Posted by: Jim Bell | February 6, 2011

Journey Omen

In 1874, or thereby, when living at New Galloway in the Glenkens, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, I frequently met an old couple who then lived at Gordonston Mill. (The Mill itself was remarkable, because it was constructed wholly of wood, without even nails of iron.) The old dame always kept a bunch of the rowan-twigs over the door, and observed other ” freits ” which I have since forgotten. But one day, her husband came up the road, eastward, with me, when suddenly he turned abruptly and began walking homewards. I turned and expostulated, but in vain. At length, he did turn in the direction we had started, reached the spot where we halted, stooped down, and pointing to a minute object on the road said, ” D’ye think I wad gang ony furder that road the day?” It was a bent pin that caused him to pause.

Fred. R. Coles.

The letter reproduced above appeared in the Transactions of the Folk-Lore Society 1908. Mr Coles was a member of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and was assistant keeper of their museum. He was also an artist – specialising in landscape and marine painting. He was a British subject, born in India, and for a while lived at Tongland near Kirkcudbright.


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