The washer-woman

27 Jan

On a certain night, a handsome young man was going to visit his sweetheart at Houghgeary, near Uist, and, as was his usual custom, he took all the shortest cuts. When he was nearing the house, he saw a lovely woman whom he did not recognise. Immediately he turned and took a winding path amongst the houses in order to avoid her, but however he might keep out of the way, she was always before him. At last he stopped, and she came face to face with him, and said she, “I know very well where you are going, but it is much better for you to turn, the day will not come when you will marry her. Before a year is out, you will be drowned, when it is half-tide at Sgeir Ròis.”

Almost before the words were out of her mouth, she shrieked, and went to the stream with the shroud. The lad went on his way sick at heart, but, on thinking over the matter, he said to himself he need not be at all afraid, as the washer had said that he would be drowned at half-tide, and why should he not avoid the place at that time? He thought no more about it. A few weeks afterwards the lad, with three or four others, went to a wedding, and as a short cut took to the ford. A mist came on, and one of them was lost. It need not be said that at that time it was half-tide at Sgeir Ròis, and that the lost one was he who had seen the washer.

From: E.C Watson, Highland Mythology, in The Celtic Review Volume 5, 1909, pp48-70.

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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Uncategorized


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