Skip to main content

‹‹‹ prev (141)

(143) next ›››

as do the Blue Men of the Mmch, described in the follow-
ing chapter. Celtic tradition has it that, in order to rid
themselves of her company, mariners have been known to
cast overboard a number of empty barrels. While the
mermaid continued to be distracted by examining these
barrels, the vessel was sailing beyond her reach.
Upon a time, a native of a Harris township, that goes by
the Gaelic name signifying Unripe Island, captured a
mermaid, and retained her in close confinement for a year.
How ultimately the mermaid effected her escape is not
recorded. And a Skye-man, likewise, caught a mermaid,
v/hom he released onh' when she had granted him his three
wishes — that he should have the faculty of foretelling the
future, that he should be able to cure scrofula or the king's
evil, and that he should acc|uire the art of music.
According to Peter Buchan, author of the Annals of
Peterhead, belief in the mermaid was widespread among
the seafarers of the north-east coast of Scotland. Many of
the fisher-folks held the opinion that the caves penetrating
the more inaccessible parts of the coast were tenanted by
mermaids. " Some old men," writes Buchan, " remember
a mermaid pitching upon the bowsprit of a small vessel
belonging to Peterhead, which was driven among the rocks
near Slains Castle, and all hands perished save one man who
bore the tidings to land."
During the first few decades of the nineteenth century a
mermaid could be seen constantly by the shores of the
Cromarty Firth. Tradition in Cromarty still tells of how
this mermaid was wont to sit on a certain stone in the moon-
light, braiding her long, yellow tresses.
A Merman Sighted.
In the year, 1814, a merman was sighted off Port Gordon,
in Banffshire. According to an account supplied by the
schoolmaster of Rathven, two fishermen, whose testimony
was above suspicion, were returning from the fishing " about
three or four o'clock yesterday afternoon, when about a
quarter of a mile from the shore, the sea being perfectly
calm, they observed, at a small distance from their boat,

Images and transcriptions on this page, including medium image downloads, may be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence unless otherwise stated. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence