THE young Laird of Lorntie, in Forfarshire, was one evening returning from a hunting excursion, attended by a single servant and two greyhounds, when, in passing a solitary lake, which lies about three miles south from Lorntie, and was in those times closely surrounded with natural wood, his ears were suddenly assailed by the shrieks of a female apparently drowning. Being of a fearless character, he instantly spurred his horse forward to the side of the lake, and there saw a beautiful female struggling with the water, and, as it seemed to him, just in the act of sinking. "Help, help, Lorntie!" she exclaimed. "Help, Lorntie-----help, Lor-----," and the waters seemed to choke the last sounds of her voice as they gurgled in her throat. The laird, unable to resist the impulse of humanity, rushed into the lake, and was about to grasp the long yellow locks of the lady, which lay like hanks of gold upon the water, when he was suddenly seized behind, and forced out of the lake by his servant, who, farther-sighted than his master, perceived the whole affair to be the feint of a water-spirit. "Bide, Lorntie--bide a blink!" cried the faithful creature, as the laird was about to
dash him to the earth; "that wauling madam was nae other, God sauf us! than the mermaid." Lorntie instantly acknowledged the truth of this asseveration, which, as he prepared to mount his horse, was confirmed by the mermaid raising herself half out of the water, and exclaiming, in a voice of fiendish disappointment and ferocity,--
Were it na your man,
I had got your heart's bluid
Skirl 1 in my pan."
196:1 Chambers, Popular Rhymes of Scotland.