning she came behind him and put a druidic pin at the back of his head. He then slept so soundly that all the people in the world could not rouse him till the druidic pin was withdrawn from the back of his head. When the king came to him he found him in a heavy slumber, and he began to shake him and roll him about, but the more the king shook him the sounder he slept.
“There is no saying what sort of a man that is,” the king said to his daughter, " when he cannot be wakened at all.” The king came three times in this way and failed to waken him. Then the Elfin woman plucked the druidic pin from the back of his head, and when he awoke he returned to the castle again. He then traversed the castle upwards and downwards ; he found his lost companions.
“Are you going with me?" he said to them, “ to the Kingdom of Coldness."
“We are not,” they said. “We are well enough where we
He now looked towards him and from him, and saw nothing more suitable that he could take with him than three curry combs. He put these in his pocket and went away, then he took to travelling and ever going on. Towards dusk he saw a bothy at the roadside, which he went into, and in which he found a big lump-headed old grey man sitting on a boulder of rock, and combing his beard with a big bunch of heather. He said to the carle“Is that not a rough comb that you have ?” “I have not a smoother," the old man said. “Perhaps," he said, “I have got a better one myself.” He put his hand into his pocket and gave the old man one of the combs he had himself. “Well,” said the old man then, “I know the object of your journey and travel. You are going in search of your sweetheart, the daughter of a king in the Kingdom of Coldness. You will stay to-night with myself, and
your success will be none the less because of it to-morrow." He did this, and next day when he was ready to go, the old man said to him—“I have a brother who can better direct you on your journey, he is a year and a day's journey from this, but I will give you a pair of shoes that will take you there in one day, and when you reach, if you turn them in this direction, they will be back here before sundown.”
He went, and wis progressing at full speed, and when the evening was coming on (lit. bending down), he saw a hut at the roadside, in which there was a big growling grey man sitting at the fire on the stump of a tree, with a big bunch of pine wood combing his beard. The traveller turned the point of the shoes hom“wards, and had no sooner done this than they disappeared. He said to the old man, “ That is a coarse comb you have there." “I have none smoother,” the old man replied. “I believe that I have better than that myself,” said he, putting his hand in his pocket and giving the old man another of the curry combs. “Well do I know the purpose of your journey and travel,” this one said. “You are going to get the daughter of a king in the Kingdom of Coldness, but you will pass this night with myself, and your journey to-morrow will be none the worse of it.”
Next day when he was ready to go, the old carle said to him“ There is a house of another brother of mine that you must reach, but there is a year and a day's distance between this and my brother's house, and if he will not ferry you across, there is no one living on earth who can do it. I will give you a ball of thread, and you will go on throwing it ahead of you, and it will take you to where he is in one day. When you reach you will turn it backwards, and I will have it before sundown.”
He went away, and was going on at full speed, all the time throwing the ball before him, unwinding and winding it. At sundown he looked bark the way he came, and he did not see the ball any more.
There was a little hut at the roadside. He went in and found a huge recluse of a grey man stretched on an old oaken settle, combing his beard with a bunch of hawthorn. The wayfarer said to the old man, “Is not that a rough comb you have there?” “I have none smoother," said the grey recluse to him. “I cannot but think I have better than that myself,” said he, handing him the last of the combs he had in his hand.
“ Well I know the meaning of your journey and travel,” said the grey carle to him. “You are going to the Kingdom of Coldness in search of a danghter of a king. You were last night with my next oldest (middle) brother, and the previous night with my eldest brother. You will pass this night with me, and your journey tomorrow will not be the worse of it.”
Next day the grey man said to him—“There is a distance of seven days and seven years from this place, which you have to traverse, but I will give you a staff which will take you a mile in a minute, but it is the eagle that must take you over the ferry, and I will get it for you." He gave a whistle, and in a moment every bird in the air was round about him but the eagle. He now asked his visitor to stand at a distance from him and keep his hands to his ears, and hold his head in case it should split with the hardness of the whistle that he would have to give before the eagle would come. “You will get food for you to give it on the way so that it may not devour yourself. When you reach the Kingdom of Coldness you will have to destroy a great giant, who defends the daughter of the king. The way in which you will do it is by keeping the cold edge of the sword to his spinal marrow.”
The eagle came, and they went away together, and it put him ashore on dry land in the Kingdom of Coldness. When he reached, the king heard the fluttering they made round the royal residence, and looked out. When he saw who it was, he asked him in. “I will not go in,” he said, “ till I get a fair combat with the big giant who guards your daughter.” He got what he asked, and he killed the giant. The daughter saw him, and she called out to her father—“O father, that is the soldier who took me from among the Awisks.”
There was now a great merry joyous marriage feast made that lasted seven days and seven years, and the soldier remained in that Kingdom till the end of his days.
26th FEBRUARY, 1890. The paper for this evening was by the Rev. John Sinclair, Rannoch, entitled, “Some Letters from the pen of Ewen Maclachlan, Old Aberdeen, with Notes.” Mr Sinclair's paper was as. follows :SOME LETTERS FROM THE PEN OF EWEN MACLACHLAN,
OLD ABERDEEN. On the 10th day of June, 1888, John Mackenzie, meal dealer, Beauly, breathed his last at the advanced age of 81; and, on the 12th of the same month, a long procession of sorrowing friends and neighbours carried his body in solemn silence to the old historic churchyard of Kilchrist, in the parish of Urray, where they peacefully buried it amid the dust of his forefathers. It was a proper place for a Mackenzie to be buried in ; for the burning of Kilchrist Chapel, and the holocaust made of all the worshippers within, with the sole exception of the officiating parson, has ever since been imprinted on the memory of every true clansman as the great “Mackenzie Tragedy,” and has been celebrated alike in Piobaireachd 2 and Dirge as an apt foreshadowing of the fire that shall finally consume all things. There is a tradition in the family that several of John Mackenzie's forebears lost their lives in this Kilchrist tragedy; and, if his body could speak from the grave, well might it now say in the words of the bard
“ An Cille-chriosd tha mi am shuain,
Thar ’n Eaglais so 's na mairbh tighinn beo.”
“ In Kilchrist I am sleeping sound,
This Church with its reviving dead.” In John Mackenzie, death removed from Beauly a standard inhabitant of the good old stamp. Some years ago, his form was sure to arrest the attention of any one whose eye was privileged to scan for a while the people passing along the spacious main
1 There is a tradition that, when the Macdonells came from their hidingplace in Alltan-nam-breac, bearing each a burden of straw from the stackyard of Tomich, and so set fire to the doomed chapel, the parson came to the door, and implored to be let out. He was allowed to escape, but all the rest of the worshippers were suffocated.
2“ It was a wild and fearful sight, only witnessed by a wild and fearful race. During the Tragedy the Macdonells listened with delight to the piper of the band, who, marching round the burning pile, played, to drown the screams of the victims, an extempore pibroch, which has ever since been distinguished as the war tune of Glengarry under the title of 'Cillecriost.'” See Mackenzie's “ Tales and Legends of the Highlands.” It is related that the late Dr Macdonald of Ferintosh, who was a skilful player on the bagpipes, at one time said he had a good mind to walk round Kilchrist Chapel playing the appropriate Piobaireachd. When this threat was related to James Mackenzie, then a young man residing at Lettoch, but whose body was 'ast year buried in Kilchrist, it at once stirred up the old clan fire within him. “Go and tell Mr Macdonald from me,” said James, “ that, if he does that, I will go and prick the windbag of his pipes for him !”
street of that busy and interesting monastic village. An old man of middle size and spare body, with features sharp, regular, and ascetic, a pair of intelligent and not unkindly eyes looking out from beneath shaggy eyebrows, his body-clothes plain and quaint, and his head surmounted by a dingy-brown cloth cap, high and broad at top, such as his great-grandfather might have worn ; and, as John walked past, the impression, made by his appearance on the mind of the spectator, unmistakably was, “ There goes an honest man !" But although honesty and carefulness and a certain measure of hardness in striking a bargain were undoubtedly characteristic of him as a dealer in corn and meal, yet, as a friend and neighbour, he had a warm and feeling heart; and his many little deeds of kindness greatly endeared him to the good people of Beauly, who are always willing to recognise genuine worth in whomsoever they may chance to find it. In the bosom of his family he was an affectionate husband and a tender and dutiful father, and he invariably followed the good old Scottish custom of daily worshipping God, morning and evening, at the family altar. He was a just, and good, and exemplary man, and we humbly hope his soul is now in heaven. Requiescat in pace !
But what chiefly makes John interesting to us, as a character, is the circumstance that he was the possessor of cherished memories and memorials of his childhood, which he would not impart or speak about to wife, or children, or friends, or neighbours, or indeed to any body, but which, we know, be was frequently in the habit of pondering over in his own mind, and that more especially during the latter years of his life. Often, when he sauntered down his favourite walk leading past the picturesque ruins of the old Priory, and extending either way along the bank of the river, was he seen to make a sudden stand, and to remain for some time in that attitude, as if lost in deep meditation. It was then that his mind would revert to the happy scenes of his early youth in Culblair and Ardnagrask, and, above all, to the pleasant society of his uterine brother, William Maclachlan, that amiable young man, who, during his short life, had been able to exert such a strange fascination over every one that came within the range of his influence. John cherished his brother's memory with a devotion that sprang from genuine affection ; but he wished to confine this feeling wholly within his own breast, for the reason well known and appreciated in the north, that poor William was illegitimate, and so his very existence was regarded as a stigma on the good name of the family. The memorials he possessed consisted of a bundle of letters written by Williani's uncle, Ewen Maclachlan,