Here's wishing a happy Saint Andrew's Day to all my friends and kin in Scotland! Last year, Al Harron of Gourock posted a nine-part series on the legends which accreted around the patron saint of Caledonia. Interesting stuff. Here's the first post (the other links are in the post):
November 30, 1336 – King Robert II STEWART of Scotland and Elizabeth MURE were married in Ayrshire, Scotland. Robert II was King of Scots from 1371 to his death as the first monarch of the House of Stewart. He was the son of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland, and of Marjorie Bruce, daughter of Robert the Bruce and of his first wife Isabella of Mar.
November 30, 1336 – King Robert II STEWART of Scotland and Elizabeth MURE were married in Ayrshire, Scotland. Robert II was King of Scots from 1371 to his death as the first monarch of the House of Stewart.
A noble name, in every respect. Me, I prefer the French spelling.
Hereaboots cam Conan, the Cimmerian: daurk-heidit, lowrin-e’ed, claymore in haun; a nabber, a cateran, a mollicatur; whiles a drearifu chiel, gey drum an’ oorie, whiles jinkin an’ rantin, fou o’ dafferie an’ deeviltrie, tae strampil owre the fancie muckle thronis o’ the Yeard wi’ brogan’d feit.
'The narrator is a young Oxford Fellow in Celtic Studies who during a fishing and walking holiday stumbles on a small tribe of Picts. They have survived for millennia in Galloway caves and at once thrill him with the excitement of his discovery and terrify him with their cruelty and lust to kill. He escapes, but despite the risk returns, and is again taken prisoner. He is saved by a storm and landslide, and the tale ends with an unexpected twist which leaves the reader wondering what in the story is reality and what is illusion.
Buchan himself had been on a walking and fishing tour with a friend in 1897. They had slept in a shepherd's cottage, walked many miles over the Galloway hills, moors and bogs, camped by lochs and fished and swam. His descriptions of the countryside are already as good as they would be in his mature novels. Moreover many of the characteristics of his later writing are to be found in this novella, a better description for it than short story, that is almost twenty thousand words long and divided into eight short sections.
As Andrew Lownie points out in his edition of the Buchan short stories, one finds the importance of landscape in the plot, the idea of sacred places, the narrow divide between civilisation and savagery, the contrast between town and country and between England and Scotland, and the call of the wild.'