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A COUPLE of Strathspey lads who dealt in whiskey that never paid duty, which they used to purchase in Glenlivat, and sell at Badenoch and Fort William, were one night laying in stock at Glenlivat when they heard the child in the cradle give a piercing cry, just as if it had been shot. The mother, of course, blessed it, and the Strathspey lads took no further notice, and soon after set out with their goods. They had not gone far when they found a fine healthy child lying all alone on the road-side, which they soon recognised as that of their friend. They saw at once how the thing was. The fairies had taken away the real child and left a stock, but, owing to the pious ejaculation of the mother, they had been forced to drop it. As the urgency of their business did not permit them to return, they took the child with them, and kept it till the next time they had occasion to visit Glenlivat. On their arrival they said nothing about the child, which they kept concealed. In the course of conversation, the mother took occasion to remark that the disease which had attacked the child the last time they were there had never left it, and she had now little hopes of its recovery. As if to confirm her statement, it continued uttering most piteous cries. To end the matter at once, the lads produced the real child healthy and hearty, and told how they had found it. An exchange was at once effected, and they forthwith proceeded to dispose of their new charge. For this purpose they got an old creel to put him in and some straw to light under it. Seeing the serious turn matters were likely to take, he resolved not to await the trial, but flew up the smoke-hole, and when at the top he cried out that things would have gone very differently with them had it not been for the arrival of their guests.


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