In Scotland the donkey has never been commonly used. Two reasons for this are probably the cold winters of the country, unlike the mild though damp climate of Ireland, and Scotland’s extensive area of forests, very different from the donkey’s original habitat.
Round about 1370, the Thane of Cawdor, a prosperous gentleman, decided to build a new castle for the better protection of himself and his possessions. He received instructions on how to choose the site in a convenient dream… he was to load a donkey with gold and where it lay down, he should build and greatly prosper. So shovelling gold and anything else needful into a chest, he set fourth, no doubt, upon a May morning.
The donkey finally came to rest where a lone hawthorn tree stood on a rocky height above a small stream. The Thane got to work.
And to this day, in the vaulted dungeon of the keep at Cawdor, there stands the battered trunk of an ancient hawthorn tree whose age (by carbon dating) is put at 600 years.