Life in 18th Century Ayrshire was strongly influenced by religion, and fear of the Darker forces was used to great effect to keep the hard-pressed working population ever closer to the Auld Kirk.
The Devil is well documented throughout the works of Burns - a product of the influence of Betty Davidson, the widowed Cousin of Burns' mother, whose fantastic stories of the Dark Master and all his disciples made a huge impression on the young Robert.
“Auld Nick” made his most noted appearance as the provider of music for the frantic dance of “Warlocks and Witches”, stumbled upon by the unfortunate Tam O’ Shanter.
"A winnock bunker in the east, there sat Auld Nick – in shape of beast A towzie tyke, grim and large, tae gie them music wiz his charge
He screw’d the pipes and gart them skirl Till roof and rafters a’ did dirl"