“Lie doun, lie doun,” cried the gudewife from beside him. “Ye’re surely out o’ your wuts, Brockburn. Would ye gang stravaging about the country again the nicht?”
“Where is he?” cried the Laird.
“There’s not a soul here but your lawful wife and your ain dear doggie. Was there ae body that ye expected?” asked his wife.
“The Man o’ Peace, woman!” cried Brockburn. “I’ve ane o’ my wushes to get, and I maun hae’t.”
“The man’s mad!” was the gudewife’s comment. “Ye’ve surely forgotten yoursel, Brockburn. Ye never believed in the Daoine Shi before.”
“Seein’s believin’,” said the Laird. “I forgathered with a Man o’ Peace the nicht on the hill, and I wush I just saw him again.”
As the Laird spoke the window of the chamber was lit up from without, and the Man of Peace appeared sitting on the window-ledge in his daisy-lined cloak, his feet hanging down into the room, the silver shoes glittering as they dangled.
“I’m here, Brockburn!” he cried. “But eh, man! ye’ve had your last wush.”
And even as the stupefied Laird gazed, the light slowly died away, and the Man of Peace vanished also.
On the following morning the Laird was roused from sleep by loud cries of surprise and admiration.
The good wife had been stirring for some hours, and in emptying the pockets of her good man’s coat she had found three huge cairngorms of exquisite tint and lustre. Brockburn thus discovered the value of the gifts, half of which he had thrown away.
But no subsequent visits to the hill-side led to their recovery. Many a time did the Laird bring home a heavy pocketful of stones, at the thrifty gudewife’s bidding, but they only proved to be the common stones of the mountain-side. The Shian could never be distinguished from any other crag, and the Daoine Shi were visible no more.
Yet it is said that the Laird of Brockburn prospered and throve thereafter, in acre, stall, and steading, as those seldom prosper who have not the good word of the People of Peace.
THE OGRE COURTING.
In days when ogres were still the terror of certain districts, there was one who had long kept a whole neighbourhood in fear without any one daring to dispute his tyranny.
By thefts and exactions, by heavy ransoms from merchants too old and tough to be eaten, in one way and another, the Ogre had become very rich; and although those who knew could tell of huge cellars full of gold and jewels, and yards and barns groaning with the weight of stolen goods, the richer he grew the more anxious and covetous he became. Moreover, day by day, he added to his stores; for though (like most ogres) he was as stupid as he was strong, no one had ever been found, by force or fraud, to get the better of him.