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Pouring water on peat brought a surprise guest to a Foula ho...

Title - Pouring water on peat brought a surprise guest to a Foula ho...
Contributors - Maggie Ratter
Reporters - Prof. Alexander Fenton
Item Person - Black, Tom

Summary - Pouring water on peat brought a surprise guest to a Foula home, a shipwrecked mariner.

Maggie Ratter tells the story of shipwrecked Belfast mariner Tom Black as it was told her by Joan Henry, the daughter of the man who discovered Black wandering in the hills of Foula.

The Henrys were boiling their dinner and Joan poured the scum from the pot onto the guest [a peat standing upright by the fire]. Next thing, Tom Black came into the house wearing one shoe. Mrs Henry told her daughter not to do that again! Mr Henry had discovered Tom among his cattle and asked him whether he was earthly or unearthly. The reply came, "Oh, I'm earthly, earthly." The seaman explained he had been wrecked on the back of the island. The Henrys looked after him and gave him dry clothes after the tragedy.


Track Duration (h:m:s) - 00:01:40
Date Recorded - 1958
Language - English, Scots
Genre - Story, Information
Collection - School of Scottish Studies

Track ID - 34434
Original Tape ID - SA1958.185
Original Track ID - SA1958.185.3
Audio Quality - Good
Audio Format - R2R



Recording Location:
  County - Shetland
  Parish - Walls and Sandness
  Island - Foula


Item Location:
  County - Shetland
  Parish - Walls and Sandness
  Island - Foula

Item Notes - In this story, the Henry girl tempts fate by pouring water on the "guest" peat, traditionally thought to conjure a soaking for the next visitor to the house. Tom Black appeared at the door, soaked to the hide after a shipwreck. Another account of the story is given on the previous track on the same tape (SA1958.185).

Permanent Link - http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/fullrecord/34434/1




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