330 THIEVING DOGS AND HOUSES
When she had told her tale, a constable came forward and stated that, only the Saturday before, a dog answering to the same description had attacked a poor woman in the neighbourhood, and snatched from her a bundle containing two shirts, some handkerchiefs, and other articles of dress, and had run off with them, leaving the woman so frightened that she had nearly died of terror. And these charges were not the only ones that were lodged against this dog. Four or five more complaints of robbery were brought against him, and though no man had ever been seen in his neighbourhood, at the time the thefts were committed, it was supposed that he must have been carefully trained to the work, and also to bring his spoil back to his master, who would be hiding in some place not far distant. In the end, the constable undertook to stop his pranks, or else to shoot him.
Sometimes, however, it is not possible for the master (and real offender) to keep entirely in the background, and instances have been known of the punishment falling on the right head.
Towards the close of the last century two men and a dog were tried for sheep-stealing before one of the most celebrated Scotch judges of the day.
One of the men, Murdieston by name, lived on a farm on the north bank of the Tweed, nearly opposite the beautiful old castle of Traquair; the other, who was called Millar, was his shepherd. They were much respected by their neighbours as quiet industrious people, but in reality had carried on the business of sheep-stealers for many years without exciting the suspicion of any one. Indeed, they were so very cautious that, even in the middle hf the night, they would never drive the stolen animals along the high road, lonely though the country was, but preferred to keep to the side of the bare hills that lie between the little river of Leithen and the Tweed. Not that they were safe even here, for a careful shepherd would often make the round of his flocks by night, or it