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En: land from wolves. The fund for these rewards is a tax of sixpence in the pound, imposed by the farmers on themselvis, and is said to be paid with great willin, ness.
The beasts of prey in the islands are foxes, otters, and weaşels. The foxes are bigger than those of England; but the ot. ters exc eds ours in a far greater proportion. I saw one at Armidel, of a size much beyond that which I supposed them ever to attain; and Mr Maclean, the heir of Col, a man of middle stature, informed me that he once shot an otter, of which the tail reached the ground when he held up the head to a level with his own. I expected the otter to have a foot peculiarly formed for the art of swimming ; but up. on examination, I did not find it differing much from that of a spaniel. As he preys in tlte sea, he does little visible mischief, and is killed only for his fur. White otters are sometimes seen. . In Raasay they might have hares and rabbits, for they have no foxes. Some de. predations, such as were never made be. fore, have caused a suspicion that a fox has been lately landed in the island by spite or wantonness. This imaginary stranger has
never yet been seen, and therefore, perhaps, the mischief was done by some other ani. mal. It is not likely, that a creature so ungentle, whose head could have been sold in Sky for a guinea, should be kept alive only to gratity the malice of sending him to prey upon a neighbour : and the pas, sage from Sky is wider than a fox would yenture to swim, unless he were chased by dogs into the sea, and perhaps then hiş strength would enable him to cross, How beasts of prey came into any islands is not easy to guess. In cold countries, they take advantage of hard winters, and travel over the ice; but this is a very scanty solution ; for they are found where they have no discoverable means of coming.
The corn of this island is but little. I saw the harvest of a small field. The woo men reaped the corn, and the men bound up the sheaves. The strokes of the sickle were timed by the modulation of the har. vest song, in which all their voices were united. They accompany in the Highlands every action, which can be done in equal time, with an appropriated strain ; which haş, they say, not much meaning but its effects are regularity and chearfulness, The ancient proceleusmatick song, by which
the rowers of gallies were animated, may be supposed to have been of this kind. There is now an oar-song used by the He. bridians.
The ground of Raasay seems fitter før cattle than for corn, and of black cattle, 1 suppose the number is very great; the Laird himself keeps a herd of four hun. dred, one hundred of which are annually sold. Of an extensive domain, which he holds in his own hands, he considers the, sale of cattle as repaying him the rent and supports the plenty of a very liberal ta! ļe with the remaining product.
Raasay is suppossed to have been very long inhabited. On one side of it they show caves, into which the rude nations of the first ages retreated from the weather, These dreary vaults might have had other uses. There is still a cavity near the house called the oar-cave, in which the sea men, after one of these piratical expeditions, which in roug her times were very fre quent, used, as tradition tells, to hide their oais. This hollow was near the sea, that nothing necessary might be far to be fetch: ed; and it was secret, that enemies, if they landed, could find nothing. Yet, it is not very evident ofwhat use it was to hide their bärs from those who, if they were masters of the coast, could take away their boats.
A proof much stronger of the distance at which the possessors of this is and lived from the present time, is afforded by the stone heads of arrows which are very frequently picked up. The people call them Elf-bolts, and believe that the fairies shoot them at the cattle. They nearly resemble those which Mr Banks has lately brought from the savage countries in the Pacific Ocean, and must have been made by a nation to which the use of metals was
The number of this little community has never been counted by its ruler, nor have I obtained any positive account, con. sistent with the result of political computatation. Not many years ayo, the late Laird led out one hundred men upon a military expedition. The sixth part of a people is supposed capable of bearing arms: Raa. say had therefore six hundred inhabitants. But because it is not likely that every man able to serve in the field would follow the summons, or that the chief would leave his lands totally defenceless, or take away all the hands qualified for labour, let it be be supposed, that half as many might be permitted to stay at home. The whole number will then be nine hundred, or nine to a square mile; a degree of populousness greater than those tracts of desolation can often show. They are content with their country, and faithful to their chiefs, and yet uninfected with the fever of migration.
Near the house, at Raasay; is a chapel unroofed and ruinous, which has long been used only as a place of burial. About the churches, in the islands are small squares inclosed with stone, which belong to parti: cular families, as repositories for the dead, At Raasay there is one, I think, for the proprietor, and one for some collateral house.
It is told by Martin, that at the death of. the Lady of the island, it has been here the custom to erect a cross. This we found not to be true The stories that stand about the chapel at a small distance, sone of which have perhaps crosses čut uponi them, are believed to have been not sune. ral monuments, but the ancient boundaries of the sanctuary or consecrated ground. : Martin was a man not illiterate: he was an inhabitant of Sky, and therefore was within reach of intelligence, and with no great difficulty might have visited the