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The Shepherd Beguiled

By Netta Blair Reid


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The story of Robert Kirk, minister of Aberfoyle from 1685 to 1692, is told by Dr. Graham, his immediate successor to the charge. Dr. Graham records that while walking on the tumulus behind Aberfoyle Manse Kirk " fell in a swoon which was taken for death''. On the night following his burial he appeared to a kinsman and told him that he was not dead, but a prisoner in Fairyland. He promised to appear again at the christening of his posthumous son, and gave directions for his rescue to be sent to his kinsman, Graham of Duchray. According to contemporary accounts he did appear, and " was visibly seen'', but Graham was so astounded that he failed to throw over Kirk's shoulder the dagger that he wore; and Kirk disappeared and was never seen again. Three years later, when the grave was opened to receive the body of Kirk's second wife Helen, Kirk's coffin was found to be empty. The grave can still be seen in Aberfoyle kirkyard. The play deals with Kirk's agonising struggle against the wiles of the soulless Elfin Race and the claims of his own religion; his wife's sorrow and perplexity and the desperate but vain efforts of his loyal parishioners to rescue him from the People of the Hills.