It is amazing what you stumble across when researching tales which can be told to an appreciative audience.
The weather has been cold enough lately to gather round a warm fireside and with the flames flickering in the hearth, tell a few tales to amuse and perhaps raise the hairs on the back of the necks of the listeners.
Last week we visited the village of Barr nestling quietly in a bowl of hills and realised that it is perhaps not as innocent as it first appears. There is the tale of the Laird of Changue who was quite a character and enjoyed a life of roistering pleasure so much that he quickly found himself deep in debt. To solve his problems he made a pact with the devil that he would in exchange for great wealth give up his immortal soul at an appropriate time. The devil kept his word and the Laird became very wealthy but refused to keep his side of the bargain when the devil came calling. The two fought a great battle on a hill above Changue, finally the Laird with his sword cut a ring around him and holding up a bible challenged the devil to enter the ring. The devil recognised that he was at last beaten, retired leaving the Laird to enjoy his wealth and die happy, but where his soul went on-one knows. The devil’s footprints can still be seen on that hill, so make a point of visiting the site when next in that area.
Nowadays the art of the tattooist has become quite popular and there are very few sportsmen who do not proudly show off their body decorations when entering the field of play. So now we come to Hector Lindsay who ran away from his home in Granton, Edinburgh in the late 1800s to travel the world in search of adventure. He described his experiences in a book entitled ‘Jungle Lindsay’ written in 1936 in which he described being in a group captured by a tribe of cannibals in West Africa. One by one the members of the party succumbed to the appetites of their captors, but when they came to Hector they stopped and bowed their heads in awe to him for all the tattoos he had allover his body. Hector became some kind of icon to them and was adopted into the tribe where he lived for several years. He finally managed to escape and return home to Edinburgh. Now if I can recall correctly, in Edinburgh you may be fleeced but not eaten, so presumably Hector lived out the rest of his days peacefully without the necessity of eating human flesh or being eaten.
Well hope to see you next week with more tales ...