Tobar-Fuar-Mòr (The Big Cold Well)
The following description of The Big Cold Well is taken from Folklore [A Quarterly Review of Myth, Tradition, Institution & Custom] Vol III (1892). ‘This well is situated at the bottom of a steep hill in a fork between two small streams on the estate of Allargue, Corgarff. There are three springs that supply the water, distant from each other about a yard. The well is circular, with a diameter of about twelve feet. The sides are about five or six feet deep, with an opening on the lower side through which the water flows out.
The water running from these springs is of great virtue in curing diseases—each spring curing a disease. One spring cured blindness, another cured deafness, and the third lameness. The springs were guarded by a Spirit that lived under a large stone, called “The Kettle Stone”, which lay between two of the springs. No cure was effected unless gold was presented to the Spirit, which she placed in a kettle below the stone. Hence its name of “Kettle Stone”. If one tried to rob the Spirit, death, by some terrible accident, soon followed. My informant, James Farquharson, more than fifty years ago, when a lad resolved to remove the “Kettle Stone” from its position, and so become possessor of the Spirit’s gold. He accordingly set out with a few companions, all provided with picks and spades, to displace the stone. After a good deal of hard labour the stone was moved from its site, but no kettle-full of gold was found.
An old woman met the lads on their way to their homes, and when she learnt what they had been doing she assured them they would all die within a few weeks, and that a terrible death would befall the ringleader.’