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The Tales


James Hogg,

The Ettrick Shepherd.



t 7



• 917

. . «

• " I

• *







A Fairy Tale of Old Scotland, ... - . i


The Life Wanderings and Exploits of a Prodigal, - »■ 25


Or, After the Battle of Odlodcn, - - - 66


A Tale of Courtship, ....... jz


A Tale of House Robbery, - ... 77




8 4


Tales Illustrative of Pastoral Occupations, Country Life, and
Superstitions —

No. 1. Rob Dodds, - - •• 87

2. Mr. Adamson of LaverJwpe, 97

j. The School of Misfortune,- - - - • 109

4. George Dobson's Expedition to Hell, - - • • 114

5. The Soutcrs of Selkirk, 120

6. The Laird of Cassway, - - 130

7. The Brow7iie of the Black Haggs, - 142

8. Tibby Hy slops Dream, 150

q. Mary Burnet, 162

10. The Laird of Wincholm, 174

//. Window Wat's Courtship, 184

12. A Strange Secret, 200

1 j. The Marvellous Doctor, • • ■ - - • 219

14. The Witches of Traqucir, - 233

75. Sheep, 245

„ 16. Prayers, 247

„ 77. Odd Characters —

Willo'Phaup, 251

Daft Jock Amos, 256

Willie Candler,:, 258



No. 1 8. Nancy Chisholm, - - 259

„ ig. The Shepherd's Dog, 267


A Tale, 278


A Tale, - - - - -.-. 280


A Tale of Idleness and Intemperance, - - * - - 282




A Border Tale, - - - - - 293


The Fortunes of an Adventurous Scot, • - - - - 299



A Border Tale, 326


A Tale of the Wars of Scotland and England, • - - 357



A Talc of the Wars of Montrose, - - - 460


A Tale, 484


A Tale of the Battle of Phil liphaugh, 4^9





" I HOPE the king will not hunt to-day," said Gale, as he sat down on the top
of the South Eildon, and stretched out his lazy limbs in the sun. "If he keep
within doors to-day with his yelping beagles, I shall have one day's peace
and ease ; and my lambs shall have one day's peace and ease ; and poor
Trimmy shall have one day's peace and ease too. Come hither to me,
Trimmy, and tell me what is the reason that you will not hunt with the
king's two snow-white beagles ? "

Trimmy came near, laid her paw on her master's knee, and looked him in
the face, but she could not tell him what was the reason that she would not
hunt with the king's two beagles, Mooly and Scratch.

" I say, tell me, my good Trimmy, what you ail at these beautiful hounds ?
You wont to be the best follower of a track in all the Merse and Leader ; but
now, whenever you hear the sound of the horn, and the opening swell of the
hounds, you take your tail between your legs and set off for home, as there
were something on the hill that were neither good nor cannie. You are a very
sensible beast, Trimmy, but you have some strange fancies and prejudices
that I cannot comprehend."

Trimmy cocked her ears, and looked towards the Abbey, then at her
master, and then at the Abbey again.

" Ah ! I fear you hear them coming that you are cocking your ears at that
rate. Then, if that be the case, good morning to you, Trimmy."

It was neither the king nor his snow-white beagles that Trimmy winded,
but poor Croudy, Gale's neighbour shepherd, who was coming sauntering
up the brae, with his black lumpish dog at his foot, that was fully as stupid
as himself, and withal as good-natured. Croudy was never lifting his eyes
from the ground, but moving on as if he had been enumerating all the little
yellow flowers that grew on the hill. Yet it was not for want of thought
that Croudy was walking in that singular position, with his body bent for-
ward, and the one ear turned down towards the ground, and the other up.
No, no ! for Croudy was trying to think all that he could ; and all that he
could do he could make nothing of it. Croudy had seen and heard wonderful
things ! " Bless me and my horn ! " said he, as he sat down on a stone to
rest himself, and try if he could bring his thoughts to any rallying point. It
was impossible— they were like a hive of bees when the queen is "taken from
their head.

He took out the little crooked ewe-horn that he kept as a charm ; he had
got it from his mother, and it had descended to him from many generations ;
he turned it round in the one hand, and then round in the other hand— he
put it upon his finger and twirled it. "Bless me an' my horn!" said he
again. Then leaning forward upon his staff, he looked aslant at the ground.
and began to moralize. " It is a growing world— ay— the gerse grows ;
the lambs eat it— they grow— ay— we cat them— we grow— there it goes !—
men, women, dogs, bairns, a' cat— a' grow ; the yird cats up a'— it grows—
what comes o' it?— Hoh! I'm fixed now !— I'm at the end o' mv tether. I
might gang up the hill to Gale, an' tell him what I hae seen an'' what I hae
Vi 'I.. II. ,


heard ; but I hae four -re.it fauts to that chiel. In the first place, he's a fool
- "ood that ! In the second place he's a scholar, an' speaks English— bad !

the thud place, lie likes the women— warst ava !— and fourthly and lastly,
he misca's a the words, and ca's the streamers the Roara Bonawhs— ha!
ha ' ha ! Wha wad converse wi' a man, or wha can converse wi' a man, that
the streamers the Roara Boriawhs? Fools hae aye something about
them no like ither fock ! Now. gin 1 war to gang to sic a man as that, an
tell him that 1 heard a dog speakin', and another dog answering it, what wad
h c sa y ? ; [e v Lish ; sae ane wad get nae sense out o him. If

i v. to the Master o' Seaton, and tak my aith, what wad he say ?

Clap me up i' the prison for a daft man an' a warlock. I couldna bide that.
Then again, if we lose our king -an 1 him the last o' the race— Let me see if I
can calculate what wad be the consequence? The English— Tut ! the
h ' wha cares for them? But let me see now— should the truth be
tauld or no tauld ?— That's the question. What's truth ? Ay, there comes the
crank ' Nae man can tell that- for what's truth to ane is a lee to another—
Mumps, ve're very hard on thae flaes the day— Truth ?— For instance ; gin
my master war to come up the brae to me an' say, ' Croudy, that dog's useless,'
that wadna be truth to me— But gin I war to say to him, ' Master, I heard a
dog speak, an' it said sac an' sae ; an' there was another dog answered it, an'
it said sae an' sac, that wad be truth to me ; but then it wadna be truth to
him- Truth's just as it is ta'en— Now, if a thing may be outher truth or no
truth, then a' things are just the same— No— that disna haud neither —
Mumps, ve're no gaun to leave a sample o' thae flaes the day, man— Look
up, like a farrant beast— have ye nae pity on your master, nor ony thought
about him ava, an' him in sic a plisky ?— I wadna be just sae like a stump an'

I war you. man Bless me an' my 'horn ! here's the Boriawlis comin' on me

— here's the northern light."

" Good-morrow to you, Croudy."

- Humph!"

'• You seem to be very thoughtful and heavy-hearted to-day, honest
Croudy. I fear pretty Pery has given you a bad reception last night."

" Humph ! — women ! — women ! "

" I 'nope she did not mention the Kilnlogie, Croudy ? That was a sad
business ! some men are ill to know ! "

" Sec, whaten white scares are yon, Gale, aboon the Cowdyknowes an'
Gladswood linn ? Look ye, they spread an' tail away a' the gate to the
Lammer-Law — What ca' ye yon, Gale ?"

" Some exhalation of the morning."

•' What ?— Bless me an' my horn ! that's warst ava !— I thought it wad be
some Boriawlis, Gale— some day Boriawlis ; but I didna think o' aught sae
high as this — ha ! ha ! ha ! ha !

Croudy went his way laughing along the side of the hill, speaking to

umps the one while, moralizing about truth and the language of dogs and
fairies another, and always between taking a hearty laugh at Gale. " Come
away, Mumps," said he ; " I can crack some wi' you, though ye're rather slow
i' the uptake ; but I can crack nane wi' a man that ca's the streamers a Roara
Boriawlis, an' a white clud, an Exaltation o' the morning— Na, na, that will
never do."

Crowd y sauntered away down into the Bourgeon to be out of sight, and
Gale went lightsomely away to the top of the north-east Eildon ; and there,
on one of the angles of the old Roman Camp, laid him down to enjoy the
glorious prospect ; and, sure, of all the lovely prospects in our isle, this is the
most lovely. What must it have been in those days when all the ruins of
monastery, tower, and citadel, which still make the traveller to stand in
wonder and admiration, were then in their full splendour. Traveller ! would
you see Scotland in all its wild and majestic grandeur ? sail along its western
tilths from south to north — Would you see that grandeur mellowed by degrees
into softness ? Look from the top of Ben-Lomond — But would you see an


amphitheatre of perfect beauty, where nothing is wanting to enrich the scene?
seat yourself on the spot where Gale now lay, at the angle of the Roman
Camp, on the top of the north-east Eildon.

Short time did he enjoy the prospect and the quiet in which he delighted.
First the heads of two noblemen appeared on the hill beneath him, then came
a roe by him at full speed. Trimmy would fain have hunted her, but as the
shepherd deemed that the business was some way connected with the royal
sport, he restrained her. The two noblemen some time thereafter sounded a
bugle, and then in a moment the king and his attendants left the Abbey at full
speed ; and how beautiful was their winding ascent up the hill ? The king
had betted with the Earl of Hume and Lord Belhaven, seven steers, seven
palfreys, seven deer-greyhounds, and seven gold rings, that his two snow-
white hounds, Mooly and Scratch, would kill a roe-deer started on any part
of the Eildon hills, and leave the Abbey walk with him after she was
started. After the bet was fairly taken, the king said to the two noblemen,
"You are welcome to your loss, my lords. Do you know that I could
bet the half of my realm on the heads of these two hounds ? "

The two lords held their peace, but they were determined to win if they
could, and they did not blow the horn, as agreed on, immediately when the
roe started, but sauntered about, to put off time, and suffer the trail to cool.
The two hounds were brought up, and loosed at the spot ; they scarcely
showed any symptoms of having discovered the scent. The king shook his
head ; and Hume, who loved the joke dearly, jeered the king about his wager,
which his majesty only answered by speaking to one of the hounds that stood
next to him. " Ah ! Mooly, Mooly, if you deceive me, it is the first time ; but
I have another matter to think on than you this morning, Mooly." Mooly
fawned on her royal master ; jumped up at the stirrup, and took his foot play-
fully in her mouth, while Keryl, the king's steed, laid back his ears, and
snapped at her, in a half-angry, half-playful mood. This done, Mooly
turned her long nose to the wind ; scented this way and that way, and then
scampering carelessly over the brow of the hill, she opened in a tone so loud
and so sprightly that it made all the Eildons sound in chorus to the music.
Scratch joined with her elegant treble, and away they went like two wild
swans, sounding over the hill.

' Trimmy ! Trimmy ! my poor Trimmy ! " cried Gale, vexed and
astonished ; " Trimmy, halloo ! hie, hunt the deer, Trimmy ! Here,
here, here ! "

No ; Trimmy would never look over her shoulder, but away she ran with
all her might home to Eildon-Hall, and hid herself in its darkest nook.
;< The plague be in the beast,'' said Gale to himself, " if ever I saw any thing
like that ! There is surely something about these two hounds that is
scarcely right."

Round and round the hills they went, side by side, and still the riders kept
close up with them. The trail seemed to be warm, and the hounds keen, but
yet no deer was to be discovered. They stretched their course to the west-
ward, round Cauldshiclds Hill, back over Bothendean Moor, and again betook
them to the Eildons ; still no deer was to be seen ! The two hounds made a
rapid stretch down towards Melrose ; the riders spurred in the same direction.
The dogs in a moment turning short, went out between the two eastern Hills,
distancing all the riders, whom they left straggling up the steep after them as
they could, and when these came over the height there was a fine roe-deer
lying newly slain, scarce two bow-shots from the Eildon tree, and the two
snow-white hounds panting and rolling themselves on the grass beside her.
The king claimed his wager, but Hume objected, unless his majesty could
prove that it was the same deer that they had started at the same place in the
morning. The king had the greatest number of voices in his favour, but the

I stood to his point. "Is it true, my liege lord," said an ancient knight to
the king, " that these two beautiful hounds have never yet been unleashed with-
out killing their prey ? "


" Never," returned the king.

u And is it equally true," continued the old knight, "that to this day they
]. ive never been seen kill cither roc, deer, or any other creature ? "

"Thai is a most extraordinary circumstance," said the king; "pause
i :il I recollect — No ; I do not know that any eye hath ever yet seen them
1 ike their prey."

'• I heard it averred last night," said the old man, "that if they are kept

hi of for a whole day the deer is never seen, nor do they ever catch any

: and that the moment they get out of sight, there the deer is found

slain, nobody knows how. I took note of it, and I have seen it this day veri-

i i. Pray, is this a fact, my liege ? "

'• 1 never before thought of it, or noted it," said the king ; "but as far as
memory serves me, 1 confess that it has uniformly been as you say."

'• Will your majesty suffer me to examine these two hounds ? " said the old
u. " Methinks there is something very odd about them — Sure there was
i ver any animal on earth had eyes or feet such as they have.

The two beagles kept aloof, and pretended to be winding some game round
Vac top of the hill.

" They will not come now/' said the king : " you shall see them by
and by."

" If consistent with your majesty's pleasure," continued the aged knight,
' where — how — or when did you get these two hounds ? "

" I got them in a most extraordinary way, to be sure ! " replied the king, in
.■ thoughtful and hesitating mood.

" Your majesty does not then choose to say how, or where, or from whom it
was that you had them ? " said the old knight.

The king shook his head.

" I will only simply ask this," continued he; " and I hope there is no offence,
—Is it true that you got these hounds at the very same time that the beautiful
Ellen and Clara of Rosline, were carried off by the fairies ? "

The king started — fixed his eyes upon the ground — raised his hands, and
seemed gasping for breath. All the lords were momentarily in the same pos-
ture ; the query acted on them all like an electrical shock. The old man
seemed to enjoy mightily the effect produced by his insinuations — He drew
still nearer to the king.

" What is it that troubles your majesty ? " said he. " What reflections have
my simple questions raised in your mind? — Your majesty, I am sure, can
have no unpleasant reflections on that score?"

" W r ould to the Virgin Mary that it were even so ! " said the king.

" How is it possible," continued the officious old man, " that any thing re-
lating to two dogs can give your majesty trouble ? Pray tell us all about them
— Who was it you got them from ? "

' I do not know, and if I did "

"' Would you know him again if you saw him ? ''

The king looked at the old man, and held his peace.

'• Did you buy them or borrow them?" continued he.

" Neither ! " was the answer.

' What then did you give in exchange for them?"

" Only a small token."

"And pray, if your majesty pleases, what might that token be ?"

• V ho dares to ask that ? " said the king, with apparent trouble of mind.

•' WOuld you know your pledge again if you saw it ?" said the old man,

•' Who are you, sir?" said the king, proudly, "that dares to question your
sovereign in such a manner ? "

" Who am I ? " said the old man. " That is a good jest ! That is such a
question to ask at one who has scarcely ever been from your side, since you
i first laid in your cradle ! "

" I know the face," said the king, " but all this time I cannot remember


who you are. — My Lord of Hume, do you know who the revcrend'old gentle-
man ' is ? " And in saying this, his majesty turned a little aside with
the earl.

" Do I know who he is ? " said Hume. " Yes, by Saint Lawrence I do — I
know him as well. as I do your majesty. Let me sec — It is very singular that
I cannot recollect his name — I have seen the face a thousand times — Is he

not some abbot, or confessor, or No — Curse me, but I believe he is

the devil ! "

The earl said this in perfect jocularity, because he could not remember the
old man's name ; but when he looked at the king, he perceived that his eyes
were fixed on him in astonishment. The earl's, as by sympathy, likewise
settled by degrees into as much seriousness as they were masters of, and
there the two stood for a considerable time, gazing at one another, like
two statues.

li I was only saying so in jest, my liege," said Hume ; " I did not once
think that the old gentleman was the devil. Why are you thoughtful ? : '

" Because, now when I think of it, he hinted at some things which I am
certain no being on earth knew of, save myself, and another, who cannot pos-
sibly divulge them."

They both turned slowly about at the same instant, curious to take another
look of this mysterious old man ; but when fairly turned round they did not
see him.

" What has become of the old man," said the king, " that spoke to me just
now ? "

" Here, sire ! " said one.

" Here ! " said another.

" Here !" said a third ; all turning at the same time to the spot where the old
man and his horse stood, but neither of them were there.

" How is this ? " said the king, " that you have let him go from among you
without noting it ? "

" He must have melted into air, he and his horse both," said they ; "else
he could not otherwise have left us without being observed."

The king blessed himself in the name of the Holy Virgin, and all the chief
saints in the calendar. The Earl of Hume swore by the greater part of them,
and cursed himself that he had not taken a better look at the devil when he
was so near him, as no one could tell if ever he would have such a chance
again. Douglas said he hoped there was little doubt of that.


THE hunt was now over, and Gale's lambs were all scattered abroad ;
he threw off his coat and tried to gather them, but he soon found that,
without the assistance of Trimmy it was impossible; so he was obliged to
go home and endeavour to persuade her again out to the hill, by telling her
that Mooly and Scratch had both left it. Trimmy then came joyfully, ai 1
performed in half an hour what her master could not have effected before

When he had gotten them all collected, and settled at their food, he wcr.t
away in the evening to seek for his friend Croudy, to have some amusement
with him. He found him lying in a little hollow, conversing with himself, and
occasionally with Mumps, who paid very little attention to what he said. He
now and then testified his sense of the honour intended to him, by giving two
or three soft indolent strokes with his tail upon the ground, but withal neither-
lifted his head nor opened his eyes. Gale addressed his friend Croudy in
a jocular and rallying manner, who took no notice of it, but continued to con-
verse with Mumps.

" Yere nae great gallaunt, after a' now, Mumps. ( mi I had been you. man,
an' had seen sic twa line beasts as Mooly an' Scratch come to our hill, I wad
hae run away to them, an' fiddled about them, an' smelt their noses, an' ki ised
them, an' cockit up my tail on my rigging wi' the best o' them ; but instead o'


that, to tak the pet an' rin away far outbye, an' there sit turning up your nose
an' bow-wooing as ye war a burial-boding ! ooo, man, it is very bairnly like
o e ! Humph ! fools do aye as they are bidden ! Ye're nae fool, Mumps,
for ye seldom do as ye're bidden."

"Tell me, Croudy,"said Gale, "does Mumps really run away in a panic
when he perceives the king's hounds?"

■• Panic when he perceives the king's hounds! Are ye gaun to keep on at
bletherin' English ? Tell me, ye see— for if ye be, I'm gaun to clatter nane

•' I tear Croudy, I have often told you that there is not such a thing as English
and Scotch languages ; the one is merely a modification of the other, a refine-
ment as it were "

" A) . an exaltation like ation ! ation ! I'm sure nae Scot that isna a fool
wad ever let that sound, ation, come out o' his mouth. Mumps, what say ye
tilt .

" But, Croudy, I have news to tell ye that will delight you very much ; only,

ere 1 begin, tell me seriously, " Does your dog really run off when he sees or

i the king's two white hounds ?"

" Really he does — Is that ony wonder ? D'ye think Mumps sic a fool as no

to ken a witch by a brute beast? A changed creature frae a real creature ?

A spirit frae a substance ? "

•■ What do you mean to insinuate, Croudy ?"
■ iinuate— -What's that?"

" I mean, what would you infer when you talk of witches and changed
creatines ? I have some strange doubts about these dogs myself."
•• Can you keep a secret ? "
" Yes, if it is worth keeping."

" At ony rate, swear that if ever you do tell it, it's not to be told in English.

ae o' your awlis's an' ositys an' ations in it. Gale, I hae the maist wonderfu'

to tell ye that ever happened sin' Ximrod first gaed out to the hunting wi'

a bull-dog an' a pouchiu' of stanes. Ye see yesterday at morn, when the hunt

in, I clamb up into the Eildon tree, an' haid mysel' amang the very thickest

aves, where I could see every thing, but naething could see me. I saw

the twa white hounds a' the gate, but nae appearance of a deer ; an' aye they

came nearer an' nearer to me, till at last I saw a bonny, braw, young lady, a'

clad i' white, about a hunder paces frae me, an' she was aye looking back an'

rinning as gin she wantit to be at the Eildon Tree. When she saw the hounds

nin on hard behind her, she cried out ; but they soon o'ertook her, threw

down, an' tore her, an' worried her ; an' I heard her makin' a noise as gin

she had been laughin' ae while an' singin' another, an' O I thought her sa

sweet. Wcel, this scene, sae contrair to a' nature, didna end here, for I
heard the tae dog sayin' to the tither, in plain language — " Wha's this has
been the deer to-day ? ' And it answered again an' said, ' Lady Marion of
Coomsley, ye may see by her goud rings ; she is the twenty-third, and our
task will soon be dune."

' Can ye tell me, sister, if the wicked deed will be done ? — Will the king die
to-night ? '

'The poison's distill'd, and the monk is won,
And to-night I fear it will be done.
Hush ! — hush ! — we arc heard an' seen ;
Wae to the ears, and wae to the een ! '

' ; An wi' that, they rowed themsels on the bonny corpse ; and when I lookit

, tl re was a fine, plump, bausined roe-deer lying, an' the blude streamin'

her side."

" Now, Croudy, of all the talcs I ever heard, that is the most improbable

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