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He roar'd a horrid murder-shout,
In dreadfu' desperation ! An' young
an' auld came rinnin out To hear the sad narration : He swoor 'twas hilchin Jean M‘Craw,
Or crouchie Merran Humphie, Till stop! she trotted thro' them a’; An' wha was it but Grumphie
Asteer that night!
Meg fain wad to the burn gane
To win three wechts o' naething?? ; But for to meet the deil her lane,
She pat but little faith in: She gies the herd a pickle nits,
And twa red-cheekit apples, To watch, while for the barn she sets, In hopes to see Tam Kipples
That vera night.
She turns the key wi' cannie thraw,
An' owre the threshold ventures; But first on Sawnie gies a ca',
Syne bauldly in she enters; A ratton rattled up the wa',
An’ she cried, L-d preserve her! An' ran thro' midden-hole an'a', An' pray'd wi' zeal an’ fervour, Fu’ fast that night.
They hoy't out Will, wi' sair advice;
They hetcht him some fine braw ane; It chanc'd the stack he faddom'd thrice"3
Was timmer-propt for thrawin: He taks a swirlie auld moss-oak.
For some black, grousome carlin; An' loot a winze, an' drew a stroke, Till skin in blypes came haurlin
Aff's nieves that night.
A wanton widow Leezie was,
As canty as a kittlen;
She got a fearfu' settlin!
An' owre the hill gaed scrievin,
Was bent that night.
Whyles owre a linn the burnie plays,
As thro' the glen it wimpl't; Whyles round a rocky scar it strays;
Whyles in a wiel it dimpl't; Whyles glitter'd to the nightly rays,
Wi' bickering, dancing dazzle; Whyles cookit underneath the braes, Below the spreading hazel,
Unseen that night.
Amang the brachens, on the brae,
Between her an' the moon,
Gat up an' gae a croon:
Near lav'rock height she jumpit,
Wi' a plunge that night.
In order, on the clean hearth-stane,
The luggies three "s are ranged,
To see them duly changed :
Sin Mar's year did desire,
In wrath that night.
Wi' merry sangs, an' friendly cracks,
I wat they didna weary;
Their sports were cheap an' cheery;
Set a' their gabs a steerin; Syne, wi' a social glass o' strunt, They parted aff careerin
Fu' blythe that night.
| Halloween is thought to be a night when witches, devils, and other mischief-making beings, are all abroad on their baneful, midnight errands; particularly those aerial people, the fairies, are said on that night to hold a grand anniversary.
2 Certain little, romantic, rocky, green hills, in the neighbourhood of the ancient seat of the Earls of Cassilis.
3 A noted cavern near Colean-house, called the Cove of Colean which, as Cassilis Downans, is famed in country story for being a favourite haunt of fairies.
4 The famous family of that name, the ancestors of Robert, the great deliverer of his country, were Earls of Carrick.
5 The first ceremony of Halloween is, pulling each a stock, or plant of kail. They must go out, hand in hand, with eyes shut, and puli the first they meet with : Its being big or little, straight or crooked, is prophetic of the size and shape of the grand object of all their spellsthe husband or wife. If any yird, or earth, stick to the root, that is tocher, or fortune; and the taste of the custóc, that is, the heart of the stem, is indicative of the natural temper and disposition. Lastly, the stems, or, to give them their ordinary appellation, the runts, are placed somewhere above the head of the door; and the christian names of the people whom chance brings into the house, are, according to the priority of placing the runts, the names in question.
6 They go to the barn-yard, and pull each, at three several times, a stalk of oats. If the third stalk wants the top-pickle, that is, the grain at the top of the stalk, the party in question will come to the marriagebed any thing but a maid.
7 When the corn is in a doubtful state, by being too green, or wet, the stack-builder, by means of old timber, &c., makes a large apartment in his stack, with an opening in the side which is fairest exposed to the wind : this he calls a fause-house.
8 Burning the nuts is a famous charm. They name the lad and lass to each particular nut, as they lay them in the fire, and accordingly as they burn quietly together, or start from beside one another, the course and issue of the courtship will be.
9 Whoever would, with success, try this spell, must strictly observe these directions : Steal out, all alone, to the kiln, and darkling, throw into the pot a clue of blue yarn; wind it in a new clue off the old one; and, towards the latter end, something will hold the thread; demand, whá hauds ? i. e. who holds? an answer will be returned from the kiln-pot, by naming the christian and surname of your future spouse.
10 Take a 'candle, and go alone to a looking-glass; eat an apple before it, and some traditions say, you should comb your hair all the time; the face of your conjugal companion, to be, will be seen in the glass, as if peeping over your shoulder.
11 Steal out unperceived, and sow a handful of hemp-seed; harrowing it with any thing you can conveniently draw after you. Repeat now and then, 'Hemp-seed, I saw thee, hemp-seed, I saw thee; and him (or her) that is to be my true love, come after me and pou thee.' Look over your left shoulder, and you will see the appearance of the person invoked, in the attitude of pulling hemp. Some traditions say,
come after me, and shaw thee,' that is, show thyself: in which case it simply appears. Others omit the harrowing, and say,
come after me, and harrow thee.'
12 This charm must likewise be performed unperceived, and alone. You go to the barn, and open both doors, taking them off the hinges, if possible; for there is danger that the being, about to appear, may shut the doors, and do you some mischief. Then take that instrument used in winnowing the corn, which, in our country dialect, we call a wecht; and go through all the attitudes of letting down corn against the wind. Repeat it three times; and the third time an apparition will pass through the barn, in at the windy door, and out at the other, having both the figure in question, and the appearance or retinue, marking the employment or station in life.
13 Take an opportunity of going, unnoticed, to a Bearstack, and fathom it three times round. The last fathom of the last time, you will catch in your arms the appearance of your future conjugal yokefellow.
14 You go ont, one or more (for this is a social spell), to a south running spring or rivalet, where three lairds' lands meet,' and dip your left shirt sleeve. Go to bed in sight of a fire, and hang your wet sleeve before it to dry. Lie awake; and some time near midnight, an apparition, having the exact figure of the grand object in question, will come and turn the sleeve, as if to dry the other side of it.
15 Take three dishes; put clean water in one, foul water in another, leave the third empty: blindfold a person, and lead him to the hearth where the dishes are ranged; he (or she) dips the left hand : if by chance in the clean water, the future husband or wife will come to the bar of matrimony a maid: if in the foul, a widow: if in the empty dish, it foretells, with equal certainty, no marriage at all. It is repeated three times, and every time the arrangement of the dishes is altered.
16 Sowens, with butter instead of milk to them, is always the Hal. loween Supper.