Tarbh Uisge

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3 Responses

  1. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Tarbh Uisge
    James Mackinley Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs (1893) –  Sir Walter himself has an interesting reference to the same superstition in his "Journal," under date November 23rd, 1827. After enumerating the company at a certain dinner party at which he had been present, he continues: "Clanronald told us, as an instance of Highland credulity, that a set of his kinsmen—Borradale and others—believing that the fabulous `water-cow’ inhabited a small lake near his house, resolved to drag the monster into day. With this view they bivouacked by the side of the lake in which they placed, by way of night-bait, two small anchors such as belong to boats, each baited with the carcase of a dog slain for the purpose. They expected the `water-cow’ would gorge on this bait, and were prepared to drag her ashore the next morning, when, to their confusion of face, the baits were found untouched. It is something too late in the day for setting baits for water-cows." If such conduct seemed wonderful in 1827, what would the author of "Waverley" have thought had he known that more than half-a-century later, people in the Highlands retained a thoroughgoing belief in such monsters?

  2. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Tarbh Uisge

    In The Folklore Of The Isle Of Man, A. W. Moore discussed the Manx Tarroo Ustey (Taroo Ustey, Tarroo Ushtey)
    Among the prodigies of Nature, I know none which more justly may be called so at least, of those which I am convinced of the truth of than that of the Water-Bull, an amphibious creature which takes its name from the so great resemblance it has of that beast that many of the people, having seen him in a field, have not distinguished him from one of the more natural species. A neighbour of mine, who kept cattle, had his fields very much infested with this animal, by which he had lost several cows; he, therefore, placed a man continually to watch, who, bringing him word that a strange bull was among the cows, he doubted not but it was the Water -Bull, and having called a good number of lusty men to his assistance, who were all armed with great poles, pitchforks, and other weapons proper to defend themselves, and be the death of this dangerous enemy, they went to the place where they were told he was, and ran all together at him; but he was too nimble for their pursuit, and after tiring them over mountains and rocks, and a great space of stony ground, he took a river, and avoided any further chase by diving down into it, though every now and then he would show his head above water, as if to mock their skill.

  3. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Tarbh Uisge
    Known as Tarbh Eithre on Skye.

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