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The Norse King’s Sorcerous Daughter

By Pollyanna Jones

Folklore is a funny thing. Many of the tales are old stories, passed down through the generations orally until someone, a collector of sorts, decided to write them down.

Some of these describe tales of a place, legends to explain its existence or creation. Others tell of ghosts or beasties, things to chill the listeners huddled around the fireplace as a terrifying yarn is woven. A few are really special, and explain a historical event as seen by the local population; history in its rawest form, as these are not accounts written by the victors, but those that saw it.

As can be imagined, these accounts have changed over the years. Each retelling is like a game of Chinese whispers, and the storyteller would have added, removed, forgotten, and blended, stirring the ingredients like a fine stew.

[Snip] This story is an account of when the Vikings came to Scotland, and includes a glaring mistake; it features a silver bullet. Perhaps the original tale featured a silver arrow, or we might consider that this description was added many years later. The original version appears in “Clan Traditions and Popular Tales of the Western Highlands and Islands” which contains a collection of stories that were told orally through the communities of this region, and recorded by the Reverend John Gregorson Campbell, Minister of Tiree.

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