It is popularly said that Lord Soulis, "the evil hero of Hermitage," in an unguarded moment made a compact with the devil, who appeared to him in the shape of a spirit wearing a red cap, which gained its hue from the blood of human victims in which it was steeped. Lord Soulis sold himself to the demon, and in return he was permitted to summon his familiar, whenever he was desirous of doing so, by rapping thrice on an iron chest, the condition being that he never looked in the direction of the spirit. But one day, whether wittingly or not has never been ascertained, he failed to comply with this stipulation, and his doom was sealed. But even then the foul fiend kept the letter of the compact. Lord Soulis was protected by an unholy charm against any injury from rope or steel; hence cords could not bind him, and steel could not slay him. But when at last he was delivered over to his enemies, it was found necessary to adopt the ingenious and effective expedient of rolling him up in a sheet of lead, and boiling him to death, and so:Strange Pages from Family Papers, by T. F. Thiselton Dyer (1895).
On a circle of stones they placed the pot,
On a circle of stones but barely nine;
They heated it red and fiery hot
And the burnished brass did glimmer and shine.
They rolled him up in a sheet of lead--
A sheet of lead for a funeral pall;
They plunged him into the cauldron red
And melted him, body, lead, bones and all.
This was the terrible end of the body of Lord Soulis, but his spirit is supposed to still linger on the scene. And once every seven years he keeps tryst with Red Cap on the scene of his former devilries.
And still when seven years are o'er
Is heard the jarring sound
When hollow opes the charmèd door
Of chamber underground.
Online at Project Gutenberg
Posted by Rhiannon
31st October 2006ce
Edited 1st November 2006ce