"Within a few minutes of this book arriving, I had put bookmarks in five places and was roaring through the index. A lovely compilation. It's the real macabre." Terry Pratchett
Scotland's rich past and varied landscape have inspired an extraordinary array of legends and beliefs, and many of the most intriguing are collected here: stories of heroes and bloody feuds; giants, fairies, and witches; and accounts of local customs and traditions. Their range extends across the country, from the Borders with their haunting ballads, via Glasgow, site of St. Mungo's miracles, to the fateful battlefield of Culloden, and finally to the Shetlands, home of the seal-people. More than simply retelling these stories, this collection explores their origins, showing how and when they arose and investigating what basis they have in historical fact. It uncovers the events that inspired Macbeth, probes the claim that Mary King’s Close is the most haunted street in Edinburgh, and examines the surprising truth behind the fame of the MacCrimmons, Skye's unsurpassed bagpipers. Moreover, it reveals how generations of Picts, Vikings, Celtic saints, and Presbyterian reformers shaped the myriad tales that still circulate. The result is a thrilling journey through Scotland's legendary past and an endlessly fascinating account of the traditions and beliefs that play such an important role in its heritage.