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  Jo Ben's 1529 "Descriptions of Orkney"


Stronsay, or Sdronsay, so called as if it were the Stream's Isle.

This island is six miles in length and four in breadth.

Peats are abundant here, and half of the island is uncultivated. Some here worship God purely, others not.

Many also believe in nymphs (the ferries), and relate that men dying suddenly afterwards live with them, which I do not believe.

Great monsters, called Troicis*, often associates with women living here, which when I resided there a beautiful woman, married to an able-bodied farmer, was much tormented by a great spirit, and were seen, against the husband's will, lying on one bed.

The woman at last became emaciated through sorrow. I advised that she might get freedom by prayer, alms giving, and fasting, which she performed; the duration of her trouble lasted a year.

The description of the monster is this. It was covered with seaweed over its whole body, and resembled a dark horse with wrinkled skin [curly hair], a member [limbs] like a horse and large testicles**.

* - could this be related to trows?
** - this equine appearance seems to link the creature to the Nuckelavee - which was particularly feared in Stronsay.

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