By Grace Banks
The folklore of the North East presents a wealthy tapestry for the stories inside of; from Celtic and Pictish origins meet witches, selkies, smugglers, fairies, monsters, despicable rogues, riddles and heroes. Tragic occasions, spellbinding characters, humour, romance and shrewdpermanent minds are certain jointly through well-established storytellers dwelling and dealing within the urban and shire of Aberdeen. a number of the stories during this assortment are in keeping with historic truth whereas others are embedded in fable and legend. the entire tales are set opposed to the backdrop of this attractive and sundry panorama.
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When I’m deid and in my grave, I’ll fin peace and I’ll fin rest When I’m deid and in my grave, then I’ll fin my rest Then I’ll tak a lang, lang sleep, then I’ll get my rest Then I’ll tak a lang, lang sleep, then I’ll get my rest! A favourite over-wintering campsite for the Deeside travelling folk was the Pass o’ Ballater, around three quarters of a mile from the village. The road through the pass runs from Milton of Tullich to the Bridge of Gairn, about 2 miles in length, and passes between the oak woods of Craigendarroch (hill of the oaks), which rises to 1,250ft on the left, and Creag an t-Seabhaig (Cliff of the Falcon) on the right.
He fled down the hill, half tumbling, half sliding, taking shortcuts over the snowy hills the coach could not drive over, not stopping till he reached the pass. There, at the foot of Craigendarroch, was a strange, red, angry glow … the Evening Star was alight and burning, and his family with it. Sobbing and wailing, his heart hammering so hard it was like to fly out of his ribs, he rushed towards the inferno. Imagine his joy to find them cowering under the trees, but safe! ’ he cried. ’ ‘No, laddie, he never leaves a place empty-handed.
I learned that my father had an affair as a young man with a Ritchie girl, and my half-brother was the result. His mother sailed off to Newfoundland, and left him behind with her parents and sisters to bring up. When we eventually met, it was very emotional, the more so when he told me his happiest childhood days were spent at the farm of Mill o’ Sterin with his aunt Connie Fraser. How often I must have passed my brother’s door! In the brief time we shared together before he died, we discovered we both knew the legend of Strathgirnoch, he from his grandparents, and myself from ‘The Legends of the Braes o’ Mar’ by John Grant.
Aberdeenshire Folk Tales by Grace Banks