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Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs
Chapter XV - Charm Stones in and out of Water


Stone-worship—Mysterious Properties of Stones—Symbolism of Gems—Gnostics—Abraxas Gems—Gems in Sarcophagi—Lifestones—Use of Amulets in Scotland—Yellow Stone in Mull—Baul Muluy—Black Stones of Iona—Stone as Medicine—Declan's Stone—Curing-stones still used for Cattle—Mary, Queen of Scots—Amulet at Abbotsford—Highland Reticence—Aberfeldy Curing-stone—Lapis Ceranius and Lapis Hecticus—Bernera—St. Ronan's Altar—Blue Stone in Fladda—Baul Muluy again—Columba's White Stone—Loch Manaar—Well near Loch Torridon—Stones besides Springs—Healing-stones at Killin—Their connection with Fillan—Mornish—Altars and Crosses—Iona—Clach-a-brath—Cross at Kilberry— Lunar Stone in Harris—Perforated Stones—Ivory—Barbeck's Bone—Adder-beads—Sprinkling Cattle—Elf-bolts—Clach-na-Bratacb—Clach Dearg—Lee Penny—Lockerbie Penny—Black Penny.

WE have already seen that in early times water was an object of worship. Stones also were reverenced as the embodiments of nature-deities. "In Western Europe during the middle ages," remarks Sir J. Lubbock in his "Origin of Civilisation," "we meet with several denunciations of stone-worship, proving its deep hold on the people. Thus the worship of stones was condemned by Theodoric, Archbishop of Canterbury, in the seventh century, and is among the acts of heathenism forbidden by King Edgar in the tenth, and by Cnut in the eleventh century." Even as late as the seventeenth century, the Presbytery of Dingwall sought to suppress, among other practices of heathen origin, that of rendering reverence to stones, the stones in question having been consulted as to future events. It is not surprising therefore that stones had certain mysterious properties ascribed to them. In all ages precious stones have been deservedly admired for their beauty, but, in addition, they have frequently been esteemed for their occult qualities. "In my youth," Mr. James Napier tells us, in his "Folklore in the West of Scotland," "there was a belief in the virtue of precious stones, which added a value to them beyond their real value as ornaments. . . . . Each stone had its own symbolic meaning and its own peculiar influence for imparting good and protecting from evil and from sickness its fortunate possessor." By the ancient Jews, the topaz and the amethyst were believed to guard their wearers respectively against poison and drunkenness; while the diamond was prized as a protection against Satanic influence. Concerning the last-mentioned gem, Sir John Mandeville, writing about 1356, says, "It makes a man stronger and firmer against his enemies, heals him that is lunatic, and those whom the fiend pursues and torments." By certain sects of the Gnostics, precious stones were much thought of as talismans. Among the sect founded by Basilides of Egypt, the famous Abraxas gems were used as tokens by the initiated. The Gnostics also placed gems inscribed with mystic mottoes in sarcophagi, to remind the dead of certain prayers that were thought likely to aid them in the other world. In Scandinavia, warriors were in the habit of carrying about with them amulets called life-stones or victory-stones. These strengthened the hand of the wearer in fight. In our own country, the use of amulets was not uncommon. A flat oval-shaped pebble, measuring two and a half inches in greatest diameter, was presented in 1864 to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. It had been worn as a charm by a Forfarshire farmer, who died in 1854 at the age of eight-four. When in use, it had been kept in a small bag and suspended by a red string round the wearer's neck.

Even when stones were not used as amulets, they were sometimes held in superstitious regard. When in Mull, Martin was told of a yellow stone, lying at the bottom of a certain spring in the island, its peculiarity being that it did not get hot, though kept over the fire for a whole day. The same writer alludes to a certain stone in Arran, called Baul Muluy, i.e., "Molingus, his Stone Globe." It was green in colour, and was about the size of a goose's egg. The stone was used by the islanders, when great oaths had to be sworn. It was also employed to disperse an enemy. When thrown among the front ranks, the opposing army would retreat in confusion. In this way the Macdonalds were said to have gained many a victory. When not in use, the Baul Muluy was carefully kept wrapped up in cloth. Among oath-stones, the black stones of Iona were specially famous. These were situated to the west of St. Martin's Cross, and were called black, not from their colour—for they were grey—but from the effects of perjury in the event of a false oath being sworn by them. Macdonald, Lord of the Isles, knelt on them, and, with uplifted hands, swore that he would never recall the rights granted by him to his vassals. Such a hold had these oath-stones taken on the popular imagination, that when anyone expressed himself certain about a particular thing, he gave weight to his affirmation, by saying that he was prepared to "swear upon the black stones." Bishop Pocoke mentions that the inhabitants of Iona "were in the habit of breaking off pieces from a certain stone lying in the church," to be used "as medicine for man or beast in most disorders, and especially the flux."

Charm-stones were sometimes associated with early saints. The following particulars about St. Declan's Stone are given by Sir Arthur Mitchell in the tenth volume of the "Proceedings of .the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland":—"We are told in the life of St. Declan that a small stone was sent to him from Heaven while he was saying Mass in a church in Italy. It came through the window and rested on the altar. It was called. Duivhin Deaglain or Duivh-mhion Deaglain, 'i.e., 'Declan's Black Relic.' It performed many miracles during his life, being famous for curing sore eyes, headaches, &c.; and is said to have been found in his grave sometime, I think, during last century. Its size is two and a-fourth by one and three-fourth inches, and on one side there is a Latin cross, incised and looped at the top. At the bottom of the stem of this cross there is another small Latin cross. On the other side of the stone there is a circle, one and a-fourth inch in diameter, and six holes or pits." Curing stones are still used occasionally in connection with the diseases of cattle, particularly in Highland districts; but they have ceased to do duty in the treatment of human ailments. Mary Queen of Scots seems to have been a firm believer in their efficacy. In a letter to her brother-in-law, Henry the Third of France, written on the eve of her execution, the Queen says, "She ventures to send him two rare stones, valuable for the health, which she hopes will be good, with a happy and long life, asking him to receive them as the gift of his very affectionate sister-in law, who is at the point of death, and in token of true love towards him." In a case of curiosities at Abbotsford, there is an amulet that belonged to Sir Walter Scott's mother. It somewhat resembles crocodile skin in colour, and has a setting of silver. The amulet was believed to prevent children from being bewitched.

It is nowadays difficult to ascertain the whereabouts of curing-stones in the Highlands, owing to the reticence of those who still have faith in their virtues. Till lately there was one in the neighbourhood of Aberfeldy that had been in use, it is believed, for about three hundred years. In shape, the charm somewhat resembled a human heart, and consisted of a water-worn pebble fully three inches in greatest length. When required for the cure of cattle, it was rubbed over the affected part or was dipped in water, the water being then given to the animal to drink. Recently the family who owned it became extinct, and the charm passed into other hands. Martin gives some curious information with regard to the employment of charm-stones, among the inhabitants of the Western Isles. After describing a certain kind of stone, called lapis ceranius, found in the island of Skye, he remarks, "These stones are by the natives called `Cramp-stones,' because (as they say) they cure the cramp in cows by washing the part affected with water in which this stone had been steeped for some hours." He mentions also, that in the same island, the stone called lapis hecticus was deemed efficacious in curing consumption and other diseases. It was made red-hot, and then cooled in milk or water, the liquid being drunk by the patient. On Bernera, the islanders frequently rub their breasts with a particular stone, by way of prevention, and say it is a good preservative for health. Martin adds, "This is all the medicine they use: Providence is very favourable to them in granting them a good state of health, since they have no physician among them." In connection with his visit to the island of Rona, the same writer observes, " There is a chapel here dedicated to St. Ronan, fenced with a stone wall round; and they take care to keep it neat and clean, and sweep it every day. There is an altar in it, on which there lies a big plank of wood, about ten feet in length; every foot has a hole in it, and in every hole a stone, to which the natives ascribe several virtues: one of them is singular, as they say, for promoting speedy delivery to a woman in travail." The blue stone in Fladda, already referred to in connection with wind-charms, did duty as an oath- stone, and likewise as a curing-stone, its special function being to remove stitches in the side. The Baul Muluy in Arran, alluded to above, also cured stitches in the side. When the patient would not recover, the stone withdrew from the bed of its own accord.

A certain white stone, taken by Columba from the river Ness, near what is now the town of Inverness, had the singular power of becoming invisible, when the illness of the person requiring it would prove fatal. The selection of this stone was made in connection with the saint's visit to the court of Brude, king of the Picts, about the year 563. Adamnan, who tells the story, thus describes an interview between Columba and Brochan (the king's chief Druid or Magus), concerning the liberation of a female slave belonging to the latter: "The venerable man, from motives of humanity, besought Brochan the Druid to liberate a certain Irish female captive, a request which Brochan harshly and obstinately refused to grant. The saint then spoke to him as follows:—`Know, O Brochan, know, that if you refuse to set this captive free, as I advise you, you shall die before I return from this province.' Having said this in presence of Brude the king, he departed from the royal palace, and proceeded to the river Nesa, from which he took a white pebble, and, showing it to his companions, said to them:—`Behold this white pebble, by which God will effect the cure of many diseases.' Having thus spoken, he added, 'Brochan is punished grievously at this moment, for an angel sent from heaven, striking him severely, has broken in pieces the glass cup which he held in his hands, and from which he was in the act of drinking, and he himself is left half-dead."' Messengers were sent by the king to announce the illness of Brochan, and to ask Columba to cure him. Adamnan continues "Having heard these words of the messengers, Saint Columba sent two of his companions to the king with the pebble which he had blessed, and said to them:—`If Brochan shall first promise to free his captive, immerse this little stone in water, and let him drink from it; but if he refuse to liberate her, he will that instant die.' The two persons sent by the saint proceeded to the palace, and announced the words of the holy man to the king and to Brochan, an announcement which filled them with such fear that he immediately liberated the captive and delivered her to the saint's messengers. The stone was then immersed in water, and, in a wonderful manner and contrary to the laws of nature, it floated on the water like a nut or an apple, nor could it be submerged. Brochan drank from the stone as it floated on the water, and instantly recovered his perfect health and soundness of body." The wonderful pebble was kept by King Brude among his treasures. On the day of the king's death, it remained true to itself, for, when its aid was sought, it could nowhere be found.

According to a tradition current in Sutherland, Loch Manaar in Strathnaver was connected with another white pebble, endowed with miraculous properties. The tradition, as narrated by the Rev. Dr. Gregor in the "Folklore Journal " for 1888, is as follows:—"Once upon a time, in Strathnaver, there lived a woman who was both poor and old. She. was able to do many wonderful things by the power of a white stone which she possessed, and which had come to her by inheritance. One of the Cordons of Strathnaver having a thing to do, wished to have both her white stone and the power of it. When he saw that she would not lend it, or give it up, he determined to seize her, and to drown her in a loch. The man and the woman struggled there for a long time, till he took up a heavy stone with which to kill her. She plunged into the lake, throwing her magic stone before her and crying, `May it do good to all created things save a Gordon of Strathnaver!' He stoned her to death in the water, she crying, 'Manaar! Manaar!' (Shame! Shame!). And the loch is called the Loch of Shame to this day." The loch had a more than local fame, for invalids resorted to it from Orkney in the north and Inverness in the south: its water was deemed specially efficacious on the first Monday of February, May, August, and November, (O. S.). The second and third of these dates were the most popular. The patient was kept bound and half-starved for about a day previous, and immediately after sunset on the appointed day, he was taken into the middle of the loch and there dipped. His wet clothes were then exchanged for dry ones, and his friends took him home in the full expectation of a cure. Belief in the loch's powers was acknowledged till recently, and is probably still secretly cherished in the district.

In a graveyard beside Loch Torridon, in Ross-shire, is a spring, formerly believed to work cures. From time immemorial three stones have been whirling in the well, and it was usual to carry one of these in a bucket of water to the invalid who simply touched the stone. When put back into the well, the stone began to move round and round as before. On one occasion a woman sought to cure her sick goat in the usual way, but the pebble evidently did not care to minister to any creature lower than man, for when replaced in the well, it lay motionless at the bottom ever afterwards. A certain Katherine Craigie, who was burned as a witch in Orkney in 1643, used pebbles in connection with the magical cures wrought by her. Her method, as described by Dr. Rogers in his "Social Life in Scotland," was as follows:—"Into water wherewith she washed the patient she placed three small stones ; these, being removed from the vessel, were placed on three corners of the patient's house from morning till night, when they were deposited at the principal entrance. Next morning the stones were cast into water with which the sick person was anointed. The process was repeated every day till a cure was effected."

At some wells, what the water lacked in the matter of efficacy was supplied by certain stones lying by their margins. These stones, in virtue of a real or fancied resemblance to parts of the human body—such as the eye or arm—were applied to the members corresponding to them in shape, in the expectation that this would conduce to a cure. At Killin, in Perthshire, there are several stones dedicated to Fillan, at one time much used in the way described. These are, however, not beside a spring, but in the mill referred to in a previous chapter. They lie in a niche in the inner wall, and have been there from an unknown past. Whenever a new mill was built to replace the old one, a niche was made in the wall for their reception. They are some seven or eight in number. The largest of them weighs eight lbs. ten oz. Special interest attaches to at least two of them, on account of certain markings on one side, consisting of shallow rounded hollows somewhat resembling the cup-marks which have proved such a puzzle to archaeologists. There is reason to believe that the stones in question were at one time used in connection with milling operations, the hollows being merely the sockets where the spindle of the upper millstone revolved. On the saint's day (the ninth of January), it was customary till not very long ago, for the villagers to assemble at the mill, and place a layer of straw below the stones. This custom has a particular interest, for we find a counterpart to it in Scandinavia, both instances being clearly survivals of stone-worship. "In certain mountain districts of Norway," Dr. Tylor tells us in his "Primitive Culture," "up to the end of the last century, the peasants used to preserve round stones, washed them every Thursday evening (which seems to show that they represented Thor), smeared them with butter before the fire, laid them on the seat of honour on fresh straw, and at certain times of the year steeped them in ale, that they might bring luck and comfort to the house." The ritual here is more elaborate than in the case of the Killin stones; but the instances are parallel as regards the use of straw. Fully a couple of miles from Killin, below Mornish, close to Loch Tay, is the lonely nettle-covered graveyard of Cladh Davi, and on a tombstone in its enclosure lie two roundish stones, believed to belong to the same series as those in the mill, and marked with similar hollows. These stones were thought to cure pectoral inflammation, the hollows being filled with water, and applied to the breasts. The Rev. Dr. Hugh MacMillan, after describing the stones in the volume of the "Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland" for 1883-84, mentions that "not long since, a woman, who was thus afflicted, came a considerable distance, from the head of Glen Lochay, to make use of this remedy."

Charm-stones were sometimes kept on the altars of ancient churches, as in the case of St. Ronan's Chapel, and the church in Iona already referred to. At other times they were associated with crosses. Sir Arthur Mitchell tells of an Irish curing-stone in shape like a dumb-bell, preserved in Killaghtee parish, County Donegal. "There is," he says, "a fragment of a stone cross on the top of a small cairn. In a cleft or hollow of this cross is kept a famous healing stone, in whose virtues there is still a belief. It is frequently removed to houses in which sickness exists, but it is invariably brought back, and those living near the cross can always tell where it is to be found, if it has been so removed. Pennant, in connection with his visit to Iona, speaks of certain stones lying in the pedestal of a cross to the north-west of St. Oran's Chapel. "Numbers who visit this island," he remarks, "think it incumbent on them to turn each of these thrice round, according to the course of the sun. They are called Clach-a-brath—for it is thought that the brath, or `end of the world,' will not arrive till the stone on which they stand is worn through." Pennant thought that these stones were the successors of "three noble globes of white marble," which, according to Sacheverel, at one time lay in three stone basins, and were turned round in the manner described, but were afterwards thrown into the sea by the order of the ecclesiastical authorities. MacCulloch says that, in his day, the superstition connected with the Clach-a-brath had died out in Iona. We do not think that this was likely. Anyhow he mentions that "the boys of the village still supply a stone for every visitor to turn round on its bed; and thus, in the wearing of this typical globe, to contribute his share to the final dissolution of all things." MacCulloch alludes to the same superstition as then existing on one of the Garveloch Isles. Sometimes hollows were made on the pedestals of crosses, not for the reception of stone-balls, but to supply occupation to persons undergoing penance. A sculptured cross at Kilberry, in Argyllshire, has a cavity of this kind in its pedestal. In connection with his visit to Kilberry, Captain White was told that "one of the prescribed acts of penance in connection with many of the ancient Irish crosses required the individual under discipline, while kneeling before the cross, to scoop out a cavity in the pedestal, pestle-and-mortar fashion; and that such cavities, where now to be seen, show in this way, varying stages of the process."

One of the wonders of Harris, when Martin visited the island, was a lunar stone lying in a hole in a rock. Like the tides, it -felt the moon's influence, for it advanced and retired according to the increase or decrease of that luminary. Perforated stones were formerly much esteemed as amulets. If a stone, with a hole in it, was tied to the key of a stable-door, it would prevent the witches from stealing the horses. Pre-historic relics of this kind were much used to ward off malign influences from cattle, or to cure diseases caused by the fairies. Ure, in his "History of Rutherglen and Kilbride," refers to a ring of black schistus found in a cairn in the parish of Inchinnan. It was believed to work wonderful cures. About a hundred years ago, a flat reddish stone, having notches and with two holes bored through it, was presented to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. It came from Islay, and had been used there as a charm. It belonged to the Stone Age, and had, doubtless, served its first possessor as a personal ornament. Ivory had magical properties attributed to it. The famous "Barbeck's Bone" —once the property of the Campbells of Barbeck, in Craignish parish, Argyllshire, and now in the National Museum of Antiquities—is a piece of ivory seven inches long, four broad, and half an inch thick. At one time it had a great reputation in the West Highlands for the cure of insanity. It was counted so valuable that, when it was lent, a deposit of one hundred pounds sterling had to be made.

The antiquarian objects, popularly called adder-beads, serpent stones, or druidical beads, were frequently used for the cure of cattle. The beads were dipped in water, and the liquid was then given to the animals to drink. These relics of a long-forgotten past have been found from time to time in ancient places of sepulture, and as they usually occur singly, it has been conjectured that they were placed there as amulets. "Many of them," remarks Sir Daniel Wilson in his "Pre-historic Annals," "are exceedingly beautiful, and are characterised by considerable ingenuity in the variations of style. Among those in the Scottish Museum there is one of red glass spotted with white; another of dark brown glass streaked with yellow; others of pale green and blue glass, plain and ribbed; and two of curiously figured patterns, wrought with various colours interwoven on their surface." A fine specimen of this species of amulet was discovered in a grave mound at Eddertoun, in Ross-shire, during the progress of the railway operations in 1864. The Rev, Dr. Joass, who interested himself in the antiquarian discoveries then made, thus describes the find:—"The glass, of which this bead was composed, was of a dark blue colour, and but partially transparent. It was ornamented by three volutes, which sufficed to surround it. These were traced in a yellow pigment (or enamel) as hard as the glass and seeming to sink slightly below the surface into the body of the bead, as could be seen where this was flattened, as if by grinding at the opposite ends of its orifice." These adderbeads seem to have been common in the seventeenth century. Edward Llwyd, who visited Scotland in 1699, saw fifty different forms of them between Wales and the Scottish Highlands. Crystal balls, he tells us, were frequently put into a tub of water on May Day, the contents of the tub being sprinkled over cattle to keep them from being bewitched.

Flint arrow-heads—the weapons of early times—became the amulets of a later age. In folklore they are known as elf-bolts. Popular credulity imagined that they were used by the fairies for the destruction of cattle. When an animal was attacked by some sudden and mysterious disease, it was believed to be "elf-shot" even though no wound could be seen on its body. To cure the cow, the usual method was to make it drink some water in which an elf-bolt had been dipped, on the principle of taking a hair of the dog that bit you. Elf-arrows were at one time thought to be serviceable to man also. The custom was not unknown of sewing one of them in some part of the dress as a charm against the influence of the evil eye. Occasionally one still sees them doing duty as brooches, and in that form, if not now prized as amulets, they are esteemed as ornaments.

Sir J. Y. Simpson, in his "Archaeological Essays," gives some interesting particulars about two ancient charm-stones, the property of two Highland families for many generations. Of these, the Clach-naBratach, or Stone of the Standard, belongs to the head of the Clan Donnachie. It is described as "a transparent, globular mass of rock crystal of the size of a small apple. Its surface has been artificially polished." The stone was picked up by the then chief of the clan shortly before the battle of Bannockburn. It was found in a clod of earth adhering to the standard when drawn out of the ground, and on account of its brilliancy the chief foretold a victory. In later times it was used to predict the fortunes of the clan. We are told that before the battle of Sheriffmuir, in 1715, which proved so disastrous to the cause of the Stuarts, as well as to that of Clan Donnachie, the Clan-na-Bratach was found to have a flaw, not seen till then. When wanted to impart curative virtue to water, the Clach-na-Bratach was dipped in it thrice by the hand of the chief. The other charm-stone alluded to is the Clach Dearg, or Stone of Ardvoirlich. It resembles the Clach-na-Bratach in appearance, though it is somewhat smaller in size. It differs from it, moreover, in being surrounded by four silver bands of eastern workmanship. The charm has belonged to the family of Ardvoirlich from an unknown past, but there is no tradition as to its early history. As a healing agent it has had more than a local fame. When its help was sought certain rules had to be attended to. The person coming to Ardvoirlich was required to draw the water himself, and bring it into the house in the vessel in which the charm was to be dipped. A bottle of this water was then carried to the invalid's home. If the bearer called at any house by the way, it was requisite that the bottle should be left outside, otherwise the water would lose its power.

In the mansion-house of Lee, some three miles north of Lanark, is kept the Lee Penny, an amulet of even greater fame than the Clach-na-Bratach or the Clach Dearg. This charm—the prototype of Sir Walter Scott's "Talisman"—is a semi-transparent gem of a dark red colour. It is set in a silver coin, believed to be a groat of Edward the Fourth. In shape it rudely resembles a heart. This circumstance doubtless strengthened the original belief in its magical powers, if, indeed, it did not give rise to it. The tradition is, that Sir Simon Lockhart, an ancestor of the present owner of the estate, left Scotland along with Sir James Douglas, in the year 1330, to convey the heart of Robert Bruce to the Holy Land. Douglas was killed in Spain in a battle with the Moors, and Sir Simon returned to Scotland, bringing the heart with him. He had various adventures in connection with this mission. One of these was the capture of a Saracen prince, who, however, obtained his freedom for a large sum. While the money was being counted out the amulet in question accidentally fell into the heap of coin, and was claimed as part of the ransom. Previous to its appearance in Scotland it had been much esteemed as a cure for hemorrhage and fever. After it was brought to our shores its fame increased rather than waned. During the reign of Charles the First it was taken to Newcastle-on-Tyne to stay a pestilence raging there, a bond for six thousand pounds being given as a guarantee of its safe return. The amulet did its work so well, that to ensure its retention in the town the bond would have been willingly forfeited. It was reckoned of use in the treatment of almost any ailment, but specially in cases of hydrophobia. A cure effected by it at the beginning of last century is on record. Lady Baird of Saughton Hall, near Edinburgh, showed what were believed to be symptoms of rabies from the bite of a dog. At her request the Lee Penny was sent to Saughton Hall. She drank and bathed in water in which it had been dipped, and restoration was the result. The amulet was also used for the cure of cattle, and when every other remedy failed recourse was had to the wonder-working gem. When it was employed for therapeutic purposes, the following was the modus operandi:—It was drawn once round the vessel containing the water to be rendered medicinal, and was then plunged thrice into the liquid; but no words of incantation were used. For this reason the Reformed Church, when seekin, to abolish certain practices of heathen origin, sanctioned the continued use of the Lee Penny as a charm. A complaint was made against the Laird of Lee "anent the superstitious using of ane stane set in silver for the curing of diseased cattell." The complaint came before the Assembly which met in Glasgow; but the case was dismissed on the ground that the rite was performed "wtout using onie words such as charmers and sorcerers use in their unlawful! practices; and considering that in nature there are mony things seen to work strange effects, qr of no human wit can give a reason." Nevertheless the Laird of Lee was admonished " in the useing of the said stane to tak heed that it be used hereafter wt the least scandal that possiblie may be." Belief in the efficacy of the amulet continued to hold its ground in the neighbourhood of Lee till towards the middle of the present century. In 1839 phials of water which had felt its magical touch were to be seen hanging up in byres to protect the cattle from evil influences. Some fifteen years earlier a Yorkshire farmer carried away water from Lee to cure some of his cattle which had been bitten by a mad dog. Attached to the amulet is a small silver chain which facilitated its use when its services were required. The charm is kept in a gold box, presented by the Empress Maria Theresa.

Another south-country amulet, not, however, so famous as the Lee Penny, is the piece of silver, known as the Lockerbie Penny. It was, and still is, we suppose, used to cure madness in cattle. In his "Folklore of the Northern Counties," Mr. Henderson gives the following particulars about the charm :"It is put in a cleft stick and a well is stirred round with it, after which the water is bottled off and given to any animal so affected. A few years ago, in a Northumbrian farm, a dog bit an ass, and the ass bit a cow; the penny was sent for, and a deposit of fifty pounds sterling actually left till it was restored. The dog was shot, the cuddy died, but the cow was saved through the miraculous virtue of the charm." After the death of the farmer who borrowed the Penny, several bottles of water were found stowed away in a cupboard labelled "Lockerbie Water." Mr. Henderson also mentions another Border amulet, known as the Black Penny, for long the property of a family at Hume-byers. It is larger than an ordinary penny, and is believed to be a Roman coin or medal. When brought into use it should be dipped in a well, the water of which runs towards the south. Mr. Henderson adds:—"Popular belief still upholds the virtue of this remedy; but, alas! it is lost to the world. A friend of mine informs me that half a generation back the Hume-byers Penny was borrowed by some persons residing in the neighbourhood of Morpeth and never returned."


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