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A baby girl was snatched by an eagle and grew up to marry he...

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Title - A baby girl was snatched by an eagle and grew up to marry he...
Contributors - James Laurenson
Reporters - Alan J. Bruford
Item Person - Anderson, Mary; Nicolson, Robert

Summary - A baby girl was snatched by an eagle and grew up to marry her rescuer.

A well-known story in Fetlar was about a little girl and an eagle. About 200 years before, at Braehead in Unst, a man named William Anderson and his wife were cutting corn while their baby Mary lay wrapped in a blanket among the sheaves. William was working at the top of the rig while his wife went in to make dinner. He turned around and saw a huge bird swoop down and lift the baby in its talons. People ran after the bird and managed to track it. It changed course at Colvadale and headed for Fetlar, eight miles across the sea. The pursuers carried on to Ramnageo, from where some of the men headed out in an old leaking boat and got to Urie.

In those days Urie was inhabited, and the local people knew where a pair of sea eagles nested on the high cliff called The Sail. They set out with ropes and had not gone far when they met young Robert Nicolson, who was at Urie on an errand. He went with them to the overhanging banks [cliffs] and volunteered to be lowered down. He told all his life that Mary lay in the centre of the nest with a young eagle at either side with its head tucked under the shawl sleeping. When he got to the top with the baby, one of the Unst men said, "Well done dee, du'll maybe get her for dee wife yet." She was taken to Colvister in Yell, where she was found to be unmarked, then to her mother who was waiting for her at Uyeasound. Years later Robert was in Unst to collect millstones and took the chance to visit the girl at Norwick. She was a fine-looking young lady and he fell in love with her and married her. They lived in Newerhouse before moving to North Yell.

She was the great grandmother of Balfour Jamieson, who lived at Houbie. Even today [1970] in Fetlar there are Hughsons and Jamiesons who can date their ancestry back to her. The same story was printed in old schoolbooks but with different names.


Track Duration (h:m:s) - 00:10:13
Date Recorded - 1970.09.22
Language - English, Scots
Genre - Story, Information
Collection - School of Scottish Studies

Track ID - 68213
Original Tape ID - SA1970.247
Original Track ID - SA1970.247
Audio Quality - Good
Audio Format - R2R



Recording Location:
  County - Shetland
  Parish - Fetlar
  Island - Fetlar


Item Location:
  County - Shetland

Item Notes -

Permanent Link - http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/fullrecord/68213/1




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