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THE WATER-HORSE AND KINDRED MONSTERS
managed to take down from him a most interesting verbatim
account of the dragging of Loch nan Dubhrachan.^
The dragging of Loch nan Dubhrachan recalls a
traditional attempt to drain a " bottomless " loch situated in
the neighbourhood of Tomintoul, in the uplands of Banff.
This loch was haunted by a kelpie, who was believed to have
been responsible for the mysterious disappearance from
early times of innumerable persons. When the men of
Strathdon assembled, and commenced to drain the water
away, a terrifying shriek came from the depths of the loch,
and a little man, with a flaming red bonnet on his head,
made his appearance. The men of Strathdon immediately
fled in panic, leaving their implements behind them.
The Water-Bull.
Akin to the cach-iiisgc, or water-horse, was the tarbh-
iiisgc, or water-bull. Unlike the water-horse, however, the
water-bull was of a harmless disposition. It inhabited
lonely tarns among the hills, and made its appearance only
at night-time. When seen, which was seldom, it usually
was grazing with ordinary, domestic cattle. It was believed
in the Highlands that calves born with ears that were short,
and that looked as though they had been indented with a
knife, were the offspring of the water-bull. The creature
itself had no ears at all; and thus it was explained how
such calves were what was termed * knife-eared ' or ' half-
eared.' At dark the strange lowing of the water-bull might
be heard by some lonely lochan, as it emerged to graze with
ordinary cattle.
There is a folk-tale told in Lome of how a dairy-maid and
a cattle-man, when on the point of leaving for the night the
fold where the cows had been collected after milking-time,
noticed a small, black, bull-shaped animal, velvety and soft
in appearance, approaching the cows. Its bellowing they
described as one of the weirdest sounds to which they ever
had listened. It was " like the crowing of a cock." On
hearing it, they fled in panic. But, when they returned to
1 For this account, see my book, Somewhere in Scotland, p. 155.
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