The Legend of the Phantom Horseman

Lachlan Bàn, an Islay crofter, was returning home one stormy night when, through the darkness, he saw a ghostly silhouette of a headless horseman galloping away from his house. Lachlan turned pale. On entering the house, Lachlan felt an eerie coldness. The fire he had left blazing only an hour before had gone out. In the middle of the stone floor was a circular damp stain, and on the table stood an opened bottle of Bowmore Malt whisky with a large dram missing.

What kind of creature had visited? Accepting gifts, even Bowmore whisky, from such a fearful intruder could only lead to misfortune, thought Lachlan. So he threw the bottle out into the wet night, bolting the door behind him, and spent a troubled night listening to the howls of the wind and the rattling of the windows, fearful for his life. The next night at the local inn, Lachlan related the frightening tale to a hushed group of locals.

The following week Lachlan's brother called on him. "Lachlan, I passed last Friday night during that dreadful storm. The wind had forced your door open and blown out the fire, I brought a bottle of Bowmore to share with you, but I couldn't wait long, so I took a quick dram and rode for home with my cloak pulled tight over my head to keep out the rain."

Too embarrassed to tell, Lachlan never related the true story to the villagers. To this day, no true Ileach (Islay local) offers an opened bottle of whisky to guests. A fresh bottle is always opened and the cork thrown into the fire so that the guest can be sure that the headless horseman has not returned....Or is it just an excuse to be unstinting with the Bowmore?

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