The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

The Standing Stones of Stenness

Stone Circle

Folklore

Tales From Eynhallow by Thelma Nicol

STANDING STONES

Mammy! Mammy!” Whut wey did that big stones git there?” Peedie Davo tugged at his mother’s sleeve. His mother was tired of Davo’s never ending questions about the great pieces of stone that formed the familiar landscape by the Loch of Stenness she promised, that if he was good she would tell him at bedtime, hoping that by that time he would have forgotten. She had not reckoned with peedie Davo’s determination to get an answer to his question.

“You promised Mammy,” he whispered as she tucked him up in bed. “Whut wey did they git there?” His mother shook her head and sat down wearily on the stool by his bedside. “Weel,” she began, “hid wis a long time ago and I canna mind the rights o’ hid bit hid wis afore the Norsemen cam tae Orkney, so they must be thoosands o’ years ould.”

“Oulder than Grandad?” Davo enquired, looking across the lobby where his Grandfather drowsed by the fire in the kitchen.

“Oh yass, far oulder than Grandad. There wisna many folk bade in Orkney at the time. All the folk lived doon sooth thoo see’s. They say that t he standing stones reach doon intae the grund twice as far as they stand abune hid .”

“Whut wey did they git doon there then I winder?” Peedie Davo’s enquiry into the origin of the Standing Stones of Stenness was proving to be more of a problem than his mother had ever imagined.

“Well,” she struggled on, “shut thee eyes like a good boy noo, and I’ll tell thee.” With fingers crossed that he would soon fall asleep she began. “Hid wis a midsummer’s night . The day hid been hot an quiet, not the usual breezy kind o’ wither that we usually hiv in June. The sky wis somet imes owercast and a rumble o’ thunder cam fae the direction o’ Hoy. There wis great flashes o’ lightning. A’ the birds wir quiet and the twa three folk that lived aboot hands wir huddled taegither. The bairns were a sleepan snug and warm under thir sealskin blankets.”

Peedie Davo’s mother paused and glanced hopefully at her small son. “Did the thunder come again Mammy?” he asked.?

“Oh yass,” she answered. “More thunder and rain like they have niver seen the like o’ afore or since. Suddenly there wis a great flash o’ lightning and the grund roond aboot Stenness wis thrown up like hid wis an earthquake. Some o’ the big stones landed upright and the grund fell back and filled up the holes except whar the Loch is noo. It filled up wae the rain water and so there’s been a loch there ever since and nobody’s ever bothered tae shift the stones so they are still there too. The twa three folk that hid lived in Stenness at that time wir thrown up in the air bit they landed in Stromness and decided to stay there. And that‘s the weyt here’s more folk in Stromness than in Stenness.”

There was a gentle snore from the bed and a sigh from peedie Davo’s mother as she whispered: “Whit a lot o’ lees thee mither tells thee Davo. Bit the truth is she disno ken whut wey the stones cam tae be there and nither dis anybody else. Goodnight Davo!”
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
19th June 2017ce
Edited 19th June 2017ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment