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Main > Scotland folktales > Fairy tale "The Death "Bree""

The Death "Bree"

” Not wishing to dispute the claimant’s title to this head, and supposing she could be otherwise provided, she very good-naturedly returned it and took up another. “That is my father’s head,” bellowed the same voice. Wishing, if possible, to avoid disputes, the wife of Camp-del-more took up another head, when the same voice instantly started a claim to it as his grandfather’s head. “Well,” replied the wife, nettled at her disappointments, “although it were your grandmother’s head, you shan’t get it till I am done with it.” “What do you say, you limmer?” says the ghost, starting up in his awry habiliments. “What do you say, you limmer?” repeated he in a great rage. “By the great oath, you had better leave my grandfather’s head.” Upon matters coming this length, the wily wife of Camp-del-more thought it proper to assume a more conciliatory aspect. Telling the claimant the whole particulars of the predicament in which she was placed, she promised faithfully that if his honour would only allow her to carry off his grandfather’s skull or head in a peaceable manner, she would restore it again when done with. Here, after some communing, they came to an understanding; and she was allowed to take the head along with her, on condition that she should restore it before cock-crowing, under the heaviest penalties.

On coming out of the churchyard and looking for her companion, she had the mortification to find her “without a mouthful of breath in her body”; for, on hearing the dispute between her friend and the guardian of the grave, and suspecting much that she was likely to share the unpleasant punishments with which he threatened her friend, at the bare recital of them she fell down in a faint, from which it was no easy matter to recover her. This proved no small inconvenience to Camp-del-more’s wife, as there were not above two hours to elapse ere she had to return the head according to the terms of her agreement. Taking her friend upon her back, she carried her up a steep acclivity to the nearest adjoining house, where she left her for the night; then repaired home with the utmost speed, made dead bree of the head ere the appointed time had expired, restored the skull to its guardian, and placed the grave in its former condition.

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