It is singular how tradition, which is sometimes a sure guide to truth, is in other cases prone to mislead us. In the celebrated field of battle at Killiecrankie the traveller is struck with one of those rugged pillars of rough stone which indicate the scenes of ancient conflict.
A friend of the author, well acquainted with the circumstances of the battle, was standing near this large stone, and looking on the scene around, when a Highland shepherd hurried down from the hill to offer his services as cicerone, and proceeded to inform him that Dundee was slain at that stone, which was raised to his memory. ' Fie, Donald ! ' answered my friend; 'how can you tell such a story to a stranger: I am sure you know well enough that Dundee was killed at a considerable distance from this place, near the house of Fascally, and that the stone was here long before the battle, in 1688.'
' Oich ! oich !' said Donald, no way abashed: 'and your honour's in the right, and I see ye ken a' about it. And he wasna killed on the spot neither, but lived till the next morning; but a' the Saxon gentlemen like best to hear he was killed at the great stane.'
Further proof that those rural working class types weren't as daft as the country gentlemen seemed to think sometimes. From the Appendix of Sir Walter Scott's 'Abbot', which is online at Project Gutenberg here: http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext04/abbot10.txt
This stone's alternative name is "Claverhouse's Stone" from a tale that this is where John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount of Dundee ("Bonnie Dundee" in the old songs) fell following the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689, where Highland forces who fought for King James prevailed over the army of William of Orange. It was also the last time that the famed 'Highland Charge' worked in battle. Dundee was shot and mortally wounded, and a legend grew up that he died beside the stone. Seton Gordon's 'Highways and Byways in the Central Highlands' tells us:
As he fell heavily from his noble dun-coloured horse and lay upon the ground, his life ebbing fast, he asked "How fares the fight?" He was told "The day goes well for the King, but I am sorry for your Lordship." Dundee then whispered his last words, "It matters less for me, seeing that the day goes well for my master."