“The wife brought out a basin of water. The man lifted three live embers from the fire and dropped them one by one from the tongs into the water, with small hissings and wisps of steam. Then he washed his hands and face in the singed water. His wife went through the same lustration. The three children dipped hands and faces and lifted them steaming…”
from ‘The Laird’s Son’ in ‘Winter Tales’ by George Mackay Brown, Polygon, 2010.