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The Bogle


THIS is a freakish spirit, who delights rather to perplex and frighten mankind than either to serve or seriously to hurt them. Shellycoat, a spirit who resides in the waters, and has given his name to many a rock and stone the Scottish coast, belongs to the class of bogles. When he appeared, he seemed to be decked with marine productions, and in particular with shells, whose clattering announced his approach. From this circumstance he derived his name. One of his pranks is thus narrated:--Two men, on a very dark night, approaching the banks of the Ettrick, heard a doleful voice from its waves repeatedly exclaim, "Lost! Lost!" They followed the sound, which seemed to be the voice of a drowning person, and, to their infinite astonishment, they found that it ascended the river. Still they continued, during a long and tempestuous night, to follow the cry of the malicious sprite; and arriving, before morning's dawn, at the very sources of the river, the voice was now heard descending the opposite side of the mountain in which they arise. The fatigued and deluded travellers now relinquished the pursuit, and had no sooner done so than they heard Shellycoat applauding, in loud bursts of laughter, his successful roguery. The spirit was supposed particularly to haunt the old house of Gorinberry, situated on the river Hermitage, in Liddesdale.

[Scottish Fairy and Folk Tales (1901), by George Douglas]


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