Wha Sains the Hoose the Nicht?
Wha sains the hoose the nicht?
They that sains it ilka nicht--
Saint Bryde an her brat,
Saint Colme an his hat,
Saint Michael an his spear,
Keep this hoose frae the weir,
Frae rinnin thief,
Frae burnin thief,
An frae a ill rea
That by the gate can gae,
An frae an ill wicht
That by the gate can licht.
Bough II (1959), 24 [quoting George Sinclair, Satan's
Invisible World Discovered (1685; repr. 1789)], who
glosses brat as "mantle" [from Gaelic] and rea as "evil
spirit" [cf. ree "crazy", etc.].
The Bride referred to is "St. Bride of the Isles",
venerated in the Highlands and Islands as Muime Chroisd,
the foster-mother of Christ. Bride, Columba and Michael
are often found together in spells of this nature: cf.
MacNeill, ibid., quoting Alexander Stewart, 'Twixt Ben
Nevis and Glencoe (1885). Cf. ODNR 303 (no. 346), note to
the charm "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John".