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An' he swoor by his conscience,
For it was a' but nonsense ;
An' out a handfu' gied him ;
An' try't that night.
Tho' he was something sturtin ;
An' haurls at his curpin :
“Hemp-seed, I saw thee,
As fast this night."
To keep his courage cheary ;
He was sae fley'd an eerie : Till presently he hears a squeak,
An' then a grane an' gruntle ; He by his shouther gae a keek, . An' tumbl'd wi' a wintle
Out-owre that night.
then, “Hemp-seed, I saw thee, hemp-seed, I saw thee; and him (or her) that is to be my true-love, come after me and pou thee.”
Look over your left shoulder, and you will see the appearance of the person invoked, in the attitude of pulling hemp. Some traditions
say, come after shaw thee,” that is, show thyself; in which case it simply appears.
Others omit the harrowing, "come after me, and haitow thee."
In dreadfu' desperation !
An' hear the sad narration:
Or crouchie Merran Humphie,
Asteer that night!
XXI. Meg fain wad to the barn gaen,
To win three wechts o' naething* ; But for to meet the deil her lane,
She pat but little faith in :
An' twa red cheekit apples,
That vera night.
An' owre the threshold ventures;
Syne bauldly in she enters :
* This charm must likewise be performed, unperceived, and alone. You go to the barn, and open both doors, taking them off the hinges, if possible ; for there is danger, that the being, about to appear, may shut the doors, and do you some mischief. Then take that instrument used in winnowing the corn, which, in our country dialect, we call a wecht; and go through all the attitudes of letting down corn against the wind. Repeat it three times; and the third time, an apparition will pass through the barn, in at the windy door, and out at the other, having both the figure in question, and the appearance or retinue, marking the employment or station in life.
A ratton rattled up the wa',
An’ she cry'd L-d preserve her! An' ran thro'midden-hole an'a', An' pray'd wi' zeal and fervour,
Fu' fast that night.
They hecht him some fine braw ane :
Was timmer-propt for thrawin; He taks a swirlie, auld moss-oak,
For some black, grousome carlin; An' loot a winze, an' drew a stroke, 'Till skin in blypes came haurlin
Aff's nieves that night.
As canty as a kittlen;
She got a fearfu' settlin !
An' owre the hill gaed scrievin,
Was bent that night.
* Take an opportunity of going, unnoticed, to a bear-siack, and fathom it three times round. The last fathom of the last time, you will catch in your arms the appearance of your future conjugal yokefellow.
+ You go out, one or more, for this is a social spell, to a south-running spring or rivulet, where *three lairds' lands meet," and dip your left shirt sleeve. Go to bed in sight of a fire, and hang your wet sleeve before it to dry. Lie awake; and, some time near midnight, an apparition, having the exact figure of the grand object in question, will come and turn the sleeve, as if to dry the other side of it.
As thro' the glen it wimpl't ;
Whyles in a wiel it dimpl't ; Whyles glitter'd to the nightly raye,
Wi’ bickering, dancing dazzle ; Whyles cookit underneath the brade, Below the spreading hazle,
Unseen that night
XXVI. Amang the brachens, on the brae,
Between her and the moon,
Gat up an' gae a croon:
Near lav'rock-height she jumpit,
Wi' a plunge that night.
The luggies three* are ranged,
To see them duly changed :
Sin Mars-year did desire,
In wrath that night.
Take three dishes ; put clean water in one, fouł water in another, leave the third empty : blindfold a person, and lead him to the hearth where the dishes are ranged; he (or she) dips the left hand : if, by chance, in the clean water, the future husband or wife will come to the bar of matrimony a maid ; if in the foul, a widow ; if in the empty dish, it foretels, with equal certainty, no marriage at all. It is repeated three times, and every time the arrangement of the dishes is altered.
I wat they did na weary';
Their sports were cheap, an' cheáry ; 'Till butter'd so'ns*, wi' fragrant lunt,
Set a' their gabs a-steerin; Syne, wi’ a social glass o' strunt, They parted aff careerin
Fu' blythe that night.
THE AULD FARMER'S
NEW-YEAR MORNING SALUTATION
TO HIS AULD MARE MAGGIE,
On giving her the accustomed ripp of corn to
hansel in the new year.
A guid new-year I wish thee, Maggie !
I've seen the day,
Out-owre the lay.
Tho' now thou's dowie, stiff, an' crazy,
A bonny gray:
Ance in a day.
Thou ance was i' the foremost rank,
As e'er tread yird ;
* Sowens, with butter instead of milk to them, is always the Halloween Supper.