Re: legend of Greyfriar's Bobby

From: Kate Distin (
Date: Thu 26 Jan 2006 - 16:18:49 GMT

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    Scott Chase wrote:
    >> From: "Price, Ilfryn" <>
    >> Reply-To:
    >> To: <>
    >> Subject: RE: legend of Greyfriar's Bobby
    >> Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2006 14:23:34 -0000
    >> > I tried snopes with no luck using "greyfriar", "greyfriar's", and
    >> "skye"
    >> > as
    >> > keywords. "terrier" produces some hits but not anything to do with the
    >> > "Greyfriar's Bobby" legend. I wonder how much truth is in the
    >> legend. Was
    >> > there anything to the story that got it started and perhaps
    >> embellished a
    >> > bit?
    >> 466 for "Greyfriars Bobby" snopes
    > Did you analyze any of those hits for content? One of the first I saw was:
    > Which is an informal discussion board where Greyfriar's Bobby is
    > mentioned in passing as similar to the topic being discussed. The person
    > expressed some reservations about the legend, but this hardly qualifies
    > as a formal snopes debunking of an urban legend. I tried finding
    > reference to the legend on itself using their search option
    > and had no luck. I have respect for snopes as being authoritative on
    > urban legends, so if they have actually address the "Greyfriar's Bobby"
    > legend, I would respect that. Are any of those 400+ hits relevant to the
    > legend's veracity or just incidental keyword overlaps? Finding 400+ hits
    > on a search engine means nothing without actually reading what is said
    > in the content of those hits.

    Google results seem to converge on the understanding that the story is an embellishment of a more mundane original set of facts. Apparently there was a 1989 book by Forbes MacGregor, "Greyfriars Bobby the truth at last" which explores this and claims that Bobby belonged to a policeman who guarded the cattle mart; that he was reluctant to leave his master's graveside at first; that he didn't actually stay faithfully by the graveside but did live locally until his death many years later; and that the churchyard was also a favourite local haunt for dogs.

    Which would make sense memetically, I suppose - we do love a good story but there may have been enough original details to grab attention in the first place. Then the story evolved.


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