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  Jo Ben's 1529 "Descriptions of Orkney"


Damsay island*, here there are no hills, and it is the most pleasant of all [there is no tumult here but it is the calmest of all], and is called Tempe.

The church in this island is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, to which many pregnant women make visits in style.

No frogs, toads, or other noxious terrestrial animals whatever are ever found here.

The women here are sterile, and if they do become pregnant never bring forth with life. It is related that sometimes the haughty [the shores] are carried away for the space of one hour, but truly afterwards restored. The distance of this island from Kirkwall is two miles.

* - a small island in the Bay o' Firth, adjacent to the Holm o' Grimbister.

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