"Big Young Donald and the Glastig of Buinach,"
retold by Cathy S. Mosley

Back in the days of the tumultuous seventeenth century, off in the Highlands of Scotland, Big Young Donald lived in the Brae of Lochaber. And two facts marked Big Young Donald with renown - he had the second sight, and he was a famous deer-hunter - with no equal found in Lochaber for the length of his life.

One morning, at the break of day, he was sitting at a deer pass on Yellow Mountain, with his rifle upon his knee, when he saw a swift moving herd of fine deer coming out of the mists - coming down to drink at the clear springs which sprung from side of the slope.  And amongst them he saw a tall Glastig - all wrapped in her fine yellow hair - amongst them.

No sooner did he see her than she saw the hunter, and cried out to him, "Thou art too heavy on my hinds, Big Donald!!"

It was a wise man who kept his wits about him when dealing with the Glastig - for she was swift to punish those who offended her, and Big Young Donald quickly answered, "I never kill a hind where I could find a stag."

And with that he made sure to let the hinds to pass, with the Glastig behind, and from that day forward she gave him no further trouble.


"The Croon of the Glastig of Ben Breck."

(This is the croon that the Glastig was heard to sing as she drove the hinds down the mountain side.)

Lady of Ben Breck, Horo!
Breck, horo, Breck, horo!
Lady of Ben Breck, horo!
I ne'er would let my troop of deer,
Troop of deer, troop of deer;
I ne'er would let my troop of deer,
A-gathering shellfish to the tide.
Better liked they cooling cress,
Cooling cress, cooling cress;
Better liked they cooling cress,
That grows beside the fountain high.

MacDougall, James. Highland Fairy Legends. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer -Rowman & Littlefield. 1978.

The Glastig was a spirit of the Scottish Highlands, who was often associated with wild deer or domesticate cattle. And it was often believed, particularly if she was attached to a family, that she was a woman who had died before her time, since she often would act in similar capacity as a banshee.

Other tales hint that she also could have been a woman wronged, or mad.

There are two stories in the footnotes of the _Garmina Cadelica_ which tell of women driven from civilization.

The first tells of a sensitive young woman whose lover appeared to be swayed to his mother's bride choice, and the poor young woman went insane. Her family tied her within her room, but she soon broke her bounds and escaped into the mountains.

Soon the shepherds began to tell of a maiden running with the deer herds; at first her blond hair grew long enough to cover her, but then she grew a covering of soft blond fur, much like a fawn or a young seal.

Her lover declared he would seek her in the deer forest, and so he did - till he was worn from the hunt; at last he found her, curled amongst the deer, and he waited till she awakened.

To him she said, "I'm dying, my Iain. Carry me to our childhood home, and bury me amongst my people."

And so he did, and when he reached the lands of their kin he too laid down and died.

Carmichael, Alexander. Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations. Edinburgh: Lindisfarne Press. 1992.