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Smoo Cave

Cave / Rock Shelter


The legends of Donald-Duival McKay, the Wizard of the Reay country.
Donald-Duival learned the black art in Italy. The devil sat in the professor's chair of that school, and at the end of each term he claimed as his own the last scholar. One day as they broke up there was a regular scramble, for none wished to be the last. Donald-Duival really was so; but, just as Satan snatched at him, Donald-Duival, pointing to his own shadow, which fell behind him, cried, "Take then the hindmost!" and his shadow being seized, he himself escaped. When he returned to Scotland he was never seen to have a shadow.

Donald went one day to meet his old master in the great Cave of Smoo. They had a violent quarrel, and Donald fled: the print of his horse's hoofs may be seen there to this day. But Donald was himself very cruel, and a ring may also be seen to which at low water he fastened his victims, who of course were drowned by the rising tide. [..]

Donald once explored the Cave of Smoo. Having penetrated further than any man had ever gone, he heard a voice cry, "Donald, Donald-Duival! return!" Undaunted, however, he pushed on till he came to a large cask. In this he bored a hole, and out of it, to his surprise, there jumped a little man about an inch and a half long. Surprise grew to terror when this creature gradually assumed colossal proportions, and addressed him as follows: "Donald, did you ever see so great a wonder?" "Never, by my troth," replied the wizard; "but wert thou to shrink again, that would be a bigger wonder still." The giant grinned assent, and, after diminishing to a span, was simple enough to jump into the cask, which Donald closed immediately, and then left the cave much quicker than he had entered it.
From The Folk-Lore of Sutherland-Shire, by Miss Dempster, in The Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. 6, No. 3. (1888), pp. 149-189.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
30th September 2006ce
Edited 30th September 2006ce

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