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Stone of Odin

Holed Stone (Destroyed)


At some distance from the semicircle to the right stands a stone by itself, eight feet high, three broad, and nine inches thick, with a round hole on the side next the lake. The original design of this hole was unknown till, about twenty years ago, it was discovered by the following circumstance: a young man had seduced a girl under promise of marriage, and she, proving with child, was deserted by him. The young man was called before the session; the elders were particularly severe. Being asked by the minister the cause of so much rigour, they answered, You do not know what a bad man this is, he has broke the promise of Odin. Being further asked what they meant by the promise of Odin, they put him in mind of the stone at Stenhouse with a round hole in it, and added that it was customary when promises were made, for the contracting parties to join hands through the hole, and the promises so made were called the promises of Odin.
This is from Principal Gordon's "Remarks made in a Journey to the Orkney Islands" in 1781. It's online here, in Archaeologia Scotica
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
27th January 2007ce
Edited 16th June 2007ce

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