An udaler faced supernatural forces to collect human bones f...
Date 20 September 1974
Track ID 72776
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Track Information

Original Track ID

SA1974.197.B1

Original Tape ID

SA1974.197

Summary

An udaler faced supernatural forces to collect human bones for the laird, but was cheated out of his estate anyway.

The following story was heard from an old Weisdale woman. There were only two udalers [landowners under udal law] left in Lunnasting, the rest of the holdings having been absorbed by incoming lairds. One of the udalers, Nicolson, had lost his plough ox, and the new laird at Lunna offered him an ox if he brought a bone from under the pulpit of Weisdale Kirk [church].

(The workmen who built Weisdale Kirk were never paid directly, but found their wages under their tools. The timber for the roof was supplied by the skipper of a ship in return for an answered prayer.)

Nicolson tried to reach Weisdale but his horse wouldn't go close to the kirk because of eerie sounds and sights. On the third attempt he reached the kirk on a stallion. He picked up a bone and heard a voice telling him it was his grandfather's bone. He picked another and a voice told him it was an ancestor's bone. He picked a third and said he'd take it come what may. Sounds and lightning followed him, and at the Loch of Voe three heavy stones were thrown at him, now known as the Shoe Stanes o Voe. At Lunna Kirk another three stones were thrown, the Standing Stanes o Lunna. He put the bone under the pulpit of Lunna Kirk and when he went outside, his horse had fallen dead.

Nicolson got the ox, but the laird had his men cripple it, and he put in a claim against Nicolson, the payment for which was the title deeds to his small estate. The old kirk at Lunna is still used as the parish kirk. It has been said that it is less than 200 years old but it must be nearer 2000 years old.

Recording Location

County - Shetland

Parish - Delting

Island - Shetland Mainland

Village - Laxo, Lunnasting

Item Location

County - Shetland

Parish - Delting

Island - Shetland Mainland

Village - Lunna, Lunnasting

Language

English

Genre

Story

Collection

SoSS