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  Jo Ben's 1529 "Descriptions of Orkney"


South Ronaldsay is another island where very strong men live.

It has a temple, near to the sea shore, where there is a very hard stone, commonly called a grey whin, six feet in length, in breadth four, on which is impressed the figures of the two naked feet, which no workman could have made*.

Old men relate that a Frenchman, who being expelled from the country, for a place of safety, went on board a ship, when a great tempest arose and they were in peril, and suffered shipwreck, he at length jumping upon the back of a monster, vowed, humbly praying to God, that if he was safely carried to land, in memory thereof he would build a church to the Virgin Mary.

His prayer being heard, he was drawn safe to the shore by the support of the monster. The monster was afterwards changed into a stone of its own colour; he himself placed it in that church, where it remains as above described.

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