Witchcraft in Scotland

This picture gallery shows photographs of witchcraft in Scotland and some of the topics covered by the book Granny Kempock and will be added to over time. If any reader has pictures that they think should be included then please let me know.

Granny Kempock Collection

Gourock Castle Collection

Gourock Castle had a relatively short life span. It was built in 1840 and demolished in 1896 a mere 56 years later, but during that time there were 7 owners, none of whom stayed for any great length of time and all of whom had strange stories to tell.

The building occupied the most prominent position in the town and was more of a Victorian folly than a castle proper and the standing stone “Granny Kempock” was only a short distance away.

The Strange Case of Dr. Fian

Granny Kempock Tales

The Strange Case of Dr. Fian – 1590

If the King needed further convincing then the case against Dr Fian one of the other ringleaders gave him ample evidence of sorcery and witchcraft.

Dr John Cunningham (known as Fian) was a schoolmaster at Prestonpans and purported to be a sorcerer. He was already known in the town for trying to seduce a friends ́ sister with a spell of seduction. Unfortunately, the girl ́s mother was a well- practiced witch, who changed the spell to seduce a cow instead. It was said that the cow used to follow him around all over the town. When he was approach by members of the Commission, he confessed to having a compact with the Devil and being a scholar to several witches in the area including Agnes Sampson. Once he had been apprehended on the confession of Gillis Duncan, he confessed that he had bewitched a man to fall into fits of lunacy every day.

King James was skeptical but intrigued by this tale but asked that Dr Fian be brought before him and that he also brings the man who had been bewitched.

“So, tell me Dr Fian. You say that you have bewitched this man and can cause him to fall into spells of lunacy every 24 hours.” The King was slightly amused by the proceedings as were many of the nobles who were also in attendance.

“Your Majesty, when I command it, this man will become a lunatic until I tell him to stop. He will then become normal again and will not know of his behavior. Speak to him if you will and you will find that he is quite normal, but when I cast my spell then you will see the change.” Dr Fian had a strange light in his eye and displayed a nervous twitch. This was not surprising considering that he had been commanded to appear before the King, but his general behavior was a little strange.

“Very well then, tell me your name, where you come from and how you know Dr Fian.” James was still amused by these proceedings and after ten minutes of conversation was sufficiently convinced of the gentleman’s normality.

“Well so Dr Fian, I am content that this gentleman is normal, so show me how you bewitched him.”

At the snap of his fingers, the man started screaming and went into an hysterical fit, jumping around and contorting on the floor. Those present swore that when he jumped it was high enough to touch the ceiling of the chamber. Dr Fian sat back and calmly watched, his eye constantly twitching and occasionally looking at the King, who was fascinated by the proceedings. For almost an hour, the man screamed, laughed, shouted, jumped and contorted his body into the most unnatural positions.

When he had seen enough, the King signaled to Dr Fian that he was satisfied that the man had become a lunatic and asked him to stop.

With a second snap of his fingers, the man stopped immediately. He was standing in the centre of the chamber sweating, with his hair and clothes disheveled and looking totally bewildered.

“What is going on. What am I doing here?” he looked around the chamber slowly taking in the faces of the nobles staring at him, and then finally to his King who was sitting looking very surprised and totally bemused.

“I am convinced,” said the King, “take him away for trial and we shall see what results.” This had clearly been a demonstration of the power of witchcraft and although it was certain that Dr Fian was a sorcerer, the fear was that there were many more, and in that case what could a large group of them do? King James decided that the best solution was to dig them out, root and branch, and rid the Country of this grievous pest.

In his later trial examination, Fian confessed that he had made a pact with Satan and that Satan had visited him the night before in his cell. He was dressed in black and carried a white wand demanding that Fian should continue being faithful to him. Fian said that he would renounce him and lead the life of a true Christian. Avoided Satan, avoided, for I have listened too much

to thee, and by the same thou hast undone me, in respect whereof I utterly forsake you.” The Devil told him That once ere thou die thou shall be mine.The devil then broke the white wand and vanished.

The Goaler was so impressed with his tale that he promised to give Fian the chance to lead a good Christian life again. Later that evening Fian stole the key to his cell and escaped.

Eventually he was recaptured and taken back to his cell, where he was repeatedly tortured by having his fingernails pulled out and then metal pins driven in. Thumbscrews were applied and a metal boot was used which crushed his feet so badly that they were no longer useable.

It is said that he endured these tortures without expressing any pain until he was finally taken to Castlehill in Edinburgh where he was strangled and burnt at the stake in January 1591. On his last confession, he denied that he was a sorcerer and had only said these things to avoid torture and execution.

The Wool Shop Cludgie

Chapter 3

My mother had a wool shop in those days whilst my father earned our keep in the Betting Office and the Old Wherry Tavern, both of which were conveniently located next door to my mother ́s shop.

A black exterior framed the huge (everything was so much bigger then) shop window displaying balls of wool and all of the many garments that my mother hand knitted. Inside were shelves from floor to ceiling displaying wool of every tone and colour that could be imagined, from bright reds to greens, purple, yellow and indeed every colour of the rainbow and more besides. To reach the top shelf there was the marvellous sliding ladder, very much the same as they still have in older libraries, which she would climb up to get to the top shelves. I am not unconvinced that male customers did not intentionally request the top shelf colours in order to get a flash of stocking top, but in those heady days I was not aware of such things.

There were still remnants of bombed out buildings from the war lying around the area. Yes, the Germans bombed Gourock. They were probably lost or just dumping bombs to make sure they had enough fuel to get back, but they made a terrible mess of the row of houses next to the Eastern school. I even recall one old man who continued living there even though half of the roof was missing as well as a chunk of wall. “Willie the Binnie” He was a dustman and a bit strange so we all kept our distance.

We had a close as well. Not our own really but “doon ra close” was a communal toilet, which was used not only by the shop owners, but also the tenants in the building. Somebody always kept it well stocked with neatly torn newspaper threaded onto a string, which would, unbeknown to the novice user, give them a black bum – depending upon the photograph. As a seasoned user I would search for those sections which had less newsprint than others to avoid the problem, but I have a suspicion that others may have had the same idea. Unlike modern sanitary systems, the occupant could be kept amused for hours reading the different sections, especially if there was a good story and you had to find the second half. Unfortunately, the down side was that you were invariably looking for the end of “Oor Willie” when somebody would start banging on the door and threatening you for having been in for over an hour.

On one occasion, when there was not so much to read, I decided to treat the community to various renditions of all of the animal sounds that I knew. So after practising them all for a period, I waited until someone came up the close. “Beh he he , beh he he” I wailed, and of course the impending visitor would naturally assume that a sheep was in the toilet and take fright. Silence and then a rattle on the door handle.

“Are you aright in there?”

“Beh he he, beh he he” I responded, and chuckling to myself that I had fooled them.

“Son, if you don ́t get oot in there in two minutes a ́ll get ma wellies and then ye ́ll learn to be a sheep proper.” Came a gruff reply.

It was the tone of the voice rather than comprehension of the words that made me decide that perhaps being a sheep was not such a good idea.

“Mmoo, mmooo” I tried, perhaps the sound of a larger animal would scare him off.

“F..k me, will you get yer arse out there or am aff tae see yer Ma.”

Discretion was much the better of valour on this occasion and I determined to polish up my animal sounds on another occasion.

“Aright mister, hawd on a ́ll be oot in a minute.”

“Right, an don ́t forget to pull the flush this time, or a ́ll hae a word wae yer Ma.”

As I skulked out the door, the Barber next door gave me a friendly, but not so soft clip on the head.

“Ah hear ye have a good singin voice, why not try that next time instead.” He said with a large grin. “At least then a ́ll know that yer na sick”.

Steamers – A Beginning

Chapter 1

It is sad to recollect a time long since gone, when I was but a young man myself, and lived through this romantic period, but that is the way of things and these tales need recounting on cold wet summers days or when the sea freezes on the edges.

In my memory, Gourock was a place of perpetual clear blue skies with the most spectacular scenery in the world, given free to all of those lucky people with a window facing the shore, or who could make the long hike to the top of Tower Hill. I cannot recall so clearly the continuous days of drizzly rain that made your bed feel like a cold wet sponge or where you had red blotches all over your legs from standing to close to the fire in an effort to dry out or stay warm or both. With the steam rising from your shrinking corduroy trousers you would pull the soggy material away from your skin to stop it burning and give it a better chance to dry out quickly.

Chilblains are long forgotten as well; no such ailments affect an adult who is no longer daft enough to stick his freezing feet in front of the coal fire and luxuriate in the painful sensation of blood recirculating in those frozen protuberances. The agony of pulling on salt water hardened shoes as well as the hand knitted woollen socks, an absolute necessity in those climes, chaffed cruelly against the hard leather and tender skin.

It is only when one returns to see the wind reddened faces of the local inhabitants that such unnatural thoughts come back. My mother has always insisted that was is a healthy sign “Good ruddy cheeks” she would say giving me a light pinch of affection that on a cold day felt like the first few layers of skin had been removed.

Gourock to me will always hold the romantic memories of one who has left, only to return fleetingly, but with great affection.

It is the old fishing village that was hurtled into the modern age by the Victorians intent on providing a summer haven for the Glaswegians and the like, which would rival any foreign Riviera. “The Costa del Clyde” as dubbed by some patronising outsider, who had obviously read some travellers’ tales or perhaps had even worked on a merchant boat.

The town is idyllically situated on the bend of the River Clyde, some twenty-six miles west of Glasgow and thrusts itself into the river giving imposing views in all directions. From the top of Tower Hill, it is possible to see upstream to the industrial heartland of Scotland, where the shipyards blended uncannily into the landscape, the cranes, constant hammerings and flashes from welding torches were part of the scenery. John Brown, Scotts, Lithgows, these names that are carved into the history of the area, where great ships were launched as casually as rape seed now grows.

As a young man I watched the QE2 (Queen Elizabeth II) being built from the grassy knowles above Greenock, where I was supposed to be studying for my Higher exams. We would collect in a group at lunchtimes, puffing on our snubbed fag ends and continually fascinated at the steadily growing shape that one day would become the pride of a fleet and make luxury cruises all over the world. What wonders we would behold, and what tales we could tell, but only we the privileged few, would actually witness these events.

Were the owners of the proud QE2 aware of the fact that she was nearly built twice? – at least according to our calculations. The security guards never seemed to be aware that the rolls of carpet, carefully checked on at the bow, were given a full tour of the upper decks, and then brought down again at the stern, loaded onto another van only to be re-loaded a second time. How could they have known that there was a flourishing trade in P&O crockery and cutlery long before the boat ever sailed, these were already second hand by the time sea trials began. Did anyone ever notice that in some parts of Greenock many houses acquired the latest fashion of designer curtains, uncannily similar to those of the great ship, and some careless individuals even left the logo. I could not tell if these same houses were carpeted as well but given the sheer quantity that came back down the gangplanks, it was likely.

Genuine unused souvenirs were widely available at remarkably reasonable prices and crockery especially did a roaring trade, but had anyone asked, it may have been difficult to explain how the owners managed to obtain souvenirs before the ship was launched.

The agony of the launch, when we all thought that they had miscalculated the drag chains and she would hit the other bank. It is incredulous to think that to launch such a massive ship was down to a man with a sledgehammer carefully knocking away the chocks in sequence. As she hesitated at first, but then slid gracefully into the water, we all stood and cheered, but then our mouths stayed open as the huge wall of water being pushed in front of the ship swamped the other bank, making the crowd of black ants scurry from its path only to be followed by the ever encroaching mass of white painted metal.

It seemed incredible, but there was no stopping the most majestic boat launched on the Clyde since the Queen Mary. Her drag chains were not holding, and even Her Majesty must have had some misgivings about swinging that bottle of champers so hard on the third attempt. But then, almost in slow motion, she slewed and pulled hard against the chains which by this time were straining out of the water and stopped to within what looked like inches of the bank, before bobbing back towards the centre of the river.

The cheering was so great from down below that it could be clearly heard from miles away, and even the crowds of sodden ants on the far bank could be seen waving their hats and arms in salute, their recent misery and bad temper temporarily forgotten.

Janet Douglas – Witch or Charlatan?

A contemporary account of Janet Douglas dated 1677.

Some account of Janet Douglas, the girl referred to in the account of the witching of Sir George Maxwell of Pollock.

Sir John Maxwell, Lord Justice Clerk, the most senior judicial position in Scotland, at the end of the account which he sent to Mr George Sinclair professor of philosophy in the College of Glasgow says, “It is to be noted the dumb girl whose name was Janet Douglas, doth now speak not very distinctly, yet so as she may be understood, and is a person that most wonderfully discovers things past and doth also understand the Latin tongue, which she never learned”.

The following is an extract of a letter which was sent to Mr George Sinclair professor of philosophy in the College of Glasgow.

“When I was at Glasgow, in summer 1677 I was desirous to see the dumb girl Janet Douglas. At my first incoming she declined to entertain discourse but by friendly expressions and giving her some money, I gained her.

I first inquired about her parentage. “I do not remember,” says she “of my parents, but only that I was called by the name of Janet Douglas by all people who knew me. I was kept when I was very young, by a poor woman who proved cruel to me, by beating and abusing me; whereupon I deserted the woman’s house and went a begging.”

I inquired next how she became dumb. She told me by reason of a sore swelling she took in her throat and tongue, but afterwards by the application of Album Graecum, “which I thought said she, was revealed to me, I recovered my speech.”

I asked her, how she came to the knowledge of witches and their practices. She answered that she had it only by a vision, and knew all things as well as if she had been personally present with them; but had no revelation or information from the voice of any spirit; nor had she any communication with the devil, or any spirit of that kind; “only, says she, the devil was represented to me, when he was in company with any of the witches, in that same shape and habit he was seen by them.”

She told me she was altogether ignorant of the principles of religion but had some smattering knowledge of the Lord’s prayer, which she had heard the witches repeat, it seems, by her vision, in the presence of the devil; and at his desire, which she observed, they had added to the world art, the letter W which made it run, “Our father which wart in heaven”, and made the third petition thus, “as on earth so it may in heaven;” by which means the devil made the application of the prayer to himself.

I remember that one day there was a woman in the town who had the curiosity to give her a visit who asked her, “How she came to the knowledge of so many things?” But the young wench shifted her, by asking the woman’s name, she told her name, says the other, “Are there any other in Glasgow of that name?” No, says the woman. Then said the girl “You are a witch.” Says the other “Then you are a devil.” The girl answers, “The devil does not reveal witches, but I know you to be one, and I know your practices too.” Hereupon the woman ran away in great confusion, being indeed a person suspected of witchcraft and had been sometimes imprisoned or not account.

Another woman, whose name was Campbell, had the curiosity likewise to come and see her and began to ask some questions of her. The wench shifting to give her an answer says, “I pray you tell me where you were yesternight, and what you were doing? And withall, says she let me see your arm” she refusing, the landlord laid hold upon the woman, with some others in the house, and forced her to make bare her arm, where Janet Douglas showed them an invisible mark, which she had gotten from the devil. The poor woman much ashamed ran home.

A little time after she came out and told her neighbors, at what Janet Douglas said her was true; and earnestly entreated them that they would show so much to the magistrates, that she might be apprehended, “otherwise the devil says she will make me kill myself,” But the neighbors judging her to be under a fit of distraction, carried her home to her house, but early the next morning the woman was found drowned in the Clyde.

The girl likewise told me at Glasgow, being then under no restraint, that it was revealed to her she would be carried before the great council at Edinburgh, imprisoned there, and scourged through the town. All of which came to pass.

For about a year after, she was apprehended and imprisoned in the tollbooth of Canongate, and was brought before the council, but nothing being found against her she was dismissed, but thereafter, for several crimes committed within the town of Edinburgh, she was taken again, and imprisoned, scourged, and sent away to some foreign plantation, since which time I have not heard of her .

There are several other remarkable passages concerning her, which I cannot inform you of, which others perhaps may do, therefore I shall abruptly break off, and say no more, but that I am your affectionate friend.”

Mr Sinclair says: “this information I have from a discrete understanding gentleman, who was one of my scholars at Glasgow several years ago.”

Confession of Marie Lamont

Granny Kempock Tales

Confession and execution of Marie Lamont – 1662

Marie’s trial was held in the locale and lasted for one day. At trial she freely admitted that she had become a witch at the age of 13 years, when under the influence of Catherine Scott. She allegedly renounced her Christian faith, was baptised by the devil and renamed “Clowts”. She confessed to having sexual relations with the devil several times when he appeared to her as a brown dog, and this had left marks on her right side where he had nipped her. She said that along with Jean King, Kattie Scott, Janet Holm and sundry others she had met at the bucht-gait of Ardgowan in the presence of the devil, who appeared to them on this occasion in the shape of a black man with cloven feet. They were directed to gather sand from the shore and scatter it about gates of Ardgowan, and about the minister’s house. She was accused of shape shifting into a cat and of stealing milk by means of magic. The milk theft involved drawing a tether made from the hair of many cows’ tails over the mouth of a mug and speaking the words “In God’s name, God send us milk, God send it, and meikle of it”. Marie also confessed to dancing round

the Kempock Stone with others and attempting to throw the stone into the sea, the intention being to sink ships sailing in the Firth of Clyde.

On the same day and by the same commission five other women were tried for witchcraft. These women are named as Margaret Duff, Jonet (sic) Hynman, Margret (sic) Letch, Margret (sic) Rankin, and Kathrin Scott.

Marie Lamont was burned at the stake in 1662, possibly outside the Auldkirk of Inverkip.

1684,” * records Mary Lamont’s confession. He.says : —

*’The following extraordinary document printed from the M.S. obligingly communicated to me by Michael Stewart Nicokon, Esq., is well worthy of preservation : —

Page 355

” (1) She [Mary Lamont] came and offered herself willingly to the trial, saying that God moved her heart to confess, because she had lived long in the devil’s service.

(2) She confessed most ingenuously that five years since Catherine Scot, in Mudiestean, within the parish of Innerkip, learned her to take kyes’ milk, bidding her go out in misty mornings, and take with her a harrie tedder, and draw it over the mouth of a mug, saying, ‘ In God’s name, God send us milk, God send it, and meikle of it.’ By this means she and the said Katherin got much of their neighbours’ milk, and made butter and cheise thereof.

(3) She confessed that two years and a-half since the devil came to the said Katherin Scot’s house, in the midst of the night, where were present with them, Magie McKenzie of Greenock, Janet Scot of Gourock, herself, and several others. The devil was in the likeness of a muckle black man, and sung to them* and they danced : he gave them wine to drink, and wheat bread to eat; and they were all very merrie. She confesses, at that meeting, the said Kettie Scot made her first acquaintance with the devil, who caused her to drink to him, and shake hands with him.

(4) She confesses that at that time the devil bade her betake herself to his service, and it should be well with her, and bade her forsake her baptism, which she did, delivering herself wholly to him, by putting her one hand on the crown of her head, and the other hand to the sole of her foot, and giving all betwixt these two to him.

(5) She confessed that at that time he gave her a new name, and called her Clowts, and bad her call him Serpent, when she desired to speak with him.

Page 356

(6) She confessed that at that same time the devil nipped her on the right side, which was very painful for a time, but there after he stroked it with his hand, and healed it ; this she confesses to be his mark.

The Seventh Article regards her criminal intercourse with Satan, which she first confessed and then denied.

(8) She confesses that she was at a meeting in the Bridylinne, with Jean King, Kettie Scot, Margaret M’Kenzie, and several others, where the devil was with them in the likeness of a brown dog. The end of their meeting was to raise stormy weather to hinder boats from the fishing ; and she confessed that she, Kettie Scot, and Margaret Holm, came to Allan Orr’s house in the likeness of cats, and followed bis wife into the chamber, where they took a herring out of a barrel, and having taken a bite, they left it behind them ; which herring the said Allan’s wife did eat, and thereafter, taking heavy disease, died. The quarrel was, because the said Allan bad put Margaret Holm out of the house where she was dwelling, whereupon she threatened in wrath that he and his wife should not be long together.

(10) She confessed that she, Kettie Scot, Margaret M’Kenzie, and several others, went out to sea betwixt and the land of Arran, to doe skaith to boats and ships that should come along* They caused the storm to increase greatly, and meeting with Colin Campbell’s ship, did rive the sails from her. She confesseB that in that voyage she was so overset with ill weather that she took the fever soon after, and did bleed much.

(11) She confessed that when she had been at a meeting edna Tule last, with other witches, in the night, the devil convoyed her home in the dawing ; and when she was come near the house wherein she was a servant, her master saw a waff of him as ho went away from her. ‘

Page 357

(12) She confessed that she knew some witches bore much ill will at Blackball, the younger, and Mr John Hamilton, and would fain give them an ill cast if they could ; therefore, about five weeks since, Jean King, Kettie Scot, Janet Holm, herself, and several others, met together in the night, at the back gate of Ardgowan, where the devil was with them in the likeness of a black man, with cloven feet, and directed some of them to fetch white sand from the shore, and cast it about the gates of Ardgowan, and about the minister’s house ; but she says, when they were about that business, the devil turned them in likeness of cats, by shaking his hands above their heads. She confesses, also, that in that business some were chiefs and ringleaders, others were but followers. This agrees with the 11th article of Kettie Scot’s confession.

(13) She confessed, also, that she was with Kettie Scott,
Margaret McKenzie, and others, at a meeting at Kempoch, where they intended to cast the long-stone into the sea, thereby to destroy boats and ships ; where also they danced, and the devil kissed them when they went away.

These Articles were confessed by the said Marie Lament, at Innerkip, before us, under-subscribers : — Archibald Stewart, of Blackball ; J. Hamilton, minister at Innerkip, &c.”

Granny Kempock and Baal

Granny Kempock Tales


Circa 2000BC – Druids and the altar of Baal

The flame from the fire could be seen from many miles away even though the weather was foul. Rain penetrated through to the flesh and the cold wind sucked out whatever warmth was left.

On the top of a sheer blackened cliff stood a hooded figure staring out into the darkness to a wild sea frothing and thrashing the rocks below. Only the movement of the flickering flames gave the impression that there was life here.

The fire had taken a long time to light, even though the driest of kindling had been used and the area covered with a large cow hide, but this fire was special and could only be lit with friction. Rubbing sticks chaffed the hands cruelly, but the honour of lighting the flame negated any pain. First there was the slightest puff of smoke and the others nodded in anticipation. The smoke increased gradually, and the hands rubbed faster to increase the intensity. Blisters were ignored, it was nearing the point. The faintest of sparks came off, and then another. The lighter took his time and blew gently on the kindle. More smoke and at last it burst into flame. The ceremony could now begin.

As the flames grew, so you could see the group of people moving slowly around the stone. It was not possible to be on all sides as this standing stone was near the edge of the cliff and one slip on the other side meant certain death. There was something different about this stone. It was almost as if it was one of the onlookers. There it stood with hood drawn down over an enigmatic face of hard grey schist and the falls of a heavy cloak reaching to the ground.

Younger men started leaping through the flames, at first silently, but then increasingly vocal, shouting and screaming as they passed through the fire. Their bodies glistening in the rain and mixed with cold sweat.

Baal would be pleased. The other Gods would not understand.

“All ye that kindles fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks, walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand – ye shall lie down in sorrow”

The elders would walk up to the flames, cup their hands and waft the burning smoke and embers across themselves. Murmuring incantations, they would return to the circle and watch the ceremony unfold.

A circle of fires was lit, and as the flames raised higher, they congregated in the centre eagerly anticipating who would be the threefold leaper and get the first piece of consecrated cake. First they had to pour a libation on the ground. As the young men leapt in and out of the flames the group murmured incantations and they would cry out to Baal.

The consecrated cake was brought out. The first piece was handed to the threefold leaper and then passed around the assembly. Whoever got the black bit that was hidden within the cake would become the “cailteach bealtine”, worthy of sacrifice.

“I have it, I have it.” In a high voice of pure excitement a young man danced and pranced around showing all that he had the black bit and was worthy. The rest of the young men were devastated and their disappointment showed clearly on their faces although none would admit it.

The Chief Druid huddled the older men together in a tight group, not just to keep out the cold, but to seek instructions from the Gods. They bent over murmuring and offering incantations. What would please Baal this time. The harvest had been particularly poor and they would have to offer something exceptional this year if they were going to survive the rest of the year and into next.

“Bring the cattle.” His voice was strong and clear and this Druid had many years of experience in conducting the ceremonies that the Gods required. This year had to be special and he knew it.

Further back in the field, they brought the cattle one by one and led them between the flames from the fires, and as they did so the Druid poured more libations on the ground sprinkled with consecrated cake. The large medallion in gold that hung on his chest flashed in the firelight as he moved around.

The herders swished the cattle with rowan sticks to make them go through the fire as they resisted at first but then followed one another in a continuous line as the fires died down.

“Great Baal, make their milk sweet and fulsome. Keep them safe from the pestilence and stop their meat from rotting” He scattered further cake crumbs and libations to ensure that his words were heard.

“Bring me the harvest.” and one by one they trouped through between the dying fires with samples from their farms of root crops and cereals. The mood was sombre, was the God listening. They needed a sign, anything to let them know, but only the wind and rain kept them company.

“The old lady will help us.” A voice came out from the group of elders who remained huddled together but were watching the proceedings for signs.

“You ́re right, we had better prepare.” And with that several of them started collecting tinder and wood from around the area.

“We need a lot more than that, go down to the shore and get driftwood.” The Chief Druid knew what had to be done. He had done it many times before and he knew that it was the only way to appease Baal. His long grey beard was dripping with rainwater as the strength of the wind increased. The God was waiting and getting impatient.

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