Friedrich Johann Justin Bertuch, the mythical creature dragon, 1806
Appreciate a Dragon Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
Apart from the fearsome dragon slain by St. George, there are legendary Scottish dragons too. One famous tale is of the Dundee Dragon and the Nine Maidens of Pitempten. A carved Pict symbol stone 400 A.D. to 850 A.D, near Bridgefoot, Angus, Scotland marks the spot where the dragon was allegedly slain.
The following rhyme recalls the legend:
"Tempted at Pitempton,
Draigled at Baldragon,
Stricken at Strathmartin,
And kill'd at Martin's Stane."
Long, long ago, the farmer of Pitempan had nine pretty daughters. One day their father thirsted for a drink from his favourite well, which was in a marsh at a short distance from the house. The fairest of the nine eagerly obeyed her father's wish by running to the spring. Not returning within a reasonable time, a second went in quest of her sister. She too tarried so long that another volunteered, and the same result happened to her and to five other sisters in succession.
At last the ninth sister went to the spring, and there,to her horror, beheld, among the bulrushes, the dead bodies of her sisters guarded by a dragon! Before she was able to escape, she too fell into the grasp of the monster, but not until her cries had brought people to the spot.
Amongst these was her lover, named Martin, who, after a long struggle with the dragon, which carried on from Pitempan to Balkello, succeeded in conquering the monster.
It is told that Martin's sweetheart died from injuries or fright; and the legend adds that, in consequence of this tragedy, the spring at Pitempan was named the Nine Maiden Well, and the sculptured stone at Strathmartin, also St Martin's Stane at Balkello, were erected by the inhabitants to commemorate the event."
For more on the Nine Madens Well and the Dragon of Dundee, click the dragon sculpture in Dundee.