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casting cheeky spells, and even a (mostly) friendly monster in the river. Meet them all and hear about some of the strange things going on in
your home town...
It aye gets dark, it aye gets cold And there’s aye a quick road home But be careful where you wander If you’re walking home alone Because....
Up the Port’s a bogle A right wee nasty gnome He’ll nip your toes and steal your nose And hide under his big stone. His teeth are sharp as safety pins His eyes light up the street And when he takes his boots off He has awful smelly feet. But if you see him when it’s day Be sure to catch him quick He has to give you one free wish Or do a magic trick
By Newark a mermaid Tells fortunes at the shore She knows just by magic What tomorrow has in store. Her nets are full of secrets She hears stories in the shells And they whisper recipes For the potions that she sells. Bog myrtle cream for midgies Nettles for the sneezes Heather tea for coughs and colds She cures all wee diseases.
Through the glen there’s witches Brewing magic spells and chanting There’s no telling who they’re cursing Or what folk they’re enchanting. One night they went to Gourock (Though they’ll tell you that they never) They danced around the Kempock stone Then tried to push it in the river. These witches had a special hat And it could help them fly If you get that magic bunnet You’ll race across the sky.
Up the hill’s a giant Who sleeps the years away A warrior from ancient times Or so the stories say. He got tricked by witches Who put potion in his beer
He had to have a wee lie down And that’s why he’s stuck here. He’s underneath the grass and trees But one day he will wake Shake off the snow, rise and shine And the towns below will quake.
The water hides a monster Beneath the tides and foam Lady Clutha of the Clyde Our river is her home. She was here before the Romans Gave the Vikings quite a fright If any boats came near her She just had to have a bite. But now she’s much more friendly To ships both big and small She mostly stays beneath the waves And hardly eats people at all.
Down the dock’s a pirate The ghost of Captain Kidd They hanged him down in London For all the crimes he did. He raided French and Spanish ships If he saw a boat he’d loot it He buried all his treasure well Then forgot just where he put it. They say Kidd hid his treasure map In Greenock, so I’m told If you ever come across it You’ll find lots of pirate gold.
Up the moor’s a wizard On top of Dunrod Hill It’s evil Auld Dunrod himself Who casts his spells there still. He mixes in his cauldron Mermaid’s tails and goblin bones His pockets full of potions Runes, charms and magic stones. But if he sees you in the trees Be sure you don’t get caught Run much faster than his broomstick Or he’ll put you in his pot.
So mind your step when walking home Don’t wander down dark streets You never know who’s hiding there Or what nasties you might meet...
All these Wee Nasties are real characters from the folklore of Inverclyde.
Wee Nasties is published by Magic Torch and produced with the assistance of Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland - Your Heritage Grants. No part of this book may be produced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the permission in writing from the publisher, except for the purposes of review. This book is strictly not for sale or resale by third parties in either physical or digital editions. It has been grant funded by Heritage Lottery Fund to be distributed for free. Magic Torch generate no income from this publication.
The Bogle gives it’s name to the Boglestone at the top of the Clune Brae in Port Glasgow. Some folk think it’s a ghost, others a goblin. Everyone agrees it’s very cheeky. In the 17th Century, a coven of witches from Inverkip were convicted of a series of diabolical deeds, including trying to push the Kempock Stone into the Clyde to bring misfortune to sailors and fishermen. Auld Dunrod was an evil wizard who terrified local farmers and landowners. He ended his days selling magical potions and charms to bring good fortune to sailors. Captain Kidd is one of the most famous pirates in the world, legends of his exploits inspired the novel Treasure Island. Stories say he was born in Greenock, though he spent most of his life in New York and on the high seas. Treasure hunters still look for his loot. Clutha (or Cluaidh) is the Gaelic name for the River Clyde, it comes from Clota, the name of the ancient river goddess worshipped by the Damnonii tribe who were one of the first tribes to live in the area. The Port Glasgow Mermaid is listed in a number of accounts from the 18th Century, when she was said to appear to local people at the riverside suggesting herbal remedies. “If they drank nettles in March, and muggins in May, sae many braw maidens, wadna gang to the clay”. The Hill Giant can be seen enjoying a wee relax across the river on sunny days. He is one of a few giants who fell asleep in the area in olden times - there’s one down near Arran as well. You can find out more about all these Wee Nasties, hear songs, stories and much more at www.talesoftheoak.co.uk
All illustrations copyright Mhairi M Robertson. Research by Magic Torch, text by Paul Bristow. Typeset and design by trust design www.talesoftheoak.co.uk