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The Thirsty Sword by Robert Leighton
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THE THIRSTY SWORD

A Story of the Norse Invasion of Scotland (1262-1263)

BY ROBERT LEIGHTON



CHAPTER I. THE WITCH OF BUTE.

"Ah, if only Kenric were here!"

It was on the evening of a bright day in June, in the year 1262, and a
girl, clasping her hands in distress, walked restlessly to and fro on
the bank of a stream that tinkled merrily along its gravelly bed towards
the sea. She, in her loose gown of gray woollen homespun and girdle of
crimson silk, was then the only figure to be seen for miles around. Far
to the south were the blue mountains of Arran, and westward across the
Sound were the brown hills of Kintyre, with the rosy light of the
setting sun behind them. The girl, shading her eyes from the strong
light, looked over the moorland towards the castle of Kilinory.

"If Kenric were but here!" she said again.

And as she turned to run to the stream, all suddenly she was startled by
the sound of a heavy thud upon the heather at her feet. She looked round
and saw that a large capercailzie had fallen there. The bird was dead,
and there was an arrow in its breast.

At the same moment there was a lusty shout of joy from among the trees