The Shieling of the One Night

Airidh na H'Aon Oidhche (the shieling of the one night) in Benbecula is the scene of a well known local legend. One version of the story tells how three men from Nunton came to stay the night in the shieling. Their evening talk turned to how much they would like some women with them to wash and cook for them. There came a knock at the door and in came three women.
    There were two rooms in the shieling and two of the men went down to the far room with two of the women, closing the door, leaving the head man, whose name was Mac Phee, with the third woman in the other room. As he sat there, to his horror, he saw that she was gradually growing a beak, and then, to his further horror, that blood was trickling under the door from the far room. The woman saw he had noticed it and he began to panic. He told the woman that we would have to go outside to relieve himself as he did not like to do it in front of a woman, but she did not want to let him out of her sight. Finally they arranged that she would hold on to his cloak through the closed door.
    Once outside MacPhee stuck his knife through the cloak, pinning it to the wall, and started to run as he had never run before. With him was his dog, who had never worked for him. The woman waited a while and then she called to the man. Getting no reply, she opened the door, saw what had happened and started to run after him. MacPhee saw her coming after him and shouted to his dog: "If you don't work for me now you'll never work again". The dog started to chase the beaked woman. MacPhee ran all the way to Nunton and left three pails of milk outside for the dog when he came home. When he opened the door in the morning he found the dog dead on the doorstep. It had drunk the three pails of milk and there was not a hair left on its body.
    The other two men in the shieling had been murdered. It was never used again, and to this day no sheep or cattle will graze there.

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