Edenborough’s Booth-Scryers

A work of fiction that’s somehow more plausible than reality. Clever writing.

Bard of Tweeddale

the_old_tolboothThe Booth-Scryer had been a stock character of Scottish literature from the times of the medieval makar poets such as William Dunbar and ‘Black’ Campbell through to the poetry of Robert Fergusson (1750-1774). Fergusson’s celebrated ‘Mab of Cock Wynd’ (1772) telling of the wickedness of Fionnghuala Tanttrum whose misdeeds led to her burning at the stake outside Edenborough’s Old Tolbooth is only the most famous of a rich vein.

whisky-01Two years ago on a cold and snowy December night I took a tour of the Edenborough closes and wynds. We were a party of a dozen or so in the care of one Tip MacCannie, which I assume was not his real name, and the tour was named ‘Auld Reekie’s Ghastlie Ghaists’. One does foolish things at times and I may have had one too many at the Stuffed Cock on the Royal Mile. Wynds, incidentally, are pronounced as in…

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