1887, September (pub): An Unplanned Dance

A tale is told of thirteen men who were walking through the hills of Scotland when they ran across an old 'bothy' -- a small shelter available for anyone to use when necessary. The men got comfortable by building a fire, and "were pretty well on with festivities and drinking." One of the men was a piper, and he started playing music; and, as the other men began to dance, they lamented that their girls weren't there to dance with them.

        Almost on cue, thirteen beautiful ladies trooped into the bothy and set to dancing, and the men were so delighted and having such fun that they didn't question the matter. The piper, however, was in a position to study the new arrivals in more details, and couldn't help noticing that they had hooves instead of feet. There was only one possible reason -- water-horses -- and he quickly moved to escape; he told his personal temptress that he wanted to go outside for a minute, but she wouldn't allow it. As a show of trust, the piper took off his belt and told her to hold one end while he held the other, so she would know he was just outside the door; this she agreed to.

         The piper stepped outside, pinned his end of the belt to the door-post, and ran, ran, ran. He chanced upon a herd of horses and quickly mounted one, but she was a mare and threw him. He mounted another mare, and she threw him too. He was just mounting a third horse as his 'lady love' appeared at his side... but this time he got a stallion which didn't throw him, and the two of them flew across the countryside, leaving the danger far behind.

         When a rescue party arrived at the bothy the following day, it was not a pretty sight; the only evidence left of the unfortunate victims were their "sgamhan"... which translates, roughly, as lungs.

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