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Vengeance of the selkie-folk

View the Inner Holm, SandayThis allegedly true story centres on the Holms o' Ire - two islets off the north-west of Sanday accessible only at low tide.

The people in the area around the holms had grazing rights on the outer holm, which is the bigger one. In summer, when all the ewes had lambed, they put sheep there.

One man, the story goes, put seven ewes, and their followers, there one year. On his way over with this little flock, he killed a seal “burd” – a pup.

That night all his sheep disappeared without trace.

All the rest of the sheep on the holm were completely safe. This occurred in good summer weather, when there was no question of the sheep being swept away. Moreover, the ewes were well used to being on the holm in summer.

Local opinion attributed the disappearance of the sheep to the vengeance of the selkie-folk.

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