Witchcraft & Second Sight in the Highlands & Islands of Scotland / Tales and Traditions Collected Entirely from Oral Sources
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The importance of the work from the scientific point of view can hardly be exaggerated, as its accuracy is absolutely indisputable. And yet being little more than a collection of stories told in the simplest English, it is as enjoyable as one of Mr. Lang’s fairy-books.
Students of tradition will find much to interest them in this new collection of Highland folk-lore, for although a good deal of the information is similar to that contained in previous works of the kind, yet many details are new, and even those which are already familiar have this great recommendation—that they were obtained at first-hand from the peasantry, and not from other books.
Statements and beliefs are given exactly as they reached the author, nor do I think it would be possible to detect a single instance in which wider knowledge or prepossession of any kind has induced him to alter or distort a fact. This rigid conscientiousness will always secure for Mr. Campbell’s work the confidence and regard of true folklorists.... Campbell of Tiree takes his place by the side of Kirk, and of Walter Gregor of Pitsligo, among those recorders of folk-lore to whom the student can always turn with increased confidence and admiration.
Altogether the book is a notable and valuable addition to the literature of British folk-lore not unworthy to take its place alongside Mr. J. F. Campbell’s classic “Popular Tales of the West Highlands.”
The tales are very diversified. They relate to the “fairies” and the superstitions regarding them. A chapter is devoted to augury, another to premonitions and divination, to dreams and prophecies, to imprecations, spells, and the black art. In short we have a very varied and manifold collection of Highland beliefs told with great freshness and vividness.