Scottish myths 2

  Martin's Stane

In very ancient Scottish history, it's said that there were dragons.
At one time then there was a farmer who had nine daughters. He had sent the eldest to the well at Pitempton to fetch water. When she didn't return he sent another daughter. When she didn't return he sent another, and then another, right up until all nine daughters were missing.
A dragon, whose name has long since been forgotten, had killed and gobbled up all of the nine young sisters, one after the other..

The father was so aggrieved and angry when he found the scattered remnants of his daughters, that soon all his neighbours knew, and they were fully resolved to help him be avenged of the terrible deed and loss. Finally, not only the neighbours, but most of the villagers went with him to the well, where not too far away from it, they found the bloated dragon sleeping quite unabashed.

Perhaps the dragon sensed the danger because he suddenly awoke to find himself surrounded by the angry villagers, and he tried to escape towards the north.
By this time the villagers were led by a young blacksmith whose name was Martin. Poor Martin had been very much in love with one of the young sisters. With brave, but heart-broken Martin in the lead, carrying a smithy's hammer, they all ran after the dragon towards Kirkton.

The dragon was hindered at Baldragon, which in those ancient times was marsh land. His scales were soaked, and unamphibious dragons tended to lose their firepower and force in such wet conditions. It was also probable that his disturbed siesta hadn't helped him digest the heavy meal of maidens. Even so, he managed to make some sort of dash again northwards, but was soon encircled once more by his relentless pursuers. It was then that Martin had the opportunity to clobber him with a first blow of the hammer.

Hurt, desperate and very angry, the dragon turned on Martin intent on tearing him to pieces with his enormous fangs and claws. As he was just about to do so, all the villagers together shouted 'Strike, Martin!' But Martin needed no such prompting, and struck the dragon as hard as he could.

The dragon, although badly wounded, still tried to escape. He even managed to drag himself a quarter of a league, whereupon Martin finally finished him off striking him a heavy blow to the head against a big stone.

At Kirkton, Strathmartine, Dundee (Tayside) there is the very stone that bears the image of a 'worm' or dragon. It's known as 'Martin's Stane', and it marks where the dragon was finally slain. There is also an ancient, local rhyme representing the dragon's dire fate.

'Tempted at Pitempton,
                        Draiglit° at Baldragon,             °wetted
                                 Stricken at Stathmartine°           ° Strike-Martin
  And kill'd at Martin's Stane'.
 Scottish myths 3
 Scottish myths
Retold and illustrated © Mirino, from various sources including 
Scotland Myths and Legends (Beryl Beare). May, 2011

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