A Legend of MacFie

 

Colonsay

MacFie of Colonsay was a strong and skilful hunter. He had Seven tall sons who were all skilled at sailing.

One day while he was returning from Colonsay,  a thick mist rolled in from the sea, making him lose his way. He came across a small grey house which he took shelter in until dawn. He knew the island well but could not recall there being a house here. MacFie looks out the window to see an old woman stirring porridge by a fire.

 

He was very hungry so asked for some of it as well as a place to rest. She welcomed him and seemed to have been expecting him. She gave him a bowl of porridge, and while he ate, he noticed a hound with two small pups.

 ‘my mind is failing me, for surely I have never seen that hound before before?’ he remarked

‘that might be’ replied the old woman ‘for the hound is lame and cannot travel far. But once she hunted with the strength of the lion and the eye of the eagle’

She rambled on about how her hound was more capable and courageous than any other hound there was. This strongly interested MacFie.

‘so valiant a mother must surely have borne whelps to match her in speed and courage’ he said looking at pups ‘of that I have little doubt’ She replied  ‘yourself has the hunter’s eye, MacFie. Which pup would you choose?’

MacFie looked and noticed they were both the same size, but one one brindled like their mother, and the other was as black as night.

‘For my part I would choose black,’

‘Then it will travel with you on the morrow,’  she said  ‘Treat it well, MacFie. Be patient and forbearing with it always and the day will come when it will repay you with its life.’

The next day he carried home the pup, the old woman refused payment but repeated her wish for it to be taken good care for, and that it will repay kindness with its life.

He would later try and return to the house but could never find it, and not one person knew of its existence. The pup grew up to be fast learning. It was above average In Intelligence, strength and speed. On one day MacFie decided it was ready to be taken hunting. ‘Tomorrow we will go to Jura’ he told his sons ‘and we will match the black hound with the red stags of that island’

 

The boat was prepared to leave, but the hound refused to board, and when forced it fled into the hills, MacFie  stopped his sons from chasing after it. ‘We will try the hound another day. It may be that it is afraid of the sea’ He said in disappointment.

MacFie and his sons sailed to Jura many times and not once did the hound follow, not even to the shore.

“The hound is useless, fit meat for the hoody crows!” scoffed sons who would have killed the hound  without hesitation

‘His day will surely come’ remembering words of old woman.

It was their last trip that season

‘What of the black hound!’ joked the sons ‘Where will it hide itself today!’ MacFie made no reply.

While they were preparing to leave they looked in astonishment as the hound bound across the beach and leapt onto the boat. They sailed in a cloudless sky, the wind was fast meaning they could sail with speed.

As soon as they docked the hound leapt off the boat. While they climbed to the forest with the deer the hound could barely be restrained

As soon as they reached the first corrie, the hound refused to go further, MacFie and his sons continued on without the hound. Before they were able to reach the summit, dark clouds rolled in from the west and night fell fast.

They tried to return to the boat but the wind and rain was too strong. They made their way to a cave, which they sheltered in. Thunder clapped around them and the strong wind tore up the heather. Despite the storm the sons each eventually fell asleep.

MacFie lay down and as he lied there he felt a dark warm body plant itself at his feet, the hound had returned. The storm continued and it seemed that something evil  had followed the hound.  The dog lay restlessly and as MacFie lay he felt a hand touch his face and wrap around his neck. As he tried to stand he was flung against the damp stone wall of the cave.

Suddenly The hound immediately lunged at the unseen enemy, MacFie sat as the battle took place he called for his sons to stand but they all lay there, seemingly unconscious. MacFie fell unconscious.

He woke up in the morning to see that his sons were dead, and the hound had every bone broken and was dead with  a massive arm between its jaws.

MacFie fled home and spread his story. Over the following months he grew old but always wished to return to Jura. He later would return with retainers to the cave but his sons bodies had disappeared and so did the arm.

It started to seem like it was all just his imagination, but they found the hound laying on a rock. It was covered in scars and it had clearly fought something that was beyond their knowledge.

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