Some of the offspring resemble mortals, having legs instead of fish-tails. And their complexions are dark, which is to be expected. Some of them have webbed fingers. The midwives trim away the webbing with knives or scissors. Nevertheless, a rough callous remains along the inner edges of the fingers. Many of the Scottish Highlanders have this callous, so we know they are different from other mortals – Blue Man blood flows through their veins.
And for a fact, the Blue Men may be related to the “sons of God,” the angels. For many of the Highlanders say that the Blue Men are fallen angels who were not as guilty as the rest, so they weren’t thrown into Hell. Others say the Blue Men are people being punished by God for some sin. Although the sin is never specified.
The inference of this angelic connection pleases the Highlanders. For it means the blood of a formerly heavenly race of people flows in them, too. And it means that even though they are energetic sinners, there is hope for the Highlanders. Perhaps they, too, will avoid Hell.
One prominent tale of the Blue Men goes thus:
“A fishing trawl passed through the strait on its way home after a day of heavy fishing. A light fog stood upon the carpet of a gray sea. Lookouts were posted. One of them spotted something floating on the surface of the sea off the starboard bow. It was a Blue Man fast asleep in the water.
“Quickly and silently, the fisherman netted him. Taken on board, he was bound hand and foot. His skin was blue and his fish-tail glistened with scales even though there was no sun.
“The trawler had not sailed a thousand feet when two more Blue Men rose to the surface shouting:
Duncan will be one,
Duncan will be two,
Will you need another
Ere you reach the shore?
“A moment later, as if he alone had understood the mysterious message, the prisoner snapped his bonds and dove into the sea.”
Strictly speaking, there’s not really a moral to the story of the Blue Men. There is, however, an explanation. The Blue Men are a myth. A myth that explains the origin and distinctiveness of the Scottish Highlanders. And although a myth is irrational and unscientific on the one hand, it is psychologically and spiritually necessary on the other. Human beings need more than antiseptic facts and empirical evidence to account for themselves; they need belief, history and, most importantly, stories. For stories have life, and they provide a sense of glamour. Facts and evidence don’t convey a sense of life or a glow of glamour, they are inanimate.