It was first given that name in 1846 when Iain MacKinnon of the Great Silvery Beard used it to tie his rope around it when he clambered down the cliff at Oiseaval to gather and harvest fulmars. One time, however, the knot frayed, chafing against rock before he tumbled, his body shattering on the waves. The next day, a crow was found on its crest, cawing out a long, discordant message to those who lived on the island, each sound a blasphemy or curse. No bird was ever again recorded to have rested on top of the stone till some twenty-two years later when young Rachel Mackinnon stumbled on it when making her way home through a dense, impenetrable mist to her home in Village Bay. Head over toes, she plunged into the sea, not surviving her fall. Again, a crow perched on its summit, the gneiss below its claws forbidding as a pulpit as it preached its dark and cruel sermon. The next time an event of this kind occurred was after Lachie Mackinnon sat on the stone after he had guided a group of visitors to the edge of Oiseaval on a mild summer’s day. At one moment, he was entertaining the group with his tale of how a member of the Bonaparte family had once landed in Village Bay, claiming the island for France. The following minute, he was clutching his chest and choking for breath, unable to stand again. Again, a similar ritual occurred. The crow landed, both its stillness and the black sheen of its feathers contrasting with the speed and whiteness of gannets as they dived for food nearby. It was on this day that Angus Mackinnon warned his family that no one who bore his name was ever allowed to go near that stone again. ‘Death waits for anyone who goes there,’ he declared, his voice as dark and compelling as any minister. ‘It has happened too many times in that place for those of our kin.’
For the most part, this warning was obeyed by the generations who came after. However, there was one exception. It is written that one member of the family ignored this warning a few years after the island was evacuated.