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

Loch St Clair

Chambered Cairn


This small circle of 6 stones could be (according to the RCAHMS record) the remains of a chambered cairn, from which the small stones have been robbed. There are a number of similar monuments in this area, overlooked by Bheinn Tangabhal - so you can bet one of them is the setting for the following story:

There was a woman in Baile Thangusdail*, and she was out seeking a couple of calves; and the night and lateness caught her, and there came rain and tempest, and she was seeking shelter. She went to a knoll with the couple of calves, and she was striking a tether-peg into it. The knoll opened. She heard a gleegashing as if a pot-hook were clashing beside a pot. She took wonder, and she stopped striking the tether-pig. A woman put out her head and all above her middle, and she said, "What business hast thou to be troubling this tulman in which I make my dwelling?" "I am taking care of this couple of calves, and I am but weak. Where shall I go with them?" "Thou shalt go with them to that breast down yonder. Thou wilt see a tuft of grass. If thy couple of calves eat that tuft of grass, thou wilt not be a day without a milk cow as long as thou art alive, because thou hast taken my counsel."

As she said, she never was without a milk cow after that, and she was alive fourscore and fifteen years after the night she was there.
* Now 'Tangasdal', I assume. 'Tulman' sounds suspiciously like 'dolmen', or perhaps that's coincidence? Perhaps someone local knows of this term. The story goes to show that you should be polite to people who live in grassy mounds - the woman lived to a great age in addition to her luck with livestock.

From "Scottish Fairy and Folk Tales" by Sir George Douglas [1901]. Online version at the excellent 'Sacred Texts Archive':
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
16th November 2005ce

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