A witch cursed a fishing boat but the skipper was told how t...

Date 1959
Track ID 98377
Part 1

Track Information

Original Track ID


Original Tape ID



A witch cursed a fishing boat but the skipper was told how to break the spell.

Thomas Tait was the skipper of a sixareen [six-oared boat]. He told the following as a true story. The rest of the crew complained that a crew member called Miller was too old, so Tait replaced him. The man's wife, Maggie Miller, put a spell on the boat and they caught nothing, although their ranksman [companion boat] was laden with ling. A woman told Tait about Maggie's spell and warned him that Maggie might sink the boat by witchcraft. To break the spell he had to pull trows' spindles [horsetail] from an enchanted knoll and tie bunches of the plant to the steids [stone sinkers]. This was done, and the boat caught more fish than any other. At the end of the season Tait made a present of groceries to the woman who had advised him.

Item Notes

The mention of the Spray refers to the previous track on the same tape (SA1959.087), where there is an account of Tait's feat in bringing the Spray safely back in the storm of 1881.

Item Subject/Person

Tait, Thomas; Miller, Maggie

Item Location

County - Shetland

Parish - Fetlar

Island - Fetlar





Source Type

Reel to reel

Audio Quality