The tale of the Grey Dog of Meoble dates back to the early 1800s and concerns a young man called Dugald MacDonald and his faithful hound, Elasaid. Elasaid was an enormous, shaggy haired Scottish Deerhound who was known to loyally follow Dugald about Meoble and the townships of south Morar; however, their time together was cut short when Dugald was called to fight in the Peninsular Wars.
In the several years that Dugald was away from home, a sorrowful Elasaid took to the hills where she made home on an island in the middle of Lochan Tain Mhic Dhughaill (the little lake of MacDougall’s cattle). It was on this island that she gave birth to a litter of four puppies. These pups, unhandled and territorial of their isolated island, earned the reputation along the Morar glen for being bloodthirsty savages.
Having thought of Elasaid every day since leaving Meoble, Dugald was understandably desperate to be reunited with his beloved bitch; however, the villagers warned him about the pups and begged him not to go to the island. Dugald was certain that no harm would come to him under the watchful eye of his lovely Elasaid, and so undeterred he headed up into the hills until he stood on the shores of Lochan Tain Mhic Dhughaill. Quiet as a tomb, he could neither hear, nor see Elasaid or her pups, so he stripped off and swam across to the island. As he made his way onto the island, he began calling Elasaid’s name, but she was not there, she had gone hunting, leaving her now fully grown pups hidden out of sight in their heathery lair. Upon hearing him approach, the dogs raced from the heather and tore poor Dugald to pieces.
When Elasaid returned to find her long lost master mauled to death her howls of agony were said to be so loud and mournful that they brought the people of the Morar glen to the scene. Elasaid’s pups were killed and Dugald’s body was laid to rest in the burial ground by the Meoble River. Elasaid watched over his grave, sitting on her haunches and, lifting her scraggily head to the sky, sent out one doleful howl after the other before stretching out and dying upon Dugald’s grave.
Decades passed and Dugald’s brother became very ill. His wife entered his bedroom to comfort and sit with him and he clasped her hand and breathlessly told her that the ghost of Elasaid had appeared at his bedside, looked directly at him for several minutes, before giving a terrible cry and disappearing. Moments later, his clasp loosened on her hand and he died.
From this moment onwards, the inexplicable sight of a shaggy-haired deerhound became an indication to clan Macdonald of Morar that they were to die within days, or even minutes, of the sighting. The Grey Dog of Meoble became known as the harbinger of death, not only to Morar Macdonalds, but to McDougalls and Macdonalds throughout the world.