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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang online

The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang


"This above account I have written down as dictated to me by William Soutar in the presence of Robert Graham, brother to the Laird of Balgowan, and of my two sons, James and John Rattray, at Craighall, 30th December, 1730.

"We at Craighall heard nothing of this history till after the search was over, but it was told us on the morrow by some of the servants who had been with the rest at the search; and on Saturday Glasclune's son came over to Craighall and told us that William Soutar had given a very distinct account of it to his father.

"On St. Andrew's Day, the 1st of December, this David Soutar (the ghost) listed himself a soldier, being very soon after the time the apparition said the murder was committed, and William Soutar declares he had no remembrance of him till that apparition named him as brother to George Soutar; then, he said, he began to recollect that when he was about ten years of age he had seen him once at his father's in a soldier's habit, after which he went abroad and was never more heard of; neither did William ever before hear of his having listed as a soldier, neither did William ever before hear of his having killed a man, nor, indeed, was there ever anything heard of it in the country, and it is not yet known who the person was that was killed, and whose bones are now found.

"My son John and I went within a few days after to visit Glasclune, and had the account from him as William had told him over. From thence we went to Middle Mause to hear it from himself; but he being from home, his father, who also lives in that town, gave us the same account of it which Glasclune had done, and the poor man could not refrain from shedding tears as he told it, as Glasclune told us his son was under very great concern when he spoke of it to him. We all thought this a very odd story, and were under suspense about it because the bones had not been found upon the search.

"(Another account that also seems to have been written by the bishop mentions that the murderer on committing the deed went home, and on looking in at the window he saw William Soutar lying in a cradle-- hence it was the ghaist always came to him, and not to any of the other relations.)"

Mr. Hay Newton, of Newton Hall, a man of great antiquarian tastes in the last generation, wrote the following notes on the matter:--

"Widow M'Laren, aged seventy-nine, a native of Braemar, but who has resided on the Craighall estate for sixty years, says that the tradition is that the man was murdered for his money; that he was a Highland drover on his return journey from the south; that he arrived late at night at the Mains of Mause and wished to get to Rychalzie; that he stayed at the Mains of Mause all night, but left it early next morning, when David Soutar with his dog accompanied him to show him the road; but that with the assistance of the dog he murdered the drover and took his money at the place mentioned; that there was a tailor at work in his father's house that morning when he returned after committing the murder (according to the custom at that date by which tailors went out to make up customers' own cloth at their own houses), and that his mother being surprised at his strange appearance, asked him what he had been about, to which inquiry he made no reply; that he did not remain long in the country afterwards, but went to England and never returned. The last time he was seen he went down by the Brae of Cockridge. A man of the name of Irons, a fisherman in Blairgowrie, says that his father, who died a very old man some years ago, was present at the getting of the bones. Mr. Small, Finzyhan, when bringing his daughter home from school in Edinburgh, saw a coffin at the door of a public house near Rychalzie where he generally stopped, but he did not go in as usual, thinking that there was a death in the family. The innkeeper came out and asked him why he was passing the door, and told him the coffin contained the bones of the murdered man which had been collected, upon which he went into the house.