There was a man who lived not very far from John o’ Groat’s house, he lived in a little cottage by the sea-shore, and made his living by catching seals and selling their fur, which is very valuable.
He earned a good deal of money in this way, for these creatures used to come out of the sea in large numbers, and lie on the rocks near his house basking in the sunshine, so that it was not difficult to creep up behind them and kill them.
Some of those seals were larger than others, and the country people used to call them “Roane,” and whisper that they were not seals at all, but Mermen and Merwomen, who came from a country of their own, far down under the ocean, who assumed this strange disguise in order that they might pass through the water, and come up to breathe the air of this earth of ours.
But the seal catcher only laughed at them, and said that those seals were most worth killing, for their skins were so big that he got an extra price for them.
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Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide.
As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them.
In 2009, STV ran a television series and public vote on who was “The Greatest Scot”. On St Andrew’s Day, STV announced that Robert Burns had been voted the greatest Scot of all time, narrowly beating William Wallace.
On 25th January, to celebrate his birth Scots (and others) around the world celebrate his life and works with a Burns Supper.
The main dish is haggis, served with neeps (turnip or swede) and tatties (potatoes) and perhaps the odd shot of whisky.
The arrival of the dish is announced by one of Burns’ most famous poems.
Address to a Haggis Read more »
Thomas, of Erceldoune, in Lauderdale, called the Rhymer, on account of his producing a poetical romance on the subject of Tristrem and Yseult, which is curious as the earliest specimen of English verse known to exist, flourished in the reign of Alexander III. of Scotland. Like other men of talent of the period, Thomas was suspected of magic. He was also said to have the gift of prophecy, which was accounted for in the following peculiar manner, referring entirely to the Elfin superstition.
Thomas meets the Queen of Elfland
As Thomas lay on Huntly Bank, he saw a beautiful lady riding by the Eildon Tree. Her skirts were of green silk like the leaves of spring and she wore a cloak of fine velvet. Thirty-nine silver bells hung from her horse’s mane, which were music to the wind as she paced along. Her saddle was of ivory, inlaid with fine jewels and gold thread. The fair huntress had her bow in hand, and her arrows at her belt. She led three greyhounds in a leash, and three raches, or hounds of scent, followed her closely.
Thomas pulled off his cap and dropped to his knee exclaiming “You must be Mary, Queen of Heaven! For thy peer on earth I never did see.”
“No Thomas,” she said, “That name does not belong to me, I am but the Queen of Elfland come to visit you. Should you dare to kiss my lips you will belong to me.”
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