please gather around. Most of you have grown up in Inverlarich and know
about the Standing Stones of Dubhtach, but for those of you who are new to
the village, I'll tell you a wee bit about them.” Mrs. Redfearne spent the
next half an hour telling Fish and Chips and the other students in the
school class everything they did or didn't want to know about the Druids
and standing stones.
scooted back on the grass, leaning his back against one of the stones.
“This is so boring.” He whispered to Chips. “Living in a small village
makes it so our field trips are major boring. My cousin in Edinburgh gets
to go to the zoo, or down to Princes Street Gardens. We have to come to
standing stones.” Fish sighed.
it's interesting. I love learning new things.” Chips nudged Fish with her
here, class,” Mrs. Redfearne continued, “is one of the more unusual
stones. If you look closely, you can see a face carved by weather.” She
caught Fish and Chip's attention.
hear that? A face in the stone.” Fish stood and walked over to the others.
are legends of men turning into stone, old Druid myths. I would imagine
several of them were once humans. They say it can only happen on nights
where there's a full moon with a halo. Tonight is the full moon.” She
chuckled at the expressions on the student's faces. “Have a look around.”
Mrs. Redfearne stood back to watch what they would do.
can see the face. Look. This one here has it too. Do you think it's true,
Fish? Do you believe these stones were once men?” Chips ran her fingers
over the mossy rocks. “I've got a brilliant idea. Let's come back tonight,
while the moon is full and see what happens.”
Chips. Are you mad?”
tell my mum that I'm coming to your house for supper and you can tell your
mum that you're coming to my house. They'll never find out.” Chips' eyes
glowed with anticipation.
sure about that. What if Mum finds out?”
You're always worried about that sort of thing. What's the worst they
could do to us? We're not doing anything bad. We just want to come and see
what will happen here during the full moon.”
it's time to head back to school. Fish, Chips, hurry along now.” Mrs.
Redfearne marched across the hill toward the small school building.
down at Chossach Beach at six tonight, bring a torch and don't bring
Harry.” Chips ran ahead to be with the other students.
hearty supper of mince and tatties with hot scones and orange marmalade,
Fish excused himself. “I've got some school lessons to do. Good night,
Mum, Dad, Harry.”
minutes later he stood on the beach, watching the waves roll in.
here. Good. I thought you might chicken out,” Chips said. Her
heather-colored cardigan buttoned up the front, kept the breeze out.
here, but I don't want to be. The moon is full all right and there's even
a halo tonight.” Fish gulped. “Here.” He handed her a torch. “I brought
one for each of us.”
She flicked it on. “Some people call them 'moon dogs' or 'moon rings'.
You're such a coward, Fish. I can't believe you. You're a boy and more
afraid than I am.” Chips ran away from the water. “I'll beat you there.”
to the side streets as they walked through the village, avoiding the few
residents that were out shopping or having something to eat at one of the
local pubs. Huffing and puffing, they stopped when they reached the stone
look at some of these other stones. I wonder what Druids did in this stone
circle. Do you think they murdered people?” Fish shone his torch around
from stone to stone.
That's what the legends say,” Chips said.
is behind the clouds right now. I don't think I want to be in the middle
of this circle when the clouds clear off.” Fish gazed up, searching for
the hidden luminous orb.
neither.” Chips turned to leave when a dark shadow stepped out from behind
one of the man-sized stones. “Whoa! Who are you?”
tensed; his fingers dug into his thighs. “You don't ask a ghost who it is,
figure ran towards them, arms out to the side screaming. When Fish and
Chips ran off, Harry rolled on the grass laughing. “Gotcha! You two are so
Fish stopped when he heard his brother's voice.
Chips folded her arms across her chest and walked back to the circle. “Why
are you here?”
stupid, Fish. I followed you the moment you snuck out your window. What
are you two up to?” Harry turned in a circle. “You've come to meet my
friends, have you?”
friends?” Fish's brow furled.
walked over to one of the stones, caressing it with his long fingers.
“This here is Cathbad Torsdan. He's been a stone figure for thousands of
you know that, Harry?” Chips didn't believe anything Harry said.
learned about it from auld Mr. McAllister. It seems that Cathbad came to
the stone circle to watch an ancient druid ritual of some kind. He hid in
the bushes, but they found him. Spying on Druids wasn't a good thing to do
back then. They dragged him into the center of the circle on a night, just
like this. The sky was cloudy and the moon was full. One of the Druids
chanted a spell and when the moon burst from behind the cloud, one of the
moonbeams landed on Mr. Torsdan and turned him to stone.” Harry's face
just a story, Chips. Don't believe him.” Fish shook his head back and
moved to the next stone. “This one is Ginvarra Tylwyth. He was an old
codger who moved to Inverlarich from Wales. He was good friends with our
gran and granddad. One stormy night he wandered to the stone circle and
poof, he turned to stone. Look at his face. He was scared.”
Chips moved in for a closer look.
moon's about to appear from behind the clouds. Do either of you have the
courage to stand in the middle of the circle and see if it's true?” Harry
I don't want to turn to stone,” Chips said.
on, Chips. It's all a load of rubbish.” Fish grabbed her by the arm.
“Let's go home.”
it. I'll stay right here. You two go and hide, since you're both cowards,
and I'll show you. By the way, if it does work and I am turned into a
stone pillar, put me next to Ginvarry Tylwyth. I've taken a fancy to him.”
Another snort escaped his lips.
broke through. Fish ran to the stones and Chips followed. “We'll watch
Harry started gasping. He put his hands to his throat, like he was
choking. “Run! Run or it will get you too!”
Chips took off running. “We've got to get my mum and dad,” Fish said.
down the streets of the village. “Stop, Fish. Something's not right here.
He's just pulling our leg. Let's go back.” She headed back to the stone
let's go home.” Fish hesitated, but when Chips ignored her, he ran after
brother had ran off with Chips, Harry dashed to a bush. He dragged out a
wagon with a stone pillar in it. Pulling and tugging with all his might,
he finally reached the center. He tipped the stone out of the wagon and
stood it upright. When he heard Fish and Chips returning, he ran to the
bush and hid again.
Harry?” Chips stopped near one of the pillars. “Was that stone in the
middle of the circle when we left?”
gulped. “No. Harry?” Seeing the moon behind the clouds once more, they
rushed to the stone. “It's Harry. He turned into a stone.”
possible. It's an awful small stone pillar. This is odd.” Chips rubbed her
hands over the bumps and grooves.
them circled the pillar, looking at each other now and then in disbelief.
Harry jumped out from behind the bush. “Argh!” Unable to control his
laughter, he fell to the grass, holding his stomach. “You fell for it. You
thought it was me. I love it! You two are so gullible.”
wasn't funny, Harry. You frightened us to death.” Chips snapped at the
Harry,” Fish sighed.
pushing the stone back into the bushes, the three of them went home. That
night Fish lay awake, thinking of the events of the evening. He climbed
out of bed and stood at the window. The moon ring glowed, a circle of
dirty light. “There's a storm coming in three days,” he whispered.
Up on the
hill the Standing Stones of Dubhtach stood, sentinels of history,
guardians of the past and a mystery to all those who wandered within their