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Storytelling at Abbotsford

Tune in to Abbotsford's website or social media each fortnight for another story in the series 'A Gift of Tales' told in our historic house by Mary Kenny.

These folk tales resonate with objects in the collection, with local landscape and with Sir Walter Scott’s writing and legacy.

As a child Walter Scott heard tales from his grandparents at Smailholm. As a young man he travelled widely, collecting stories and ballads from the rich oral tradition of Scotland and Borderlands which inspired his life and work.

This selection of tales is specially curated and told by Mary Kenny, our Heritage Engagement Officer, and they are suitable for ages 7-107!

20th March: WEE JOHNNIE (approximately 10 mins)
This folk tale warns against leaving a new baby unattended, for in olden times it was believed that the fairy folk would swap one of their sickly children for yours if they could- and with dire consequences!

2nd April: CANOBIE DICK (approximately 10 mins)
In this supernatural tale, Borders horse trader Canobie Dick meets a mysterious stranger on the moonlit Eildon Hills. In aiming for the best deal for his horses, Dick gains an eerie adventure, and so much more than he bargained for! 

16th April: THOMAS THE RHYMER (approximately 18 minutes)
In this famous local story the young laird of Ercildoune, resting beneath a tree on the Eildon hills, is surprised by a beautiful woman on a grey horse. A cheeky kiss leads to a journey into the liminal world of the Fairy Folk, and the great, ancient legend of the seer True Thomas.

30th April: THE MAGIC QUERN (approximately 12 minutes)
The wild salty seas have from ancient times been the highways of trade, wealth, and adventure. Sea roads also for pirates, marauders, and superstitious men- all of which feature in this curious story is set in north-eastern lands and the tumultuous seas off Orkney.

14th May: MUCKLE - MOUTHED MEG  (approximately 10 minutes)
This local Reiving legend harks back to the early 17th century, when one of Sir Walter Scott’s ancestors got caught red handed thieving cattle! Young Watt Scott faced a tough choice to avoid infamous border justice and save his life- but at what price?

20.03.2021 - 14.05.2021

Adults - Free
Concessions - Free
Under 14's - Free