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Dun Torvaig

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


A relative of Donald Murchison, who was employed as a herd boy on the farm of Scorybreck, fell asleep on a hill known as Dun Torvaig. Awaking from a heavy sleep, he found himself surrounded by fairies, and was a delighted spectator of their feasting and dancing. Meanwhile, in his home, he was mourned for as dead, and sad funeral feasts and loud wailing (and the latter is most heartrending) filled the house. What was the astonishment of the mourners when he arrived home, safe and well. Three weeks had elapsed, but he refused to believe it, and said, "It was the fine long sleep I had, but who would be sleeping the three weeks? It was but half a day I was after sleeping." He was safe and well certainly but never again the same lad, for he was ever distraught in manner, and ever sighing for the joys of the fairy-haunted Dun.
p203 in
Folk-Lore of the Isle of Skye
Mary Julia MacCulloch
Folklore, Vol. 33, No. 2. (Jun. 30, 1922), pp. 201-214.

Donald was one of Mary's informants - he did her garden for her and was the local postie. He had "the magnificent salary of four shillings a week [and] could read English and was fond of reading." When she went round his house for tea (she was "served with a courtesy worthy of a ducal palace") she couldn't help noting that his hearth was in the centre of the room and the cows were eating just through a door in the kitchen. I kind of feel she mentions these things to prove he's 'one of the folk' to her readers, rather than marvelling at the quaint way he lives.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
2nd May 2007ce

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