The Book of Dreams and Ghosts eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 292 pages of information about The Book of Dreams and Ghosts.

If the bocan had a spite at Donald, he was still worse disposed towards his wife, the MacGregor woman.  On the night on which he last made his presence felt, he went on the roof of the house and cried, “Are you asleep, Donald Ban?” “Not just now,” said Donald.  “Put out that long grey tether, the MacGregor wife,” said he.  “I don’t think I’ll do that tonight,” said Donald.  “Come out yourself, then,” said the bocan, “and leave your bonnet.”  The good-wife, thinking that the bocan was outside and would not hear her, whispered in Donald’s ear as he was rising, “Won’t you ask him when the Prince will come?” The words, however, were hardly out of her mouth when the bocan answered her with, “Didn’t you get enough of him before, you grey tether?”

Another account says that at this last visit of the bocan, he was saying that various other spirits were along with him.  Donald’s wife said to her husband:  “I should think that if they were along with him they would speak to us”; but the bocan answered, “They are no more able to speak than the sole of your foot”.  He then summoned Donald outside as above.  “I will come,” said Donald, “and thanks be to the Good Being that you have asked me.”  Donald was taking his dirk with him as he went out, but the bocan said, “leave your dirk inside, Donald, and your knife as well”.

Donald then went outside, and the bocan led him on through rivers and a birch-wood for about three miles, till they came to the river Fert.  There the bocan pointed out to Donald a hole in which he had hidden some plough-irons while he was alive.  Donald proceeded to take them out, and while doing so the two eyes of the bocan were causing him greater fear than anything else he ever heard or saw.  When he had got the irons out of the hole, they went back to Mounessie together, and parted that night at the house of Donald Ban.

Donald, whether naturally or by reason of his ghostly visitant, was a religious man, and commemorated his troubles in some verses which bear the name of “The Hymn of Donald Ban of the Bocan”.  In these he speaks of the common belief that he had done something to deserve all this annoyance, and makes mention of the “stones and clods” which flew about his house in the night time.  Otherwise the hymn is mainly composed of religious sentiments, but its connection with the story makes it interesting, and the following is a literal translation of it.


O God that created me so helpless,
Strengthen my belief and make it firm. 
Command an angel to come from Paradise,
And take up his abode in my dwelling,
To protect me from every trouble
That wicked folks are putting in my way;
Jesus, that did’st suffer Thy crucifixion,
Restrain their doings, and be with me Thyself.

Little wonder though I am thoughtful—­
Always at the time when I go to bed
The stones and the clods will arise—­
How could a saint get sleep there

I am without peace or rest,
Without repose or sleep till the morning;
O Thou that art in the throne of grace,
Behold my treatment and be a guard to me.

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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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