I have been reading an article on Aberdeen, a dour Scottish city that is nourished on rain and ghosts. Its silhouette is harsh and medieval, and it rides the eastern coast of Scotland like a battalion of granite knights.
There was one ghost in particular whose bittersweet life was as toxic and romantic as poisoned wine. Her name was Dame Lilias Drummond. She married Alexander Seton in 1592 and was unimaginative enough to give him five daughters. Disgusted with her chromosomal betrayal, he hid Lilias away in the stony bower of their castle, where she was starved to death. Whether she died from a lack of affection or food is not known. All during this wasting time, Alexander was carrying on an affair with another noblewoman, Lady Grizel Leslie.
He married the Lady Grizel six months after the death of Lilias. The morning after their wedding night they saw, 50 feet above the ground, the letters D. LILIAS DRUMMOND carved into the wall, in ethereal rebuke. Today Lilias can be seen walking the halls of her home, Fyvie Castle, lonely and patient – a lady in green waiting for justice.
A sad, pretty story. One that made me research The Green Lady's life further. Until I found out one singular detail. It never happened. Their marriage, in fact, was a happy one. A bouquet of daughters was not a sin. The Dame's death was from natural causes.
That, I thought, was that. Yet why should it be? Doesn't this instead open up wide mythical vistas? The green Lady of Fyvie Castle doesn't exist. So couldn't I come up with my own?