Saturday, August 22, 2009

Warren Hastings

There is a connection to this date, August 22nd, Walter Scott, and the impeached (later acquitted) Warren Hastings (died 8/22/1818), who was the first Governor-General of Bengal (1773 - 1785). Apparently Hastings appropriated a group of unusually shaped stones for his property, that had been the subject of local superstition and folklore. The stones were known as the Grey Geese of Addle-strop Hill. The legend (in Scott's version) was that a witch was driving her geese to market, when, losing patience with their waywardness, she suddenly exclaimed: 'Deevil! that neither they nor I ever stir from this spot more!' and instantly she and her flock were transformed into blocks of stone, as they had ever since remained, until the Black Dwarf appropriated them for the building of his lonely cottage.

Scott employed the setting of this in the opening of his "The Tales of My Landlord", calling the stones the Grey Geese of Mucklestane Moor.

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