Rory Macgillivray





Once upon a time a tenant in the neighbourhood of Cairngorm, in

Strathspey, emigrated with his family and cattle to the forest of

Glenavon, which is well known to be inhabited by many fairies as well as

ghosts. Two of his sons being out late one night in search of some of

their sheep which had strayed, had occasion to pass a fairy turret, or

dwelling, of very large dimensions; and what was their astonishment on

observing streams of the most refulgent light shining forth through

innumerable crevices in the rock--crevices which the sharpest eye in the

country had never seen before. Curiosity led them towards the turret,

when they were charmed by the most exquisite sounds ever emitted by a

fiddle-string, which, joined to the sportive mirth and glee accompanying

it, reconciled them in a great measure to the scene, although they knew

well enough the inhabitants of the nook were fairies. Nay, overpowered

by the enchanting jigs played by the fiddler, one of the brothers had

even the hardihood to propose that they should pay the occupants of the

turret a short visit. To this motion the other brother, fond as he was

of dancing, and animated as he was by the music, would by no means

consent, and he earnestly desired his brother to restrain his curiosity.

But every new jig that was played, and every new reel that was danced,

inspired the adventurous brother with additional ardour, and at length,

completely fascinated by the enchanting revelry, leaving all prudence

behind, at one leap he entered the "Shian." The poor forlorn brother was

now left in a most uncomfortable situation. His grief for the loss of a

brother whom he dearly loved suggested to him more than once the

desperate idea of sharing his fate by following his example. But, on the

other hand, when he coolly considered the possibility of sharing very

different entertainment from that which rang upon his ears, and

remembered, too, the comforts and convenience of his father's fireside,

the idea immediately appeared to him anything but prudent. After a long

and disagreeable altercation between his affection for his brother and

his regard for himself, he came to the resolution to take a middle

course, that is, to shout in at the window a few remonstrances to his

brother, which, if he did not attend to, let the consequences be upon his

own head. Accordingly, taking his station at one of the crevices, and

calling upon his brother three several times by name, as use is, he

uttered the most moving pieces of elocution he could think of, imploring

him, as he valued his poor parents' life and blessing, to come forth and

go home with him, Donald Macgillivray, his thrice affectionate and

unhappy brother. But whether it was the dancer could not hear this

eloquent harangue, or, what is more probable, that he did not choose to

attend to it, certain it is that it proved totally ineffectual to

accomplish its object, and the consequence was that Donald Macgillivray

found it equally his duty and his interest to return home to his family

with the melancholy tale of poor Rory's fate. All the prescribed

ceremonies calculated to rescue him from the fairy dominion were resorted

to by his mourning relatives without effect, and Rory was supposed lost

for ever, when a "wise man" of the day having learned the circumstance,

discovered to his friends a plan by which they might deliver him at the

end of twelve months from his entry.



"Return," says the Duin Glichd to Donald, "to the place where you lost

your brother a year and a day from the time. You will insert in your

garment a Rowan Cross, which will protect you from the fairies'

interposition. Enter the turret boldly and resolutely in the name of the

Highest, claim your brother, and, if he does not accompany you

voluntarily, seize him and carry him off by force--none dare interfere

with you."



The experiment appeared to the cautious contemplative brother as one that

was fraught with no ordinary danger, and he would have most willingly

declined the prominent character allotted to him in the performance but

for the importunate entreaty of his friends, who implored him, as he

valued their blessing, not to slight such excellent advice. Their

entreaties, together with his confidence in the virtues of the Rowan

Cross, overcame his scruples, and he at length agreed to put the

experiment in practice, whatever the result might be.



Well, then, the important day arrived, when the father of the two sons

was destined either to recover his lost son, or to lose the only son he

had, and, anxious as the father felt, Donald Macgillivray, the intended

adventurer, felt no less so on the occasion. The hour of midnight

approached when the drama was to be acted, and Donald Macgillivray,

loaded with all the charms and benedictions in his country, took mournful

leave of his friends, and proceeded to the scene of his intended

enterprise. On approaching the well-known turret, a repetition of that

mirth and those ravishing sounds, that had been the source of so much

sorrow to himself and family, once more attracted his attention, without

at all creating in his mind any extraordinary feelings of satisfaction.

On the contrary, he abhorred the sounds most heartily, and felt much

greater inclination to recede than to advance. But what was to be done?

Courage, character, and everything dear to him were at stake, so that to

advance was his only alternative. In short, he reached the "Shian," and,

after twenty fruitless attempts, he at length entered the place with

trembling footsteps, and amidst the brilliant and jovial scene the not

least gratifying spectacle which presented itself to Donald was his

brother Rory earnestly engaged at the Highland fling on the floor, at

which, as might have been expected, he had greatly improved. Without

losing much time in satisfying his curiosity by examining the quality of

the company, Donald ran to his brother, repeating, most vehemently, the

words prescribed to him by the "wise man," seized him by the collar, and

insisted on his immediately accompanying him home to his poor afflicted

parents. Rory assented, provided he would allow him to finish his single

reel, assuring Donald, very earnestly, that he had not been half an hour

in the house. In vain did the latter assure him that, instead of half an

hour, he had actually remained twelve months. Nor would he have believed

his overjoyed friends when his brother at length got him home, did not

the calves, now grown into stots, and the new-born babes, now travelling

the house, at length convince him that in his single reel he had danced

for a twelvemonth and a day.





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