British Folklore
Fairy Lore & Prehistoric Sites in Britain

Bruan Broch

Bruan Broch

In Latheron parish there are the remains of a broch known as the fairy mound of Bruan. In 1937, the Rev. George Sutherland related that two men once passed the broch carrying a small keg of whisky for the New Year celebrations. A door in the broch was open, and inside were fairies dancing to bagpipe music. One of the men wanted to join the dance and went in, but the other was more cautious and waited outside. A long time passed, and the waiting man called to the other, who replied, 'Ihave not got a dance yet.' After another while the man outside took his whisky and went on his way, expecting that his friend would be home by morning, but the next day he had still not returned, and the broch was closed, with no sign of a door, and no trace of the fairies. The man did not give up hope of his friend, however:

It was an old believe that in such a cast the same scene would be enacted in the same place a year after, and accordingly on the anniversary of that day he went to the Bruan Broch. It was open, the music and dancing were going on as before, and his friend was there. He put some iron article in the door to prevent the fairies from closing, as they are powerless in the presence of iron or steel. He went to the open door and said to his friend, 'Are you not coming home now?' His friend replied, 'I have not got a dance yet.'

The man outside told his friend that he had been a year in the broch, and that it was surely time for him to come home now, but his friend did not believe that he had been more than an hour or so inside.

The man then made a rush at his friend, seized him, and dragged him out by sheer force, and they set out for home together. It was difficult for him to realise that his sojourn with the fairies was such a prolonged one, but the fact that his own child did not recognize him, together with other changes that had taken place, convinced him.