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  Witchcraft in the Orkney Islands

The Yesnaby healer

Yesnaby: Illustration by S TowrieAt Yesnaby, in Sandwick, there lived a woman who was said to have had the power to stop bleeding without leaving her house.

No matter how far distant the subject might be, once the woman had been called upon for help, the blood would stop.

On one such occasion, the woman was visited by a farmer pleading for her help.

One of his horses had met with an accident, and was bleeding so profusely that the blood was running out of the stable door.

The woman expressed doubt as to whether she would be able to help – more, it seems, because she didn't trust the farmer than any doubt in her abilities. As it turned out the last farmer she had assisted had not paid her, in any form, for her cure.

Nonetheless, the woman eventually told the farmer to go home and she would do her best. By the time the man arrived back at his farm, the horse's bleeding had stopped, and the animal was well on the road to recovery.