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  The Hogboon - Orkney's Mound Dweller

The Hellihowe hogboon

Hellihowe, Sanday: Illustration by Sigurd TowrieThe hogboon in this tale was extremely upset when the new mistress of the farm, Hellihowe, took up residence.

This unfortunate woman was from the south and ignorant of the hogboon and his ilk. She therefore knew nothing about how he expected to be treated.

The result of this unfortunate lack of knowledge meant that she gave the hogboon neither ale nor milk, and she scraped all the cooking pots clean before putting them away.

This did not bode well for her or the household.

In retaliation, the hogboon made the life of the family miserable. He stole continuously and when he did not steal he would hide articles he knew the family would be needing. In addition he soured their milk, let loose the animals and generally subjected them all to the most exasperating of practical jokes.

Before too long the poor family were driven to distraction and decided they could take this torment no longer.

They were left with no option but to move house in the hope that they might leave their tormentor behind. Fortunately enough they were successful in obtaining a lease for another farm at the opposite end of Sanday.

The moving day finally came after a number of tense weeks in which the farmer had made his family had remained silent about their cunning plan. They could not take the risk that the Hogboon would hear of their moving plans and thwart them.

The day of the flit dawned fine and sunny. The sky was blue with herds of white woollen clouds racing across the horizon. Preparations were going well so that when the anxious family finally set out with a string of ponies with their furniture and other gear hastily tied to the packsaddles, they were convinced their ruse had worked.

The Goodman of the house led the foremost pony, on whose back was a kirn (churn). While they travelled, the farmer and his family chatted about the peaceful future that now lay ahead of them. As they approached their new home the farmer congratulated his family on having escaped from their mischievous neighbour.

Almost as they did so, the hogboon popped his head out of the kirn and while grinning wickedly remarked:

"Wir gittan a fine day tae flit on, guidman!"

Hellihowe Remains: Illustration by Sigurd Towrie