Legends


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The Fian Warriors


There is an ancient legend that an army of sleeping warriors is waiting in a cave in the Eildon Hills until the day comes when all Gaeldom shall rise against its oppressors. Sir Walter Scott related the following story in his "Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft".
"The story has often been told, of a daring horse-jockey having sold a black horse to a man of venerable and antique appearance, who appointed the remarkable hillock upon Eildon hills, called the Lucken-hare, as the place where at twelve o'clock at night, he should receive the price. He came, his money was paid in ancient coin, and he was invited by his customer to view his residence. The trader in horses followed his guide in the deepest astonishment through several long ranges of stalls, in each of which a horse stood motionless, while an armed warrior lay equally still at the charger's feet.
"All these men", said the wizard in a whisper,"will awaken at the battle of Sheriffmuir." At the extremity of this extraordinary depot hung a sword and a horn, which the prophet pointed out to the horse-dealer as containing means of dissolving the spell. The man in confusion took the horn and attempted to wind it. The horses instantly started in their stalls, stamped, and shook their bridles, the men arose and clashed their armour, and the mortal, terrified by the tumult he had excited, dropped the horn from his hand. A voice like that of a giant, louder even than the tumult around, pronounced these words:
'Woe to the coward that ever he was born
That did not draw the sword before he blew the horn.'
A whirlwind expelled the horse-dealer from the cavern, the entrance to which he could never find again." Scott says that the wizard was Thomas of Ercildoune, known as the Rhymer.

Prophecies


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Images William Wallace Robert Bruce 
Scotland History Mel Gibson Braveheart legends prophecies folklore

Thomas of Ercildoune


He was also known as Thomas the Rhymer, born 700 years ago in the Lowlands of Scotland. He recorded his prophecies in rhymes, as did Nostradamus centuries later.
One of his rhymes was
"Tide, tide, whate'er betide,
There'll aye be Haigs at Bemersyde"
There was an important family called Haig at the place called Bemersyde, on the border with England for many centuries until the line died out in the 19th Century.
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Cineadh Cerr, Kenneth the left-handed
 Domnall Breac, King of Dalraida
  Fearchar Fada, Farquhar the tall
  Solvathius, William Wallace, legends, prophecies, folklore, Scotland, History, King Arthur, Walter Scott, Brahan Seer, Thomas Rhymer, Major 
Weir, Mel Gibson, Robert Bruce, Edinburgh, legends, prophecies, folklore
Earl Haig of Bemersyde

It seemed as though Thomas had been wrong, until the nation presented Bemersyde to Earl Haig (World War I leader) who was related to the original Haigs.


Another prophecy that may be ascribed to Thomas concerns the union of the crowns of Scotland and England in 1603, and Merlin's grave in Scotland.


The Brahan Seer


Kenneth the Sallow (Coinneach Odhar) was born 300 years ago in the Highlands of Scotland. He was gifted with "the sight" - an ability to see visions that came unbidden day or night. His prophecies were so impressive that he is still quoted to this day.

These came true

Some of his prophetic visions that have actually come true in the years following his death include:
1. The battle of Culloden (1745), which he uttered at the site, and his words were recorded. "This bleak moor, ere many generations have passed, shall be stained with the best blood in Scotland. Glad I am that I will not see that day."
2. The joining of the lochs in the Great Glen = accomplished by the construction of the Caledonian Canal in the 19th Century.
3. Pointing to a field far from seashore, loch or river, he said that a ship would anchor there one day. The canal did not come near the spot, so folk decided this prophecy must be incorrect until one day in the 1930s an Airship did indeed tie up there.
4. The most impressive of his prophecies concerned the doom of the Mackenzies of Seaforth. You can read about this in the book "Scottish Lore and Folklore" by Ronald Douglas.


We are still waiting for these


1. "One day a black rain will fall on the City of Aberdeen". Optimists hope this refers to the North Sea Oil Fields and the big business it has brought to Aberdeen. Pessimists fear it predicts Nuclear War.
2. "Rome was; London is; Edinburgh will be." This seems to imply that the Scottish Capital City will someday become more important than the British Capital of London.
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The Story of Major Weir, 1670


Major Weir was the last man executed for witchcraft in Scotland in 1670. He lived with his unmarried sister, Grizel, in the West Bow - a Z-shaped street near Edinburgh Castle, "composed of tall antique houses, with numerous dovecot-like gables projecting over the footway, full of old inscriptions and sculpturings, presenting at every few steps some darkest lateral profundity, into which the imagination wanders without hindrance or exhaustion ..." wrote Robert Chambers in Traditions of Edinburgh.

Major Weir was an active member of a strict Protestant sect, and was frequently seen at prayer meetings. He officiated at such meetings - but always leaning on his black walking staff. Robert Chambers described his end as follows:

"After a life characterized by all the graces of devotion, but polluted in secret by crimes of the most revolting nature, and which little needed the addition of wizardry to excite the horror of living men, Major Weir fell into severe sickness, which affected his mind so much, that he made open voluntary confession of all his wickedness. The tale was at first so incredible, that the provost, Sir Andrew Ramsay, refused for some time to take him into custody. At length himself, his sister (partner in his crimes), and his staff, were secured by the magistrates, together with certain sums of money, which were found wrapped in rags in different parts of the house. One of these pieces of rag being thrown into the fire by a bailie who had taken the whole in charge, flew up the chimney, and made an explosion like a cannon.

While the wretched man lay in prison, he made no scruple to disclose the particulars of his guilt, but refused to address himself to the Almighty for pardon. To every request that he would pray, he answered in screams, "Torment me no more - I am tormented enough already!" Even the offer of a Presbyterian clergyman, instead of the established Episcopal minister of the city, had no effect on him.

He was tried April 9, 1670 and being found guilty, was sentenced to be strangled and burnt between Edinburgh and Leith. His sister, who was tried at the same time, was sentenced to be hanged in the Grassmarket. When the rope was around his neck, to prepare him for the fire, he was bid to say, "Lord, be merciful to me!" but he answered, as before, "let me alone - I will not - I have lived as a beast, and I must die as a beast!"

After he had dropped lifeless in the flames, his stick was also cast into the fire; and 'whatever incantation was in it,' says a contemporary writer, 'the persons present own that it gave rare turnings, and was long a-burning, as also himself.'"

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Cineadh Cerr, Kenneth the left-handed
 Domnall Breac, King of Dalraida
  Fearchar Fada, Farquhar the tall
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The West Bow, Edinburgh

Thomas the Rhymer, Brahan Seer, King Arthur 
Aidanus Corbredus Images 
Cineadh Cerr, Kenneth the left-handed
 Domnall Breac, King of Dalraida
  Fearchar Fada, Farquhar the tall
  Solvathius, William Wallace, legends, prophecies, folklore, Scotland, History, King Arthur, Walter Scott, Brahan Seer, Thomas Rhymer, Major 
Weir, Mel Gibson, Robert Bruce, Edinburgh, legends, prophecies, folklore

I lived in the West Bow for several years. To this day, the residents remember the tales of this wizard Major Weir, and can point to the door of his former residence. After his death, neighbours claimed that his ghost was seen on many occasions and mysterious noises and lights came at dead of night from his now-unoccupied lodgings. My first publication in the USA was a short story based on his legend, called "Major Weir's bookcase", it appeared in the magazine Amazing Stories in 1989.

Thomas the Rhymer, Brahan Seer, King Arthur 
Aidanus Corbredus Images 
Cineadh Cerr, Kenneth the left-handed
 Domnall Breac, King of Dalraida
  Fearchar Fada, Farquhar the tall
  Solvathius, William Wallace, legends, prophecies, folklore, Scotland, History, King Arthur, Walter Scott, Brahan Seer, Thomas Rhymer, Major 
Weir, Mel Gibson, Robert Bruce, Edinburgh, legends, prophecies, folklore

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