The Baobhan Sith

Hark. Maisters, tae a warnin’ for those o’ you who wad tak liberties wae your ladies. The tale o’ the Baobhan Sith!

Once upon a time there were twa bold an’ boastful boys – spoiled Sons o’ the Rock, merchants’ heirs, ower fond o’ hunting an’ drinking in the King’s Park - whose sport detained them far too long, one dark December eve. The Queen o’ Night had already spread her shadows ower the toon when they returned frae their revels...tae find the Burgh Gate locked an’ bolted tight against them. Poor things, they ca’d for help - but the Watchman wadna answer. Sure, on such a wild and windy Winter’s night, ye might forgive the old soul for being reluctant tae forsake the comfort o’ his hut – an’ the warmth of his whisky glass - tae pander tae the whim o’ twa such pampered puppies: sure, a night outside the Wall wa’d teach them tae appreciate the comforts o’ hearth an’ home – an’ tae bide back at a mair reasonable hour, in days tae come.Baobhan Sith

The rascals glumly rode aroun’ the Wall, seeking the shelter o’ bush and branch. Then, ‘neath the steep Castle ramparts, where the woods are thickest, they saw a Shieldig – a neat wee howff...candle-light flickering frae its window, a fire beyond an’ heady scent o’ rich beef broth wafting t’ward them through the chill night air. Did they - natives o’ this rock for a’ their years – wonder that they ne’er seen the cottage there afore that night? Did they spare a thought as tae whom the cottage – an’ the broth, o’ which they helped themselves – belonged? No. Sure, the only thought that filled their selfish heads was that a’ that was needed tae make their night complete was...female company.

Oh, should be most careful what ye wish for.

See, sir, ‘twas but moments after lechery burdened their brains, that they saw a lassie – aye, an’ a pretty one at that - garbed in a close-fittin’ black gown, standin’ by the cottage door. Long raven hair swept ower shapely shoulders. One o’ the drunken bucks leapt tae his feet, singing some seductive, bawdy air, an’ grabbed this vision by the, biddin’ that she dance wae him. Was this the owner of the cottage, whose hospitality the rascals had abused? He neither knew or cared.

This pretty frail WOULD dance with him, he said...oh, and how she danced....she span, she twisted, her lithe limbs faster an’ more fleetin’ than the shadows cast by the guttering candle-wick. She kissed him – brazen jade - ruby lips an’ pink tongue brushin’ soft skin o’ cheek an’ jowl.

Like a storm she swept aroun’ him, the folds o’ her ebon gown seemin’ tae stretch out tae meet the shadows...dartin’, startin’ ower the flesh of her boastful beau – each shiftin’ shade leavin’ a deep, bloody welt... ...her pale flesh blushin’, her pert lip growin’ redder as she lapped his life away.

Oh aye, my friends, the Baobhan a vampire. Very fashionable these days...or so I understand.

Eyes wide wae wonder, the ither laddie watching his friend fa’ frae her embrace –an’ fled oot intae the night. That Black Lady followed on his heels...stoppin’ wae a start an’ a shriek of rage as he pinned himself betwixt the horses – for he ken’t the iron in the horses’ shoes wad be a barrier ‘twixt him an’ that dark lady’s base desires. A’ through that bitter Winter’s night the boy held fast tae those faithful steeds, his limbs weary, struggling to stay awake – sure that that pretty monster clothed in a woman’s flesh circled in the shadows...a’ways, a’ways jist oot o sight. As the cold, hard light o’ the dawn cut along the pathway he started out of his stupor: the creature shrieked in frustration that she should be cheated o’ her prize, an’ vanished... along with the cottage, and the corpse o’ the poor laddie’s, dear dead friend.

Few in the town believed a word of his tale, of course. Why should they? Such things simply don’t happen...not here in Scotland.

And as for you, guid Maisters... a lesson! Tread softly, Maister, an’ mind ye dinna seek tae take what ye have not been offered...sure, ye might be gettin' mair than ye bargained for.


Taken from Stirling GhostWalk 2014

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