Our first fable instalment delves into the legend of ‘The Ghost Piper of Clanyard Bay’, a story hailing from the South West Coast of Scotland, close to Stranraer. We collaborated with artist Hugo Cuellar to create an enchanted world, from which label illustrations highlighting characters and scenes form a set of eleven Chapters.
There was once a small settlement perched on a sea cliff in Scotland’s wild southwest corner. The four compass points would take you elsewhere – east to the borders, north to the country’s heart, south to glacial lakes and west by boat across the waters - but the locals stayed put.
For the land here, which should have been barren, was remarkably rich for farming (a well-kept secret).
Lashed by rain, these were hardy folk as tough as the granite rock beneath their feet.
They did not complain or scare easily, but for one strange thing. On stormy nights, when the moon was nearly drowned, eerie screams seemed to come from below them.
There, where jarring waves met rugged bay, stood a gapping, hollow cave.
The cave was left untouched until, one day as the earth was thawing, an old piper appeared with a dog. The rough hound was as grey as the beard of its owner. The piper was surely the finest in the land (as no doubt was his father before him).
His bagpipes were crudely made and yet, from this instrument, came a merry sound that even stopped the crows from cawing. No one had heard such cheerful tunes.
And so, accompanied by his faithful dog, the piper ventured into the cave, playing boldly as we went. At the entrance, the locals waited and listened.
Hours passed and the pipes grew quieter until there was no sound at all. Suddenly the hound, once shaggy, ran out of the cave howling, without a single hair left on his shivering body.
Deep underground, the piper continued to play as the fairies yelled, cursing him to leave. On he went, with a chill upon him, towards a distant light.
The music soared above the terrible cries until the piper reached the cave’s centre. The piper was now in the mouth of a dreadful storm yet still he played.
Furious at being bested by a human, the fairies departed, leaving a labyrinthine of mazes behind them to trap the poor piper inside.
The piper was never seen again and not one settler could later recall his face. The cave’s entrance is now long gone, but hear me!
Stand on that cliff in the middle of the night and a feint melody of pipes can still be heard coming from the depths below.
Sign up to get the latest on sales, new releases and more …