The Fiddlers of Inverness
Tomnahurich is a steep wooded hill just on the outskirts of Inverness. It is said to be a fairy hill into which people could be lured often never to return. This tale of two fiddlers recounts the story of just such an unfortunate pair…
The two travelling Fiddlers were staying in Inverness and they made their living by playing in pubs or at social events. They were very good at what they did but had been having a hard time making ends meet, when they were approached by an old man who offered to pay them well for a nights work. Naturally delighted the two fiddlers accepted and followed the old man to Tomnahurich, coming to a stone doorway that they had never seen before, which appeared to lead directly into the side of the hill. A little worried but thinking of what they would earn the two fiddlers followed the old man through the doorway and down winding, torch lit, passages, arriving in a huge and beautiful hall filled with young, beautiful people.
They were invited to eat and drink what they liked from the rich feast laid out. When they had had their fill they started to play. The guests danced and danced until dawn. Suddenly the fiddlers realised that the last guest had departed without them noticing that the dancers had been leaving. They put this down to getting caught up in what they were playing. The old man paid the two fiddlers with a bag of gold, which was a small fortune to the men, and sent them on their way.
Amazed at their good fortune the two men made their way back into Inverness to their lodgings. By now the townspeople were up and about and the two men noticed that they were dressed very strangely, they stopped to stare at the two fiddlers as they passed, pointing and whispering. Their high spirits vanished completely when they noticed new buildings that had not been there before and they started to become afraid. They heard the ringing of a nearby church bell and seeking comfort and normality they headed toward the sound, entered the church and sat down with the rest of the congregation, puzzled that they recognised no-one as they had been in Inverness for some time. The minister began his sermon and the fiddlers tried to take comfort from the familiar words, however the moment the minister mentioned the name of God both of the two unfortunate fiddlers crumbled to dust before the eyes of the horrified congregation.
The fiddlers had not been gone for one night, but 100 years, and the old man who led them to their fate was none other than Thomas the Rhymer.