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  Jo Ben's 1529 "Descriptions of Orkney"


Southay, as if the South Isle or southern island*, is now uncultivated, but formerly it was prolific in cattle.

Every one here parted with their lives in one day and in the same manner; this is no fable but a very true narrative and worthy of the notice of Christian men.

Near to the time of the festival of our Saviour Jesus Christ, when they held it their church being deficient, proceeding in a small boat, both young and old, to a neighbouring island, a sudden storm sprung up, and while the waters were raging without measure they were drowned.

Whereupon in truth the animals, oxen, sheep, calves, pigs, dogs, puppies, and every living thing there, strange to say, wildly threw themselves into the sea and were drowned, which indeed is true.

No one has lived there to this day.

* - probably Switha

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