The þing - Fiddler's rest

Around the þing camp fire the people would gather and share stories of mythical creatures and dangers out there in the dark.

Trowie stories are found all over Shetland. Many stories tell of fiddlers being taken by the trows and kept for a hundred years. The mounds of earth at the back of the school are an ideal shape for a trowie knowe ( the hills where trows live). We certainly had to include the good folk (trows) in our project. Here is a story that relates to Nesting.

This extract tells of Magnus Brough and the hill of Skellister, just to the north of the school.

I found a newspaper cutting in an old scrapbook (1890s) about one Magnus Brough, who was described as a genius "in his own way"; he built boats, made spoons, was a good mason, a better tailor, but, more interestingly for us, was "as a fiddler far superior to any in the whole islands. His love of music was intense, and the whole of his leisure time was devoted to it..." His wife could be a bit of a scold, and occasionally he'd get fed up of this and take his fiddle, "...he drew from it the sharpest scolding notes...then he would suddenly break out into the most violent sobbing strains of weeping..." which would either subdue his wife or make her stomp out of the room.
After his death it was discovered "...that he was not really dead, but had been removed by the good folk... [1]" Someone was hired to see if they could recover Magnus, but after three days they were informed that he "...was sitting in an iron-bound chair playing on a magnificent fiddle in a beautiful furnished house in the hill of Skellister, and his release was impossible..." I expect poor Magnus is sitting there still, fiddling away to the delight of the Trows.
[1] = The "good folk" refers to the Trows, the fairy folk of Shetland, who preferred Shetland fiddlers to their own musicians so much that good fiddlers going to and from parties etc would take a couple of friends with them.
Click this link to hear a similar story from Papa Stour. Our fiddle teacher comes from Papa

One of the best known of the Trowie tunes is Winyadepla. Here is the music.

The construction of the Fiddler's rest.