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Popular Superstitions of the Highlands
Spunkies


An' oft your moss-traversing spunkies
Decoy some wight that late and drunk is;
The bleezin, curst, mischievous monkies
Delude his eyes,
Till in some miry slough he sunk is
Ne'er more to rise
BURNS' Address to the Deil

The Spunkie is another of those now-retired ministers, formerly employed by the Enemy of mankind to accomplish their destruction. And, in all truth, he could not have taken into his pay a servant more faithful to his trust than the Spunkie. Whenever the traveller had the misfortune to lose his way, or whenever there was a prospect of deluding him from it, this vigilant link-boy was ever at hand, to light him into far worse quarters than even the purlieus of Covent Garden.

Suddenly the traveller's attention was arrested by the most resplendent light, apparently reflected from a window nor far distant; which, however, as the traveller approached, receded from him like the rainbow. Still pursuing his course toward it, the wily spunkie manoeuvred so dexterously, that the unhappy wanderer was speedily decoyed into the nearest moss or precipice. Plunging headlong into some fatal abyss, the deluded victim never returned to his mourning wife and family, to relate to them the spunkie's perfidy.

Happily now, however, the roads are better, and travellers more cautious. All the glittering meteors of the spunkie, cannot make the knowing Highlander of the present day, turn to the right or to the left. So that the spunkie has now shut shop, and become bankrupt in his department.


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