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Old Tale of a Mysterious and Powerful Bodach



Old Tale of a Mysterious and Powerful Bodach Fiona Malkin Shemaron:A Beautiful Endeavour @ringnetter
Kilbrannan Sound from Arran looking toward Campbeltown.

I came across the following account in an archived copy of the Campbeltown Courier. It describes an encounter with a Bodach, the Gaelic word meaning “old man”. I thought it was interesting, as it was set round the ““wee toon”” (Campbeltown) where I have spent so much time.

Old Tale of a Mysterious and Powerful Bodach

"Good folks and honest, it was in the days of the drift net fishing, and never a trall was in it, from the Cowal shore to MacCrummon’s Point that on a night o nights a boat from the “wee toon” was at the hauling of the nets, and never a tail in them, but many, heavy was the last of the nets. And when aboard it came, my wonder: on there in the meshes was an old Bodach with a blue fish’s tail on him, and he webbed between his fingers like a prize duck. Well: Well: aboard they got him and a fine job they had getting him out of the net – but they got him out, and here he sat glowering at them from the fo’c’s’le head. “What’s the next move now boys,” said the owner of the boat, “for as sure as death this is no canny.” So back into the sea they tried to fling the Bodach. Well if they tried, they just tried for round the mast he would fling his arms, and no power would move him. And things did not improve, when at last the Bodach found his tongue. “Aye aye,” said he “since I am aboard, here will I remain,” and with that he started hammering with his tail fit to knock the timbers asunder. Well, there was nothing for it now but home for them. “Where are you for now,” said he. “Home,” said the boy. “Not if I know it,” answered he, “but to Paterson’s Rock,” and with that the boat started off like a gannet down the wind. And sure enough they came up to Paterson’s rock, and an ugly sea running, but the boat sailed right through on top of the rock. At that moment a door opened like a hatch and through it slipped the Bodach as the next serf carried them clear of the rock. And a weary beat home they had of it. Well! well! when they reached “the wee town,” and started redding up their nets the last net that the Bodach was in, the meshes were full of real golden scales that he had lost off his tail. “Boys, you and me are the greatest, fools in “the wee town” this very day,” said the owner, “for not having cut the tail off him, for it is grand folks we would be this day.” But the money they got for the golden scales set them up for life, and after that they had no great notion to be going to the fishing."

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